The Boundless blog is a collection of unique voices addressing the issues young adults care about right now – everything from dating and faith to current events.
Listen to this week's show!
Roundtable: Unequally Yoked
Unequally-yoked marriages begin with unequally-yoked dating relationships. So why are so many Christians OK with giving their time, attention and heart to that unsaved boyfriend or girlfriend? Three women — ladies, let’s admit we’re especially susceptible to this — put their pasts on the table in a frank discussion of the presumptions — and perils — of missionary dating.
Culture: Excessive Generosity
Do you have enough money? Stuff? Modern comforts? If you make $20,000 annually, you’re in the top 11 percent richest people in the world. The fact is, most of us have more than we need; we’re living with excess. So what does it mean for us to give generously of what we have? Jeff Shinabarger, author of More Or Less, has some challenging (and fun!) ideas.
Inbox: Couples Without Christ
Her siblings are dating non-Christians, and she’s not excited about it. But her siblings aren’t believers, either, so what’s the real issue here? Candice offers relationship wisdom.
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--As eye opening as the roundtable segment was, it will probably make men even more apprehensive of NON missionary dating. It's a shame you weren't able to get some male guests in there to round out the opinions. Can you get their husbands in studio for a follow up?
Can you expand on that? How do you think it will make men more apprehensive about dating Christian women?
--MicahT, you're right. It is a shame! Maybe we'll try again to find some guys to discuss this topic in the future.
--My explanation as to why men/women missionary date (and marry).
A) They are unable to meet Christians who meet one's expectations
B) They meet a non-Believer who DOES meet those expectations
C) They play rationalizations in their mind to justify the dating (e.g. "we're not married so it's OK", "maybe I can 'save them'", "maybe he really IS a Believer, but just doesn't show it", etc)
D) Ultimately they marry even though they know they shouldn't because they don't want to face up to the alternative of NOT being with someone, and thus relieve the cognitive dissonance by marrying.
--Martha Krienke and Lisa Anderson: Great podcast, and thank you to the ladies of the roundtable for being so transparent especially when revealing about comparing their current husband to a past lover. Appreciate your honesty.
--I can so relate to the experience of God ripping me out of a dating relationship. At the time it felt like everything in me was being crushed and destroyed, but now I see it as His mercy. It's like God took me at my word when I said that I committed my life to Him, and He would not let me go no matter what I thought was right. So thankful for His faithfulness.
I would like to add another possibility:
E) Some might missionary date/marry simply because Christians are virtually non-existent in their country and/or culture. (I could be wrong, but I would imagine that they might see the option of trying to convert someone else to be relatively "easier" than trying to find a math outside their country/culture.)
--Oops, there's a typo. The last sentence should read "...trying to find a MATCH."
--A friend of mine just married a non-Christian man. She's 45.
I can't fault her for that, because they talked over their differing faiths, he's going to attend an Alpha course with her, and let's be realistic here. Either she married a man she loved, that she's very compatible with, or she resigned herself to being single for (likely) the rest of her life.
I'm glad she married him.
--"I can't fault her for that, because they talked over their differing faiths, he's going to attend an Alpha course with her, and let's be realistic here. Either she married a man she loved, that she's very compatible with, or she resigned herself to being single for (likely) the rest of her life"
Hence part D)
--one girl on the roundtable segment said: "Christians guys they don’t pursue. They don’t have the boldness! They’re not as bold as non-Christian guys.” Ouch! We hear this over and over again! Maybe if the girls are open to date a not-so-hot guys then the guys would be more bold!
Maybe the not so attractive Christian guys should get more attractive and learn how to pursue.
--I had a former roommate marry a non-Christian. She always had plenty of guys interested, but she was picky...unfortunately in the wrong ways...picky about looks and money. And I believe she was turning 30. I moved shortly after they started dating and then she moved across the country to marry him, so I don't know how things have turned out (except I know they're still married).
--The honesty of the women during the round table discussion about missionary dating helped me understand a lot of the reasoning and temptations inherent in those kinds of relationships.
My one concern, however, is that it may be a little too easy to be dismissive of the depth and meaning involved in some of these relationships. (Please do not mentally begin formulating a response to my statement at this point. Let me try to explain what I mean.) At the end of the segment, one of the guests said it wouldn't be best to approach a friend in this situation by telling her how stupid she is. Yet this seems to be the way the guests sometimes approach themselves in retrospect. The special understanding and personal connection that one of the guests said existed between herself and her boyfriend--that was a real thing, The human capacity for this is beautiful, and it is very sad that sometimes the one with whom we share such an intrinsic affinity does not care to know the Lord. She gave up a wonderful thing for the better (more wonderful) thing of obeying and growing in the Lord. Similarly, the concern for another individual's salvation--the personal regard for his welfare--is more than a simple rationalization. It, too, has roots in the God-given capacity to care and to connect. As the guests pointed out, too often we allow this to be corrupted into thinking we are necessary for the another's salvation. This does not diminish the fact that the concern itself is legitimate. Finally, near the end of the program, one guest attempted to explain how profound and heart-wrenching her choice to relinquish her relationship was, and how that step embodied her choice to own her faith. It bothered me when, rather than acknowledging and celebrating the memory of that important step, another guest immediately began explaining how the relationship had been idolatrous in the first place. Yes, we know it's wrong and unwise to enter a relationship with an unbeliever. Yes, we know that choosing a man over God's will is idolatry. No, we do not need to dismiss or diminish the real dilemmas and losses faced when making the right decision.
I'm not saying that the guests were unaware of the realities I have tried to express here--in fact, I'm sure they know them much better than I (who have no experience in this area). I guess I'm just offering my personal response to the program which includes a wish to honor the pain and growth encompassed in making the final right choice between the man and the God someone loves.
--Speaking to the aspect of Christian guys not pursuing, I am wryly amused by the fact that I pretty much get ignored by good, Christian guys, and then I get hit on by random guys. Sigh. I'm not in a rush to get married, but hey, it'd be nice to know that the Christian guys at least think I'm attractive :P
Perhaps our problem as conservative Christians is that we take dating TOO seriously. I'd agree to go on a coffee date with pretty much any nice Christian guy. However, if I thought he was already planning his marriage proposal, I'd freak out and turn him down in a heartbeat. I want and need time to figure out if I enjoy being around the person without worrying about crushing his deepest dreams and desires if I turn down a second date.
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