There is a reason the Bible insists on being equally yoked in marriage. This is because when you are entering a relationship, you want your partner to grow with you instead of hindering your growth. For the same reason, people tend to convert to their spouse's faith once they are married.

Christian dating, however, can be challenging as the size of the dating pool shrinks significantly. But even then, your only criteria for dating cannot be does that they spiritual maturity.

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What being equally yoked actually means

This is a metaphor; it means that as a Christian, you should not marry or date someone who will hinder your spiritual growth. It also means that marriage will bind you together. Imagine if one ox wants to pull one way and another in the other direction, you’ll get nowhere. Or worse, you’ll sever what binds you together( divorce)

SEE ALSO: How to know you have found the one

You know you are equally yoked when the person you are dating or about to marry has the following qualities.

1. They love according 1 Corinthians 13

When you mess up or fall short, do they exhibit;

Patience: Do they acknowledge we all have growing to do, and we will fall short of the glory of God? Or, when you fail, do they grow aloof or annoyed with you?

Kindness: Do they offer grace often? Or do they present several qualifying obstacles before you can earn their forgiveness?

A Lack of Envy: When you meet success, do they cheer for you or grow cold with envy?

Humility: Can they admit when they mess up? Do they ask for forgiveness, or do they project blame onto everyone else?

Honor: How do they treat “the least of these”? Do they talk one way to a CEO and a different way to a server at a restaurant? Or do they respect everyone?

Selflessness: Do they put others before themselves?

Cool temperedness: When someone wrongs them, do they fly into a rage? Or do they weigh assumption of goodwill and attempt to see the events from the other person’s perspective?

Forgiveness: How many grudges do they hold? Do they lament events that happened years ago, gossip, or keep a record of wrongs others have done?

A Delight in Goodness: We all struggle with specific types of sin. But do they defend their sin they often fall prey to? Or do they rejoice in truth and admit when they fall short?

Protection, Trust, Hope, Perseverance: Do they give up on people easily? What happens when they discover your imperfections?

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2. They enhance your spiritual journey

You can use the following checklist to see if they help or stunt your growth:

They bring up God and Christianity often in conversation: They show they have no shame when it comes to the Gospel. God is their standard of measuring everything. Not worldly standards. They rarely engage in mundane topics.

They show interest in your story and your growth: They want you to grow in Christ, and they show interest in your spiritual story and in your future growth. If they seem apathetic when you hit rough spiritual spots, this could wave a red flag.

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3. They read the word of God every day

Yes, we all slip up on this one now and then. But to combat the spiritual forces that seek to destroy us every day, we need to engage with Scripture. Do they share insights they’ve received from daily readings? Do they seem curious about your own findings in the Bible?

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4. They have plugged themselves into a local church

Not only do they attend church services, but they seem interested in getting involved in church or local ministries. Someone with a vibrant relationship with Christ will want to serve others.  If they like to make a lot of excuses for why they can’t help out in ministry, or worse, if they don’t attend a church at all or consistently, this may show they need some spiritual maturity before they can further proceed in a Christian relationship.

As a Christian, do not compromise your faith for those who still want to walk with the world. If they are not the one, they are not the one. Be true to yourself.

Why studying your partner before marriage is important
Regardless of your busy schedules, make time to get to know your partner better. You need to grasp your spouse’s point of view about relationships, finance and kids just to name a few.