What’s wrong if a Christian marries a non-christian? If they marry, would their marriage be disastrous or would their children hate Christianity?
A foundational verse quoted in this context is “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers…” (2 Corinthians 6: 14). A common faith in Christ is at the heart of a Christian marriage, they say.
This is the backdrop. Conventional Christian teaching mandates Christians to NOT MARRY non-christians. If a Christian marries a non-christian, by implication, their marriage would be sinful and disastrous .
This is the puzzle. Should a marriage between a Christian man & woman entail a healthy marriage?
No! A marriage between a Christian man and a woman need not necessarily entail a healthy marriage.
Scores of non-christian marriages are healthy and successful. If non-christian marriages are successful, the condition that Christians ought to marry Christians could be discarded.
The reality of many healthy, successful and strong non-christian marriages should remind Christians that the nametag “Christianity” does not unconsciously render a Christian marriage healthy.
Committed religious belief, not necessarily Christianity, enables strong and successful marriages.
But, atheists, who deny God, also enjoy healthy marriages. So it is reasonable to conclude that committed irreligiosity does enable healthy marriages.
Examine this situation from the perspective of divorce in Christian marriages. Scores of divorces and separations in Christian marriages testify that a Christian marriage could be disastrous.
There are make-believe Christian marriages (that pretend as successful marriages). The husband and wife may not love each other but would merely be married for the sake of being married or may not talk to each other inside their homes. They may not share the same bed or could lead separate lives inside their home all the while posturing perfection in their marriage.
Au contraire, Christians have married non-christians from time immemorial. Many such marriages are successful and healthy. Healthy marriages between Christians and non-christians serve as a testimony to the fact that a marriage between a Christian and a non-christian need not be disastrous.
Therefore, isn’t a teaching that two Christians ought to marry for a healthy marriage an unacceptable teaching that is incoherent with the existential reality?
We are not done! Observe this situation from another perspective.
Very few Christians read their Bible daily. A recent study in America confirms that only 9% of Americans read their Bible daily . This could very well be a fact in other countries as well.
So if two Christians, who have not read their Bible or who do not love the Lord, get married, what are the chances that their marriage would be successful? Unless a conversion occurs during the marriage, their marriage should not survive according to the conventional Christian teaching.
But if their marriage is successful, it is not because of their religiosity. There never was any religiosity in them. Their marital success could be for the same reasons as to why marriages between atheists are successful!
The problem would compound if one Christian partner loves the Lord dearly but the other Christian spouse is lukewarm or cold towards Christ. This is another favorable situation for potential marriage problems.
Based on the existential realities of non-christian (atheists included) and even certain Christian marriages, a conclusion that a marriage between two Christians need not necessarily entail a healthy and successful marriage is valid.
Therefore, the conventional Christian teaching that a Christian should marry another Christian for a healthy marriage could be rendered null and void.
What if a sincere Christian who longs to get married cannot locate a Christian partner? What if this Christian is attracted to an opposite-sex-non-christian with admirable qualities worthy of a perfect fit as his/her soulmate?
What would be a sound biblical advice to this Christian? Would you advise him/her to marry the non-christian he /she is attracted to?
“Focus on the Family,” an acclaimed Christian ministry that strives to strengthen a Christian marriage, qualify their teaching that a marriage between two Christians is more likely to be healthy through these words, “Many people who seriously practice a traditional religious faith – be it Christian or other – have a divorce rate markedly lower than the general population. The factor making the most difference is religious commitment and practice…Couples who regularly practice any combination of serious religious behaviors and attitudes…enjoy significantly lower divorce rates than mere church members, the general public and unbelievers…
…Saying you believe something or merely belonging to a church, unsurprisingly, does little for marriage. But the more you are involved in the actual practice of your faith in real ways – through submitting yourself to a serious body of believers, learning regularly from scripture, being in communion with God though prayer individually and with your spouse and children, and having friends and family around us who challenge us to take our marriage’s seriously – the greater difference this makes in strengthening both the quality and longevity of our marriages. Faith does matter and the leading sociologists of family and religion tell us so” (Emphasis Mine).
Therefore, a mere marriage between two Christians is surely not a recipe for a successful marriage.
A Christian married to a non-christian could enjoy a healthy marriage from a worldly sense, but certainly not from a spiritual sense. When a Christian marries a non-christian, it is the Christian who would love the Lord. The non-christian spouse would not love the Lord Jesus. Hence this marriage could be easily damaged or broken by the Satan (cf. Ecclesiastes 4: 12).
A Christian marriage ought not to achieve the ordinary worldly success other marriages achieve; it ought to achieve greater spiritual success.
Greater spiritual success in a Christian marriage gains precedence because Satan is active against a Christian marriage. The greater spiritual success for a Christian marriage is to individually and collectively grow in the Lord so to survive storms – small and large, and significantly lead the children to continuously love the Lord. Such a Christian marriage will glorify God.
To achieve greater spiritual success, the Christian family should love the Lord Jesus through the assimilation of HIS Word, love and submission to their spouse as Christ loved the church and as the church submits to Christ, and communion with fellow Christians. This is a surefire recipe for a greater spiritual success in a Christian marriage.
There is greater power in a Christian marriage when both the husband and the wife love the Lord dearly, thus obey and glorify God through the ups and downs of the marriage. When they love the Lord dearly and are in constant communion with Christ, their marriage would be unbreakable.
Finally, the disclaimer.
This post is not to encourage Christians to marry non-Christians. It is wise to err on the side of caution than not.
So a Christ-loving Christian ought to marry another Christ-loving Christian to achieve the greater spiritual success.
 Every born-again Christian is a sinner. But he/she has been saved by the grace of God through faith in Christ. So a Christian married to a non-christian, although is a practicing sinner, will gain eternal life.