Marriage can be a source of immeasurable joy or pain, sometimes both. A marriage not only impacts the two principal players””the husband and wife and their children, but creates a ripple effect out across everyone they know and care about, for better or worse. Psychologists, counseslors, drug companies and in some truly unfortunate cases, police officers and detectives are in business partly due marital dysfunction and strife. When things do go wrong and stay wrong between spouses, oftentimes people both inside and outside the marriage look to the causes. Many argue it’s a matter of being equally yoked. But does it really matter?
Here are two real-world opinions on the subject:
Shelly I. says, “I don’t believe so at all. My husband and I are proof. I still don’t know if I truly believe in God because of my upbringing. I found that when we put ‘religion’ in our marriage it was harder and more stressful.”
Stefanie C. states, “I believe equally yolked is more about spiritual relationship with God than actual religion. my husband an I have had different upbringings in the church, but we have a similar depth of relationship with God; especially since we have both dealt with prolonged unemployment and financial insecurity. If we haven’t been equally yolked then those stresses would have broken our marriage.”
Personally, I used to rise and puff up against the notion that you had to be equally yoked. I thought it was an outrageously judgmental stance to take with someone you were actually in love with. Besides, love is stronger than any disagreements on religious ideology. Besides, who would want to be “yoked” to anything? Oxen are yoked, not people. Although passionate, I was a bit off-base in my understanding of what being equally yoked actually meant.
Being equally yoked:
- isn’t about “religion” (“Religion” has been at the center of most human tragedies, atrocities and occupations of other’s nations).
- isn’t about going to church every Sunday or even together though the latter would be nice.
- isn’t about preaching the gospel to one another or using it to tear each other apart during disagreements.
As a result of my experiences this is some of what I’ve learned:
- It is easier to love than to hate.
- I do my best to treat everyone as I expect to be treated.
- I’m quick to listen and slow to anger.
- It makes more sense to be flexible and work with life rather than against it.
I’d be lying if my faith/spirituality didn’t play a major role in shaping my beliefs and how I react to others. In all or at least most of my doing I do it for the well being of others and the glorification of God so that should anyone ask why I seem to have my act together I can share what a mess my life has been and how through faith I’ve overcome it all and continue to do so. My beliefs help me engage the people and the world outside of me. My application of the “laws” and teachings of the Bible have kept my family safe and have emboldened me to do and experience things I never imagined were even possible. They serve as my “playbook.” Having a partner who reads and acts by the same playbook is not only advantageous, but it makes life that much sweeter. You’re a team united. Think of it this way: if a husband’s and wife’s sole responsibility was to pass laws but one was a Republican and the other a Democrat, nothing would ever get done, especially in this day and age. If only being married and raising children were as easy as being a politician with an agenda…but it isn’t.
Working cohesively together is entirely possible without being of the same faith. But it is extremely difficult if the individuals involved disagree on how to handle/navigate situations, or worse, one or both dispute the other’s beliefs.
Fortunately, I am not the only one of this opinion.
Carlton M., a married man, states, “Having a common foundation provides stability to any structure. Your marriage is the same way. Not having one usually only works when you are not really following your faith. There are some things that become non-negotiable when you decide to make your religious faith your foundation.”
Omeshia J. says, “As with anything in marriage, when a husband and wife walk in agreement (i.e., finances, children, everyday things) their marriage is seamless. Relationship and not religion is so key…
And What About Religion?
One of the main reasons the subject of being equally yoked is so hot is because of that four letter word, LOVE. What happens if you find out your in love with someone and you’re not equally yoked? Then what? I’m not suggesting you abandon your relationship and find someone you’re not attracted to who prays a lot. If this is a subject that matters to you or your partner don’t be afraid of it. Face it head on. This why premarital classes and single’s ministries exist. Not to destroy relationships but to strengthen them as much as possible before you take that walk down the aisle. Or at least they should be.
Understand that no amount of religion matters if neither husband nor wife are applying it’s teachings in their own lives and then holding it against their partner that they aren’t “churched up.” At best this is the definition hypocrisy and an ill-fated social experiment.
What do you think BMWK? Does being equally yoked matter when walking down the aisle? Does it matter in the long run through better or worse?