More than one dinner out ended with me crying at the table in frustration, so we started eating at dimly lit restaurants. It was my family, the only community I had known, my education, and my profession, but it simply wasn’t for the person I loved. Luckily, Adam’s patience was just as strong as his stubbornness, and he put up with Sunday services, my parents prophesying over him, and the celibacy that I had committed to as a 13-year-old (despite the fact that I’d lost my purity ring, oops).
He tried to explain to me that maybe, just maybe, our differences had more to do with rhetoric and semantics than actual value disparities, but I couldn’t accept that. As we passed milestones in our relationship and continued to circle the major issues dividing us, other problems arose — namely, our different cultural expectations.
Question: "Should Christians of different denominations date or marry? The Bible speaks of being "unequally yoked" (2 Corinthians ), but this only refers to believers and unbelievers.
I didn’t want to believe it at the time, but I knew he was right. And yet, there was something that couldn’t keep us apart.
A week after he had shed one of his rare tears kissing me that final goodbye, he stood outside the crappy Italian restaurant I was working at and asked if we could "try." And so began the most difficult journey of my life to date.
Sure, we were both college-educated Americans, but the people in my community got married early — like, ring-by-senior-year-of-college early — and then proceeded to have three kids before Adam’s friends could finish their doctoral dissertations.
By 27, I had been to over 50 weddings, while Adam had been to one.
While parts of me couldn’t stand the community I came from — why else would I be dating someone outside my faith?
— parts of me also longed for the comforts of being inside the community and for Adam to understand the importance of that, too. Even though Facebook posts about how God had blessed so-and-so with the #mostamazingwifeever #blessed #createdforme made me vomit in my mouth a little, I also secretly wanted these small badges that meant I had arrived at the vaunted status of "coupled" in the evangelical culture.If there are major disagreements in doctrinal beliefs, the couple must agree to disagree, and at the same time agree on how to raise children and agree on how to live out the Christian faith.It is best for a couple to agree doctrinally, but the most important issue is faith in Christ, love for one another, and a desire to have a God-honoring relationship.Adam was raised a secular humanist, a "nonreligous lifestance" that deemphasizes the role a God-like entity plays in a person’s life and emphasizes making good personal decisions.His family was so far left and my family so far right, they practically came back around the circle.He was unlike anyone I had dated before — those guys were typically youth pastors or fellow missionaries.