Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers [do not make mismated alliances with them or come under a different yoke with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership have right living and right standing with God with iniquity and lawlessness? Or how can light have fellowship with darkness?
What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial [the devil]? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
What agreement [can there be between] a temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in and with and among them and will walk in and with and among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. – 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 (Amplified Bible)
Though Paul was speaking less about marriage and more specifically about community issues as a whole in 2 Corinthians 6 (though it would likely apply to marriage as well), this passage has instead come to popularly represent the bonding of Christian faith in couples. The popularity and usage of 2 Corinthians 6 as indicative of a marriage relationship and the importance of having a shared faith is extremely common. In fact, this passage has given rise to a buzz phrase which describes a marriage or dating relationship with a fellow believer as being “equally yoked.”
“[Equally yoked] means to be with someone and that you both are heading in the direction of being the same person. Both of you are dedicated to the same way of life. That will make things a lot easier.”
“Equally yoked” may be a peculiar phrase for those unfamiliar with the Christian faith. However, for those who have decided to live their lives dedicated to Jesus, the phrase has a very special meaning and influence in their lives.
For California State University Fullerton student Jeremiah Dobruck, being equally yoked is something that carries great weight on who he is and who he will become. “It means to be with someone and that you both are heading in the direction of being the same person; [growing to be more Christ-like],” he says. “Both of you are dedicated to the same way of life. That will make things a lot easier.”
For Christians, those who are equally yoked are like-minded individuals who are dedicated to living their lives by the teachings of Jesus Christ. Nancy Thyme, publisher of The Lomita-Harbor Connection, explains her interpretation of the phrase: “If you have two oxen pulling the plow and one is stronger than the other, things won’t get done right. It is two people [pulling equal weight] toward the same direction.”
The task of finding such a partner is easier said than done, even with the large Christian communities that exist. To facilitate the search, websites such as www.EquallyYoked.com were created. According to its website, Equally Yoked is a “personal service [providing] a safe Christian environment for like-minded Christian singles to flourish and develop successful relationships.” Unlike typical online dating services, the website does not set out or promise to find its subscribers romantic relationships. Rather, the service aims to connect single Christians with others that share their values and beliefs, with the understanding that relationships may very well blossom if both partners are equally yoked and share a commitment to Jesus.
For people like Dobruck, being equally yoked is the difference between pursuing a long-term relationship with a person and simply stepping away. “For me, it’s totally a requirement,” he says. “In a romantic relationship, we are talking about marriage, in which two people are becoming one person. My life is dedicated to following Jesus. If someone else is not dedicated in that same way, we will butt heads and head in the opposite direction eventually.” –Cristian Vasquez