Thursday, February 20, 2014

BEYOND UNEQUALLY YOKED {being equally matched}


"A woman's heart, John, is a strange instrument,
and few men have learned to play upon it skillfully."

The Withered Heart, 1857

My thoughts on marriage have evolved.   I think there was a time when I believed that all you needed was love.

Then I understood that God had certain requirements for believers.  They are to yoke themselves only with other believers. 

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?
and what communion hath light with darkness? 

- 2 Corinthians 6:14

Now, as I think about these punkins' of ours someday (far, far, far away in the future) getting married I realize there is more than that. 

Love?  Yes. 
Equally yoked?  Yes. 
But what about equally matched?

As a young person I hadn't heard much on the topic of courting, but my mom had always impressed upon me that dating was for the purpose of marriage.  In other words, if I couldn't see myself marrying that person, then I really had no reason to be dating them.  I know it saved me  from a lot of heart break.  Thanks, Mom!  

As a teenager, I met a guy who I thought I would want to marry (and I did!).  I would spend time with him at family gatherings.  He would play with children younger than himself, speak respectfully to adults and serve and spend time with his mom.  He was an unselfish boy who, not surprisingly, grew into an unselfish man. 

He is kind and playful with our children.  He happily serves me.  And the result is that we happily love and serve him in return.  There is no burden in our service.  His expectations for us are so low, that we are always sure to exceed them! 


I recently read an interesting book, The Withered Heart by Timothy Shay Arthur (Kindle version is $ .99- thanks, Lisa!) 

In the book, the author paints the picture of two young Christians who were unequally matched.  Long story short, it reminds young maidens that there are far worse things in this life than not being married. 

Just a bit of the story line:

The story involves a respected young man who pursues a lovely Christian girl.  He is well known and in a position of authority in the church.  He seems from the outside to be a good match for this gentle, sweet spirited girl.  

But John Hardy has a much different view of submission than Jane's father did.  And quite frankly, a young lady raised in a different environment would have been an easier match for him.  

Misunderstandings, unkind words and glances are a shock to the system of this delicate girl.  And emotionally she shuts down.  The consequence is that the very sunshine her husband wished for his home was snuffed out by his heavy handedness.

I am sure you have heard of several unhappy marriages over the years.  Often in hindsight, the warning signs were clear.  The author portrays similar warnings in his account:

- Although the young girl would look forward to seeing her fiance, when together she was not completely happy and when the young man left, the girl was left feeling pensive and unhappily distracted, feeling insecure about herself and the future.

-  The young man would never praise her efforts to please him.  If she performed some service (like singing) he would withhold his praise, causing her not to feel good enough.  She would work harder and harder, but unable to please, she eventually gave up on her natural talents. 

- The young girl had a negative first impression of the young man, but decided to ignore those impressions because so many other people seemed to think so highly of him within their church community.

- Her family also had a negative impression of him, but were afraid to voice it because the hearts of the young people had become connected prior to the courtship process.

For our home, marriage is still far off (did I mention far, far off- smile) but my thoughts on the topic seem to be coming into greater focus.

Praying for equally matched young people who will truly work side by side effectively for the kingdom of Christ.

Blessings friends,


We have some excited girls over here!  15 days and counting until we leave for Texas and the Christian Worldview Film Festival!  Will you be there?  We'd love to meet you! 



  1. Love this--such an insightful book, I think a valuable one for young people of BOTH genders to read!!

  2. Thank you for another fantastic recommendation, Lis. It was a great topic of conversation here with the older girls and very thought provoking for me as well. :)

  3. I've done a lot of thinking on this topic, too, Rebecca. And, though how we've practiced things (in our family) lines up with what you've written, I have difficulty, at times, knowing whether we're going beyond what God reveals in His Word--where marriages, that while difficult, were blessed by Him. (Think: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and his wives, David and Bathsheba). Perhaps some of these simply fall under the category of God making good things come from bad choices. So, while I don't advocate that we send our servants out (yeah, what servants, right?) to find spouses for our children, I do wonder if God has grander things in mind than what we picture for our kids. I do know that often, even though there might be a slight mismatch (I'm not saying throw our kids to the wolves) God often uses marriage as part of the sanctification process. Anyway, I'm not disagreeing with you, just thinking out loud. :)

  4. Thanks for the thoughts Walkers! It gives me the chance to clarify what may have been unclear in the post. I probably should have stated that we will never marry the “perfect person” nor are we perfect ourselves (unfortunately!).

    If it seemed I was making a case for being overly picky or to shy away from a slight mismatch, thank you for giving me the opportunity to deny that. :)

    The book being discussed did make a case that backgrounds, temperaments and how a daughter is impacted by particular personalities are considerations prior to marriage. What was pictured was probably more of a dating situation than what we would consider courting where certain pretty major elements were hidden. Something that does not often happen when families are together rather than a man courting "solo."

    We are so thankful for so many lovely examples of courting (including your family's example) that we have witnessed and do trust completely on God’s goodness for the future.

    Thanks again for voicing your thoughts! I'd love to hear if there are certain books or resources that you found helpful along the way.

    Much love,

  5. Hi Wendy,

    Back again! I wanted to take a moment before answering the suggestion that this topic may going beyond the Word of God. After some prayer and consideration, I thought these points might be worth considering. Yes, I think in three point outlines- ha! Bear with me, sister. I may officially be a nerd! :)

    1. I think that God is very clear that there are people He expects us to avoid. We are warned about the angry man, the fool, the lazy person etc. The Lord uses the Proverbs and many examples in the OT to help us navigate these behaviors and to show us that we will/should not be compatible with everyone. In fact, our children may suffer harm and serious consequence (like the example of David and Bethsheba) for neglecting God’s warnings. If that happens God can still bring good, but choosing something contrary to His will should not be our aim. I know you would agree and this may be what you meant by not “throwing our kids to the wolves.”

    2. When we consider some of the grander things God has in mind for our kiddos in the area of marriage, I think we should also remember what He has included in the Song of Solomon. We may think that being “in love” is a modern idea, but God shows us exactly that scenario. These two lovers were in harmony; they desired one another and were anything but duty bound to be together if ya know what I mean- wink, wink. ;) They seemed to bring out the best in one another and we might say they were well matched. They both loved and respected the other- a fantastic start if you ask me. :)

    3. And finally (maybe most importantly in relation to our discussion) the Lord has told us who we choose to marry is an issue of liberty. So we are free to have varying opinions on this topic. In 1 Corinthians 7:39 the LORD states that a widow “… is free to marry anyone she wishes, only in the Lord.” As long as a future mate is a Believer, a woman has a lot of liberty in her choice. It's not so much that these ideas are going beyond the Word of God as that He has given us room on purpose. In addition to personal preference, He gives us the ability to reason, to glean knowledge and to seek Him. We have room to chose to embrace a methodology like courtship-- or not The biblical aim is simply purity. And if a maiden chooses to yoke herself with someone she is equally matched and in love with as I would humbly suggest then (wohoo!) she is free to do that. If she chooses otherwise, then the old saying may prove to be true that the one who chooses hastily may “repent at leisure," ;) In either case, she will absolutely be sanctified by marriage and whatever God ordains if she is in the Lord.

    Thanks again for the thought provoking questions!

    With my love,

  6. Love it RJ! Well, said! Love these posts when you pull from scripture, books and your thoughts. Shortly after we were married, I spoke with a woman who described her daughter as wound and intense. The daughter was newly married to a man, who when he spoke to her brought peace to her and brought out her best. The women explained this was one of the reasons they encouraged her to marry him. It wasn't a perfect girl and a perfect guy but what they brought out in each other that was important. I absolutely agree that God uses marriage as part of the sanctification process. It is my prayer that my children's future spouses bring out their best and are patient with their worst. Willing to go to the cross together. I live it. Mike and I laugh at some of the immature things we did early in our marriage (not that we have arrived), but we still brought out what was best in each other, including being willing to be patient, say I'm sorry and move forward. A favorite quote: "A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other." I would add "and they bring out the best in each other."

  7. Wow! That is the perfect real life picture of being well matched, Dana! Thank you so much for sharing it and your thoughts. I love it! And I love the sweet marriage I see you and Mike have as well-- fun, love and service. A wonderful match!

    I stumbled across this article on the LAF site after writing this post:

    It is written from the perspective of a father who has raised four girls (three of whom are already married). His point #10 exactly hits the personality of a Mr. Hardy from the book I referenced, The Withered Heart. These are not slight behavioral issues, but what he calls "back away" issues. More food for thought. :)

    Thank you for the great dialog, friends!

    With love,