Should a Christian Date Outside Their Faith?

I was browsing through Google updates searching for newsworthy items on Christian dating when I came across a “Yahoo Ask” that piqued my interest.

Should Christians date outside their faith inquired a weary male dater. 

Apparently this guy was having better luck with girls of an Eastern religion than Christian girls. 

And now he is crying out to the Internet for guidance…

But I have to wonder if his Yahoo Ask isn’t really an excuse to justify his actions. 

Is he searching for truth or is he merely trying to get non-believers and Christian-haters to back him on his decision? Because the last time I checked, Yahoo isn’t known as a real Christian friendly hangout.

So, back to his question…can a Christian date someone outside their faith? 


But the question here isn’t CAN they… it’s SHOULD they?

There are plenty of things you can do but it doesn’t mean it go well for you.

You can drink Diet Coke.  It certainly tastes good.  It also causes depression and obesity.  If that’s idea of FUN, then go ahead and drink your sweet poison.  No one will stop you. 

But there are consequences.

You can date an unbeliever.  God won’t stop you. 

But there are consequences.

The Bible suggests you don’t take this decision lightly because the issues you will face dating an unbeliever will be far greater than the benefit.  Paul puts it this way, “Do not be yoked together with an unbeliever for what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14) NIV

If you are a fully devoted follower of Christ, someone of another faith will inevitably pull you away from your relationship with God.

It will be little things at first.  You end up going to church alone on Sunday.  You stop meeting with other believers to fellowship.  You don’t hang out with and do life with Christians anymore.  You lose accountability.  You lose fellowship and you lose the desire to share your faith with others.

You can’t talk about the one thing in your life that is most important with your partner.  This creates a slowly growing divided heart. 

The Bible says a man cannot serve two masters.  You will love one and hate the other.  So, eventually you will have to choose. 

King Solomon learned this the hard way.  His Eastern Religious wives got in the way of his devotion to God too.

Doesn’t sound fun to me.  God or spouse?  Why put yourself in that place?

God gives us his Word to help us live the best life possible.

I think the real issue with the guy wanting to date women of another faith is that he has lost hope that God will provide a Christian woman for him to love.

And hopelessness causes us to try to do things on our own and take matters into our hands.

I know this to be true.  After my divorce, I ended up dating an unbeliever.  He was a non-practicing Jew who agreed to go to church with me on the weekends.  We tried to make it work but after a while we had very little to talk about.  One of his friends nastily pointed this out and although I was offended at the time, deep down I knew the relationship was doomed.

My faith defines me.  It’s who I am and it bubbles out of me.  And to not share who I am with someone was painfully unfulfilling.

If to live is Christ and die is gain than to live with a spouse who doesn’t have Christ is to live a partial life.

Have you tried dating a non-Christian?  How did it work out for you?

Source: via John on Pinterest

Is it Ever Ok to Date a Friend’s Ex?

I remember the day well.  I was standing on the side of the football field watching my seven old son battle it out on the first day of hitting at football practice.

My girlfriend (a single mom) looked over at my brand new ex-husband who was coaching the boys, then glanced at me at me and sighed wistfully.  “You know, if he wasn’t your ex-husband I wouldn’t mind going out with him.”

Huh?  Awkward!

I gave her “the look” and my friend wisely chose to zip it and never bring it up again.

But in a world of broken marriages and relationships, these questions come up all too often.

Is it ever acceptable to date a friend’s ex?

Every situation is different, but here are some considerations to keep in mind…

  • How close is your relationship with the friend?  Are you willing to risk tension?  Good friends have each other’s back… they don’t blind side them with a secret relationship.  Having a conversation with your friend before pursuing the ex shows respect for the friendship and consideration of their feelings.  It also shows maturity.
  • How long has the relationship been over?  If it’s been years (like a high school relationship) it may not be a big deal, but if the divorce or break-up is painfully fresh, you may want to reconsider opening this can of worms.
  • Did the relationship with the ex end on good terms?  If your friend dated in an honorable fashion and the pain of the breakup is minimal, they might even recommend their ex to you as a better personality fit. 
  • How healthy is the ex?  What were the reasons they decided to end the relationship?  Do your homework.  If addictions, abuse, adultery or serious character defects caused the breakup, then stay far away from the charming train-wreck.  You were warned.
  • Would your friend cringe if you got married?  Could you hang out with your friend without it being too uncomfortable? Would she poison his popcorn if you came over for a Super Bowl shindig?
  • Ask yourself why you want to date them?  Is it because there is a true relational spark (beyond the physical) and you can’t help yourself, or is it possible you are passively getting back at your friend for an unspoken hurt or disappointment? Search your heart, pray about it and make sure YOUR intentions are above-board.

In more recent years, two of my girlfriends chose to date an ex-boyfriend of mine(strangely enough…the same guy).  But because we were all on good terms, it never became an issue and the friendships have stayed strong even though both of the women ultimately decided to end the relationship. 

What do you think about dating a friend’s ex?

Photo Source: via Lisa on Pinterest



You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling…

As a pastor, part of my job is to give encouragement and hope to those in relational conflict.  Even though God created us as relational beings, most relationships at some point face a trial or obstacle that seems insurmountable.

I see people struggle with their dating lives, an upcoming engagement or marriage; not to mention the many difficulties that crop up with family members, friends, co-workers and classmates.

But the most common phrase I’ve heard over the years, from people hurtling towards relational demise, is some form of this: “We have fallen out of love.”

Sounds like the familiar song from Top Gun, (remember Maverick and Goose belting it out to the blonde beauty at the bar?) “You’ve lost that loving feeling, now it’s gone, gone gone…wooa wooa woah.”

But is love a feeling to be won, accidentally found or somehow lost?

A recent survey of divorce lawyers in England revealed that “falling out of love” is the number one reason marriages fail.

I have a close friend who got married soon after college. We had many long discussions about why he wanted to get married, and the simple truth was he felt she “deserved” it. She had stuck with him through some crazy times in college and they had been physically intimate for years. He wasn’t sure he wanted to get married, but felt like it would be inappropriate to dump her after she had put up with so much and given him everything, so he asked for her hand.

They did okay for a while, but their relationship was difficult at best. I’m not sure he ever had the feelings he thought he should for the woman he married. Eventually, after settling down in a home in the suburbs and having a couple of kids, my friend called me and confessed. “I think I have just fallen out of love with her,” he declared. “I just don’t feel it anymore.”

After a long discussion, I realized he was getting attention from a number of other women in his workplace, which led him down the path of questioning if he even wanted his marriage anymore.

Now I understand how it works when it comes to music or food. A song we “love” and listen to every day eventually becomes annoying and we say we don’t love it anymore.

We fall in love with the new Memphis BBQ Six Dollar Burger from Carl’s Jr. for a week or two, but when we can’t pull hard enough to clasp our belt on the last hole and we can’t get the BBQ stain out of our favorite t-shirt, we fall out of love just as quickly returning to the Lo Cal Tofu Caesar Wrap at the local health food restaurant.

But when we talk about real love, relational love, the type of love described in the Bible, it seems to me love isn’t something we “fall” into or out of.

For all the Greek scholars out there, there are a few different words for the English word love. There is a word for familial love (storge), a word for friendship or brotherly love (phileo), and another word for passionate love (eros); but the word I want to discuss is the type of love Jesus modeled for us and called us to have for one another. That word is agape, or unconditional love.

Our ability to love this way is thus initiated by God. John talks about this love in 1 John 4. He compels us to “…love (agape) one another, for love (agape) comes from God.” He goes on to say that “We love because he (God) first loved us.”

If this is true, it seems as though we are incapable of having this “agape” love unless we have received it first from God. And what this passage communicates is that true love is not a feeling at all, it is a choice. And as God chose us, we get to choose to love one another.

So when a married couple comes to me and declares they have “fallen out of love” I generally respond with this truth: they have CHOSEN to stop loving each other, and fallen out of nothing.

As a pastor, one of my duties is to officiate weddings.  During the ceremony, I often refer to the words of Paul as he describes this type of love. 1 Corinthians 13 states: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

When I read this passage, I recognize I don’t fall in or out of any of these things! The last time I was in the express lane at the grocery store and the person in front of me piled thirty-seven items on the conveyor belt with a corresponding coupon for each item, I and only I, decide how to react (or overreact).  I  can choose to churn with frustration or move towards building patience.

Patience is difficult and elusive – something we must choose if we are going to love like Jesus loved us. All of the things on this list are choices. I have never once fallen into patience, humility, generosity, kindness or honesty.

This proves to me that LOVE IS A CHOICE!

After long conversations with my friend, he recognized that if he was going to save his marriage, he was going to have to begin choosing love. And I am happy to report that he did. He stopped listening to the tempting voices of other women, recognizing they were only attracted to his status and income.

He did the math on a future separated from his wife and kids, a life of child support, visiting rights and being alone. He played out the movie in his head and shuddered at the ending he was moving towards.

Then he began to make the difficult and daily decisions of kindness, protection, humility and truthfulness. And you know what happened? His feelings followed!

It didn’t take long for the passion in his marriage to return. Before long, the marriage of my friend who CHOSE to love his wife became a marriage others wanted. It was full of fun and joy, intimacy and excitement.

Do you believe that love is a choice?



8 Keys to Divorce Proof Marriage

I found an amusing article on a country music blog about divorce (not to say there is anything remotely fun about divorce), but this boot-scooting boogey website did a poll and asked their readers to send in their best tips to divorce proof a marriage.

Here are the tips they gave to unmarried’s…

* Don’t have a baby out-of-wedlock

* Finish high school

* Don’t marry until your 20s

* Know your partner for at least a year

* Don’t live with too many partners outside of marriage

* Get a decent job

While these are relevant suggestions, I think they forget a few biggies.

Research proves the single most effective element in preventing divorce in a marriage is PRAYER and strangely enough I don’t even see it on the list.


Couples who attend church and pray together have a much lower divorce rate then the current 51% divorce rate.

The University of Virginia’s Brad Wilcox found that church attendance on a regular basis reduces the likelihood of divorce by 30 percent to 35 percent. Wilcox’s research supports another study by Annette Mahoney of Bowling Green State University, which independently came to a similar conclusion.

But it’s not just going to church, when you insert prayer along with a lifestyle of faith, thoughts of divorce tumble.

A 1998 survey by the Georgia Family Council discovered that in marriages where couples prayed together weekly, only 7 percent had seriously considered divorce, compared to 65 percent of those who did not pray together.

So, maybe not having a kid outside of wedlock is a good idea and a great job never hurts, but when the cards are down and the struggles of marriage emerge, it’s the couples who get on their knees and cry out to God who tend to make it.

Do you have any tips to avoiding divorce?

Sources: Focus on the Family



Old School Flirting


Dating Differently

Trying to date differently in a culture where sex reigns supreme is difficult to say the least, which is why we believe it’s time to consider bringing back a few of the more traditional modes of affection which seems to have disappeared with Happy Days as modern promiscuity rolled on in.

Christian dating can be immensely pleasurable if you make it less about what you are missing out on and instead focus on what you will gain. 

Here are a few goodies we think are worth revisiting!

Words of Affirmation

I’ll never forget the poetry my husband wrote me when we were dating.  The man was so smitten he burst out in smiles, song and sonnets.  But part of this verbal expression was due to the reality of holding back in the physical realm.  Because we weren’t physically intimate it forced Tim to express his love in more cerebral ways.

The Look

If the eyes are the window to our souls, then let’s pull out those peepers from behind the shades and use them to show “the one” you dig how much you like them. 

Ladies, how about batting those lovely lashes?  Gaze down demurely at your date and then look up him like a doe-eyed Bambi?  Give him the look that says, “Are you man enough to wait for this hotness?”

Guys, how about the direct look of intention, longing and desire that makes a woman weak in her knees?  Think Zoolander and then do exactly the opposite!

(When Tim and I were dating and he looked at me like this I panted…) 

Holding Hands

Why oh why has this one disappeared?  When Tim and I went on our first few dates, before the boyfriend/girlfriend stage, he would often pick up my hand and play with my fingers.  The touch of this man who I deeply desired felt like a million bolts of electricity surging through my body. 

Guys, take her hand and try caressing it.  Don’t turn into a mini hand-sex thing; just give her didgets some sweet finger cuddles.  It’s innocent and fun and with the right girl –almost as good as sex (ok, not so much but still worth trying in the interim).

Try taking a long walk, picking up her hand and communicating your affection with a love language that represents support, unity, respect and relationship.

The Nuzzle

Long before I got my first kiss, Tim would lean in and very close to my face, whisper in my ear or nuzzle my cheek.  Again, I went bananas (inside of course).  When you take away the big sex stuff, the little stuff takes on much deeper meaning. 

The First Kiss

Some Christians believe in not kissing while dating.  We don’t fall into that camp.  We believe once you are in a committed relationship moving towards marriage, kissing just might be the best way to spend an evening.  Watch some movie, kiss, more movie, kiss…

The only problem with kissing is how easily it morphs into making out and full body hugs and the next thing you know the two of you have to be pulled apart with a crow bar.  So, be cautious when kissing turns into renting a hotel room. 

Tim and I didn’t drink while we were dating because Tim knew his limits and understood he couldn’t control himself physically around me after a few glasses of wine.

We also had a self-imposed curfew and sometimes Tim just got up and ran home like Joseph.  I didn’t even know he was struggling until he called me from his car.

Remember the movie Pretty Woman?  Julia Roberts, who played a prostitute wouldn’t kiss her clients because it was too intimate of an act.  I get that.

It’s because kissing means something.  It communicates affection and tenderness or conversely greed or selfishness.  Kissing sends a million different messages.

Save your first kiss far beyond the obligatory walk to the front door at the end of the first date.  Wait a few weeks, or gasp, a month.  Make it mean something special. 

And then kiss your boyfriend and girlfriend every single day to discover if you have chemistry and connection. 

Do you have any old school methods to communicate affection without sex?


Photo Credit:  Source: via Jesse on Pinterest

Guys, Dating and Literotica


The Popularity of Literotica

We’re always on the lookout for new and quirky dating material.  When we stumbled upon Christian Hudson’s new book the Girlfriend Activation System, the hair on our necks prickled in revulsion.  Just for clarity, Hudson’s book is compelling to us from a social research perspective, but we are not promoting or recommending it. 

We do want to address his method for attracting women though.

Hudson’s book is based on the theory that women have a built-in “obsessive story” gene which he identified in the popularity of “literotica.”  Basically, the guy looked at how women are enthralled with books like 50 Shades of Gray and came up with a systematic plan for guys to land a girlfriend.

His plan involves conflict and romance and as far as we are concerned a huge dose of manipulation.  It reminds me of the movie “Hitch,” where Will Smith plays a dating expert and guides men into landing the woman of their dreams –only it backfires when women realize they have been played the fool.

Fake or Real?

A guy might argue women use manipulation themselves by creating a facade they never intend to maintain.  And rightly so, this reeks of striving and image management.  But whether it is men using this plan or a woman –anytime we base a dating approach based on deception it is bound to fail. 

And the failure might not even be seen in the dating realm but later sneaks up in marriage (and then divorce). 

The biggest problem with Hudson’s theory goes much deeper than the surface.  Hudson’s strategy just might work if a guy is willing (and financially able)to meet a woman’s innate need for rescuing, but the problem is that only God can ever truly meet these needs for a woman long-term. 

Playing God?

And when a guy tries to play God to land a hot chick he is meandering onto a minefield.

Guys, do you really want to have to try to be the end-all and be-all to a woman for the rest of your life?  Wouldn’t you rather allow God to be her savior and simply be yourself –a real man, imperfect and flawed but loved for yourself and not some fake image you have created.

Romance is great when it’s genuine and motivated by the heart.  But once a woman has been lavished with attention…good luck in backing off.  It sounds like a recipe for one bitter wife.

High Expectations usually make for one big dissapointment. 

Christian Dating Needs to be Different

Women do have a need to be rescued.  God put it there to draw women to himself.  He didn’t put it there for a guy to step into that role.

We think there should be an addendum chapter to his book –How to tell your new wife who you really are, now that you have duped her into marriage with your pseudo James Bond.

What do you think? 


Photo Credit:  Source: via Jacy on Pinterest

Duped Dating? Waiting and Waiting and Waiting for Marriage

Postponing Marriage

We have a thirteen-year old son.  Imagine if we sat down with him and told him he probably wouldn’t get married until he was at least thirty years old (or older according to the world’s standards of success) and because he is a good Christian boy we fully expect him to postpone his sexual desires for the next seventeen plus years. 

Now our son who is entering his freshman year in high school is already highly attracted to the ladies, so to get him to buy into this preposterous idea of postponing his sexual desire for seventeen years is absurd. He would more than likely laugh in our face or maybe behind a closed door just to be respectful.

Do We Really Have to Have Life all Figured Out?

But this is the reality of what we are asking Christian singles to do every day.  The world tells us to wait and postpone marriage until we have our college loans paid off, money in the bank, an illustrious career and a home complete with a large mortgage.  But how many young people out of college are in this situation?  None!  And so we wait, and wait and wait some more until we wake up one day and realize we aren’t getting any younger, all the good ones are gone, and we have still yet to achieve the elusive dream of getting our act together.

The result is a generation of single Christians left frustrated by their uncontrollable sexual appetites and inability to control their impulses who feel like somehow they missed out on something good along the way. 

Denying Our Sexual Nature

Martin Luther in his 16th century Estate of Marriage identified this very dilemma of denying or postponing our sexual nature as he witnessed how young men and women attempting to make a celibate vow for the purpose of following Jesus fell into uncontrollable secret sins. 

“For this word which God speaks, “Be fruitful and multiply,” is not a command. It is more than a command, namely, a divine ordinance which it is not our prerogative to hinder or ignore. Rather, it is just as necessary as the fact that I am a man, and more necessary than sleeping and waking, eating and drinking, and emptying the bowels and bladder. It is a nature and disposition just as innate as the organs involved in it.  Therefore, just as God does not command anyone to be a man or a woman but creates them the way they have to be, so he does not command them to multiply but creates them so that they have to multiply. And wherever men try to resist this, it remains irresistible nonetheless and goes its way through fornication, adultery, and secret sins, for this is a matter of nature and not of choice.”

We aren’t saying it’s impossible to wait until middle age and remain sexually pure –in fact we have a dear friend who made it until the ripe age of forty-two and maintained his virginity until he shared his bed with his beloved bride, but he is far more of an anomaly than the norm for Christians who struggle daily with the temptation of masturbation, pornography and addiction to romance novels.

What if we were actually designed to marry young?  What if we didn’t have to have life all figured out before marriage?  What if we had a partner and best friend to help us navigate the often treacherous roads of life?

Photo: Dark Lady via Lemon on Pinterest

%d bloggers like this: