As a woman in her late 30s, it’s been hard finding quality men to date. So, I finally met a guy. He likes me and I like him. He checks off a lot of boxes on my list. He has a career, goals, is consistent and a host of other things going for him. Some of the boxes he doesn’t check are not that significant … except for one. I am a Christian. I believe in The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, but he doesn’t. I would say he’s agnostic. Growing up, I’ve always heard about being equally yoked and what not. So, I’m wondering if this is reason enough to not pursue a relationship with someone? Should I go ahead and end things now?
Dear Unequally Yoked,
Girl. Girl. Girl. Let me stand up and do a praise dance for you that you met someone that sounds like he texts back and doesn’t ghost! And you threw in the C-word: consistency? Someone bring me my smelling salts, I might faint over this unicorn of a man.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive in. First let me break this down for the folks reading because you don’t know what you don’t know. Agnostic refers to someone who doesn’t know whether there is a higher power or if such a thing is even possible, so they live their life adhering to the standards they think is best, while an atheist refers to someone who does not believe in the existence of God or a higher power. All hearts and minds clear about the definition? Good, let’s move forward, shall we?
I think it’s great that you met someone that checks off most of the boxes on your list, but at this age, I didn’t know we were supposed to still have those lists. I mean, the dating pool shrinkage is real, but I digress. You say the biggest issue is the religion factor. Have you discussed this with him? Perhaps he just wasn’t raised in a household that made him go to church every Sunday for hours and back on Wednesday for Bible Study and any other day of the week for revival, church meetings, choir practice, and anything else the pastor deems necessary. As we get older, many of us become more curious about our spirituality whether it is praying to Beyonce or Black Jesus, but there are others that aren’t aware because they haven’t been exposed to it.
Perhaps inviting potential bae to church would be a good start. That would allow him to see why your religion is important to you, but don’t force it down his throat, because lawd knows those communion crackers are drier than the desert at times, and you don’t want him to choke and run. With that being said, you also cannot compromise your own beliefs. What will ultimately end up happening is the longer you hang around him, the more your emotional turmoil will bubble up and at some point it’s going to erupt and it won’t be pretty. You’ll be calling him all kinds of debbils and, as things come up in the relationship, the division will be obvious.
You mentioned being equally yoked, and putting on my Pastor Iyanla hat, 2 Corinthians 6:14 does refer to being unequally yoked, and if you two are headed down the marriage path, then yes it could be a cause for a Christian such as yourself to fall away from your religion. Why? Because compromises would have to be made in all priority areas, such as quality time, money, energy, etc. That’s not to mention if you have kids.
Ultimately this boils down to whether or not you see a future with this man. If no, then just have fun and participate in some fornication. But if you do want to pursue this further, then you have to have that serious conversation with yourself — and with him. Is your religion rooted in who you are as a person? Does it define your identity? If you can convert him, what does that change? Take some time and ask yourself: How would I feel if he felt this way about me and wanted me to change my beliefs?
Perhaps this is the perfect opportunity for you to shape your own traditions. Dating is hard, and throwing religion in the mix makes it harder, but it’s not impossible. Open your heart and mouth and communicate your concerns. You just may find that your deep connection will make you ball up that check list. Good Luck!
If you have a dilemma you need help solving, drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org