A personal testimony of trying by Jessica Santosa
“Don’t date an unbeliever.” Preachers at church, trusted friends and mentors would tell me this daily, but my limbic brain would override my pre-frontal cortex, and off I sped in the Ferrari of romantic recklessness right into the arms of Mr A, B, C, D and finally, Mr E – the hardest one of all to let go.
Of course, from Mr A to E, common denominators were obvious. They were each confident in their pursuit, able to ask me out on pleasant dates, make me laugh, and…did not subscribe their hearts to a committed relationship with Jesus.
If you’re anything like me, someone else’s mistake is not enough to deter you, no matter how powerfully your Pastor might plead “do not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever”:
“He saw me performing the other night and immediately wanted to get to know me better,” my need-to-be-pursued self would flitter, blushing. “Guys at church don’t do that, at least not many of the ones I like back.”
“He’s such a gentleman, and so well established. He owns two houses, a successful business and a yacht on the harbour,” my need-for-stability-and-security self would justify. “Guys at church don’t have any of that! They barely know how to budget.”
“He makes me laugh so hard! And I don’t have to take care of him at a party,” my need-for-a-man-with-awesome-social-skills self would exclaim. “Guys at church are sooooo socially awkward!”
But after ‘Week Two’ of casually dating these Mr-Perfect-non-Christian types, very real issues typically come to the fore:
- He didn’t agree with my strong physical boundaries
- He didn’t understand why church was such a big deal to me, and why that couldn’t be our ‘separate interest’
- He couldn’t comprehend why I gave God so much credit for who I was as a person
- I confessed that I expected him to eventually become a church-committed, Jesus loving Christian, which didn’t go down well
While I harp on all the time about starting with a strong friendship, advocating a slow pace at the beginning of meeting new singles, Mr E was the epitome of slow-build trust, which resulted in slow-burn care and genuine, informed interest about the other.
Our platonic friendship was comfortable for 12 months, where I would go to speaking conferences with him in no make-up, glasses and sometimes even my pyjama bottoms. And after months of hanging out and talking about other love interests on the radar, he became one of my closest friends.
Mr E and I could talk for hours without being bored, our silences comfortable, all because we travelled the road of our friendship not suspecting that the other would jump out of the “Safe List” onto the “Potential Suitors List”.
I could call him after a stressful day at work and vent to him for hours, where he would summarise every word I said in a few sentences, bringing me to revelations, not unlike the magical skills of a trained counsellor.
And on that fateful Saturday night when we kissed for the first time, the fireworks in my chest brought upon the words “I trust you completely”. Mr E looked at me without a second thought and said “I think I’ve earned it, Jess.” The question of whether dating a non-Christian was right or wrong seemed a hapless waste of time in that moment. Within the circle of his arms we discussed our desires for a committed relationship, our expectations and dreams: “Would you want me to come to church with you… every single Sunday?”
What do you think? My own faith and beliefs in Christ simply won’t let me comfortably be a part of a non-Christian relationship. Even with Mr E. Deep down I know I want to be with a man that understands me, my faith, and shares the same hopes and beliefs for the world and life that were brought to his heart by that first acquaintance with Jesus.
I’ve seen amazing Christian couples in my world. A couple I know waited a number of years to marry, and with two adopted kids later they still act like infatuated teenagers well into their 70s. My girlfriend told me that her fiancé constantly asks her “what does God say about you?” when she is feeling low about herself, initiating a study on Psalm 139 as a couple.
It would be very hard to say I’m happy to wait indefinitely for the right partner. I’m just as needy for intimacy, love and connection as anyone else. While I’m growing impatient, with plenty of non-Christian men who have asked me for commitment, there is a deep resolve inside of me that tells me to wait for a little while longer.
So wherever you are on this journey, my advice would be this – ask yourself what you would like in your companion, and write it all down. Enjoy the company and friendship of people who do not share your faith, but be brutally honest with yourself and others about what you currently require in a relationship.
‘Jessica Santosa is a young and current Poet & Personal Development Blogger in the community, for more related content and advice be sure to visit her site www.jessica-santosa.com‘