I find myself in a difficult position. I am engaged to a “baby Christian”. We were engaged before I started really becoming serious about God.
I had a very religious upbringing, and I practiced my faith. But during my high school and college years I drifted from the Lord. After college I started becoming very close to the Lord.
I desire a lifestyle devoted to Him. And through my spiritual growth, my fiance and I have become unequally yoked. We are both in very different places in our spiritual walks with Christ. I find myself impatient in thought which sometimes leads to impatience in action.
But as I continue to grown in Christ, I realize that He is only patient with us, so how then can I not have patience with her? It is difficult because we are engaged to be married. She wants to start planning, but I feel we are not yet ready. She mistakes this for me judging or looking down on her for not being in the same place I am. Can you help? ~John in a quandary
Dear John: The first question I would ask is if you and your fiance’ have gone through pre-marital counseling? It should be at least 6 weeks long to be effective. With more than 50% divorce rate even among Christians, marriage is hard enough, without earning the “right” to be married.
Second, I would ask you to define the phrase you used – “unequally yoked”. That phrase usually applies to a believer and a non-believer being joined. Odd that you should use it to define two Christians being joined together, no matter how mature each believer is right now. It makes me wonder if there’s something about which you should talk to the Lord privately. Honestly, John, it sounds a bit prideful on your part. You admit you strayed away from the Lord for several years, and then came back. But you came back with a girlfriend whom you had met during your journey back. How would you have felt if she had been more mature and was as impatient with you as you admit being with her?
When we corresponded, I know I said you should not marry until you have total peace from God in your heart about taking that plunge. But the more I thought about it, the more the Lord impressed upon me that even at best, marriage is a gamble. None of us ever know what lies ahead. Who knows? You could fall away again, and your fiance could grow by leaps and bounds.
Should you tell her you want to wait until she “matures” she may very well get tired of the prideful tone, and leave you in the dust.
As I shared with you, I married when I was out of fellowship, and then when I came back into fellowship, I, too, had that haughty spirit. Needless to say, my husband was not won to Christ by my prideful ways. It was only when I backed off and let him be that he came to Christ. He walked with the Lord for 12 years, and then because he fell into pride and gave the enemy a foothold, he was easily offended and eventually left the fold. He had been raised by a father who loved arguing with Christians who came to his door, and when my husband came to the Lord, the first thing he did was begin to study Hebrew and Greek so he could argue with Jehovah’s Witnesses who came to our door. It was a game… a contest, and he was not about to lose. That’s not the spirit of Christ!
In a way, I think you are fortunate to have a “baby Christian” for a fiance, John. It will be so much easier for you to be the spiritual leader in your home. When it’s a woman who is the more mature Christian, it is very difficult for her to relinquish her will to the man whom God says is to be the spiritual leader. Of course, being the spiritual leader is a responsibility, not a right. It means God holds YOU responsible for the spiritual climate in your home, for the spiritual growth in your wife and children. You answer to God for your family.
I would prayerfully suggest that you and your fiance’ start a 40-day prayer challenge. Agree to pray outloud together for at least 5 minutes per day. (Usually the 5 minutes goes longer as you continue with the challenge.) It is the most intimate act two people can do, to humble themselves before the Lord together, outloud. Don’t try to sound more spiritually articulate than your fiance. Be real. Learn supplication: asking God to help you with specific frailties, and let her hear you. If she is uncomfortable praying outloud, you take the lead and pray outloud yourself. I guarantee you that your attitude will be transformed, as will hers.
I would recommend Couples Who Pray by Squire Rushnell and Louise DuArt. (Even Will Smith and Jada Pinkett have taken the challenge and say it changed their marriage dramatically!) This decision is for life, John, so 40 days is nothing in comparison, right?
I pray you and your fiance’ will hear from God in a miraculous way, John.
(c) 2009 April Lorier