I'm in love with an Unbeliever
July 10, 2013By Tiffani Knowles

So, what’s the big deal about being unequally yoked anyway?


I mean, I like cheese on my eggs and he likes ketchup on his. I like to sleep in and he likes to wake at the butt crack of dawn. I move to the rhythms of samba and mambo on the dance floor. He prefers to bob his head to hip hop. We’re different in so many ways and we love each other still. Why does being on different pages spiritually matter any more than those other aforementioned differences?


Well, it seems as if being “equally yoked” as the Apostle Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 6:14 may actually set you on a path in life that leads to sure death and destruction. The fact that he plays Wii to workout and you prefer to brave the great outdoors won’t send you or him to hell. Him following Buddha and you Christ just might.


I’ve been following the story of Toby and Nikki on ABC Family’s Switched at Birth.


It’s super intriguing to me because I am a witness to what most wide-eyed teens find to be a completely workable relationship when in fact I know better. It’s headed for an inevitable doom.


The result of an unequally yoked relationship: heartbreak for all parties.


Here are the deets:


Toby meets Nikki at a church open mic to which his mom dragged him.

Toby plays guitar. So does Nikki.

Nikki loves Jesus. Toby does not.

The both love rock music, though.

They start a rock band.

Nikki lets an unbelieving Toby know that Jesus has her heart.

Still, he pursues her and they fall in love.

When Nikki discovers that Toby isn’t embracing her faith, she breaks up with him.

He pursues her again.

She takes him back.

When she is offered a missionary fellowship for after graduation, the teen lovers realize more and more that they want to be together.



They decide to get married. (Perhaps due in part to the fact that Nikki can’t have sex before marriage anyway.)


As they plan the wedding, the two realize how different their values are.


Toby’s family is far too materialistic for Nikki.

Nikki wants pre-marital counseling.

Toby keeps putting it off.

Nikki pushes to get Toby to see how important it is.


Toby sees playing rock music in front of screaming teenagers as far more important than seeking the spiritual guidance of Nikki’s pastor.


What will become of a relationship like this? My prediction is that, just like Toby and Nikki, any person seeking satisfaction in personality, common interests and, even, another human being’s love will only end up being disappointed.  


The three-strand cord that Ecclesiastes 4:11-12 mentions is what holds a lasting marriage together. The fact that Nikki knows this and believes it with her whole heart yet Toby only respects her belief just isn’t enough to keep them together.


I know. I know. We’ve all been tempted to date that Muslim guy who is super passionate about his faith, so much more passionate than even the Christian guys you know or that agnostic guy whose intellect and commitment to social justice is the sexiest thing you’ve seen or that girl who’s the head cheerleader that left a note for you stating how much she she’s been dying to get up the nerve to talk to you.


Who could resist these amazing potential relationships?


I’ve heard all the excuses.


1.       He treats me like a princess. I’ve never been treated this well by any of the guys at my church.


2.       We have so much in common.


3.       He respects my faith.


4.       She was raised a Christian, so she definitely understands me.


5.       She has agreed to come to church with me. (This one is a doozie because you hope it’ll result in a conversion. Advice: remain friends until she has had her own encounter with the Lord.)


6.       He believes in God. Isn’t that enough?


In a practical sense, if what is most important to you is similar to what is most important to your partner, then you’ll be a success in marriage. If these things aren’t the same, then disaster awaits


According to a poll of hundreds of elders in marriage conducted by Dr. Karl A. Pillemer, Professor of Human Development at Cornell University and author of  30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans, “based on their long experiences both in and out of love relationships, their first lesson is this: You are much more likely to have a satisfying marriage for a lifetime when you and your mate are fundamentally similar. And the most important thing to look for is similarity in your core values.


This goes for anything that’s core.


If you love kids and he hates them, you’re doomed.


If you have a passion for philanthropy and he’s a Scrooge, you’re dead in the water.


If you keep Jesus at the center of everything you do and he only tolerates this, you have no other recourse but to remain…I know you hate to hear it….JUST FRIENDS.




Tiffani Knowles is the Managing Editor of NEWD Magazine. She is also a radio personality and station manager for NEWDradio. As the head NEWDist in charge, she has a keen interest in exposing art and pop culture for all of its social and spiritual underpinnings.




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