Ask Your Preacher
My boyfriend of thirteen years told me he can no longer have a relationship with me because I don’t attend church. He said I need to follow his path.
We would have to side with your ex-boyfriend on this… but give us a second to explain why. The end goal to your relationship is marriage, and ‘inter-faith’ marriages have disastrous results, an awful track record, and God warns against them. No matter how much you love each other, there are only four possible outcomes to a marriage between to people that don’t have the same spiritual goals, and only one of them is good:
- You eventually convert, obey the gospel, become a christian, and are saved (this would be a really GOOD outcome).
- He eventually forsakes the Lord, and you are both lost (BAD).
- You both make compromises in your beliefs, and neither of you is fully committed to anything (BAD).
- You both eventually renounce both of your belief systems, and are both lost (BAD).
The only positive outcome is the first one, and that isn’t any more likely to happen after you are married than before. From your boyfriend’s perspective, if you aren’t with him on this journey to serve Christ – neither of you is going to be happy, with potentially eternally disastrous consequences.
God warns against being ‘unequally yoked’ to someone with different values than you (2 Cor 6:14-16). Once you get married, you are ‘yoked’ to that person with a lifetime agreement. A godly marriage is designed around unity (Gen 2:24). If you aren’t unified on your core belief system, then everything else will be affected. Where will your children go to church? How much money will you contribute to church? What happens when you disagree on moral decisions – what is the standard you will use to come to an answer? These are just a few of the thousands of day-to-day problems you will run into. God tells us that a christian should marry someone ‘in the Lord’ (1 Cor 7:39). If you are serious about this guy, you need to ask yourself if it is worth looking into Christianity to see if there is a reason that this wonderful man finds it so important. Either way, you are both better off knowing where you stand before entering into a heartbreaking marriage.
Is it a sin to marry or have a relationship with your first cousin?
The Bible never condemns marrying your first cousin. Even in the Old Testament, the prohibition only extended as far as aunts and uncles (Lev 18:12-14). It isn’t a sin to marry your first cousin. In fact, it hasn’t even been culturally taboo for very long. Even two or three generations ago, it was much more common to marry a first cousin. Today, it is an odd thing to see a first cousin marriage, but it isn’t wrong. Cultures change all the time, and this is a cultural issue, not a Biblical one.
My mom was adopted, so we don't know her family history well. What would you do if you found out your boyfriend of twelve years maybe your cousin? We have no children together. He doesn't know we may be cousins... we live together... WHAT DO WE DO FROM HERE?
Dear Regretful Researcher,
The very first thing you need to do is stop living together before you are married. More important than any biological issues your future children may have, you are sinning, and that is much worse than any physical problem. The reason people don’t get married – but instead (outside of marriage) have sex, live together, have children together, and eventually destroy their lives – is because we spend our lives making up the rules as we go. We live our lives by the “what-makes-me-feel-good-right-now” philosophy. We have no real standard to live by other than what we feel at the moment. Like Pilate, we ask, “What is truth?” (Jhn 18:38) because we don’t know where to find the right answers to life. How can we know what is the right thing to do? Only the Creator can give us a rulebook for life that allows us to comfortably say, “I’m making the right choice.” Jesus is the truth, the way, and the life (Jhn 14:6). All the answers to life are found in His Scriptures (2 Pet 1:3). If we want our relationships, our families, our careers, and our lives to work, we have to use the manual.
Biblically, there is nothing wrong with marrying your cousin – people did it quite commonly just a couple generations ago. You would have to consider the medical ramifications of having children, but that is a medical decision – not a moral one. As we said, more importantly than anything else is that you make your lives right with God.
What does the Bible say about dating?
Kiss And Tell?
Dear Kiss And Tell,
The Bible gives no specific statements about how to look for a future spouse. God instead speaks to the attitudes we must have and the dangers that exist in the world of romance.
- Don’t force it. Song of Solomon is an entire book devoted to romance and marriage. The chorus of that book is the same over and over (SS 2:7) – it is a warning to avoid forcing relationships merely for the ‘fun’ of romance.
- Avoid all appearances of evil (1 Thess 5:22). Make sure to never put yourself in a situation with someone of the opposite sex that would compromise your (or their) reputation or morals.
- Who they are matters more than how they look. The Bible praises godly spouses for their character (Pr 31:10). Beauty fades, but one’s values endure. Make sure you are spending your time getting to know the person for who they are and for what they find important.
- Treat them with respect. The Scriptures tell us to treat people of the opposite gender like brothers and sisters (1 Tim 5:2). How would you want your siblings to be treated? Make sure you are behaving in a godly way toward anyone you are dating or courting.
- Surround yourself with godly advice. When we are in the here and now of a romantic relationship, we often get caught up with our emotions and lose perspective. That makes it especially important to get the advice of those around you who are wiser and less biased. Parents, grandparents, and other trusted advisors should be sought out as you search for a mate. Surrounding yourself with many good counselors protects you from making a emotional decision that has lifelong consequences (Pr 11:14).
Marriage is one of the greatest blessings that God gives mankind. If we do it God’s way, finding a spouse can be a joy and lead to a lifetime of happiness.
My boyfriend calls me ‘Satan’ sometimes when he is angry with me. He also calls his mom ‘Lucifer’ because she has a mental condition and sometimes curses for no reason. So he said she is Lucifer for acting that way. I'm called Satan because I may say something that does not appeal to him, but I'm not cursing or name-calling. We are both christians so… I'm confused that he feels it is acceptable in the eyes of God that it is okay to freely use the word Satan towards my character. In the Bible, where can I find it that we should refrain from name-calling?
Thank you for your time.
Dear Disgruntled Girlfriend,
We feel pretty comfortable in saying that your boyfriend needs an attitude check – that is not the way to talk to people. God tells us to make sure our speech is “seasoned with grace” (Col 4:6). We are told to avoid all corrupt speech and to only say things that will edify the hearers (Eph 4:29). The apostle Peter commanded us to “refrain our tongues from evil” and “speak without guile” (1 Pet 3:10). Name-calling (especially referring to someone as the most evil being in existence!) is totally inappropriate. There is only one reference in the Bible to calling someone Satan, and that is Mk 8:33 when Jesus rebuked Peter by saying, “Get behind Me, Satan”. This was because Peter was commanding Jesus to not sacrifice Himself on the cross – a direct contradiction to God’s will (Mk 8:31-32). If the Son of God only used the term in the most extreme circumstance… we should be vary wary of ever using that sort of strong language.