I live in an agricultural land where sugar is one of the main industries and in the midst of tractors and all other farm equipment, the carabao (water buffalo) is still very much present in the farm.
Picture with me, if you will, two carabaos (oxen or horses) tied together at the neck by a crosspiece so they can pull a plow. They are two animals of the same species who have been joined together to do a specific job. They have been carefully trained to respond to the same commands. Once they are united, they are considered to be a team.
A wise farmer picks two animals of similar size, strength and temperament because he knows they will work the best together. If one of them needed to be whipped before he would move, and the other one was terrified at even the sight of a whip, it would seem unwise to tie them together and expect them to work as a team.
One teammate would frantically be trying to run away, while the other one would stubbornly be refusing to budge.
In fact, if two like this were joined together, it seems that disaster might be at hand with possible damage to the equipment, hurt and confusion to the teammate, and of course, the work would never get done.
This is what Paul meant when he said in 2 Corinthians 6:14 in the Bible: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.“
So, what does it mean to be unequally yoked?
In a boy-girl relationship, or in marriage, it means we are bound to someone who is pulling us in the opposite direction from where God wants us to go or from the plans and purposes of God. I say, you are not in “like mind” with the person you are yoked with.
It is safe to say that every marriage starts with a simple date. That’s why I say that dating is not to be done lightly. Too many of us approach the idea of dating with far too casual of an attitude. Real dating is courtship.
All the other things that people label as dating – hooking up, friends with benefits, casual dating, ‘testing out the merchandise’, ‘let’s see in six months or so’, ‘giving him or her the taste’ and all manner of other things – is not dating, it is promiscuity, plain, simple and straightforwardly speaking.
This does not mean that you have to feel called to marriage with someone before you can spend any time together — but the time to ask for wisdom is before you start a relationship — not after.
Sure, you may enjoy the same hobbies, or be engaged in the same type of work, or you may find yourselves having more things in common, but when it comes to the things that really matter, you may be in two opposing directions.
In a relationship, when that first rush of excitement wears off, you will find yourself yearning for the true intimacy and oneness that can only be experienced with someone of “like mind.”
Neither of you would be able to share the deepest longings of your heart with each other, because your whole basis of looking at life — your very reasons for living — would be totally different.
Your hearts and lives could not be truly united because there would be no common bond that goes beyond the same hobbies or activities to draw you together and keep you together.
Dating is an Investment
Simply stated, dating is some kind of investment for what you expect. I personally believe that going on a date once or twice is still okay, but dating for a long time may mean the beginning of a potential “yoking”.
Your investment will not only be about money and time, but emotional involvement and soul tie.
Let’s face it, daters will find themselves yoked one way or the other because the most natural trajectory of dating is going deeper and being serious with each other even when we don’t mean to!
Long term dating with no strings attached is a myth – let us not fool ourselves. Any man or woman who say otherwise is not being honest with themselves.
Dating is not a status symbol
Remember that every date has the potential of becoming a lifelong relationship. Spending time with the person who is not meant for you is opening yourself up to becoming emotionally involved to a point where it is not always so easy to turn and walk away.
Once you have given your heart and your emotions to someone, you will be surprised at how difficult it is to have the desire to take them back — even if you know you should!
Our emotions are a powerful thing, and if we don’t control them, they will control us! That’s why I say not to take dating lightly.
That being said, it is safe for me to say that to go on a long-term dating relationship means that we are getting into a more exclusive bond and that means that I must have considered him for marriage and that he must have considered me for marriage, as well.
By no means, it will be just “fishing” or “if it works out” kind of thing. This way, we both lessen the chances for unnecessary pain, bad memories and whatever falls under Facebook’s ‘it’s complicated’ status.
Dating is not a status symbol. It doesn’t make you any less a person if you don’t date nor it makes you a great person when you date.
I personally approach dating as having a POTENTIAL for marriage. If you don’t see the potential then why linger? Save yourself from emotional entanglement and save yourselves from hurting.
Along this line, 1 Corinthians 10:23 comes to mind, “Everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible – but not everything is constructive.”
The Real Question
For me, what this means is that if we yoke ourselves with the unbeliever, then we would rather do life with someone who does NOT believe the God we say we love than believe that life WITHOUT this person is more bearable than the thought of doing life without God.
At the end of the day, no one can force us to make choices that are not to our liking. But our choices reflect our faith.
If I can’t give to tithes, I have more faith in my money than God. If I can’t say no to a job assignment that will dishonor God, I have more faith in my boss than God.
If I can’t say no to an unbeliever so handsome, so “smelling good”, so accomplished then I have more faith in man than God.
So the question really is not who to date but to whom do I put my faith?
I trust that the God who created me also knows what is best for me.
I am not the manufacturer, He is.
So, if He thinks that being single at this stage is best for me, why resent it?