Suppose there is a Protestant man and a Catholic woman. They like each other, enjoy exchanging ideas, and have long established a good relationship. Do you see any problem if they fall in love? What is the biblical concern over the matter? Traditionally there is opposition to the engagement, but is there a biblical reason behind it today?
Few years ago I started a relationship with woman. At first we were simply friends. We met at work. After years of friendship we fell in love with each other. We’ve nurtured a deeply affection for each other. Soon, however, we face some objections partly due to our beliefs. To avoid causing her any damage we decided to split. However, in her heart the situation was unacceptable as it was in mine. But since I had a “clear” vision that this relationship might not be God’s desire, I did not compromise.
Thankfully, despite the emotional crash, our friendship resisted bravely. Years have passed since we’ve decided not to date. Until then the reasons for quitting were foggy. After much talk and seeing that we had a reciprocal care, we forgot the opposition and restarted our relationship. Unfortunately, this time didn’t endure very long. Her jealousy was suffocating me. We’ve reached a climax that made it impossible to continue dating. Again, we've quit, never to return.
We’re both single. Neither of us have experienced any sexual relation with each other. Since we work at and for the same company, we met each other regularly. Occasionally in our conversation the topic involving our former relationship emerges. Sometimes we pretend to understand the reasons for not staying together, apart from the jealousy, concealing that our dating is not recommended religiously since we profess different beliefs.
Is it correct? What should I do to know what are God’s desire for my life? How to be ascertain if this woman is the one God has chosen for me? What steps should I take to be aware of these things? Should I engage her? What if I lost her to other guy? And if eventually she’s the one God has preserved and I’m neglecting her?
I fear to waste time. From a man's view aging is not a big problem. But for woman, it weighs heavily, especially when considering fertility and the ability to bearing a child. Occasionally, the desire to accomplish everything correctly seems to play against us. Nevertheless, whatever the biblical commandment I ask God to strengthen me so that I could bear the burden and accomplish His desire.
The purpose of a marriage is to provide companionship. "And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."" (Genesis 2:18). Later Solomon noted, "Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 9:9). Toward that end, when marriage was established, God said, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).
The Bible doesn't agree with what men find acceptable today -- the idea that multiple religions are acceptable to God. "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (I Corinthians 1:10). The division in religion is a result of men refusing to be obedient to God's teaching that He left for us in His Bible. There should not be Catholic or Protestant. There should only be Christian because that is all that Christ established. "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:4-6).
When the Bible speaks of a husband and wife becoming one flesh, it is broader than a sexual union. When a couple marries, they become a new unit. They are a family where the husband is at the front leading the way the family should go (Genesis 3:16). When two people cannot agree, but marry anyway, their disagreement prevents them from becoming one as God desires. Marriage doesn't make the disagreements go away, it makes the situation worse because each person feels trapped in the relationship. This doesn't mean that even in the best marriage there will not be arguments. However, when the two are committed to become one, they will work to resolve their disagreement.
When people of two different religions marry, they can sometimes manage to live peaceably together. She goes to her church and he to his. However, the difference in religious views are never resolved. It remains a point of contention between the couple. It hinders them from fully becoming one.
Then children come along. What was once a quiet stalemate becomes an explosive situation. Which church will the child attend? In what religion will they be trained? Sadly, children of these marriages more often than not reject all religion when they grow up. They see the mother and father do nothing but fight over religion and then conclude that religion -- all religion -- is the problem.
The idea that there is just one special person whom God wants you to marry is a myth. God never said that. It biblical days there were people whose partner was chosen for them and whom they married having never met them before the day of their wedding. It didn't happen in every case, but it did happen. Yet these people still managed to have a happy marriage. The reason was that both were committed to making the marriage work, no matter what obstacles were in their path.
There isn't just one right person for you in this world. Imagine if that were true. Out of 6 billion people currently living it would take you thousands of years on average to find the right one! The truth is that there are thousands of woman whom you could happily marry. You simply need to find the one with whom you are willing to spend effort making her happy, while she is willing to spend effort making you happy. You need someone you respect and whom you basically agree regarding issues that are important in your life. The rest can be resolved. But if you are starting out with unresolved issues, then it would be a tragic mistake to marry such a person.
That is why we date before marriage. To find out about the other person. To see if we basically agree about life and where we want to head in life. It is not a tragedy when a couple finds out after dating for a while that they are not a match. It is a tragedy if they marry anyway. Sure, it hurts to break up with someone who you like, but with whom you cannot come to a full agreement. But an unhappy marriage hurts worse.
Can this relationship work? Possibly, but only if both of you resolve your differences. If it isn't going to happen, then you are wasting your time and her time. Let each other go to find someone who does match.