I faced something this past week that I didn't think I'd ever encounter: dating someone with different religious beliefs than mine.
I met this girl a month ago while playing in one of my Spades groups. She was a new guest that a mutual friend had invited. We kind of hit it off over this banter about me bleeding because I went to Spades after having given blood earlier in the day and was having trouble clotting. Over the next few weeks, we had a few long phone conversations, several text messages, I helped her do her taxes, she helped me prune my roses, and I ultimately invited her to be my partner for Spades two weeks later, after I went to be her support system for her donating blood (since she was nervous, having only done it once prior).
Then she found out last week that she was getting a work promotion/transfer to Denver in early April. That prompted us to each share that we were developing feelings for each other, and were mutually sad about the prospect of her departure. I had found out while pruning roses, that while she used to go to my Fresno church (I didn't know this then), she was now attending a church of Religious Science. I shared with her in the same phone call about her transfer, that differing faiths was a dealbreaker for me, and that we needed to discuss that further (since she hadn't thought there was a difference between my church and hers) if we were going to pursue a relationship. She respected that, was open to further talks, and had actually started coming back to my church the Sunday prior. With her upcoming move, we decided to embrace the chance to--if nothing else--become better friends and enjoy the time we had before her move.
I let that sit for awhile. We actually spent most of the weekend together: she hosted Spades at her house Friday night, we walked around a thrift store and had lunch on Saturday before I had to work, she came over for dinner and a movie Saturday night, we went to 1st service together at church before she had to work, and then we went over for an early dinner to a couple's house in my church that I was close friends with.
I got some counsel from another couple after my Bible Study with them Sunday night about what to do about this. I realized I was letting things go too far before having the serious talk that we needed to have.
So on Monday night I started by reading through the verses in my church doctrinal statement, and was finding a lot of encouragement and conviction. She called when I was a third of the way through. We talked, and I asked her if she had looked more into the doctrines of the two churches. Ultimately, she agreed more--but not absolutely--with mine. She wanted to read her Bible more and own it for herself, but she wasn't at a place of affirming things like the inerrancy of Scripture until she had read more.
We're still friends, but I had to realize that we weren't going to move forward romantically.
This was an interesting growth experience for me. The verses about being unequally yoked always seemed so obvious to me before now. But then when you're in the thick of a situation, the water seems cloudy. I need to remember that God always desires to shine the clarity of his truth into any circumstance.