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20-yr-old male struggling with what to do

Postby Harambe » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:58 pm


Ive found myself in a pretty big religious dilemma. Im a single guy attending a college. About a year ago, i fell pretty hard for this woman. Problem is, she identifys with no religion. And being myself, ive always told myself i wanted my future spouse to share the same religious beliefs. I click with this girl like no other, and were still great friends today. A few months ago she confided in me that she was super interested in me as well. But i had to tell her i couldn't date her. Well recently, i opened up to her and told her how i really feel. She said that although she was not raised in any religious type of environmen, she is open to it and is interested to try it out.

My question is, do I pursue her? I could really see something great coming from it, but im worried that she is only going to try it out because its important to me and she is interested in me. I never go into a relationship expecting someone to change for me.
What should i do?

Re: 20-yr-old male struggling with what to do

Postby jimwalton » Thu Apr 12, 2018 1:15 pm

Yeah, it's tough to know what to do. You and she are clicking on a certain level, obviously (authentic enjoying each other's company, lots in common, heavy-duty mutual attraction), but not on the most important levels, obviously (you share nothing at the core of your being, i.e., your religious convictions).

Marriage, if I can jump to this point, is not just sealing the relationship into a permanent commitment, it's a joining to two lives at every point, especially the deepest and most meaningful ones. I think we would all agree that the best marriages, and the one we all dream to have, is a no-holds barred oneness and unity that conquers our differences and creates as much an integration of two persons as is possible in this life. I think it's fair to say that whether you're a believer or a non-believer, you believe in total marriage, involving much more than friendship and romance.

Christian marriage, by definition and practice, has a sacred character, and is the joining of two persons with the person of God. Two become one in the Lord, and God is the core of the relationship, through whom two people share their lives as completely as if they're one person. If that's true, that the two of you do not share in common what a Christian considers to be their relationship of highest priority—their relationship to God—then a total marriage will never be a reality. A Christian and non-Christian cannot share their most precious values, their ultimate motivations, the source of their moral code, the governing authority in their lives, and the goal for which they live. For the Christian, all these things are God. While your love for each other could be as deep as the ocean, and your desire to be together as strong as gravity, ultimately you'll be two puzzle pieces that don't fit together.

2 Corinthians 6:17 speaks of a distinction of nature between that which is oriented towards God and that which is oriented elsewhere. A Christian marrying a non-Christian is like a farmer hitching an ox on one side of the yoke to a goat on the other. But it's not just the impracticality of direction (which you may claim you can overcome, and many have), it's also the joining of two very dissimilar lives that are dissimilar at the very core of their being. Your directions in life are, for the time being, basically irreconcilable. Christianity is not just a religion, it's all of life. If one of you loves God more than anything else, and the other doesn't, there an impossible incompatibility far deeper than how well you get along and how much you love each other.

But you said she is open to it and is interested in trying it out. That's a good thing, but also a road filled with potholes. "Missionary dating" is a perilous strategy. On the one hand, possibly some kind of objective exposure to Christianity will be of benefit to her. It's always a good idea to investigate spiritual matters. On the other hand, will she be accepting of religion because she wants to be accepting of you? Will she find Christ favorable because she wants to be with you and she knows this is road?

I would like to think the best and think that you two could be together, examine Christianity, discuss it, and make solid decisions. The problems could come if you become more deeply devoted, she doesn't like Christianity, but the two of you are so attracted to each other you eventually marry anyway. Now what? Either she's (1) going to wear you down and you will eventually turn away from Christ, (2) you live with this weird kind of tension that never goes away, or (3) she reconsiders through the course of time and eventually turns to Christ.

But if you never go into a relationship expecting someone to change for you, you're in a pickle. You either have to walk away from an exciting relationship, or you have to expect that she might change for you.

What should you do? It's hard, but cool off the relationship and let her examine Christianity without an agenda hanging over her head.

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