“Pastor, I love him, and he used to love me!” “I don’t know what happened; everything was going great, but now all of the sudden he is telling me that he does not love me anymore.” These are excerpts from two counseling sessions that I have had with two separate individuals in recent days. Both of these people are Christians that had a heart for the Lord but have married unbelievers. 2 Corinthians 6:14 states emphatically “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
Both of these precious individuals told me that they knew it was not right when they married, but they both believed they would win their spouse to Christ after their marriage. This is a common lie that many Christian singles believe; it rarely works this way. Another thing that both have said to me is, “I thought that I could change my spouse.” Unfortunately, the Christian does not change the unbeliever; the unbeliever begins to change the Christian!
The most vivid illustration God gives us in His Word of an unequal yoke in marriage is King Solomon. Obviously, we should say “yokes,” for Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines! What a task he had remembering birthdays and anniversaries! Listen to the words of 1 Kings 3:3, “And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father.” No doubt about it, Solomon loved the Lord. He had a heart to serve and honor God. There is one small detail that I left out: look at the beginning of 1 Kings 3:1—Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter. He married an unbeliever, but he still loved the Lord. Let me share a few factors to consider with you:
1. The Convenience Factor
Solomon married the Pharaoh’s daughter for political advantage. The Scripture states that he made an affinity or an alliance with Egypt by marrying this woman. I have met so many young adults that are dating or considering marrying someone for all of the wrong reasons: “He is financially secure.” “Her dad owns a company and has offered me a future.” “He or she owns their own place.” None of these are reasons for marrying anyone, especially an unbeliever!
Marriage is reserved for the revealed will of God. There is only one question that should be raised when considering marriage: is this person the will of God for my life? And that question is already answered from the Bible if you are considering an unbeliever.
2. The Change Factor
1 Kings 3:1 stated that “Solomon loved the Lord.” Notice what 1 Kings 11:1 states, “But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.”
Now instead of Solomon loving the Lord, he is in love with many women. Instead of Solomon worshiping the God of Heaven, now he is susceptible to worshiping false gods.
You see, it does not take long when you give your heart away to an unbeliever before their life choices begin to become your life choices. This is why it is so important that when you marry, you marry a believer that has an undivided heart to love, worship, and serve God alone. We learn from Solomon that if you marry an unbeliever, it will not be long before you will begin to worship their “gods.”
3. The Conformity Factor
When studying the remaining text of 1 Kings 11, you will find that Solomon not only tolerated the gods of his wives, but when he was old, he actually was building temples and altars to worship their false gods. He went as far as to worship a false god to which innocent babies were butchered and burned in order to offer homage to him!
Is this the same Solomon that loved the Lord in 1 Kings 3? Absolutely! His heart was completely changed because of a wrong relationship with an unbeliever. There is no telling how far one may go into sin and wrong worship when we sacrifice our hearts on the altar of a wrong relationship!
4. The Children Factor
1 Kings 11:9–13 states that God judged the future generations of Solomon by rending the kingdom from Solomon and giving it to another besides his children. One of the most heart-breaking things for me as a pastor to witness is watching a believer and an unbeliever compete for the heart of a child that they have had together.
There is more to think about than just you, single adult; there are your children to think about and their hearts and their future. As I am writing this article, I just finished counseling a third person in my office today that married an unbeliever, has been divorced, and is sharing custody of his daughter. The mother is giving him all sorts of grief because he wants his four-year-old to attend our Sunday School program on Sundays, but the mother has no desire to allow the child to hear the truths of Scripture. He literally wept in front of me and said, “I don’t know what to do. My ex-wife and I have two different sets of values, and our daughter is caught between the two.”
5. The Conclusion Factor
Solomon writes the conclusion of his entire life in Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Solomon wrote the book of Song of Solomon when he was young and in love. He wrote the book of Ecclesiastes when he was old and embittered with sin. At the end of it all, Solomon states that life without obeying the precepts and principles of God is not worth living.
Right now, you may be considering a relationship with someone that is an unbeliever. It is my prayer that you will heed this reminder from the wisest man that ever lived, Solomon, and simply fear God and keep His commandments.