What exactly does it mean to be equally yoked?
The term “equally yoked” is something I heard a lot while growing up. As a teen I simply thought it meant I was only supposed to date guys from the same faith background as myself (advice I very rarely followed). It wasn’t until after college, when I became intentional about whom I dated, that I realized someone could say they believed the same things I did but we could still be far from equally yoked.
My adult interpretation of equally yoked goes much deeper than my teenage one. The first checkpoint is the same; do we believe the same things spiritually? As a Christian that question means much more than ‘does he believe’ because as James 2:19 says even the demons believe. Rather it’s important to know how theology influences a potential mate’s life. Those beliefs can shape what a person eats, listens to, even when and how they worship. It’s important to consider how those decisions mesh with yours.
After I started paying attention to what a guy believed I realized another important question to ask was ‘what is he passionate about?’ Once we're married we spend countless hours with the person we once dated. So how that person spends their time is extremely important. Your interests don’t have to be identical but they should be complimentary. A guy could look great on paper but if your passions are conflicting it might be hard to make things work without, at least some, resentment.
Lastly, you'll need to consider if the relationship challenges you and makes you better. Picture an actual yoke. Its purpose is to connect to two, similar in size and strength, animals in order to plow a field. Now let's imagine one of those animals decides not to move forward. Rather it decides to rest in the warm sunshine and stay glued to one spot. Its partner can try to pull for a while but without equal buy-in the pair will never make progress.
Overall you’re looking for someone who’s a great fit with who you are now as well as who you hope to be in the future. Since equally yoked is a traditionally religious phrase I feel comfortable telling you to have faith. It might seem like you’ll never meet Mr. Right but waiting is much less painful than trying to force things to work with a guy who’s intended to be someone else’s husband.