This is the second part to this post. The first part is available here
If you got married as a Christian to someone who was not a Christian, the purpose of this blog post is not to make you feel bad. It is more directed towards people who are going through this situation, a younger me who is trying to work out what to do.
However, it is not only regarding marriage to a non-Christian that the lesson is applicable. It can be exactly the same if you are marrying someone that actually is a Christian – or appears to be. (It is just more explicit with non-Christians because the Bible has specifically told us to avoid marriage with people who are not Christians.) If you find a Christian who seems utterly excellent, then you might not be able to find any specific verse in the Bible warning against him. In fact, if he is a guy who for instance has a good job, his own house, car, etc, seems very stable, then the likelihood is that all the voices around you will encourage you into this relationship, even calling it a blessing from God. However the Spirit of God might be saying something different.
This is where sensitivity to God comes in. I believe that the decision of whom to marry is so serious that it requires tremendous prayer. If God is saying anything whatsoever about this man, then I will want to hear it! And yet, if it can be hard to listen to God regarding non-Christians, then how much harder can it often be to listen regarding people who actually are Christians, who appear to be able to quote the Bible inside-out; who appear to be deeply prayerful?!
Guess what, this has also happened to me! I would like to clarify that I did not actually embark on anything with any of these guys – and no-one asked anyone out (except for the second non-Christian guy whom I actually chased – naughty me! But still no relationship with him). Anyway there was this guy who actually was a Christian, and who seemed to be rock-solid faith-wise. Actually, it is only fair to say that he probably is genuinely rock-solid. However I was carefully evaluating him and well…hmmm there were a few tiny negative pointers. But then I was wondering whether I was being too fussy. I was so enthusiastic about the potential with him because he was actually a Christian after all and he seemed like an excellent Bible-reading Christian and miraculously he appeared to be single! Once again, I got praying. However, looking back now, even though I’m sure he will make someone an excellent husband, I understand why he would have been a really, really bad idea for me. Once again for him as for the other guys, obedience for me had to come before understanding. With him though, the obedience came in my not pushing through with the thing, but paying attention to those small pointers (and watching them unfold into huge issues right before my eyes).
No relationship is going to be perfect, and who knows, even with someone I do marry there might be small negative pointers against him, as there might be negative pointers against me. However this interaction with this Christian showed me like nothing else could that I have to insist that my future husband is GENUINELY in AGGRESSIVE pursuit of Christlike character. That I have to be utterly fussy about. It is utterly non-negotiable. For me, it cannot be overstated that it is eternally preferable to remain single than to marry someone who is not like this. There are many Christian guys who are lovely people – but who are not in aggressive pursuit of Christlikeness. If I marry any of these people then they will cause me pain. Fact. And now looking back at these non-Christian guys it now becomes clear that it is not enough for someone to be excellent, and to be a Christian. So just because they started off as being excellent, and became Christians, would not have been sufficient for them to qualify as good husbands. Perhaps for other women…. Actually, on thinking about it, if I had married any of these men I’m sure we would have been able to make a perfectly happy, prosperous life. However, there are certain things that are feasible for me now precisely because I did not marry any of them; things that I was not able to anticipate at the times when I had to choose whether or not to obey God.
Actually again, it can be easy to look back and think that my determined and passionate prayers regarding these guys were not answered. However, it is only recently that my own understanding has unfolded that perhaps God did actually answer my prayers – precisely by preventing me from having any interaction with any of them. If I had not actually prayed as hard as I did, perhaps I would have gone ahead to marry one of them – and thereby chosen a drastically different path in life. 😉
Once again let me make it clear that none of these guys asked me out so when I speak of marrying them, it is only a hypothetical “in my dreams” thing! 😉