What does equally yoked in dating mean? You’re digging him. You think she’s dope. Then, you suddenly discover you’re not equally yoked. Or are you? It surely is confusing, but the answer may surprise you!
What Does Equally Yoked Mean?
In this article:
- An Introduction to Equally Yoked Meaning
- The Term “Equally Yoked” Is Not Used in the Scripture At All
- The Scripture Was Not Written About Relationships or Even Marriage For That Matter
- To Get A Clear Understanding, You Need to Know What Yoking in the Scripture Was All About
- What Does Equally Yoked Mean For You in Dating and Relationships?
An Introduction to Equally Yoked Meaning
Most of the singles I work with think the term equally yoked means the two partners are equal. They look at things like similarities in income levels, education, personal or spiritual growth, fitness, and other lifestyle qualities.
In fact, when many Christian women come to me looking for a mate, they’ll say things like, “I want him to be as ambitious as I am… and, I want him to have a flat stomach like I do because fitness is important to me. I want to be equally yoked.”
Because most Christian singles don’t have clarity on what it means to be equally yoked in dating, they tend to overlook in finding a great potential partner! I want to help you avoid this mistake, so grab your Bibles and turn with me to an equally yoked Bible verse, 2 Corinthians 6:14.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” (KJV).
The scripture we just read shows 3 important things that most people overlook.
1. The Term “Equally Yoked” Is Not Used in the Scripture At All
In fact, it’s a cliche Christians made up! Paul says to not be unequally yoked. This isn’t about splitting hairs. The word choice is important!
2. The Scripture Was Not Written About Relationships or Even Marriage For That Matter
Paul wasn’t telling people not to marry an unbeliever. He was talking about something different entirely.
3. To Get A Clear Understanding, You Need to Know What Yoking in the Scripture Was All About
So, let’s break it down.
Back in the Bible days, farmers yoked animals together to plow fields and carry heavy loads. They were taught not to connect a donkey with a horse, or a cattle with an ox. Why? Those animals would be unequally yoked because they differed in size, strength, purpose, and ability.
One of the animals would control the other, taking it in the wrong direction, and the job wouldn’t get done. Farmers would have a big mess on their hands!
So, when Paul is saying not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, he’s teaching not to be so emotionally and spiritually connected with an unbeliever that he or she has the chance to pull you in another direction or influence the way you think, talk, and behave.
When it comes to purpose, life’s direction, and core values, you and an unbeliever can be as different as light and darkness or a donkey and a horse. This doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with or even date someone who believes differently than you at all (especially since Paul wasn’t talking about friendship or unequally yoked marriage). It just means you understand there are fundamental differences that will matter at different points in your relationship.
So, What Does Equally Yoked Mean For You in Dating and Relationships?
Don’t Look For Someone Like You
You shouldn’t necessarily look for someone who is “just like you,” believing that you’re equally yoked. Instead, see if the person has what it takes to make a relationship work. See if they are fit for the institution of marriage. Look for things like emotional availability, communication skill, the ability to forgive, a healthy view of sexuality, and more.
Dating An Unbeliever Is Not A Sin But A Challenge
It’s not a sin to date (or marry) someone who isn’t a believer. But, it can be challenging!
In fact, Paul taught believers what to do if their spouse was an unbeliever. But, you’re going to have challenges if you choose this path. The challenges usually go deeper than just, “I’m a Catholic, you’re Pentecostal” or “I was raised Baptist and you’re agnostic.”
The problems have to do with a lack of shared values. You may want to go to church every time the doors are open, and he only thinks it’s necessary to go on Easter Sunday. You’ll have conflict over how to spend your time, how to communicate, and how to give each other space and grace to be an individual. This will cause relationship breakdowns for you as couples.
Or, maybe he thinks the Bible is fiction, while you turn to it as a guide for daily life. You want to make major decisions after praying and seeking Lord Jesus Christ, while he relies upon what he “feels” is right or what he knew to be true from the way his family did it. You end up with more conflict, less communication, and the collapse of a relationship, or marriage relationship.
Four things you should learn about unequally yoked relationships are discussed in this video by GodlyDating101:
Being equally yoked needs to go beyond “I’m a Christian, you’re a Christian, or I’m successful, you’re successful.” Look into how well your values are aligned and whether you both have what it takes to make a relationship work.
Would you date someone who didn’t have the same religious beliefs as you? We’d like to hear from you in the comments section below!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 16, 2015, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.