If how you approach the box is foundational for the individual in relationships, being equally yoked is the foundation for a couple in relationships. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, St. Paul advises us to “not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” Now the simple interpretation of this passage tells us to not associate with “unbelievers,” or maybe non-Christians. Yet, the Word of God is not that simple. Especially as it pertains to the most intimate of relationships, being equally yoked is much more than ensuring that your significant other believes in Jesus Christ.
What is a yoke?
Before we go too far down the road, let’s take a look at what a yoke is. Unless you’re a farmer, you probably don’t encounter a yoke that often. Relatively speaking, I know what a yoke is. But I had to look it up as I was drafting this blog post. So, for those who know…for those who think they know…for those who don’t know, I share what I found.
Merriam-Webster defines a yoke as “a wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals (as oxen) are joined at the heads or necks for working together.” Wikipedia defines yoke as “a wooden beam, normally used between a pair of oxen or other animals to enable them to pull together on a load when working in pairs…” Simply stated a yoke is used to join two animals together so that they can move together and work together.
To be unequally yoked meant that to incompatible animals were yoked together. Imagine a farmer trying to coerce productivity from a bull yoked to an ass! Both stubborn at opposite ends of the spectrum, how much work do you think would actually be done? They would be unable to work together. That doesn’t make for a harmonious relationship.
Equally Yoked Relationships
So, when I say that the foundation for couples in relationships is being equally yoked I mean more than that both people Christian. Being equally yoked in relationship means sharing a vision for the future and being capable of pursuing that vision – together.
I’m not saying two people have to be exactly after the same things, but there’s a reason Jay-Z and Beyoncé work so well. Their passions align in such a way that they understand each other. In coming together, they form the perfect merger. They feed off each other and are able to keep each other encouraged…hungry.
An equally yoked relationship can also occur with people who don’t have the same exact ambitions. Michelle Obama seems to have absolutely no political ambitions. Yet, she and the President exude the love that comes from being equally yoked. She was able to share his dream and fit in such a way as to fuel him and propel them forward.
Are Your Relationships Equally Yoked?
Do you share interests and passions? Do you share a dream? Can you pursue the same (similar) vision? Are you both able to “form like Voltron” to conquer the shared enemy?
If not…then all the romance in the world won’t make your relationships last. Even if you approach the box with the proper perspective, you will still come up short.You might enjoy each other…you might have a great time together…you might even fall in love. But, your relationships will either die or they will kill your drive.
Being unequally yoked in your relationships will leave you like the bull yoked to the ass: glaring at your mate while your mate refuses to continue.
Many times we meet people and are instantly wowed. We enjoy their conversation…we enjoy their smile. We enjoy their company…we enjoy their touch. Becoming enamored by those things, we head down the road of deeper and deeper intimacy to a place where we being to think of making our relationships more serious.
But by this time, we are already in love. It’s too late to speak of ambitions and dreams. Those things don’t matter much when they’re up against emotions. So we find ourselves trapped…trapped in a place where our genuine love betrays our deepest ambitions. At that point we must make a choice: either we kill our ambitions for the sake of our relationships or we kill our relationships for the sake of our ambitions.
In either case, we kill a piece of ourselves. And rather than our relationships promoting wholeness, they perpetuate the brokenness that has been with us since the Fall of humanity.
How to Have Equally Yoked Relationships
The first thing is to spend time exploring your potential partner’s ambitions. What does s/he want out of life? Do you see ways in which your desires might be integrated, so that you can support each other?
These conversations should be had early in your relationships. This way you are growing together practically while you grow together emotionally – and spiritually. When couples approach their relationships in this way, they are better able to ensure that the love the are building will be nurtured. When couples do not approach their relationships in this way, unmet expectations and dreams deferred tend to suffocate love.
So rather than running blindly into emotional bliss, be circumspect and deliberate about establishing equally yoked relationships. If you are interested in learning how to adapt such an approach to your relationships, I’d be glad to help (click here).