Should Jewish Believers Marry Other Jewish Believers?
Do you think that Jewish believers should marry other Jewish believers? Is it a better story?
The Bible says we should not be unequally yoked together in matters of faith and in this there is not room for an opinion. Other kinds of unequal yoking” which are not forbidden in the New Covenant can still pose great problems. In my opinion, intermarriage can be an unequal yoking if the two people come from different worlds and neither is willing to change. This may surface in seemingly small ways. For example, many Jewish people have an aversion to Christmas trees which are often a cherished symbol of fond memories for their Gentile partners. Is it right to ask the Gentile spouse to give up certain family traditions? Is it right to ask a Jewish partner to endure them? Each may attach a deeper significance to these symbols than meets the eye. Most marriages have enough stress without the added pressure that a difference in background often brings.
You might think that in Yeshua there are no such problems since we are commanded to defer to one another in humility. If both partners have that attitude, healthy compromises should result. But when it comes to matters of cultural identity, it is not as simple as one individual deferring to another. Each feels a responsibility to his or her family and ancestors to carry on certain traditions. And though there is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles in Christ, in our families there is a distinction. So is it wrong for a Jewish believer to marry a Gentile believer? No. Is it better for a Jewish believer to marry another Jewish believer? I think so. Partly to avoid extra tensions in the marriage, and partly because of the second part of your question regarding story. But it is most important to marry a person who loves Yeshua and with whom you share common goals.
The Jewish community is in a panic over the rising percentage of intermarriages. Jews who don’t believe in Jesus are just as likely to intermarry as Jews who do. Whom you marry makes a statement. It shows your preferences. It indicates your intentions. To be sure, God has blessed many Jewish/Gentile marriage’s. But for those whose options are open, you should be aware that one’s Jewish identity is seen by unbelievers as substantially weakened if one chooses not to seek marriage to another Jew. Choosing a Jewish partner who believes in Jesus is one indisputable way to affirm that carrying on your culture and heritage matters to you.
So how can you meet with other Jewish believers? Jews for Jesus and several Messianic congregations have singles groups that meet occasionally in different parts of the country. There are also many conferences at which friendships can be built. And then there’s prayer. Listen, you might meet “the right person” by sitting next to him or her on a transit bus’ God is like that.
Now there are going to be some who take offense and misinterpret my answer as belittling those who have married Gentile believers. There might even be somebody (and I hope not!) who takes this answer as justification for discouraging a couple who have already made a commitment to marry. Let me say plainly that there are no second-class citizens in the kingdom of God and there are no second-class marriages. My answer is meant for single Jewish believers who are questioning and considering their options, not as a judgment on those who are already committed to a godly relationship with a Gentile partner.