Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Dating, Love, Sex, Christianity and the Whole Shebang

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I’ve mentioned before that I read several books about marriage/divorce/remarriage from a biblical perspective and the utter confusion cast on the subject by the plethora of interpretations of scripture.   When I began contemplating the dating game as a divorcee I tried to view it through strictly spiritual glasses.  As I searched for information about post-divorce dating and love I came across some pretty interesting articles and blogs.  When I say interesting I don’t mean that in a good way.  That’s part of what led me into doubt – only part; again, the plethora of interpretations of scripture about whether it’s okay to date, whom it’s permissible to date and what you may do on a date.  It’s crazy.
I’ve come to the conclusion that, with rare exception, being unequally yoked in dating is a bad…very bad idea.  I’m talking about dating here. I fully realize that some of the agnostic/atheist readers here were equally yoked when they got married and somewhere along the way they questioned their beliefs and now are unequally yoked.  And I know that you love your spouses and wouldn’t change your marital status based on religious differences.  That’s not what I’m talking about.
Dating is a tough thing to begin with, let alone the second time around.  Especially when the support system you’ve surrounded yourself with tells you a) it’s wrong to date because as a divorced person you can’t remarry, or b) it’s okay to date as long as you both know you can’t remarry, or c) it’s okay to date and remarry so long as you do both of these with a Christian and you don’t have sex.
a) If you’ve never been divorced or you have no compassion for divorced people keep your pie hole shut.   Stop telling people that Jesus is their husband/wife now.  Not only is he not going to talk to you, touch you, or tell you he loves you, it’s just downright creepy.

b) I guess if you’re into playing games and generally not interested in a life partner that’s okay.  As far as I’m concerned there isn’t much point in dating if there is no possibility of marriage.  That’s not to say that you want to marry out of desperation or loneliness, but if companionship is what you’re after sooner or later casually dating isn’t going to cut it anymore. 

c) Now this one I’m actually okay with because if attitudes of the Christians on these so-called Christian answers and Christian relationship boards are any indication of  Christian attitudes in general I wouldn’t want to date one myself.  They make it seem as if dating a non-Christian is the worst possible thing you can do as unbelievers are the scum of the earth.
Some of the blogs I came across showed me just how nasty, judgmental, cruel, hateful and vile some Christians can be; to each other and to non-Christians. If a Christian expresses that they are dating a non-Christian they are advised to break it off immediately.  If the happen to say they are in love then sooner than immediately. Like yesterday.  These are some of the explanations, if you can call them that:

“If I just put a little dog poop in your peanut butter would you eat the sandwich? Not a lot, just a tiny drop! I’d just dip the end of a sewing needle in the pile! Is that really enough to contaminate your sandwich? Seriously – this guy is nothing but a little dog poop in your peanut butter sandwich. You decide.

“I have to agree with everyone here. Having just been RELIEVED of an entanglement with a nonbeliever, I know God is in control of every part of our lives. Honestly, He just truly knows what’s best to us. Of course, this is all Chinese to people who don’t believe. Ultimately, you would be missing out on the coolest, most intimate and awesome challenge in a relationship, which Christ alone truly brings.

“You are clearly deluding yourself. If you marry a non-christian you are on your own. You are in strict disobedience to the word of God. Whatever happens to you will be your fault. Don’t go blaming God when things begin to fall apart for you. People are good at doing that when they see their sin and evilness , presenting problems for themselves. They want to do an about face and blame everyone accept,themselves. Where the blame belongs. Christians have enough to deal with. Why sleep with the enemy? A non-christian is in partnership with the devil. Don’t you know that, by now?

That’s right, nonbelievers are nothing more than dog poop in the peanut butter and jelly sandwich of life.  If you are a Christian and you are contemplating sleeping with the enemy don’t go crying on God’s shoulder when disaster strikes.  And I’m certain that as big a RELIEF as it was to dear Christian to be disentangled from nonbeliever it doesn’t even begin to describe the relief that nonbeliever must have felt if that is your attitude.  Geez, get a life people, and stop, for the love of kittens, dispensing dating and marital advice. 

These are only a few examples.  Not only do Christians condemn other Christians and nonbelievers they jump to some mighty presumptuous conclusions.  They assume that the reason a Christian might want to date a non-Christian is that they want to “do something sinful”, especially if they are divorced – as if they couldn’t find a Christian to “do something sinful” with.   If you are assuming that Christians who are dating aren’t having sex I might suggest that you are the one who is delusional.  Not only that, it’s pretty insulting to be told the reason you’re dating a particular person is just for the sex. I’m not saying there aren’t people out there who do, but speaking for myself, I’m not having sex with someone because they happen to be breathing and they have the right equipment. 

Does it not occur to these Christians that it’s possible that nonbelievers can be ethical, moral, kind, smart, funny, committed, devoted, sincere individuals?  They aren’t the enemy.  And they certainly are not dog poop. My reasons for dating and committing to another person are my own.  I know what I want from a partner and I know what I have to offer a partner.  I’ve been through enough to know what expectations I have and how to articulate them. To say that only a Christian could fulfill them is asinine. I’ve been in a marriage with a “committed Christian” and lemme tell ya…that set the bar pretty low.  I’ve learned to expect more and to be more.

As for whether or not to have sex, well, that’s the business of the partners, isn’t it?

This doesn’t even begin to cover the insult that is “Missionary Dating”. 

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15 thoughts on “Dating, Love, Sex, Christianity and the Whole Shebang

  1. To me, the whole issue in dating looking toward marriage is more whether both people share the same goals, and values in life. For me, my faith is so important, I think I would want my spouse to share that aspect of life with me. And, I would want that role modeling for my children as well.But, on the other hand, D'Ma, you are right, there are religious men out there who can be terrible..and non-Christians who are very compassionate with great values.I think it's a decision everyone needs to make for themselves. It certainly doesn't seem "sinful" to me for a Christian to marry a non-believer. I do think it would be important, though, that both could respect each other. I mean I would have deep problems to marry a non-believer who was antagonistic toward my faith, and spend a good portion of their time trashing,mocking Christianity, and the church, or who would object to my children learning about my faith or attending church.Every situation is different. It just depends on the person, I think.Rebecca.

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  2. Such a great post D'Ma. Those comments from the Christian boards are sobering. I'm at a loss for words. And to your question: "Does it not occur to these Christians that it's possible that nonbelievers can be ethical, moral, kind, smart, funny, committed, devoted, sincere individuals?"Answer (as you know): No. Not one bit. Impossible. And if per chance the nonbelievers have any of those qualities, while of course, it's because they are the enemies of "God" disguised in "light" … *sigh*

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  3. I am continually amazed by how judgmental, arrogant and offensive people who believe in an invisible sky daddy can be. I'm not saying there isn't one, I'm just saying they've never met the guy, nor can they prove his existence. Yet that doesn't stop them from (1) foisting their unsubstantiated (and often, demonstrably false) beliefs on everyone else, and (2) being real a**hats about it.Give me a nonbeliever any day. They tend to be much nicer people, more moral, ethical, and kind.

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  4. Wow! Dog poop and peanut butter. Heartwarming. Kind of like the Nazis viewed Jews, isn't it? Wait a sec, Nazis were Christians too.I know, I know, not TRUE Christians. Sheesh.

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  5. @ Becky,Shared goals and values is exactly what should be important. There are many unbelievers out there whose values and and morals line up much better with a Christian's than many other Christians. That's a sad testament, but true. The way I view this is much the same way I feel about hell. My former pastor was quick to quote from the pulpit that there would be a lot of "good people" in hell. Yet there would be a lot of SOB's(not his words, mine..I'm paraphrasing) in heaven because they believed. I'm calling BS on that one. A mere acquiescence of belief cannot possibly be a free ticket out of hell and lack thereof cannot possibly be a one way ticket. Having said that, if that is one of your personal criteria that's on your deal breaker list that's your prerogative. But it's not your place(not that I think you think it is) or anyone else's to tell someone else it should be on theirs.I'm not thinking that if someone cannot respect your personal beliefs and are, in fact, hostile to them on ANY point – not just religion- it's probably not a good match.===================================================@Zoe,There were many, many more. Like the girl that said, "Please take it from me. I just got out of divorce my husband told me he was A Christian, he even went through baptism and lied to the pastor just to marry me. So I believed him, then four months into the marriage he started to abuse me."Yeah, he wasn't a Christian, that's why he abused you…::facepalm::

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  6. @CD,I know, right? My very Christian girlfriend was appalled when I told her I'd rather have an unbelieving partner who treated me well and loved me for who I am than to partner with someone who wouldn't just because he said he was a believer. Who can know another person's heart, eh? After she picked her teeth up off the floor she implored me to pray about it more. Again ::facepalm::=================================================@Exrelayman,Nice, huh? Betcha never thought of yourself as dog poop. *giggle*And there it is again…I just don't have the patience nor the inclination to try to figure out who the TRUE Christians are.

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  7. Non-Christians are dog poop, eh? THAT kind of attitude is sure to win converts. ::snorts::I was amazed when I read your post, because you've hit so many truths right on the mark. You're absolutely right. Being "unevenly yoked" in a relationship is a bad idea because of the unresolvable tensions between partners. A romantic relationship is far more likely to succeed if the partners have compatible worldviews, values, and goals. I was in a long-term romantic relationship with someone when they converted to Christianity. While the conversion certainly introduced friction into the relationship, I was happy for my partner (at first) because this new faith seemed to bring them joy. As the years went on, however, my partner became increasingly fundamentalist and didn't want to be "unevenly yoked" and risk losing salvation. The result? I got thrown under the bus, which deeply hurt. It certainly didn't help that several of my partner's Christian friends tried to convert me immediately after the breakup.

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  8. Ick! Just one of the many examples of how Christianity can actually be harmful. People can say some pretty nasty things when they think God has their back. The more vanilla denomination and church members can probably handle unequal yoking a little better, but the more aggressive, fundamentalist or evangelical branches breed this kind of animosity by their doctrines making them as unsavory as… as… a poo sandwich. ;-)Best to just avoid them in the realm of dating.

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  9. @Ahab,I'm not sure converts is what this fellow was after. Who wants their pews filled poo? Pee-ewe!(sp?)That unevenly yoked thing can cut both ways, no? While iron sharpens iron and it's good to not necessarily agree on everything when it comes to values and goals it seems pretty sage advice to have a commonality. 2 Corinthians 6:14 has some pretty good advice. If you can't agree or respect someone else's ideas and values it really isn't going to turn out well….duh!I'm sorry that happened to you. I've read story after story of dating/engaged couples who have been told to break it off because one of them got religion. The problem is, however, the great commission. When one gets "saved" they feel responsible to get the other "saved" as well. That pressure typically ends up devastating the relationship. Clearly your fiance wanted to be with you and had been advised the only way that could happen was for you to become "one of them". Thus her friends tried to help her out by attempting to convert you. =================================================@TWF, As I understand it the progressive/liberal church is much more lenient on this topic. Fundamentalists are pretty die hard when it comes to yoking, what with their exclusivist beliefs and all. They even breed animosity between denominations because they are often so convinced that their denomination is the only right one that all the others aren't really even Christians, so you can only date/court within your own denomination. And even then you have to find someone on the same spiritual plane as you because you'll be in conflict with someone less spiritually mature. It's really pretty twisted and messed up if you think very much about it.

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  10. One of my cousins was unintentionally dating a non-Christian. When he proposed, she finally realized what their relationship was. Then she dumped him because of his lack of belief.He moved on and got married a few years later. She began dating Christian guys and everyone of them took advantage of her, financially, emotionally etc. Not all Christian guys are jerks, but the ones she found were.Her mother was recently lamenting that of all the guys my cousin had befriended, the non-Christian treated her the best and had the most respect for women. Too bad he wasn't a Christian. sigh.And the divorce thing is really nasty in some circles too! The church I grew up in would strip a man's leadership if he remarried before his first wife died. As a result, there are some amazing divorced and remarried people who are silenced while people stuck in marriages with problems are the leaders. Which means that they are marriage counsellors to others.

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  11. Interesting post DM'a. A tangent to this subject came up at the weekend when some good friends of our spent the afternoon with us.A couples, we go back many years, we knew each other before we started dating, he and I were each others best men, our weddings were 3 weeks apart. At the time it was a bit of a joke that we were with the wrong partners because of the relative differences between us.Roll on almost 20 years to last weekend and we're all pretty much the same people and the joke about each being very different to our respective partners came up again.The fact is, differences can serve to enhance a relationship.That said, I can see why difference in religion such a big issue; and I agree that its very useful (important even?) that a couple shares that part of their life, be it a particular religion, atheism or something else.Yet as for it being the deal breaker (or maker), that leaves me a little uncomfortable. Especially in light of what what some others have said. Obviously, for a Christian, the ideal is the perfect man, who is also a Christian, but if the choice is the perfect atheist or a lousy Christian, why choose the Christian?* eeek, sorry for the lengthy ramble, maybe I should have just made my own post and linked to you 🙂

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  12. @PrairieNymph,I know some really great Christian guys, so it is unfair to stereotype them. I think the main point I'm making is that Christian guys have the same issues non-Christian guys do. It doesn't make a difference what they say they believe. If a guy is domineering, controlling, abusive, a deadbeat, or whatever his religious affiliation doesn't seem to affect that. Likewise if a guy is mature, honest, respectful, hardworking, or whatever his religious affiliation doesn't seem to affect that either. In fact if I really had to say I honestly think that fundamentalist religion of any kind attracts the former because it gives them a license to be the way they really want to be in the first place. It tells them that's acceptable if not down right desirable. ==================================================@limey,No worries, mate. Ramble on anytime you feel like it. I know lots of couples who are as different as night and day and they get along better than some couples I know who are what might be viewed as more compatible. I think being equally yoked has more to do with being able to respect each other's differences than it does being "alike". Some can't handle the differences. Some embrace them and even cherish them. It all boils down to accepting each other the way you are and not trying to change the other. That's where problems bubble under the surface.If you can't respect and accept your partner the way they are then you aren't really partners, eh? The word partner implies equality.

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  13. I know some really great Christian guys too! I married one 🙂 It is just unfortunate that my cousin is drawn to men who abuse her and her brush with a non-Christian pushed her farther into the fundy types. She didn't want to lose her heart again to someone who didn't hold the same cognitive dissonance she did, I mean – pray with her. I heard all the same rhetoric: marrying a non-Christian is more lonely than being single because you can't share the most important part of your life together. Which says a lot about my church's view of non-Christians and single women.I like your distinction btw respecting differences vs not having differences as the definition of a true partnership.

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  14. It strikes me as somewhat on the crazy side to think that praying to god together might be more meaningful to a couple than, say, the birth of their children. But to each his or her own.

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  15. I heard all the same rhetoric: marrying a non-Christian is more lonely than being single because you can't share the most important part of your life together.I think that because this gets drilled into the heads of many it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You're told over and over how bad it is. You try desperately to "convert" your partner and inevitably end up pushing them away, making for a very lonely marriage. =================================================@Paul Sunstone,Amen!

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