you choose Q: I’ve fallen in love with an unbeliever . . . what should I do?

Q: I’ve fallen in love with an unbeliever, but I know it’s wrong. What should I do?  —Keliya

A: Keliya, your heart is obviously torn in two over this relationship. On one hand, you’re strongly drawn to a young man. This is understandable, for—as a human being—he bears the image of our Creator God. Apparently, your boyfriend also possesses some qualities that you appreciate.

At the same time, you instinctively know there are dangers of becoming emotionally involved with a man who could draw you away from your allegiance to Jesus. Christians who have stayed in these types of romantic relationships will tell you that it is the Christian who usually makes the compromises. It’s only the rare exception in which the unbeliever comes to know Christ, and many times it’s because the believer threatened to end the relationship or actually ended it.

Knowing all of this, it’s hard to imagine that it would be best to continue in the relationship. It’s good for you to pray for this young man to believe in Christ, but your prayers should be for him as a friend and nothing more.

For more information, I would suggest you read this online booklet about marriage (where dating can lead) and see if your relationship jibes with what the Bible teaches.   —Jeff Olson

Feel free to submit a “you choose Q” to ODJ by using the contact us form on the home page!

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8 Responses to “you choose Q: I’ve fallen in love with an unbeliever . . . what should I do?”

  1. tom felten says:

    Praying for you, Keliya. May God give you comfort and courage as you walk through this difficult situation. May the wisdom of Proverbs 3:5-6 help you today!

  2. uclabennett says:

    Tough tough question. I think it might be helpful to answer your question with a suggestion of some additional questions you could think and pray about to help come to a clearer understanding in your mind and heart about where this (potential) relationship might lead. These are questions from one of my favorite relationship books written by a Christian author called The 5 Love Languages.

    1. Have you had a “falling in love” experience before? As you reflect, how much of it was illusion, and how much of it was reality? What were some of the illusions you had?

    2. What is the nature of real love? Contrast what it means to “fall in love” with experiencing “real love.”

    3. What characteristics of real love separate it from a euphoric, in-love experience?

  3. scullygirl says:


    I have been exactly where you are. I was actually engaged to the unbeliever for 2 years. It ended two months ago when my unbeliever boyfriend took off with another woman.

    I would strongly advise you to listen to the answer Jeff Olson gave you. I was the one that made all the wrenching compromises. Although my boyfriend made compromises too, they were not of the type that involved the heart or the emotions.

    I too asked other Christians what I should do about being in love with an unbeliever. They all said it was not a good idea. After two years, and currently suffering the heartbreak from the boyfriend turning about face and leaving me for another woman, I would say that my Christian friends’ advice was sound.

    I would explain to your boyfriend why the relationship cannot continue, and explain your faith to him. If he takes an interest in it, then good. Maybe he’ll be open to learning more. If he starts to belittle it, I advise you to end the relationship. You don’t need to suffer the heartache I did.

    I will add that in my heart of hearts, I knew I was not pleasing God with that relationship over the 2 years I was engaged, even though I tried my best to justify it. In the end, God won, and I’m glad he did.

  4. keliya says:


    Thank you so much for the sound advice and your support in the comment.

    I had very hard time over the past few months, declaring my faith in front of him, and more difficult within my family. For they don’t understand the reason of rejecting a “perfect” match just because of differences in faith.

    I even had “war” between my father and I, he raged to threaten my decision, refused to communicate with me, had a long list of how bad the God i believed in, how cruel he is to refuse loved ones to join in marriage.

    It was very tough, and i had no hope in believing the man i had great affection, my parents and other family members could EVER believe in Christ, or to just understand me.

    Being isolated from colleagues and friends who aren’t Christians, the remarks making my heart ache, for the frustration of impossibilities to “make” them understand.

    Exhausted and bruised in the heart, i felt i kept praying without much energy and faith.

    However clear it was for me that this relationship shall never start, dealing with the aftermath was very messy and challenging to my own faith. For i had to be pushed to admit my behaviours were all the time align with God’s teaching. I guess this is the least i can do, to honestly respond and to accept their critics and harsh remarks (more to God and to me) without wavering my faith in God and no longer agree to any behaviour that would grieve the spirit.

    Amongst my hard long journey “alone”, after a long “testing” of the heart to eventually reach the stage without any more links of “wishful thinking” prayers for the young man i fell, without knowing much (complete cut off with this young man, no contact in any form), God did amazing things into this young man’s heart.

    About a month ago, he came to faith in Christ. The timing couldn’t be better. I finished a long and difficult phone call with my parents, filled with “wars” again for my “utterly stupid” decision not to marry him. When i was absolutely at the edge of giving up all my hopes for any of them ever going to be saved, i received the news of him becoming a believer.

    Now witnessing the amazing almost completely 100% changes in him after putting his trust in Christ, I couldn’t stop thinking back, the meanings and the impacts we live out, even through such minute things in our lives, when we actually follow what Christ tells us to do.

    I don’t think i did anything, if any, i am just so grateful that God didn’t give up on me, such a sinner, and He comforted me each time when a heartache strikes.

    This is one of the many miracles God performed. I now no longer say, my parents will never come to Christ. I have no idea when or if it ever will happen within their life time, but i no longer have no faith and hope while praying for them.

    God taught me such a valuable lesson, to focus on my own actions and to live out a life that is worthy of the calling.

    I hope this news and my story can bring encouragement to you, to strengthen you in the trust of God’s plans, even when it seems absolutely hopeless.

    Let us come to God with a pure heart, willing to obey.

    Many thanks for your support and your very good advice!!!

    God bless richly,

    • tom felten says:

      Keliya, this is a powerful testimony! Thank you so much for inspiring me and so many others with your choice to follow Jesus with all your heart. Your faith has truly been shining like a beautiful light to those around you (Philippians 2:15).

  5. columbia415 says:

    If 10 people tell you to go left, and God is telling you to go right, go right!

  6. GChoo says:

    Keliya, what a great testimony. Thank you.

    A little of my testimony to encourage you and all. My parents and brother were idol worshippers but they have all become christians now. This is due to years of praying. There were times i had my doubts, my prayers for them were on and off, but our God is a great and faithful God. He will answer our prayers for the salvation of those we pray for. Know that He has His time for each and everyone of them.

    So keep on trusting and praying because our God is real and can be trusted. Hallelujah, praise our Lord.

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