The Equally Yoked Marriage – What is That?

The equally yoked marriage is the biblical ideal for Christians. The idea of the equally yoked marriage is based on what Paul the Apostle said in:

2 Corinthians 6:14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

The basic topic here is about Christians not being in close relationships personally with unbelievers.

However, the idea has blossomed into ideas about marriage, and what the Bible teaches about the marriage relationship.

This article will focus on exploring some of those ideas and features some amazing Christian marriage bloggers that will provide some thought-provoking insight on the topic.

Understanding what it means to truly be “equally yoked” will take your marriage on a path of encouragement, and enrichment. Read and share this article on your social media to help your friends and family with their relationships as well.

 

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First up is Phil Carlson. Phil is the co-founder of Connected Marriage. He and his wife, Michelle, have worked primarily with struggling couples for 15 years.

His blog is all about helping “Marriage Mentors” to be better and more biblical as they help married couples through difficult times.

Here is one of his helpful short videos called “Are Feelings Like Facts”

On the subject of being equally yoked, Phil shares the following thoughts and insights.

He says, “I learned through some hard lessons that once you are married, you still need to continue to be equally yoked.

Honestly, I don’t relate to the analogy of oxen being yoked together. That’s what’s in the Bible and I get the concept, but I don’t relate. I’ve never owned oxen. I’ve never driven oxen. I don’t think I want to.

I can relate to canoeing. My wife and I have taken several wilderness canoe trips that require paddling across lakes to find a portage. When it comes to canoeing, we are unequally yoked.

equally yoked-2I always sit in the back and steer. To cross a lake, I choose the point where we’re heading.

Since I’m stronger, when I paddle it takes us off course. I have to constantly be aware of where we are heading and make course corrections.

I know that if I don’t, we’ll end up in the wrong place and it will take a lot more work to get us back on track.

What’s canoeing have to do with marriage?

Keep Your Eye on the Goal

You have to know where you’re going. What’s your goal? Is a healthy relationship with your wife one of your goals?

Sometimes I think that God curses us by giving us the desires of our heart.

The problem is that the desires of our heart are sometimes not healthy for us. We desire a great career or a new car and work to achieve that. We start to prioritize our time around those goals. We take on extra work. Then, we come home worn out and plop down in front of the TV to zone out.

We choose something other than our wife.

In my own relationship, my own need to win the fight nearly crushed my marriage. I would debate and prove my point. My wife would get frustrated with my constant arguments would give up and shut down.

I walked away feeling like I won and my wife walked away feeling unloved, unheard and not valued.

I achieved my goal, winning. However, I came close to losing my wife over it. I had to realize that my goal was wrong. Instead of winning, I had to change my goal to mutual submission. I had to start thinking win-win.

I changed my goal. I now want both of us to feel loved, understood and appreciated.

Listen to Your Wife

If you have a goal of loving and honoring your wife, then you need to listen to her to get course corrections.

I like the GPS in my car, even when I know where I’m going. Why? I get constant feedback. It tells me how far until the next turn. It continually updates me.

I had to learn to listen to my wife. I needed feedback from my wife on how to be effective at it. That was the only way to achieve my goal of loving my wife.

Be Quick to Correct Course

When I’m paddling across a lake, I have to make constant course corrections.

I recently spoke with a Christian woman that felt ignored by her husband for twenty years. Can you imagine feeling ignored for that long? Her resentment and bitterness had grown to the point where she gave up.

When the kids left home, she was done. They got a divorce, even though her husband was now willing to work at it.

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My wife and I have worked with couples in crisis for a number of years. We’ve heard hundreds of stories that are just like this. The average couple waits six years before asking for help.

Over that time, resentment and anger build up. Usually, it’s the wife that notices this first. The husband doesn’t get it.

Men, be quick to correct!

The quicker you listen and correct, the easier it will be to get back on course. The less work it will take.

Part of being equally yoked means that you are working together to get to your destination. In my life, I would have saved myself a great deal of pain and sorrow if I would have worked together with my wife rather than choosing my own way.”

Thanks, Phil, for your valued and time-tested advice on marriage and being equally yoked. We wish you all the best with www.connectedmarriage.org

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Next, we will hear from another phenomenal marriage blogger, Katherine Shorter.

Katherine is an author and the voice behind Yoked, an online ministry dedicated to helping women prepare themselves for marriage by first strengthening their relationship with Christ.

Married for 6 years to her best friend, she is living out her purpose by encouraging others to enter into covenant marriages with their eyes wide open.

On the topic of the “Equally Yoked Marriage”, Katherine offers the following encouraging thoughts:

The Equally Yoked Marriage Starts Before the Ring

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Scripture commands us in 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”

Any Christian woman, seeking a Christian man for godly friendship and, prayerfully, a long-term relationship that may lead to marriage has this ingrained in her brain.

There is no way she is going to settle for less than what she determines is God’s equal for her.

But what does “equally yoked” really mean?

The term yoke itself has a deeper definition. As an object, a yoke is a tool used to link two animals together to keep them on the same path as they are used to till the ground for a harvest.

In relationships, it’s used to describe something that joins, couples, or unites two people to each other.

Many people are ready to fend against being unequally yoked in marriages but forget to put that guard up when establishing friendships and serious relationships.

In either context or situation, when you yoke yourself to another person, you are electing to walk the path with them upon whatever course they embark.

If you are going to be yoked with another person in the ministry that is marriage, there are a few things that you should take into account.

Where are we going?

When two animals are yoked together, they are walking the same path, for the same purpose, working toward the same goal. If you are seeking to be in an equally yoked relationship, you have to know where you’re going.

The purpose of a yoke is to make sure that the animals are doing their job together.

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Being in an equally yoked marriage should be determined long before an engagement ring is ever presented.

Too many people get married, only to later find out that they’re traveling on two different roads and plowing two different fields which will reap two different harvests.

How are we going to get there?

When my husband and I were considering engagement, one of the things we talked about was what ministry life would look like for us.

We have grown to have a passion for similar ministries but achieve them in slightly different fashions. While we both have a love for how counseling is used to share the Gospel, he does it as a professional counselor and I do it as a Christian blogger.

Same goal, same path, but we wear different shoes when we walk together in that goal.

When considering whether you’re in an equally yoked relationship and whether that’s setting the foundation for an equally yoked marriage, you have to not only know where you’re going for the Kingdom but how you’re planning to get there.

What if the roads diverge?

Simultaneously, the scariest and strongest thing you can do happens when you find out that you’re unequally yoked with a partner.

You have the option to leave the relationship. It’s not that simple once you’re married, so we encourage women (and couples) to seek and find out if they are unequally yoked before they actually walk down the aisle into a covenant marriage.

The best feeling is being able to share the ministry of your marriage with someone who is physically, emotionally, spiritually, and scripturally walking the same road and harvesting the same Kingdom fields with you.

Being equally yoked is an active mindset and requires consistent and continuous work. No matter if you’re dating or have been married for decades, this yoke needs to always be nurtured and watered to present the harvest that the Kingdom needs.”


Thanks again to Katherine for her valuable input on this important topic. We hope that this article has encouraged you to work on your marriage and seek to have the best relationship that you can possibly have.

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Take a look at our other article – “Togetherness in Marriage“!

 

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Daren Dilts
You can read more about me by clicking the link above.