It was absolutely freezing outside, and even so, I was sweating like crazy as I paced around my living room, waiting to pick him up. I was all set to pick up the handsome foreigner who I had been corresponding with for the last two months. He had a gorgeous accent that complimented his 6-foot stature and he was far more exotic than any man I had ever dated before. I was incredibly eager to meet him, let him pay for our date, and plan the next one as soon as our fabulous conversation over coffee came to a close.
My plan for the evening was flawless, but I couldn’t help but wonder “If our date was supposed to be as picturesque as I made it sound then, why was I so nervous?” Maybe because I was fearful that my friends and family would find out that I was going out with a nonbeliever.
Years of church attendance never prepared me for moments like this. If anything, I had been taught to retreat when non-believers expressed interest in dating! Despite my better judgment, I desperately tried to calm my nerves and departed for the evening.
Are you starting to sense a theme? Nerves, fear, secrecy. God’s intention for relationships does not revolve around virtues of nervousness, anxiety, and uncertainty. God meant for relationships to be a beautiful reflection of Christ’s love for the church. In order to aspire toward this radical kind of love, God implemented some boundaries for believers on the dating scene. One of God’s specifics in the world of dating is: avoid engaging in romantic relationships with unbelievers.
If God loves marriage and wants his children to find love why would he want us to avoid aligning ourselves with unbelievers…
Five Arguments for NOT Dating an Unbeliever
God Wants Your Worth to be Recognized and Celebrated
You were fearfully and wonderfully made, not carelessly crafted to be used and cast aside. Men worthy of a relationship with a God-fearing woman must recognize the value of the partner they are pursuing. Small acts of pursuance can set the tone for the future of your dating relationship. Something as simple as picking you up for a date can be an indication of your man’s pursuance style. If a man you are not well acquainted with is willing to drive across town to pick you up and take you out, he is willingly sacrificing his resources (time, gas, and wear and tear on his car, to name a few,) in order to celebrate your worth. In my case, I was chauffeuring this guy around and doing the bulk of the pursuing. Now, to be fair, he did offer, but I felt guilty making a foreigner borrow a friend’s car to drive across town to pick me up. I was so self-conscious and nervous about the impression I was making that I would do literally anything to go out with him. EVEN drive across town in the middle of winter to pick him up. Call me old-fashioned but in my book, chivalry is not dead and the man should be doing alllll of the pursuing. Don’t let your fears and insecurities hold you back from embracing your worth.
Patience is a Virtue but Your Suitor’s Lack of Excitement is not…
I am all for taking the slow route and being patient when getting to know someone, but when the waiting game feels more like being strung along than playing hard to get, your relationship (or lack thereof) has breached the confines of God’s purpose for your romantic life. If you have invested a significant amount of time and energy into a potential relationship with little return it is time to move on, girlfriend. Furthermore, if your potential suitor isn’t absolutely dying to take you out, it is also probably time to move on. You are worthy to be pursued and worth getting excited for! Note the part of my flirtationship where I mentioned that we had been chatting (mostly through Facebook ) for nearly two months and we had not gone on a date. After much not-so-subtle hinting on my end, we finally went out on the world’s most AwKwArD date. SO not worth the time and energy I put into pursuing a relationship with this guy! God’s timing is everything, so if you’re feeling insecure about the timeline of your relationship it is either time to have a tough conversation or wish your suitor luck in his next conquest.
Beautiful relationships are meant to be Celebrated, Not Hidden
A new relationship should be a joyous cause for celebration amongst friends and family, not a secret to be hidden from the light. If you have to build a case for a potential relationship candidate or justify your involvement with them, he is not the one for you. If your God-fearing family and friends would take issue with an element of this person’s character, the relationship is very likely not worth pursuing. When it comes to my (almost) relationship with the handsome foreigner, I should have severed any ties I had LONG before I did…but I was scared that I would never cross paths again with someone as exciting and exotic as him. Nevertheless, I should have retreated from my flirtatious affiliation with this guy as soon as I felt the urge to hide his existence from my friends and family. During this period of flirtation, very few people knew that I spent my evenings chatting with this individual (about nothing consequential at all, by the way), or that I was considering a pursuing a relationship with him. Yikes, you guys! I am not super close with my family but they usually know there is a man in my life. Even my friends had no idea. I was keeping this guy a total mystery until I knew more about him and could build my case as to why it was okay to pursue him. When you picture your relationships do you imagine yourself hiding your counterparts existence? For your sake, I hope the man you get to call your significant other is welcomed by friends and family and celebrated by your creator.
Dating an Unbeliever Robs us of God’s Gift
Ladies, if you are eager to be pursued by a God-fearing man DO NOT ignore the sinking feeling in your stomach or the little voice in your head that pipes up when you think about dating an unbeliever. We can be reminded in 2 Corinthians 6:14 that being unequally yoked with an unbeliever robs us relationships that God has prepared for us. God has prepared beautiful relationships between man and woman that reflect the heart of Christ. But it is difficult to achieve this kind of relationship when one, or both, partners in the relationship lack an understanding of Christ’s love. Your partner should be just as jazzed about pursuing a relationship with God as you are. As believers, we were designed to be yoked with someone who encourages us in our faith, not someone who distracts us from knowing our Father. You can imagine the state of my spiritual life when I was involved in my forbidden flirtationship. I was very much involved in the church still, but I was distracted at bible study, I was eager to leave service so I could send a quick message to Mr. Foreigner, and I disassociated myself with Christ in an effort to be more appealing to this unbeliever. Not only was I not being led in this almost relationship, I was sacrificing my values in an effort to make things work. When you get the opportunity to enter into a relationship with a man, be picky. Take your time allowing a man into your life. And above all, avoid the red flags along the way. I promise that a partner suited to you will put your mind at ease rather than set your nerves on edge. When selecting a suitor don’t be afraid to ask yourself whether this man will encourage you in your walk with Christ or entice you to abandon your faith.
God’s greatest gift for you is eternal salvation, Not a worldly relationship
God wants his children to be blessed with an incredible romantic life! He tells us in His word that our relationship is best when our beloved submits to Christ. The rest of 2 Corinthians 6:14 goes on to beg the question:
“What do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? ”
This isn’t to say that your potential suitor is wicked or evil, but the point serves to identify the shortcomings on your partner. Dating an unbeliever inevitably compromises our capacity to devote ourselves to our faith. Making room for Jesus when your attention is divided amongst your faith and relationship is no small feat. If divided attention isn’t bad enough, trying to mesh your life with someone who lacks devotion to Christ robs you of the spiritual leader that you deserve, girl. You deserve a man who prays for you, defends you from the darkness in this world and puts Christ above all else. Only then can you reap the reward of God’s intention for relationships. Do you think my foreigner friend was impressed by the fact that I attended church four days a week? Ummm, no. But the right guy was, and your Mr. Right will be impressed with your faith too. All relationships on this earth will come to an end, but the love of your Heavenly Father is constant and eternal. Is a temporary relationship worth sacrificing the joy that comes from pursuing a relationship with your eternal Father?
You Won’t Regret Waiting for a Believer
When I was finally able to convince myself that my foreign flirtationship was preventing me from acquiring the God-honoring relationship I had been craving for years, I let go. I quit messaging him, quit making up excuses to run into him, and ceased all other interaction with him completely. Not even a month after ceasing contact with Mr. Foreigner, God brought the man who I am now engaged to into my life. As pitiful as the time spent devoted to foreign man was, God used that sour experience to prepare me for my relationship with my fiancé, Kyle. On our first date, I laughed and admitted to Kyle that the last time I went out to coffee with a man, I left feeling deflated and definitely uninterested in pursuing the relationship further. My date with Kyle left a much sweeter taste in my mouth. The contrast between my god-fearing groom to be and the exotic hunk from college nearly left me speechless. I thanked God for a man who asked me deeply, intriguing questions about my life. I thanked God for a man who was submitted to Christ and sought a healthy relationship with his creator before any other earthly relationship. Comparing my secretive, shameful flirtation to the relationship that blossomed between Kyle and I nearly sends me to my knees in gratitude. What God intended for relationships far surpasses anything that I, or any other human, could attempt to assemble. My future husband pursues me intentionally, never threatens my certainty about his interest in me, receives unanimous approval from family and friends, and he reflects the heart of Jesus in the way that he loves me. And your future husband will too. If I can leave you with one takeaway, it would be this: Avoid the temptation to settle for someone who rejects the love of Christ and prepare yourself for the man who is eager to love you just as Christ loved the church. You won’t regret waiting for the one who sets your soul I fire, I promise.