Dating a Non-Sabbatarian

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BuckeyeGirl

Puritan Board Freshman
Is it unwise to date/court a Christian with whom you have a different view of the Sabbath? I have a good friend who has expressed interest in me. I like him. However, we have a few theological differences. My main concern at this point is that we disagree about the Sabbath. While we have not discussed our views on the 4th commandment, I do know that he will eat out or go to stores on Sundays. I’m trying to figure out if this is a dealbreaker and would appreciate hearing other people’s opinions!
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
It would be a deal breaker for me. But since you haven’t discussed your views on the Sabbath, why not do so and see if he’s open to learning and changing his view? Perhaps he’d read a book and listen to sermons on it?
 

J.L. Allen

Puritan Board Freshman
Is it unwise to date/court a Christian with whom you have a different view of the Sabbath? I have a good friend who has expressed interest in me. I like him. However, we have a few theological differences. My main concern at this point is that we disagree about the Sabbath. While we have not discussed our views on the 4th commandment, I do know that he will eat out or go to stores on Sundays. I’m trying to figure out if this is a dealbreaker and would appreciate hearing other people’s opinions!
That can be a difficult point to work through, but it is well worth talking through it. Maybe you both could sit down and go through the Westminster Standards together. It’s not being unequally yoked, but it is an immense burden to have sharp differences theologically.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Ugh.... if you are that strict you should be happy anybody will tolerate you at all!

This thought has often crossed my mind as well when I read similar posts. "Guess what? Someone I have met is not theologically perfect!" I am not saying that some theological issues - including this one - ought not to be dealbreakers, but at least make an effort to discuss the subject and exercise some patience towards the other person, which, by the way, is how we would want to be treated ourselves if the shoe were on the other foot. However, the author of the OP is not writing the man in question off; she is just seeking some reasonable guidance.
 

Zach

Puritan Board Junior
I don't think it should be a deal breaker at all that he's not a Sabbatarian. What would be a deal breaker is if he didn't respect your conscience on the matter. You'd have to have more conversations if your relationship progresses toward marriage about what that might look like but there's no reason for it to get in the way of getting to know each other.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
A reformed pastor told me one of his biggest regrets is firming up his convictions on the godly observance of the Lord's day's till after his children were grown and that neglect he could see in their lives. So sure, talk it through, but it has significant consequences and is a moral issue, so in the end, if you won't be of the same mind, don't kid yourself on the consequences in a marriage and ill effects.
 

BuckeyeGirl

Puritan Board Freshman
Ugh.... if you are that strict you should be happy anybody will tolerate you at all!
I see your point. My problem is that I have trouble figuring out at what point theological disagreements will cause practical problems in a relationship. Because the 4th commandment has practical applications - how we spend 1/7 of our week - it seems like disagreements here could cause problems.

But I’m also the queen of overthinking things so maybe that’s what I’m doing.
 

Jonathan95

Puritan Board Sophomore
I find most Christians I come across have trouble understanding both the 2nd and 4th commandments, my wife being one of them. She didn't begin to question her belief on these issues until really meditating on the purpose of the 10 Commandments as the moral law for Christians.

Will this man lead his family to also disregard the Sabbath one day? How would that impact you? These are important matters to discuss and figure out. Do so respectfully and with love. Just my :2cents:.
 

Joshua

Administrator
Staff member
It has implications down the road with regard to submission and headship. It is -after all- the LORD's Day, even if some would say you're being "intolerable." He has commanded how you should spend such time, and if you and your husband are at odds with regard to such an understanding, that is problematic. If you marry this man, then you'll be subject to his leading, including on the LORD's Day. So, it would be important to work that out before going too much further, in my own estimation. It does not have to be contentious.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
While we haven’t discussed this particular subject, he is usually open to reasonable discussion of theological differences. Thanks for the recommendation!

That sounds good; also, if you can get him to read the Kindle edition of J. C. Ryle's pamphlet, @Logan will earn an extra $0.30! So, it gives you an opportunity to do good on two fronts! :)
 

Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
Objectively, Sabbath observance is the cornerstone of true piety, and breaking it is a great sin that destroyed the OT church and has destroyed the church afterwards time and time again. Subjectively, a lot depends on what your own Sabbath views are. The question you need to ask and answer is: Am I able to submit to his convictions in good conscience? Additionally, if you have the goal of passing on your stricter Sabbath convictions to your children, and he does not wish to do so, then you two have fundamental differences in goals for life. One must also take into consideration that everyone is a work in progress.

If there are doctrinal differences that would be dealbreakers that you are aware of before dating, I recommend getting them sorted out before getting too serious, preferably before dating even (but depends on the circumstances/situation). If you have men in your life that you can point him to, that is another good practical way to help with bringing him to your convictions.
 
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JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Sophomore
Is it unwise to date/court a Christian with whom you have a different view of the Sabbath? I have a good friend who has expressed interest in me. I like him. However, we have a few theological differences. My main concern at this point is that we disagree about the Sabbath. While we have not discussed our views on the 4th commandment, I do know that he will eat out or go to stores on Sundays. I’m trying to figure out if this is a dealbreaker and would appreciate hearing other people’s opinions!
Talk about it with him. Would be a total disservice to end the relationship without even sorting through it together.
 

JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Sophomore
I see your point. My problem is that I have trouble figuring out at what point theological disagreements will cause practical problems in a relationship. Because the 4th commandment has practical applications - how we spend 1/7 of our week - it seems like disagreements here could cause problems.

But I’m also the queen of overthinking things so maybe that’s what I’m doing.
My wife's parents are on different sides of the spectrum. They've done great.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
@BuckeyeGirl

I'll start by echoing Daniel:

"Guess what? Someone I have met is not theologically perfect!" I am not saying that some theological issues - including this one - ought not to be dealbreakers, but at least make an effort to discuss the subject and exercise some patience towards the other person, which, by the way, is how we would want to be treated ourselves if the shoe were on the other foot.

But what is more likely would be if you did find someone with whom you are in perfect accord, and then after marrying, growing in different directions in some area.

I do have a question for you - after you marry, will you try to assert spiritual leadership in the relationship?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Closing for the Lord's Day, so at least joking about if not actually deriding sound doctrine of the Sabbath as somehow not a moral issue to be taken seriously in the question of marriage, will just have to hold off till Monday.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Junior
That sounds good; also, if you can get him to read the Kindle edition of J. C. Ryle's pamphlet, @Logan will earn an extra $0.30! So, it gives you an opportunity to do good on two fronts! :)

That's true! It also has a nice introduction by @Reformed Covenanter and I've sold a grand total of 15 copies in past 3 years. I don't think I promised him any of the royalties...but he should have somewhere around 25 cents built up by now.

I definitely agree it's worth a conversation. I don't know where your convictions stand exactly or where his does, but it would be something to consider the practicality of, for later on down the road. It could at the very least cause conflict if one would like to do something and the other can't participate because of conscience.

When I was getting to know my (now) wife, I told her up front that I thought the fair thing to both of us would be to voice any potential concerns or wonderings as early as possible.

I don't know that I would plunk a theological treatise in front of him just yet, but just state that what you've been thinking of, your personal convictions (and the reasoning behind them) and ask what he thinks about that. And see where the conversation goes from there.
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
I see your point. My problem is that I have trouble figuring out at what point theological disagreements will cause practical problems in a relationship. Because the 4th commandment has practical applications - how we spend 1/7 of our week - it seems like disagreements here could cause problems.

But I’m also the queen of overthinking things so maybe that’s what I’m doing.
It's not just 1/7th of a week...if you get married it will be 1/7th of the rest of your life.

I can speak from experience and say that it is a great blessing that my wife and I agree on how we spend Sundays. We may not be as strict as some (i.e. thou shalt not smile on the sabbath) but we agree that we will not shop, eat out, etc. and that it is generally a day for worship and Christian fellowship. It is advantageous to figure this stuff out ASAP. I will not tell you that you should or shouldn't talk to this person.
 

ChristianLibertarian

Puritan Board Freshman
It seems to me that if you haven't talked to him, you really don't know his view on the Sabbath. It's entirely possible that he never thought about the issue or studied it in any way. What you view as a potential deal breaker could be little more than ignorance on his part. There is no harm in discussing the matter with him.
 

Frosty

Puritan Board Sophomore
A lot will depend on your personalities and communication skills. It is important, and the subject needs broached ASAP if you are interested in a relationship with him.

If you were the guy I would tell you to start looking for the engagement ring (OK, OK, maybe not quite yet). But the headship issue is tricky in this case.

If he is one who will humbly and honestly study the subject, and take your concerns to heart, then that's a good start.

And don't be surprised if he reads the books, talks it over with you, etc....and doesn't immediately and enthusiastically embrace the Sabbath as you'd hope. Sometimes things take time. But if he shows he's teachable on the subject and cares for your heart, don't be afraid to keep chipping away on him.
 
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Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
It helps to have general agreement on these matters, so it's worth discussing.

Many believers have a position on the Sabbath that they largely hold by default, not having really studied the issue, but rather just doing what they've seen others do or believing what they once heard someone say. So I don't think you should immediately reject an otherwise promising guy just because you've observed behavior that doesn't line up with your convictions. There's a high chance he's never actually studied the issue. You should talk about it with him, and perhaps study it together if he is willing.

If he is interested in you—in possibly becoming your partner in the Lord—he ought to be willing to study this with you. And you could learn a lot about whether or not he's the right guy for you not just by the conclusions you reach together, but even more by the approach you and he take to studying the issue and carrying for each other in the process. This is a great opportunity to find out how compatible you are in things that matter even more than correctly understanding the Sabbath: praying together, willingness to be led by God's Word, patience and respect for each other, etc.
 
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