Monday, November 16, 2015

Equal Partners

I have two girls, an elementary-aged homeschooler and a teen in public school.  I tell them both (ad nauseum) “Don’t even DATE anyone who doesn’t love Jesus more than you.”  You may believe I am an old stick in the mud, but it is actually the adventure of living with God that has convinced me more than anything else of the wisdom of this idea.

For every woman who follows God, two things should be true.  First, she is a soldier in the army of the Lord.  He calls, she goes.  Second, she must be faithful in the circumstances of her life. 1 Corinthians 7 speaks to this powerfully.

This leads us to two possible conclusions.  Young men and women can chose to be soldiers first and soldiers only.  They can live celibate single lives with the aim of being free from entanglement, so they can go and serve God at a moment’s notice in any situation. Paul recommends this lifestyle in part because of the crisis of persecution his readers were facing. (1 Corinthians 7:7)

The second possible conclusion is that young men and women of faith can pair up.  If they both long to be of service in God’s Kingdom, they can be partners in their work.

This partnership extends to every arena.   Each can take turns with things like child care so the other can teach a Bible class.  They can go together on mission trips.  She can provide the hospitality, and he can provide the lesson, and between them they can be amazingly effective evangelists.  Not only are they both blessed in their “external” work but they are partners at home as well.  From family devotionals to family mission trips, child-rearing with two parents wholly dedicated to God is an adventure of its own.  A couple like this can pray and walk through any door God opens.

Unfortunately what I see happen on a fairly regular basis is a mental disconnect.  The ideas of being available to God and mate selection simply aren’t connected.  When these young women date, fall in love with, and marry men who aren’t committed to the Lord, they soon find themselves not only unsupported as Christian mothers but hampered as Christian workers altogether. 

The other day at the Senior Center where I volunteer, I walked past a flyer looking for volunteers to teach a class.  I called the number, and I’ll be teaching a ladies Bible class there in November.  The class will take up (with travel time, visiting etc) about 2 hours a week.  The preparations will take another couple of hours.  To my husband it is no big deal.  He supports me in my work just like I support him in his.  We prayed for more opportunities in our community; God provided, and I get to teach.  This would have been more difficult without my husband’s wholehearted commitment to God. 

However, there was a time when the answer to our prayers wasn’t a class at the senior center but a house church in a developing country.  The adventure God had in mind was selling everything we owned and spending the better part of a decade abroad.  He blessed us in a more ways than we can count, financially, physically, and in a fruitful work and growing family. But can you imagine that adventure if only one of us really wanted to serve God?  Impossible. 

Today I am talking to mothers and young women.  Mothers because what you tell your daughter to look for in a mate matters.  Young women because one of the men you date will become your spouse.   (If, on the other hand, you are already married to a man who isn’t a Christian, please don’t imagine that God doesn’t have work for you to do.  He does.  And the first of it is to be faithful in the responsibilities right in front of you. See 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 for more information.)

There are other reasons and scriptures that we could look to talk about the wisdom of marrying a faithful believer (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).  Yet I think this one reason is enough.  More than anything I want to be right in the middle of the awesome work God is doing in the world. In my living room, down the street or around the world, I want to be ready.  I have been blessed beyond measure to have an equal partner-a husband who follows God with all his heart, and I hope the Kingdom has been blessed by our work in the Father's service.  If you urge your daughters to genuine wholehearted service to God, urge them to find mates who mean to do the same!



  1. What a great word, Helene! What wisdom!

    My daughter is in college, and we often have these discussions. Does He love Jesus? Does he care about you and treat you with kindness?

    Sounds like you are having some great conversations with your girls!

    I came over on Soul Survivor today, and I'm glad to find your post. I shared it here:

    Hope you have a blessed day~

  2. I couldn't agree more! What an effective team for Christ when both are equally yoked! Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! :)

  3. This is very important Helene, unfortunately some people neglect it. It is the foundation to a successful and satisfying marriage, more so, a marriage that pleases God and fulfills purpose.
    Unequal yoking creates chaos and grief.
    Have a super blessed day from Wedded Wednesday!

  4. You are right on point, Helene! What you share at the outset is exactly what my daughter has told her two early teen daughters! Thanks so much for taking a powerful stand for the future marriages of your daughters and pointing the way to others who have children who are not yet in the dating/courting season. Children need to learn this early!!
    Blessings and grace,

  5. Thank you for your post, Helene, and for raising your daughters with standards! Although my husband and I were Christians when we met, I'm glad he didn't have strict standards for me. He married me knowing I had many flaws, and he still loves me. I'm trying to get better, but know that I'm still not perfect, so thank God my husband is forgiving and stays with me. I will keep in mind the tips for helping my kids pick out excellent future mates- thanks for the reminder! Visiting from the Grace and Truth linkup!

  6. Sarah, you have an excellent reminder here for all of us! We need to remind young people dating and married that they are marrying a person who sins just like they do and thus needs from them all the grace and forgiveness that God has so generously poured into their own lives!

  7. Hey stick in the mud.... you hang onto that mud. Don't get pulled around too much, every time a stick in the mud gets pulled one way or the other it gets a little easier to be pulled further out of the mud that they're holding firm to.