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Q&A: Is It Okay To Date an Unbeliever?

I like a boy who isn’t a Christian. Is it okay to date him?

Living the Christian lifestyle is such an amazing experience! God loves us so much that He does everything He can to protect us. He even left us a guide, the Holy Bible, so that we can live this life more successfully. Since we know that God’s Word should be the ultimate authority in our lives, let’s consider what the Bible says about our interactions with nonbelievers.

It’s the responsibility of all believers to spread the Gospel, which means that we must spend adequate time with nonbelievers. Jesus dined with sinners and spent time with people that most of society rejected because He knew this was the only way to reach the lost. It’s also our responsibility to make sure that others hear the good news about our Savior.

However, God also warns His children not to bond themselves to nonbelievers. The Bible says this:

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:14-16).

It’s very important to God that we remain focused on Him; therefore, He warns us about having close relationships with people who don’t share the same love for Him.

If you do decide to date an unbeliever, it’s likely that one of two things will happen:

  • The two of you may grow apart because of your different beliefs. After all, light and darkness can’t occupy the same space. What happens when you turn on the light in a dark room? The darkness goes away. Similarly, what happens when you turn off the light in a room that is already lit? It becomes dark. It might be helpful to spare yourself the frustration and heartbreak of dating someone who doesn’t share your light for Jesus.
  • You may become distracted. The enemy is deceitful and he will use anyone or anything to try to distance you from God. This includes your family, friends, and even your boyfriend. God knows that people sometimes make poor decisions because “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). God tries to help us limit such distractions when He tells us to form close relationships with others who are focused on living for Him. This was so important to Jesus that He only sent His disciples out in pairs, so that when one was weak the other was there to strengthen him.

I know this may be tough to hear, but it’s probably best to avoid dating boys who aren’t walking in faith with God. PLEASE don’t go into the relationship thinking that you can change him because YOU CAN’T–only The Holy Spirit can do that. You CAN witness to him and pray that he’ll one day receive God into his heart, but consider the potential grief that you’d experience if you decided to date someone who isn’t yet in love with God.

Written by Aysha Ives

Image: Hemera | Thinkstock + Project Inspired


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  1. RAGdoll392

    Posted by RAGdoll392 on June 23, 2012 at 21:55

    I do agree that it’s not a good decision to date a non-Christian, but I’m just wondering why it was implied that non-Christians were “sinners” and “wicked”. Did you mean only to refer to atheists and extreme nonbelievers such as these, or does this apply to even Jews or Muslims? I don’t see them as wicked.

  2. Project Inspired

    Posted by kaylabrat19 on June 9, 2012 at 00:03

    Oh my gosh… I am going through the exact same thing! I feel like I love him but Im not sure if its wrong to date him.

  3. Project Inspired

    Posted by Rinda 3 on June 8, 2012 at 05:30

    Can I just ask, what if you know you are strong enough not to get distracted and you believe you can help them and guide them to God. A thing we should also remember is that they can change, but it will take time. Many of our family friends has dated nonbelievers and guided them to God, so can it be worth having a go to help them in the right direction?

    • princessladk

      Posted by princessladk on April 16, 2018 at 15:09

      I would warn against doing that: “missionary dating” because although you are right, people CAN change, it is not for you to enter into a relationship like that in order to win them to Christ. All too frequently men (or boys) will manipulate you rather than truly coming to Christ themselves. Usually what happens is not the believer bringing the unbeliever to Christ, but rather the unbeliever tearing the believer down, making them drift away (even if it’s ever so slightly) from their faith. If you want to evangelize, even to the boy you like, DO NOT agree to date until they become believers. But do not become so distracted with them that you may lose sight of the man God really wants you to be with. “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

  4. Project Inspired

    Posted by misssproat on June 2, 2012 at 15:17

    Okay, my parents were unequally yoked but as they were dating my mom was witnessing to my dad. My dad is a very strong Christian now. Sometimes “missionary dating” (which by the way, you shouldn’t date someone so you can just be a missionary is wrong in my opinion) doesn’t work. Just pray and follow God’s path for you.

  5. ruthie27064Him

    Posted by ruthie27064Him on May 28, 2012 at 19:43

    This article is so true! Love it! Also, I don’t find the character of non-believers particularly attractive. Even if I was to date some one at this age, it wouldn’t be a non-believer for the very reason that I am a stranger of the world, and he, as a non-believer, would be it’s friend. The number one thing I look for in a guy is godliness. Plain and simple, that’s what’s most attractive, to me at least.

  6. Project Inspired

    Posted by MollyZoe on May 23, 2012 at 12:34

    I dated a none believer and he ended up being a believer because of my love for christ

  7. poliwag48

    Posted by poliwag48 on May 21, 2012 at 06:05

    This is WONDERFUL adivice. My mom married a unbeleiver and he abused al of us. I believe this was because of him not having Christ in his heart. He would also comstantly calim “Jesus was just a good a=man” which affected our spirituality.

  8. Project Inspired

    Posted by allycat494 on May 19, 2012 at 20:57

    For me I think it’s okay only if he is willing to come to Christ.

  9. Project Inspired

    Posted by RyleighGiraffeFarar on May 10, 2012 at 18:02

    What if the guy you are interested in is of a different religion? Like Jahova’s witness? Or lutheran or Catholic and you are a Christian? I have a crush on a Lutheran, and was wondering if it was okay to date him, since he is not a non-believer, but not a christian.

  10. sundate520

    Posted by sundate520 on April 28, 2012 at 15:24

    What if the guy is a Catholic?

  11. Project Inspired

    Posted by ditzydarling on April 24, 2012 at 17:54

    I can so relate to this question! My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 5 months, but the problem is that he’s not a Christian 🙁 I am really stubborn and I made the mistake of thinking I could handle this relationship. It’s been way harder than I expected, and I’ve done some things I shouldn’t have. Although I haven’t had sex with my boyfriend, I’ve become so attatched to him that I can’t bear the thought of letting him go. It’s really hard to stand strong and stick with my values when I don’t have him leading me in the direction God wants for me. Being with my boyfriend has changed me, and I’m struggling trying to figure out who I really am. I know I need to do something, but I don’t know what. I tried to break up with this guy as soon as I realized he was not God’s best for me, but after a couple days I drifted back into a relationship with him because I missed him so much.

    • estelle_marie

      Posted by estelle_marie on August 25, 2013 at 15:00

      Hi. Reading your comment really struck a chord in me,because I just recently got out of a year long relationship with a non believer. And from the minute I laid eyes on the guy, I loved him-or so I thought. Before we even started dating, he treated me so badly that he made me cry every day. A few months later, I was with my boyfriend at a dance, and me and the guy started dancing together during the last song of the night, we probably shouldn’t have been dancing like we were. Anyways, our faces were just really close together,and his eyes just pulled me into kissing him, we kissed for about ten seconds and stopped and looked at him, and he looked at me, and as soon as the song stopped I went running into the bathroom. Well.. I broke up with my boyfriend and we started dating two days later. For the first month or so we were happy as we could be, but then everything started changing. The guy started getting into really bad drugs and alcohol, and he’d go weekends without talking to me. I’d cry and cry and even self harm (i’d been self harming for two years before hand anyways) to get his attention, and he still wouldn’t care. By the fifth or sixth month, he started demanding sex, but I wasn’t ready. He even told me he would cheat on me if I wouldn’t have sex with him. He would drag me into the bathroom after school and force me to do things.. and that’s when everything started to go wrong.. he just became this crazy sex monster. In January, he made me do things a level above that.. (we never actually had sex) but they were things I would have never everrrr done before marriage. I felt terrible, but I thought we were meant to be together, so I was okay with it. I was in the “missionary dating” thing, and how was I even supposed to be a missionary when we weren’t even doing the right things anymore? Needless to say, my relationship with God wasn’t good. I started to not pray, I started to think He wasn’t for me, which just made me extremely depressed. But I had become so attached to this guy that I didn’t know what to do.He had made me so isolated I didn’t have any friends anymore. (Except for the real ones.) I broke up with him early June, and it was hard.. I avoided talking to him for four days. I knew it was going to end soon, but I didn’t know what I was going to say. I was at my friends house and he called me, I answered the phone and told him I was breaking up with him,he tried to guilt me into staying with him, but I just had that feeling in my stomach. And as soon as I got off the phone, I teared up a little, but I smiled and for the first time in a while, I KNEW God was on my side. And when God is on your side, who can stand against you?? Now, two months later, I have a great relationship with God, I’m still healing from the breakup because it was a year and roughly two months long, but I know this guy isn’t for me, and he never was and he never will be, and God is still on my side,God is healing me, and He is writing my perfect love story… with a man that loves Him! Because that is what God really wants for His children. I wouldn’t take a chance on this guy, until he accepts Jesus. I’m by no means saying your boyfriend will do these things to you, or that you guys aren’t “meant to be” but why even take the chance right now? These things WILL start mattering down the road, and if you guys really are meant to be, you guys will be,so why even worry about breaking up with him and waiting until he is a believer? Again, I’m not trying to pressure you in any way,I’m just sharing my experience with dating a non believer. But just remember, God is on your side 🙂 (and I know this is extremely late,but i was creepin on this article lol)

  12. so_shedances

    Posted by so_shedances on April 22, 2012 at 21:33

    There was a point in my life (very recently!) where I went chasing after the answer to this question. I wanted someone to tell me, “Yeah, it’s perfectly fine to date a non-Christian!” I was head-over-heels for this guy who was not a Christian. He told me point-blank, “I’m not too big on religion” when I attempted to witness to him once. I asked God to help me take away my feelings for him. It took a fight and a temporary loss of our friendship for that to happen but during that time I realized that God is TOO important to me and to date someone who doesn’t love God (or even believe in Him) the same way I do is plain wacky! When you date a non-Christian, you risk not having the same values and that can put you in compromising situations. But when you’re in a relationship with a Christian, he’ll treat you like a princess because our Father is a King, ladies. And he won’t want to upset the King. lol Jokes aside, when two people have God at the head of their lives, seek His guidance and truly love each other, it can’t fail. There are no “what if’s?”

  13. Project Inspired

    Posted by Melody on April 20, 2012 at 15:57

    Ok so I just broke up with my boyfriend of almostten months this past Monday. I suppose te only reason I’m whole right no is becuase we broke up last year once already. The thing is, this time I did it, but I’m miserable. He’s no a believer, and I know I’m no supposed to be linked with him, but what do you do when you fall for someone? Our relationship is very serious, and I just really need to fix this. One part of me wants to b with him and be happy as only he can make me, but another part warns me that we aren’t going to get along and I won’t be in some aspects. Problem is, I think the former side of me is stronger. I’m desperate for help~!

  14. Project Inspired

    Posted by Panda-Peace on April 19, 2012 at 07:18

    I would say, start taking him to church, maybe?

  15. hnj922

    Posted by hnj922 on April 6, 2012 at 10:26

    My church just got done haveing a lesson about this. At first i thought it was okay to date a no- beliver but ive come to find out that it is easier for someone to bring you down then for u to pull them up. What im saying is that if you go out with a non- beliver then it will be easier for him to pull u down from your belives then it is to bring him up.

  16. Project Inspired

    Posted by Angelsgirl4 on January 29, 2012 at 14:39

    I think that if you like a non-believer, but decide to date him anyway, you should share Christ with him. Don’t be too hard with all the God stuff but maybe you can find a way to ease God into your relationship… then you could set an example for him. My chruch youth group leader said that she used to date the bad boys in high school just so she could save them. I hope to be the same if he doesn’t know God<3

  17. Project Inspired

    Posted by Ezziani on January 24, 2012 at 16:57

    Personally, I don’t think it’s bad or wrong. Some people who aren’t Christians ACT like Christians (kind, loving, caring, ect.), and I think it depends more on the person than their belief. Yes, there will be some differences in opinions but if each person respects the other person’s religion, I’m sure it would work out fine.

  18. Project Inspired

    Posted by sophiejo on January 22, 2012 at 08:35

    i like a non beleiver too and i know i shouldnt but as long as you stay true to god its okay infact i think it would be more holy to change somebody instead of ignoring your crush

  19. Project Inspired

    Posted by godislove on January 12, 2012 at 17:29

    Right now, I’m dating a wonderful boy who is intelligent, sweet, caring, beautiful… and Jewish. We discuss religion, and respect each other’s beliefs. We share the same values of love, kindness, purity, etc. I’m very happy in our friendship, and I feel blessed that God has put him into my life. It doesn’t seem like a bad thing…

  20. Marianna

    Posted by Marianna on January 5, 2012 at 21:39

    I know it’s probably hard, but this is pretty much true, especially the second one. I’m trying to save dating until I’m ready for marriage, because that’s sort of what it’s for. It is a prelude to marriage. It’s also a good idea to marry someone of your own type of Christianity, because that way there’s a lot less confusion over church, and what church to have the wedding in. For instance, if one wants to have it in the Catholic Church, and the other one in the Protestant Church, then there’s probably going to be a bit of conflict. Also, I don’t think all the marriage services of Christianity are the same. For instance, in the Orthodox Church, we do not include the “‘Til death to us part.” because we believe that the love continues on after death, and again when they meet in heaven.

    • Stephanie

      Posted by Stephanie on January 6, 2012 at 21:41

      The kinds of Christianity part is just so difficult. I’m not dating yet either by the way(personal good decision!), but my sister is protestant and married a catholic. my dad used to be baptist but was non-denomination after he married my mom who was non-denominational. Actually she was catholic during her childhood. I’m non-denominational too but I know that I’m protestant, lol. At least they’re all Christian. I guess sometimes Christians can’t control what kind of Christians they fall in love with. haha. I love what you said about how the Orthodox church doesn’t say “til death do us part”. That’s very interesting 🙂

  21. Project Inspired

    Posted by AliceofOz on January 2, 2012 at 20:34

    Wow. This was really enlightening. Thank you.

  22. Project Inspired

    Posted by Kittykatt on January 2, 2012 at 17:36

    So am I sinning because my boyfriend doesn’t believe in God?

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by ayramos on March 3, 2012 at 10:54

      it’s the ways of nonbelievers that can entice you to sin.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by Firecat328 on January 15, 2012 at 14:11

      God just thinks its best to have a relationship with a Christian. He doesn’t want you to get hurt. 🙂

  23. Project Inspired

    Posted by Kida on December 31, 2011 at 19:33

    Haha for a sec I thought it said what has Christ in common with Bella…

  24. Project Inspired

    Posted by kailey1450 on December 31, 2011 at 01:05

    I don’t think its very fair to say one of two things will likely happen 1. it wont work out or 2. you’ll be swayed toward darkness. I dont think thats very true, It doesnt necessarily have to happen in those 2 ways. Sometimes it can be a great victory for God & yourself if you can spend time with them and show them the light & save their soul. Turning away just because it might not be possible is not always the best option, sometimes you have to fight & try to help people when they need to be helped. You don’t have to say “oh dont do this because it will end bad.” When it could end amazingly. I understand that you’re saying that you can be swayed negatively, but God helps people and makes them strong. If you truely believe, you won’t be swayed.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by JennaBel on January 1, 2012 at 14:03

      I get what you’re saying, but like they she said in the article, you can’t convert them. You can witness to them, but you can’t convert them. And you’re right. It may not end up like that. But when you disagree with someone you love on something as big as that, it’s not likely to end well. And it is fair to say that one of those two things will likely happen, because 9 out of 10 times, it probably won’t turn out the way you want.

  25. Project Inspired

    Posted by noelle on December 29, 2011 at 18:15

    the bible says dont divorce a man for being a non believer

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by Scared_to_death on January 4, 2012 at 15:03

      It also states in 1 Corinthians 7:15 that if the non believer is the one who wants the divorce you are to let them leave.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by JennaBel on December 30, 2011 at 10:05

      But this isn’t about divorcing them, it’s about being with them in general. God doesn’t want us to have a relationship with a guy who doesn’t know the true love of God. If he doesn’t know the true love of God, how would he ever knmow how to love you in the first place?

  26. Project Inspired

    Posted by victoriamorgan on December 29, 2011 at 02:00

    i think that is so true , because a postive dont go with a negative .

  27. joeben

    Posted by joeben on December 28, 2011 at 21:34

    This is SO true! Last year I met a guy who is just very very sweet. Now I was a sophomore in high school then, so this was like such an amazing news to me. However, at the same time that I met him, I was starting to learn about God and falling in love with Him. My friend who has been walking with God for quite some time told me the same advice as Aysha is saying in this article. I didn’t listen, however. I thought maybe I can try and help him see God, but after a year of being together, I broke it off with him because we just viewed things so differently because I was trying to follow God and he wasn’t. Moral of the story, LISTEN TO THIS ADVICE. It would save you A LOT of unnecessary tears and heartbreak.

  28. Project Inspired

    Posted by fairlightmaiden on December 28, 2011 at 16:33

    I agree that light and dark can’t occupy the same space. My mom married my dad (a non-believer), and after 17 years of horrible fighting, they are now seperated and may divorce.

    I say you should save yourself the trouble. If you don’t agree on important things (like CHRIST), then you really won’t agree on matters like purity and morality. My advise- WAIT for the guy that agrees with you about the IMPORTANT things, so you can be sure that he’ll respect you in the little ones.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by JennaBel on December 29, 2011 at 07:10

      Amen. That’s a great way to look at it. Especially taking from your own personal family experience. I believe God wants us to date only believers. After all, only 1 in 1700 couples who read the Bible together get divorced. Odds are for us 🙂

      • Project Inspired

        Posted by 1_artist on April 19, 2012 at 17:28

        Those are good odds, I’m quite happy to hear that. 🙂

  29. Exlon

    Posted by Exlon on December 28, 2011 at 15:08

    I pretty much agree with everything this says here. ._. Especially the first thing listed for what may happen if you date an unbeliever.

    Trust me, girls, my boyfriend didn’t believe in God, and everything eventually crumbled. And then, he broke up with me. Also, I know there are number of you who will want to go in thinking “I can convert him!” NEVER go in with that idea. You can’t be sure of that, or certain. And also, like Aysha said, only the Holy Spirit can, and you don’t know that the Holy Spirit always will. Like she said, you can witness to him and pray for him, but don’t go into a relationship with a non-Christian, expecting it to work out somehow.

  30. Project Inspired

    Posted by JennaBel on December 28, 2011 at 14:15

    I, personally, wouldn’t date someone who doesn’t have a relationship with God. It’s too big of a part in my life that dating someone who disagrees wouldn’t make me happy. I believe that having a Christian boyfriend will help, because he will have the same perspective on life as me and share my ame morals which will make the relationship more smooth sailing. I’m still only 13, so I haven’t dated or anything yet, but I do have an older sister. From her dating experience and hearing her stories, I’m fortunate enough to be able to have a perspective on what dating is like, so I can set my expectations for my perfect guy now. 🙂

  31. Project Inspired

    Posted by luvJesusInHeavn on December 28, 2011 at 00:31

    Great advice! Thanks so much! I’ll be keeping this in mind too!

  32. Project Inspired

    Posted by Firecat328 on December 27, 2011 at 20:16

    i have a friend that is dating a non Christian. i told her that its not a good idea to go out with him but she’s so stubborn and won’t ever listen to me. it’s like all she cares about is herself and her desires. she NEVER listens to anybody. what should i do? i dont wanna be mean but i already
    tried the “gentle” approach.

    • jruff88

      Posted by jruff88 on December 31, 2011 at 10:45

      try to talk to her again but make sure you have reasons to back you up. If you tell her simply not to date this guy then she may think it’s unfair. So try using good reasons such as if the guy has done bad things to himself or other girls. Also, try to hang out with her more or in groups so she spends less time with this guy alone. Pray too 🙂 I hope it ends up okay!

  33. Project Inspired

    Posted by Actinglove73 on December 27, 2011 at 19:34

    How can a man know what true love is if he hasn’t learned to love God first

    • so_shedances

      Posted by so_shedances on April 22, 2012 at 21:22

      Wonderfully said!

    • pinkpenguin318

      Posted by pinkpenguin318 on December 29, 2011 at 17:45

      Great way to put it! And if someone doesn’t understand that, try looking at it this way:

      Pretend you are on a chair and you’re boyfriend who doesn’t believe is on the ground. It is easier for him to pull you down off the chair than it is for you to pull him onto the chair.

      Simply put, missionary dating often ends in failure. And I do love how you simply put that! 😀

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by ClaudiaVerenisse on December 28, 2011 at 23:34

      Well said !