“I Like an Atheist, but I Don’t Want to Marry Him. What Are My Limits?”

    I think I like a guy who is an atheist…I don’t want to marry him or have a long-term relationship, but what should the limits be?

    Girl, when I first read your question, I was a bit concerned! And my initial—and pretty much only—response was “Why?” Why would you want to get involved in such a situation? It’s only going to lead to heartbreak…not just for you, but maybe even for the guy, too! You write that you “don’t want to marry him” or have a long-term relationship, so what do you want?

    It seems to me that you want to get into a relationship that you don’t intend on pursing wholeheartedly. You’ve already decided on the outcome–you know he’s not right for you because he’s not a Christian. So why get involved at all? Is it because he’s cute? He’s a challenge? You want to change him? What are your intentions?

    If you think about it, what positive scenario could come out of getting involved with him?

    Not only are Christians called to not be yoked with nonbelievers, but they’re also called to remain pure until marriage. And so dating should be the first stage of meeting a person you hope to marry. If things go well, and both you and the guy seem compatible, then you move on to courting. It’s at this stage that you discuss marriage, but even so, you would remain pure and avoid situations that may cause the two of you to stumble.

    So, in answering your question, if you’re not intending on pursuing a relationship with this guy, it’s best not to get involved with him. Anything else could lead to heartbreak.

    Here’s what I think you should do:

    1. Put yourself in this guy’s shoes. What if he liked you and wanted to see what he could get away with, but he would never consider you for marriage? Would you feel hurt?
    2. Learn what your Christian faith teaches about dating, relationships, purity and marriage.
    3. Don’t get into any relationship unless the guy is a candidate for marriage. Seriously! If you’re not striving for marriage in a manner consistent with your Christian faith, then it will only lead to someone getting  hurt.

    Good luck and God bless!

    Need some advice? Ask your relationship questions in the Ask Olivia Girl Talk forum or in the comments below and I might answer them in a future article!

    Ask Olivia
    Got a question about boys, your besties or God? I'm here to help! As the girl all my friends always came to for advice, I've turned my girl talk, level-headedness and love of Jesus into a job -- one I love because I was a teen not long ago, too! Click into Ask Olivia in our Girl Talk Forums to ask me a question!


    1. I have a question. Lately I’ve had a burning desire to witness. I’ve started to a little at my school, but sometimes, I’m afraid I’m messing up somehow. Like, how can I tell the difference between what I want to do and the Holy Spirit’s promptings? I’m afraid of messing up my friend’s life with one mistake!

      • Kudos to you for having the desire to witness!! It’s scary, believe me I know, but it’s beautiful!!
        I can’t claim to know everything about discerning the spirits, but I do know that if your heart is moved by the Holy Spirit (as opposed to it being from ourselves or the devil) it will bring you peace. Anything that does not bring you peace is not from God. His Spirit may be strong and moving, but it is always peaceful. If you want to read more about this, the book Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Reverend Jacques Phillipe talks about it!!
        Also, about being afraid of messing up, don’t worry about it!! If you are relying on the Holy Spirit to move you, then you can’t go wrong!
        I hope that helps!! 🙂

      • One thing to reneged as well is that it is not in any way in your control whether your friend is saved or not. God is in control! He will have them hear exactally what they needed to hear. He is all powerful and good. He will do what is best. We are just His tools. He is the artisan. If things go wrong, its His fault not yours (and lets not forget that he is perfect and so wont make mistakes.)

    2. Objection! Doesn’t the bible teach that there is someone for all of us? And that we should not judge others for their faults. This girl should try experimenting and seeing id he could be someone for her. And to tell the truth most atheists just don’t tryto believe in anything. Maybe he is her true other half and he just needs someone to guide him.

      • But then they will be unequally yolked, as the Bible specifically states NOT to be. If he needs some guidance, it’s better to do it as a friend than for her to risk being negatively influenced by the world. Also, the Bible does not say anywhere that ‘there is someone for all of us.’ In fact, it says that being single can be a good thing! “Sometimes I wish everyone were single like me—a simpler life in many ways! But celibacy is not for everyone any more than marriage is. God gives the gift of the single life to some, the gift of the married life to others.” (1 Corinthians 7:7, MSG Version) The whole idea of trying to date a non-Christian is opening up a path for the Devil to sneak in and splinter the girl’s relationship with God through easy temptation.

        • 1 Corinthians 7:14.
          You don’t know if God put you in their life to help save them, but the light of God did draw them to you for a reason.
          Live in peace.

      • The bible does NOT say there is someone out their for everyone. For example, take a look at this passage:1 Corinthians 7:25-39. Paul, the author of this passage is saying in some circumstances it is GOOD to remain single. So by no means does the bible support the idea that everyone has their “other half”. Also, you are right in saying we are not to judge others (Matthew 7:1-3) however, the type of judgement the bible talks about it in an entirely different context: who are you to say someone is wrong when you yourself is wrong? But this does NOT mean that we should enter into a committed and binding relationship with those who are not believers. This bible is excruciatingly clear: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14 And this passage applies in so much more than a romantic relationship. It can apply to your friendships, Christian business relationships, Contractual relationships (sometimes even within churches), etc. Really any type of relationships that a believer will come across. Simple as that.

    3. My boyfriend of 3+ years was not a believer when we began dating, so…. maybe I wasn’t making God too happy at the time. But I solidly kept to my principles and beliefs and I didn’t let him influence those. And, in case this changes the situation at all…he wasn’t atheist. He was agnostic, and very open minded about listening to my testimony and even going to church with me despite not being a believer in creationism or a “church kinda guy”.
      Looking back, though, I was very smothering and somewhat forceful about him learning to love God the way that I do in the beginning, and I didn’t realize until much later on that if I wanted him to find God, I had to let him do it himself.

      So I prayed. I backed off and I prayed and I just lived the way I knew God wanted me to, trying to involve my boyfriend as much as I could. I stopped bugging him to come to church with me every Sunday, and eventually he started coming on his own. We would go to community fundraisers, volunteer at senior homes and church festivals, and one day, after a Sunday morning service…he turned to me and said “When we prayed in there just now…I felt him. I felt God.”

      I’m not saying you should just jump right into a relationship with an atheist….I’m just saying that God puts people in our lives for a reason 🙂

      • Being a believer is not just about feeling God. It’s about the gospel: You know you are a sinner, that EVERYONE is a sinner. The penalty for sin is death – eternal damnation apart from God. But God loves us so much that he sent his son, Jesus (who is also God, a part of the trinity) to die in our place. Jesus died on that cross taking upon our sins and suffering that separation from God. All we have to do is: confess and believe. Romans 10:9 “f you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”. That being said, yes, often “feeling God” is involved in salvation (i.e. you often feel the freedom and POWERFUL love wash over you when you give your heart to Him), but a relationship with Jesus Christ – true Christianity- is more than feelings. So I would be cautious and truly evaluate their testimony when a prospective spouse say’s they are a believer. And this goes with more than romantic relationships, but any other relationship you have with anyone who says they are a believer.

    4. HELP!! My BFF is forgeting me! She has always absolutely NEEDED a boyfriend to keep her happy… like since 6th grade. Her new boyfriend, Noah is a Christian as well as her; in other words they are both Christians lol. Everything’s about HIM and their marriage and kids and other stuff like that. We can never talk about our friendship, or boys, or Jesus. It’s just him. The only time they arent talking is when they’re sleeping… I’m not even sure about that lol. Through church, in school, at home! They stay on skype till like 5 am, the only reason they get off is bc her mom comes in and takes her laptop. Should I get involved in this? Help!

    5. There are only two books in the bible named after women: Esther and Ruth. Esther was a Jew who God directed to marry a Persian who did not believe in Him. She had a destiny to save the Jews from annihilation and to soften the heart of a man who did not believe. Ruth was a woman born into a sacrificial pagan religion who had a destiny to marry a man who loved God and then to continue the lineage of Jesus. Don’t write people off. Do pray for them. Do search your heart and ask God if they are part of your plan. Don’t be judgemental and think that because they don’t believe they don’t deserve your time. Those are the people you should be loving. People of all backgrounds and beliefs will be drawn to the light that God has placed in your heart. You can’t change them, only the holy spirit can. But please do not live in your safe “Christian” bubble. Yes, the bible does say that you should not be yoked with unbelievers. But it also says in 1Corinthians 7:14 that “the unbelieving husband is sanctified (or set apart for the use of it’s intended designer) by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children will be unclean, but now they are holy.” God uses you to love and save others. Don’t forget that.

    6. In the 5th grade, I started liking this boy. Not for his looks, but his personality. He was nice, didn’t pick on me like many others did, and had a bright heart. I liked him all through middle school even, and in the 8th grade, we had all but 2 classes together. We would talk to each other everyday, and sat beside each other in most of my classes. But, one day his step-brother told me he was atheist. I couldn’t believe the guy I liked so long was atheist! I wasn’t a Christian yet, but I knew about being unequally yoked. I really liked him, but knew I couldn’t date him. But, when we got to high school is when he really became worse. He said inappropriate things and used vulgar language, and also picked on me a lot. The boy I once liked had disappeared and I didn’t know what to do. Then one day, he called me self superior saying I thought I was better than everyone else because I didn’t use profanity. I walked away, and didn’t talk to him for 4 months. He eventually came up to me and started talking to me. I don’t know why after he was so mean to me, but I can only pray for him and for your situation. Please, no matter how much you like him, don’t get into that relationship, but instead pray for him, and if he accepts God, and you are meant to be with him, then you will. Let go, and let God! Philippians 4:13-“For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

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