It?s more than biblical and has everything to do with values
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The other day while catching up with a girlfriend over brunch we discussed relationships and what it means to be equally yoked. It was an interesting conversation and one that I?ve often thought about a great deal. For a long time, I always thought of being equally yoked in a biblical sense. But it means more than that. It can be taken literally or subject to interpretation. If you don’t believe in God, that?s ok, because what I?m going to say crosses all faiths and even those that don’t believe.
The literal interpretation of being ?equally yoked? means ?joined with the same?. In agricultural terms, if a yoke joins two oxen together then they need to be the same in order to work together. Otherwise, they won?t be able to accomplish the goal of farming or tilling the land. If an ox is shorter or weaker than the other, it will be more difficult to work.
In biblical terms it says,
?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,
Basically, it means don?t marry someone who isn’t the same religion or who does not share the same religious beliefs. In other sections of the bible, it says the unbelieving spouse becomes a believer by proximity to the believing spouse(1 Corinthians 7:14 and (1 Peter 3:1?6). This is in contradiction to the previous verse, some might say.
In seminary when I studied other religions, I found out there?s a similar term or set of beliefs in other faiths like Judaism and Islam.
I believe this term has a broader context. It all comes down to core values.
Three Things That Make a Relationship Work
And if you don’t have them the relationship is destined to fail.
While I understand the premise of why a person shouldn’t marry an unbeliever, I don’t believe that the relationship is destined to fail. I?ve seen numerous instances in which one person didn’t believe and over time they became a believer. But they were a horrible partner or spouse. And I?ve seen someone never believe and be a devoted spouse and partner.
Ultimately, being equally yoked is about worldview. What do you believe about the world you live in and how does it relate to your core values. These values guide our behaviors, decisions, and actions.
In fact, if you tell me what you value, I?ll tell you who you are.
The list of values is vast. In fact, there are over 200. But there are a few that I believe determine if a relationship will last.
Your partner loves and cares about you. You want the best for each other. There is mutual support for your partner and their endeavors.
The desire to harm each other is never a factor. The trust is high and you don?t lie to each other.
You enjoy each other’s company. Laughing and joking with each other comes easily. And, there are activities that you participate in together that strengthen the bond you share.
There is a shared view of what success looks like in life and you strive to attain it individually and as a couple. You?re both ambitious and driven to create a legacy for your family.
We understand and accept each other. When my partner lets me down, I don?t punish them by withholding my love. We manage our conflict and work through our problems by communicating effectively. When we need help, we seek it.
We act and think independently. We don?t try to control each other’s thoughts, behaviors or beliefs. A spouse or partner is complimentary. No one can complete us because we come to the relationship whole already.
Within the relationship, there is safety and stability. Each day we work on the relationship by discussing how we?re going to ensure that it is mutually satisfying.
Long after the butterflies fade when the person looks at you certain way, the person that you?re equally yoked with will be the one who helps you get organized for the big meeting, grabs your favorite drink from Starbucks and walks the dog when you?re exhausted from being up all night. They have your best interest at heart and always show up because they know you?d do it for them whether the bible says it or not.
Venessa Marie Perry is an organizational psychologist, relationship coach, and writer. She?s the best selling author of Enduring Love. She writes about love and relationships at LoveWrite. Follow her on twitter or IG.