Unequally Yoked is not a commonly used phrase. In the Bible, Paul used in his letter to the Corinthians (“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” – 2 Cor 6:14a NKJV). It is generally used in the context of dating/marrying someone from a different background. The phrase origins in farming communities of an agrarian culture, where animal are used to till the ground or pull heavy objects.
Yoke is a wooden frame, usually consisting of a collar-like piece at either end, for attaching to the necks of a pair of draught animals like oxen so that they can be worked as a team. Often animals are of similar size, strength and age. When an oxen is paired with a donkey (like the picture below), it is often referred to as unequally yoked. The principle here is not to disassociate with people who are unlike you or from different race, denomination or religious background. Although unequally yoked concept of can be applied to marriage and even extended to other arenas like business.
Marriage is an intimate lifelong relationship and your prospective mate’s inner life and views really matter. Marriage scientists affirm that greater the commonality between marriage partners, better the marriage turns out to be. This is particularly true in matters of emotional health, spirituality and religious belief. By seeking oneness in these inner life issues, you can avoid a ton of heartaches in the future. Of course, you can never find someone who thinks, feels and believes just like you (even if seems so, you will be amazed how different he/she is soon after wedding!). Also knowing the differences you both bring into the marriage are important.
Go beyond educational, denominational, socio-economic backgrounds or ethnicity. Ask questions like – are you both equally yoked spiritually? This is more than just whether or not you both are Christians. It means are you equally yoked in maturity and understanding of spiritual things. Are you equally yoked emotionally and mentally? The mmotional and relational compatibility is vital to healthy marriage. Are you equally yoked in calling and purpose in life? Check out personal vision and sense of life purpose like how do they see themselves in 10 or 25 years.
The pace and direction are to be maintained when a farmer tills the ground with an yoked animal. When a horse is yoked with a bull, they will not be able to keep pace. When weak or sickly ox is yoked with a strong bull, the sick one will wear out quickly. When they are not directed in the same direction, animals tend to pull in different directions. If both are headstrong and want to go different directions it won’t work. If one is mature and one is not grown yet, it won’t work.
Before heading down the wedding aisle, are you sure you are equally yoked?