Equally Yoked Teaching, Complementarianism, Christianity, and Singleness (part 1)
Many Christians teach that Christians should only marry other Christians. This is at least an expectation or belief in Baptist churches, and I think some Protestant ones.
This view point is referred to as ‘being equally yoked.’
It was a view I used to believe in, and I was taught it as I was growing up in a Christian environment, but I rejected this view point a few years ago.
I occasionally run across still-hopeful, yet very naive, single Christian women ages 35 and older, who have yelled at me online on other blogs (such as this lady), that I am so very, very wrong to say that singles should not abide by the Equally Yoked proposition, and they, I guess, are still clinging to some hope that God will supernaturally send them a Christian Mr. Right to marry.
The sad truth is, I’m afraid, that there may not be a God, but if there is a God, if my lived experience and observation has taught me anything, it’s that this God is most likely not going to send most single Christian women who’d like to marry a single Christian man to marry.
For every single Christian woman who likes to think God specially sent her a Christian man on a romantic walk on the beach, there are full- to- partially- Christian women such as myself, who, in spite of years of praying and waiting on a spouse from God, never got one.
(That some devout, praying Christian ladies never receive a spouse is one reason of a few that so many married Christians should stop saying that “God sent me my spouse.”)
If you are a Christian single woman who’d like to marry a Christian man, it looks to me as though you are on your own.
I suspect you’re more liable to get results using a dating site, or from visiting your corner bar, than you are in praying and “trusting in the Lord” to send you a spouse.
Here is the passage that “equally yoked” promoters quote to try to justify their position:
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)
Generally, I respect evangelist Billy Graham for sharing the Gospel all over the world, but he’s responsible for giving us all the sexist, ineffectual “Billy Graham Rule” (now known as the “Mike Pence Rule”), but he also came up with this awful gem:
Billy Graham once said that “the Christian who marries a Non-Christian has Satan for his or her father-in-law.” (Or at least I’ve always heard others who utter that quote attribute it to Graham.)
Many Christian preachers love to quote that Graham line whenever they are discussing marriage and dating with Christian singles.
(Speaking of Christians who like to give relationship advice:
Many Christians who give singles dating advice, or “what to look for in a partner if you want to marry” advice, also usually instruct women to stay in abusive marriages.
When one keeps in mind that most Christians, especially the complementarian ones, think it’s acceptable to pressure women to stay in loveless, abusive marriages, I feel fine ignoring their dating or marriage advice.)
One problem ignored by “Equally Yoked” believers is that there are many adult single Christians who’d like to marry, but they are not able to find a Christian single to marry. This fact of life leaves many singles indefinitely single.
A subset of that problem is that conservative Christian talking heads, such as Al Mohler (who never misses an opportunity to bash singleness, especially to promote marriage – see almost any blog post he composes about singleness or marriage), continue to erroneously assume that the reason so many Christian single women remain single for so long is that they are intentionally choosing career over marriage.
(Mohler’s anti- singleness blog post (linked to in the paragraph directly above) cites singleness- bashing Bradford Wilcox, who works for a marriage- promoting conservative think tank that likes to portray singleness as being a societal disgrace, one that needs to be eliminated.
That right there is problematic, but so too is the faulty claim that marriage is better or healthier for adults than is singleness.)
When the Al Mohlers of Christianity berate women past the age of 25 for choosing career over marriage, their misdiagnosis of the problem, their ranting about the glut of singles in churches, is not doing a thing to actually help those marriage-minded women actually get married.
The few preachers who blame men for declining marriage rates among Christians aren’t helping the situation, either.
Preacher Mark Driscoll, when he was working at Mars Hill Church, used to shame and scold his single male attendees for not marrying – when getting married or not may be a bit beyond their control.
(Driscoll also likes to shame married Christian men for not practicing marriage the way he thinks it should be done.)
Driscoll is not the only one who blames and shames Christian single men for not marrying:
However, in all my life as a never married (at one time fully Christian) woman, I’d have to say that the majority of insult and blame for declining marriage rates I have seen from Christians is usually directed by Christian men at Christian single women.
For every article or example I can show you of a Mark Driscoll type preacher blaming men for falling marriage rates, there are about ten more where the Christian man, or preacher, blames women – and sometimes they do this by way of blaming 1960s, American, liberal feminism.
It’s almost as if these men assume or believe it’s a duty for all Christian women every where to marry, and women are at fault or in sin if they do not marry.
A lot of these Christian men are under the false assumption that most Christian single women have turned into raving, bra-burning, man-hating, liberal, secular feminists who are deliberately choosing to forgo marriage, and that is not so.
Christian pastors continue to misunderstand and misdiagnose the reasons for declining marriage rates. They also seem to love to complain about falling marriage rates or to insult singles, rather than taking actual steps to help singles get married.
It’s all very counter-productive.
If you want more Christian singles to marry, rather than yell at them and shame them for being single, why not do things that actually help them get married? Like, I don’t know, have your church or Christian organization put on social events for singles to meet one another?