According to Dictionary.com yoke means; to be paired or joined together with another. Another definition states; to couple or attach to by a yoke. You might be familiar with the scripture instructing Christians not to be unequally yoked with non-believers. The New International Version states; “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” II Corinthians 6:14
The yoke keeps two animals fastened together in the case of farming. When two animals are of equal strength, they are able to plow a straight line and carry an equal and light load. However, if the animals are not of equal strength, the line will be crooked and one animal will carry a heavier load than the other, labor more, and be held back to the pace of the slower, weaker animal. Taking this analogy and looking at the divorce rates among believers and non-believers alike, it might be safe to say; there are a whole lot of people who have hitched themselves up to unequal partners, and have buckled under the strain of carrying the heavier load. It might also be safe to say, why opposites may attract, sustaining a balanced relationship after the euphoria of the honeymoon stage has ended, might prove difficult because ultimately the two are in fact opposites, e.g. a pig and a snake. Living life and coexisting are made much more difficult because their fundamental needs will be different in order for both to survive and thrive.
Looking at the scripture and taking a more worldly view, unequally yoked is often associated with education, income, material possessions, and classism. Most women don’t want to date and later marry men who haven’t achieved the same or higher level of education, who don’t make the same amount of money and who don’t have the same pedigree and background they have. While men have their own standards which differ from women, but are based primarily on surface and superficial needs as well. We’ll dig deeper into this in Part II.
So, what does being unequally yoked really mean? I’m not a bible scholar and for the purchases of this blog I’m using the scripture as a basis to enter into conversation about how this relates to our lives right now, and why it is so important for our ultimate happiness, but for reasons we might not have considered before, that go beyond religion. Unequally yoked, I believe is something that has to be discerned directly from God in each individual situation. We are all wired differently and our core needs are fundamentally different as a result. I have had countless frustrating conversations with friends and colleagues about what I interpreted as having to “settle” with someone who I felt wasn’t necessarily equally yoked with me.
Then I got into conversation with God about it and asked Him to reveal me to myself. Recently He did and the result is I learned about His original intent for me and what makes up the core of who I am. He started by revealing to me that my view and perspective had been corrupted my false ideals of things I fundamentally didn’t really care about, but was being programmed to hold in esteem. I’ve never been preoccupied with money, fame, success or material things. Does it mean that I don’t want to live well and be able to afford to? No. It means that this doesn’t have anything to do with how I should be measuring someone’s value as it relates to my marrying them. I was reminded of the reasons why certain relationships I explored were great, but weren’t meant to end in marriage. He also opened up my eyes and let me take a look into how He created me to tick and this help to shed further light on decisions I’ve made in my relationships.
The two that are equally yoked are a good match because they possess equal strength, their maturity levels are in sync, their core characteristics are essentially the same and fundamentally complimentary. I interpret unequally yoked having more to do with our differing in core fundamental values and beliefs than it does to do with religious denominations, faith, and anything else that can be influenced by outside elements. Denominations change, faith increases and decreases, being on fire for God, church attendance, etc are all subject to change, and shouldn’t be the basis of making a lifelong commitment of love because they won’t be strong enough to sustain it. Just because people go to church and act religious doesn’t mean they are fit to be yoked with either. It’s much deeper than that.
No wonder so many people are unhappy in their relationships; they are going off of the inaccurate measurements of someone else’s needs. You don’t know who you are from the inside out until you seek God’s revelation. He is your creator and knows how He made you and what your lasting needs and cares will be. Again, who we are at the core reveals how we should measure our relationships and who will be equally yoked as a result. As Christians we should be seeking God out for revelation on who we are, so we can weed out the unequally yoked. However, Christians are using the same screening standards as the world? These measuring standards are detrimental to our relationships with God, ourselves and each other. What measuring standards you ask as if you don’t already know the answer. Stay tuned for Part II of Unequally Yoked.
With Love & Gratitude,