Twenty four years ago I married someone extremely loving and special. Someone that shared my faith, my God, my most important beliefs, and my values. I was equally yoked! I believe that God intended Leon and I to marry, and that we are truly compatible. For good reasons, the Bible cautions us to pick our mates carefully. "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" 2 Corinthians 6:14
The term “yoke” comes from farming. A yoke is a wooden bar that joins two oxen to each other. An “unequally yoked” team has one stronger ox and one weaker, or one taller and one shorter. Instead of working together, they are at odds with one another.
What does it mean to be equally yoked in marriage. In my opinion, in the Christian community, being equally yoked means:
- To believe in the Christian tenets of faith.
-The desire to become a disciple of Christ by way of the Christian disciplines of prayer, Bible reading, and service.
-To put your relationship with God above your marriage relationship.
-To love your partner as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.
When a couple is committed to these principles of faith, they have truly become one. They have similar goals and beliefs. They are equally yoked.
For me, the desire to marry a Christian man started at the age of 17. I knew that the most important quality my husband could have was a fervent belief in God. I remember praying to God, “Lord please give me a husband that loves you as much as I love you.” He gave me Leon. This is the same kind of counseling I give to my kids. I tell them, “Pray that your spouse loves God as much as you love the Lord.”
But what difference does it make if you end up marrying a non-believer? Christians have the same divorce rate as non-Christians after all and similar values at times. Does it really matter?
In 2 Corinthians 6:14, the Apostle Paul discusses this topic with the church at Corinth. He discouraged them from being in an unequal partnership with unbelievers because believers and unbelievers are extreme opposites in Paul’s view. They simply have nothing in common, just as Christ has nothing in common with evil. Paul asks, “What fellowship has light with darkness?” This seems like a harsh statement, but the truth is that the moment you choose the path of marrying someone that is not a believer in Christ, you’ve chosen a difficult life. There will be a clash of values, lifestyle, and family. Living by the Bible as a disciple of Christ requires certain sacrifices. It is a calling. Do not give up on who you truly are as a believer in order to find a marriage partner. Marriage takes a lot of work to make it successful. Your marriage will be a lot more difficult if you choose to marry an unbeliever because you will have different life goals.
It’s true that we should marry within the Christian community, but what are the benefits of this type of union?
Family Life: You are going to raise your children in the same Spirit. You might not agree on everything but you will always agree on the most important issues: vision, purpose, Christian service, money, and values for your kids.
Life Choices: When you face problems, you can always pray together and look for healthy ways to solve life choices.
Faith: You grow closer to God with the help of your spouse. A praying spouse brings God’s kingdom to this earth.
Relationships: You become part of a loving community with great values.
Life Goals: As a couple, you will pursue the same vision in life. To love and become the person and the helper that your spouse needs. You might not always agree, but you will always have the love and respect that God calls you to have for each other.
Marriage: You are committed to love your spouse and to die for her/him if it is necessary until death do you apart. Divorce is not an option.
It is important to know that the best way to become one with your spouse is when you are equally yoked.