Marrying Someone of a Different Faith
Recently, our church receptionist let me know about a Christian woman who was seeking advice regarding a situation where her grandson was planning to marry a Jehovah’s Witness. I took the time to write a letter to her, and as I was doing so, I thought this could be of help to others facing similar situations. Below are some notes I jotted down for the letter I sent to her.
Marrying someone who is of a different faith is a very bad idea. If anyone thinks they can persuade their future spouse to become a Christian, they’re almost certainly mistaken. In this instance, the grandson was planning to marry a Jehovah’s Witness, and the ceremony was going to be performed by the bride’s father.
Having a family member who is high up in the establishment would make it even more difficult for the Christian to convert a would-be spouse to their faith. I have no doubt that the father/minister who is going to perform the ceremony believes that his future son-in-law will become a Jehovah’s Witness and not the other way around. If he didn’t believe this, he would, in all likelihood, not agree to the marriage, let alone marry them. He is confident his daughter will not leave the faith, and that his son-in-law will convert.
I know of a situation just like this where a Christian husband who married a Jehovah’s Witness ended up giving up on his own church and commitment just to maintain peace in the house. All of their children eventually accepted the faith of their mother. He is, of course, devastated.
It’s never too late to call off the wedding. I have examples from here at The Moody Church where a Saturday wedding was called off on the previous Wednesday (with my help and intervention). And, to the glory of God, a young woman was spared from an abusive marriage. It isn’t over till it’s over.
In our Jehovah’s Witness case, the groom-to-be will feel foolish if he backs out, but a week of embarrassment is not worth a lifetime of regret. Even if they’ve already had sex together (which is possible), he’s not yet married to her, and wisdom would dictate that he should back out (“Marry in haste and repent at leisure”). I advise that it should be his pastor and not you, as a grandmother or mother, to help him see that what he thinks is light, is actually darkness.
If he insists on going through with the wedding, relax; there’s nothing that you can do—after all, he is 23. Support him with your prayers.
Also, keep in mind that it will be of no use to get into a heated argument at the wedding. If the family wants you to convert or drags you into a discussion at the wedding, don’t fall for the bait. Simply say that these matters must be discussed at a later time.
Of course, if you are given an opportunity to speak, you can talk about the faithfulness of God in your life along with sharing some promises from the Scripture, but don’t preach at anybody or scare up more rabbits than you can shoot. All of that would be counter-productive.
Attend the wedding with a broken heart but also with praise that God’s grace and our foolishness often run arm in arm, so to speak. Be a heartbroken, yet joyful Christian.
Finally, many godly parents have had rebellious and foolish children, and sometimes evil parents have had godly children (I think God does this just to show that we as parents don’t have as much control as to how our children turn out as we think we do!).
There comes a point where you cannot take the failures of your child upon your shoulders, especially when they hit their 20s. Transfer the wedding, and all that is involved, from your shoulders to God—His shoulders are much stronger than yours.
Although the groom-to-be might be headed for a train wreck, God can come, clean up the mess, and make something beautiful out of a wedding that, I believe, should not have taken place. Many people can testify to that fact.