When your son starts to date, it can be a scary feeling especially when he chooses someone that doesn’t share the same core beliefs as you do. If your son is dating a non-Christian, it can be alarming to you since all you have envisioned is for him being with someone raised with the same values and beliefs as he was.
The person he chooses to be his partner will have some type of religion or belief which might be a huge factor to you. When approaching this situation, you will need to come in with a different mindset because who your son decides to date simply isn’t your choice to make.
As our children become young adults, they start to have freedom of choice to do what they desire and one of those choices is being with whoever they want. As parents, we can approve or disapprove but at the end of the day, they have the right to be with whoever they want to.
This is why you need to approach this with an open mindset instead of letting emotions take over from the beginning.
1. Communicate Your Concerns Calmly
It would be too easy if your son did what you thought was best without questioning it. It would be nice to never have to be concerned about his choices but there will inevitably be struggle and stress at times.
It can be hard to face when your son tells you that he is dating someone that isn’t a Christian. It might make you feel sad, angry, or like you failed as a parent. Even though this news may be upsetting or unexpected, don’t overreact and try to keep your emotions in check.
Try not to be judgmental about your son’s new love interest before spending time with her. You don’t want to make your son feel like he has to hide the relationship from you either.
This can create mistrust and lead to him being dishonest with you in the future. If he already knows you are disappointed with his decisions, nagging about the situation won’t help. It will just make things worse if you can’t express your concerns calmly.
When you speak with your son, come from a place of concern and reason so he can understand that you are worried about the situation. Explain to him that the Christian faith is a big part of your life and that it should be ingrained in the relationship.
2. Introduce her to Christianity
Your son dating a non-Christian can be hard to grasp but if the girlfriend is open to seeing what the christian faith is all about, it would be a great time to introduce it to her.
Encourage your son to continue to go to church with you on a regular basis while also bringing the girlfriend. It’s an opportunity for them to spend more time together on the weekend through the Christian faith.
After church, maybe you can have a nice meal together. Easter and Christmas are both great examples of holidays that are opportunities to host a celebration that displays your love and joy of being a Christian. Share some new traditions and have a good time together with the girlfriend and make sure your son feels comfortable with bringing his date home to visit.
Try not to view this new person that your son has feelings for as the enemy. Maybe they have never been introduced to Christianity. Use this as an opportunity to show them how kind, caring, accepting your church is.
Invite them to attend some church events once in a while. Try not to seem like you’re pressuring or trying to force God’s love on anyone. You can try to show them the good ways Christianity affects your life rather than being convinced that they are a threat. Just because someone is spiritually blind, doesn’t mean that they are a bad influence or intend to cause any harm.
If you voice your concern, make sure to do it in the proper way. They may see it as an attack or make them feel that you don’t think they belong together if you do it in a harsh manner. Approach the subject subtly because you don’t want anyone to think you don’t like them.
You don’t want to be so pushy that they avoid you or blame you for a break-up. When the opportunity arises, you could offer a nice bible as a gift and simply tell your son’s date if they ever want to know more, you’re there to talk and listen. That could open up the door to a little more conversation about religion and what being a Christian means to them. They might ignore you or choose not to read it at all, but at least you made an effort.
Once you have expressed to your son that you don’t think his relationship aligns with the teachings of the Bible, that should be enough. Don’t keep bringing up the subject, just let it be. You have to remember that this is about his feelings, not yours.
He knows you are unsure about this new relationship and that’s enough. You should never resort to shaming or blaming, you could end up driving your son away from you. This new relationship may not last, but you will be in your son’s life for much longer. You don’t want to damage your relationship because of your feelings about this individual.
3. Be Supportive and Accept His Choices
We all learn through our mistakes. When we experience pain or negative consequences, this will cause change and growth. We become stronger as we navigate life, realizing what makes us happy and what doesn’t.
We learn which choices benefit us and which ones don’t as we overcome the struggles we face. You have learned to turn to God with your struggles just like this one. Ask God for strength, guidance, and protection for your son. You taught him everything he knows so have faith in your son’s decisions and in God that everything will work out for the best.
It is also important to be supportive and loving. Being a Christian is about kindness and acceptance, not rejection.
Jesus didn’t turn his back on the sinners and non-believers. He opened his arms to them and taught them about God’s mercy and love. He accepts us all as His own and it wouldn’t be right to make someone feel like they are inadequate just because they are non-Christian. You worked hard to raise your child in the nurture of Christianity but you can’t change the way they feel and who they decide to fall in love with.
Your son may not have even talked with his date about religion much at this point. She may have never gotten a chance to go to church and learn about Jesus. This might be a good opportunity for her to learn about being a Christian if she wants to. You have raised your son to have Jesus as a foundation in his life meaning that every decision he makes should be based on that foundation.
Your son has to decide what kind of foundation he wants to form for his dating relationship. It can be difficult for two people to find common ground with two completely different sets of basic rules.
4. Let the Relationship Progress Naturally
Your son dating a non-Christian can result in a good thing it can also present some challenges. Your son may be offended by some of the things his date does or doesn’t do. He may be surprised to find out that she doesn’t have a relationship with God or doesn’t pray at mealtimes.
She may not respect her parents the way your son respects you. All of these challenges will have to be worked through or their relationship probably won’t go very far. You know that your son has healthy habits and good values. Maybe these qualities will rub off on his significant other. If not, he will realize she just isn’t right for him on his own.
Be patient and pray for your son and his love interest. Spend quality time with them as much as possible and show his date how wonderful being part of a Christian family can be. Lead by example and be kind and loving. Support your son and communicate your concerns in productive ways.
Don’t let your anger or disappointment creep in and end up saying things that can cause problems between you and your son. Stay positive and get to know your son’s girlfriend a little better. She may be a lot nicer than you think and since your son enjoys her company, maybe you will too.
Knowing that your son is dating a non-christian can be a hard pill to swallow especially if the Christian faith is a big part of your life. You believe that a relationship should be blessed through the Christian faith and your son dating a non-Christian seems like this might not happen.
When dealing with this situation, make sure you don’t attack your son with harsh words or put him down because of this decision. Talk to him in an understanding way to communicate how you feel. Tell him he should still live by the Christian principles in some aspect of his life.
Just like Jesus was accepting of all people and treated them the same, you should also try to follow that model.