There are two types of Christians that I have immense respect for (and would invite all believers to join with me in prayer and support for such fellow-believers): 1) Christian singles waiting to marry in the Lord, and 2) Christians who are married and find themselves married to unbelievers. This post will address the former.
I have immense respect for men and women who’d rather wait and obey God’s command to not marry outside the faith, rather than disregard that for expedience (marry “only in the Lord” 1 Cor 7:39). While this could be anyone, because statistically there are more Christian women than men, it usually happens to be young women in their 20s or 30s. Though they may have a great desire to marry, though the social and peer pressure to do so may be enormous, though many seemingly good alternatives may come along among unbelievers and tempt them considerably, they patiently wait upon the Lord, obey His command and submit to His providence (Ps 130:5–6), maintaining their purity. For such people, would you join me in honouring them and praying for them?
Excuses to justify the opposite, however, abound and are rooted in a wilful disregard for what God has said for our benefit.
An excuse such as “I love him” or “no one better has come along” is to fail to recognise that the prudent look for a marriage of both the head and of the heart and trust the Lord until He provides a believing spouse (if that of course is His will). “I can lead him to the Lord” is also naively unrealistic. We by our influence can never convert someone as that is the work of the Holy Spirit. All such excuses recall Satan’s first lie, “did God really say?” All excuses are exposed for what they are—unsubstantiated—and are swept away after the marriage when the reality of being yoke to someone who does not share your values becomes evident and begins to cause endless headaches.
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Cor 15:33)
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Cor 6:14)
This New Testament teaching is deeply rooted in the Old Testament (Dt 7:3–6; Ezra 9; Amos 3:3, Mal 2:10-16; etc).
While forgiveness is surely available for believers who persist and marry a non-believer, they will still face the consequences of their choice. For such people, would you join with me also, praying for the conversion of their unbelieving spouses, and the strength and grace to persevere under such circumstances.
The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,