I’m having a very reflective day based on the sermon given at church today.
First of all, let’s just say that WordPress doesn’t recognize the word “ponderings” and that makes me sad. How is that not a word?
But onto the ponderings at hand. Today at church, I was a little distracted. My mind was far away but I really tried to bring it back and focus on what my pastor was talking about.
Today, being Pentecost, my pastor decided to speak about the Holy Spirit. Now, my pastor is a great speaker. And if you are so inclined, feel free to check out some of his messages on our new church website. His message from today should be up in a day or so. Our tech guys are pretty great. But again that’s not the point.
So we get to almost the end of the message and a topic that always troubles me comes up: the notion of being unequally yoked in marriage. For those who aren’t religious and have no idea what that means, the Bible says that we, as Christians, should not marry someone who isn’t also Christian. And for the most part, I definitely agree with that. Not only for the religious aspects of it but also for the personal aspects as well. In marriage, you try to find someone who has close enough morals and values to your own personal set that you can agree on the major life choices and decisions for your family.
But here is my problem – in my own experience of dating Christians and non-Christians, Christian boys suck. They really do.
Just as an example, let’s run through the guys I’ve been involved with/romantically attracted to in the last 2 years. A little break down: 6 were either raised in the church and have since stopped going but still hold true to the teachings or are still active members. 6 were not affiliated with a Christian church or any church/religion at all.
The non-Christians in the group were more open-minded and accepting of those around them. They never pressured me into a sexual relationship when they found out that I’m abstinent because of my own personal faith. They never forced a physical relationship at all. Asked before holding my hand the first time, or kissing me the first time. Never complained when I would push plans so that I could go to church. Didn’t have any violent tendencies or racist leanings. The last one counted in this group has been a friend of mine since about January and I’m finding myself being pulled into a major feelings trap with him as our friendship has gotten a lot closer over the last two months.
The Christians were closed minded and at times racist and bigoted people. A few I had to literally push away from because they just decided that they were going to kiss me, either by just straight up surprising me with a kiss or literally pulling my head closer to them to kiss me. The one who would pinch my ear when I was doing something he didn’t like and then eventually “tiny baby barely even touched my skin” slapped me in a cafe belongs to this group. The ones who put up the most resistance to having a non-physical relationship while building something more lasting together were also in this group. The ones who were seeing someone else on the side even after we decided to “date” were also in this group. The one who was just trying to find a short-term wife in order to avoid deportation was also in this group.
So here is my dilemma: I honestly would love to get married. And I really hope that that is in God’s plan for me. But, judging by my own personal experiences, I tend to stay away from Christian men. I date respectful, tolerant men who are ok with my beliefs just as I am ok with theirs. I don’t push my religion on them, I don’t tell them to come to church with me (although a few have offered to go with me), I don’t think that’s my place. And while I think it would be amazing to meet a “card-carrying” Christian, I personally am jaded against the whole lot because of the actions of those Christian men I have previously been involved with.
Thus I am stuck in this tug of war with my experiences and my beliefs. I know that when its just me and the guy it’s different than if we were ever to have children, but I’m also the type of person who believes that everyone has to choose their own path in life and while I would most definitely bring religion into my parenting style, I wouldn’t force it on any of my children. I would want them to know that their own beliefs, no matter how different from my own (like not murdering people obviously but ya know) were valued and accepted – even if I were to disagree.
What I look for in a potential partner is the respect that comes along with having those differences. My brother is completely different from me. While I will (and have) dated non-Christians in many different forms, he has a set list of denominations that he will date from. Like it doesn’t even apply to all Christians, just some. It’s so strange how limited he is in that. I look for the connection between myself and the guy and his heart and his character, not the fact that he does or doesn’t go to church on Sunday. Because, quite frankly, the ones that I have been involved with who have been active in their church like I would want a potential partner to be, have all been the worst of the men I have been involved with.
So while I’m sure that my pastor had some other good points about the Holy Spirit today as we were remembering the ascension of Christ after his resurrection, this is what has been in my mind all day. And I’m struggling with it.