My boyfriend and I have been together for three years. He showers me with gifts and brings me to good places to eat. He has been with me through my ups and downs. We never even have sex because we promised to save that for our marriage. He is a good man and I’m so lucky to have him. With all these positive affirmations about him, I never really think that our different faith or religion mattered until fairly recently.
Back in April 2019, I accepted Jesus Christ into my life. I picked up the bible again and started sharing about our Father in Heaven to my surroundings. Unfortunately, that was when our relationship deteroriated.
My boyfriend was an avid agnostic.
To add salt to the wound, his previous relationships ended because of different faith and belief. My sudden emergence to follow Christ made my boyfriend really afraid he was going to lose me due to religion again.
I shared this matter to my Christian acquaintances and mentors. What did I get out of these conversations? You can guess. Everyone told me to put off the relationship because of our different faith or religion. If I get a dollar when someone pushes this verse to my face, I would be as rich as King Solomon.
“2 Corrinthians 6:1 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
Back then, talking with these people made me feel immensely guilty. I felt guilt because it made me seem like I love my boyfriend more than Christ. Many Christian pages on Instagram shared encouraging quotes about being in a same faith relationship, but it made me feel even more discouraged.
I felt so sinful, dirty and unworthy of Christ’s love due to the fact I’m dating a non-Christian man.
Since then, I unconsciously made my boyfriend walk on eggshells – I was trying so hard to find a mistake from him so I have an excuse to break up with him. We ended up fighting a lot, and I believe that’s not how Jesus wanted us to treat the people in our lives.
People tested me a lot about this matter. If I love Jesus Christ like I claimed, why did I choose to date someone with different faith? Well, that was because I got into Jesus Christ in the middle of our relationship and that’s how I got stuck with my boyfriend now.
After lots of trial and error of trying to break up with him and causing more problems, I decided to stop and have peace with myself. I don’t want to feel unworthy of Christ’s love because I’m stuck with a non Christian man. I believe that’s the lie Satan is trying to feed me with. After all, Jesus picked me to become his follower when I was in a relationship with a man from a different faith.
Here are three effective ways how I cope with my interfaith relationship and have peace with myself and God’s word:
1) Love your enemy
“Luke 6: 35-36 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Anyone who doesn’t accept Jesus Christ in our lives can be labelled as our enemy. Even though that’s partially true, that is not an excuse to treat other people less. If I break up with my boyfriend and start treating him less like how I used to, my boyfriend will get a negative image of Christianity due to my behavior.
The last thing I wanted to happen is someone hating on Christian teachings because of negative stereotyping.
Since Christianity is a religion of love and grace, why don’t we try to extend that to our loved ones? Even though he has a different faith from me, I choose to stay with him because breaking up with him will fuel his resentment for Christians and Jesus Christ in general. However, that is not the only reason why I stayed with him.
2) Be a good example
I choose to stay with my boyfriend because I want to try to represent Christianity in a good light to his eyes. I am deeply aware that I’m far from perfect, but I try to do simple things like evidently showing compassion and respect to his parents and listening to my boyfriend’s different opinion without blowing up.
Before I came to Christ, I was a huge bellyacher, meaning I complained a lot. My grumblings went from Jakarta’s horrific traffic to my leaking mascara. Being the saint he is, my boyfriend never protested my erratic behavior.
Now that Jesus Christ has been a prominent part of my life, I am seriously trying to change my bad habit. There are days where I still complain – yes, I acknowledge that my flesh is weak to temptations – but before I realized it, my complainings were diminished greatly. Some things that used to annoy me no longer bring a vein to pop on my head.
When we surrender our lives to Jesus, I believe all is well and done.
Jesus helps you to conquer your sin. The best thing is, He is the one fighting it, not you!
My boyfriend jokingly admits that he misses me complaining because it’s not me if I’m not complaining. I shrug his joke with a laugh. There are still many sins I need to conquer slowly, but one thing I know for sure, it’s working. I just hope that if I demonstrated a series of positive and loving behavior to my boyfriend, he will come to Christ one day.
If that’s the case, we did it, girls! Interfaith relationship is no more!
3) You are allowed to be in this relationship for a reason
I believe things happen for a reason. Even though I’m in this relationship due to my free will, I believe this may happen because God allows it.
I tried breaking up with my boyfriend several times in the past but always failed to do so. My boyfriend always gives me a reason to stay. Not through sweet words, lavish gifts or money, but the way he chose to stand by me during the roughest of days.
I want to believe that there is a reason why God puts me into this relationship and allows me to face this ordeal. God knows you more than anybody else in this world, and believe me when I tell you that he knows all your sins, shame and quirks. He creates you after all. He knows so much about you that even your hairs are numbered.
“Jeremiah 1:5 “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
When you’re stuck in an interfaith relationship like me, please also have peace with yourself.
God does not hate you, but He has a plan for you.
He is trying to teach you a lesson through this, and no matter what it is, we always have to abide and have faith in Him.
Before I end this article, please kindly note that I don’t support or romanticize different faith relationships. This article is written for the girls and boys who are already stuck like me and try to find their way from there. Please don’t think that you are unworthy of God’s blessings and grace because you date someone from a different faith. Whether you choose to stay or separate, please kindly pray to the Lord to show the best way for you. As long as you have faith, nothing is impossible.
This article is hard for me to write, but that’s because I choose to be vulnerable, raw and honest about my struggles and joys to follow Christ. Being a Christian might be a struggle, but let’s not struggle alone. Subscribe to The Struggling Christian for encouraging blog posts every week!