Should a Christian date someone who is an atheist/agnostic?

Hi I’m new here so I’m not sure if this is the right place to be posting this or not but I was hoping to get some help with thoughts on a relationship struggle I’ve had. What are your thoughts/biblical understating of Christians dating atheist/agnostics? On one hand I have a very close minded view that that any man I date must be Christian. I have no problems being friends with people of other faiths but when it comes to sharing my life a personally as I hope to one day do with my future husband and maybe raising children I feel that it is important that those kind of views a line. Plus I may be wording it wrong but there is at least one place in the Bible where it talks about the hisband being the speritual head of the house. On the other hand I reastently learned that the mother of one of my friends was not raised christan and really never knew anything about it until meeting and starting to date her dad and they are one of the strongest families I know when it comes to their faith. (I know I posted this already but didn’t get anything back that I can see before the thread closed.)

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Hi Amanda,

These are great questions! Firstly, I do not think that you are close-minded in your personal conviction and preference to date someone with a living Christian faith.

As Christians, marriage is a sacred union that reflects the beauty, unity, and diversity of love that we see in the members of the Trinity. It’s a life-long commitment to laying down one’s life to love and become one with someone different than ourselves. God designed marriage to reflect his eternal nature, so all marriage has an eternal element to it. This is precisely why it is guarded by such high standards in the Bible and why the breakdown of marriage both personally and in society is always so painful.

In choosing a spouse, as Christians, we vow before God to choose them for all of our earthly lives, but we also know that all of us are eternal beings. Although scripture is clear that marriage will not look the same in eternity (Matt. 22:29-33), the bible also tells us that we will be known and recognizable even as we are already known ( see 1 Cor. 13:12 and Luke 16 story of the rich man and Lazarus). This element of eternal life and relationship is one of the strongest aspects to consider when considering entering into dating or a life-long union with someone. If you truly love someone, then it would make sense that as a Christian you desire nothing more than for that person to be with you, in the presence of God for all of eternity. We all have loved ones and friend who do not yet know Christ, we can and should love them deeply, regardless of their spiritual states, but we should yearn for them to come into relationship with our eternal God of love, so that “they will never die” and we will have the joy of sharing this perfect love with them forever in heaven.

In the case of your good friend, who came to faith in Jesus by dating a Christian, we should all celebrate! How wonderful when God uses our significant relationship as a place for people to come to know his salvation. This can and does happen, I have close friends where this was the case. The Bible even gives specific words of encouragement to cases in the early church where one spouse was a new believer in Jesus and the other one was not. (1 Cor. 7:12-16).

However, throughout scripture, we are encouraged not to be unequally yoked, unnecessarily intertwined, or to team up with unbelievers. Although the most commonly quoted passage (2 Cor. 6:14) specifically warns against the partnership with the world or darkness, I can’t help but think that marriage is one of the most important partnerships of life. If your desire is to see someone who you are attracted to come to know and love Jesus, from experience, it’s much easier to point someone clearly to Jesus when we have no other motives but to see them saved.

Pursuing a “Christian” relationship is not simply a label to be ticked on a list of dating preferences. When I meet anyone, I’m searching for evidence of whether they know and love Jesus personally, so that either we can share in that love together, or so that I can introduce them to the God of love. Before I met my Husband, I was in a serious relationship with someone who did not have a living faith in Jesus Christ. He was a wonderful person, he cared and loved deeply, as anyone made in the image of God can do. However, regardless of how happy we felt together, the truth remained that I was never fully content for him to stay as he was. How could I be? If the gospel is true, how could it not matter if he ever became a Christian? It wasn’t just a box to check, relationship with Jesus give us life to the full, we are made new, set free, redeemed and given an incredible inheritance as children of God not only in eternity but also here and now! It’s incredibly painful to be in a relationship knowing that deep down your partners greatest wish is for you to change. He found it frustrating that Jesus would always come first and because of this I would always want him to come to faith. I know I didn’t always convey this desire in a selfless, even if it was a healthy god-glorifying desire to have. Ultimately, we ended the relationship. It was a very painful season for us both, but I thank God that he uses everything for his glory, and taught me so much through it.

I hope this helps,
Michelle

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