In fact, I’ve heard many single Christian women use this as an excuse to date people who don’t share their faith. And I’ve heard others say the church is going to have to address this dilemma for countless single Christian women – that based on the numbers, many women will either remain single for life or will marry non-Christians. “This challenge,” a recently married thirty-something friend of mine said to me once when we were chatting about ratios and limited choices and such, “needs to be acknowledged by churches and Christian leaders, and dissected to determine the lesser of these two undesired outcomes. These are new realities we need to address.”

Regardless, I’d known all along what the Bible says about being involved with someone who doesn’t follow Jesus. I’d read 2 Corinthians 6:14 – “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers” – many times during Bible studies and sermons over the years. And I’d seen a few Christian friends, like my college friend Emily, date non-Christians then suddenly disappear from church. I should have known better than to fall for Jake. And that was the most difficult truth to swallow.

I thanked Kate for her honesty, then asked her to check up on me in the weeks ahead. After dinner I had a long talk with God; I apologized for boosting my self-esteem from the wrong source – a guy instead of him.

I knew Jake needed God more than he needed me. Part of his attraction to me undoubtedly had been an unconscious attraction to Jesus in me, and I didn’t want to squelch that. I needed to finesse our relationship to keep it “just friends,” but I didn’t want my first flat-out talk about God to make God seem like some cosmic killjoy.

Thankfully, before calling Jake to tell him I couldn’t make the trip, I discovered I had to attend an out-of-state conference the weekend after the beach getaway. I could tell him in all honesty that being out of town two weekends in a row would be too much. When I told him, I could hear the disappointment in his voice. I think he knew I’d consciously chosen friendship over romance at this crossroad in our relationship.

After that phone call, I gently turned down other weekend outings in favor of more casual weeknight coffee breaks. And while I missed the rush of potential romance, I finally felt comfortable telling Jake about all aspects of my life – including the new ministry I was helping to launch at my church and decisions driven by my faith. When Jake’s mother grew ill, I let Jake know I was praying for her.

I also asked Kate to keep me accountable to our mutual faith in God, to ask those difficult yet necessary questions about my motives and my heart. I sought to strengthen my security and self-worth by spending more quality time in prayer and Bible study, hopefully making me less susceptible to future temptation.

In a surprise turn of events, Jake moved out of state a few months after I declined his weekend invite. I prayed fervently Jake would meet some strong Christian men in his new location. I hoped he’d be open to other more positive influences away from his drinking buddies. With this distance, our emails grew less frequent, and I’ve now lost contact with Jake. But every now and then when he comes to mind or I run into our mutual friends, I breathe another prayer that if he hasn’t yet, he’ll get to know Jesus.

In the end, what Jake and I both needed – and still need – most is God. That’s the most important common ground we share – a truth I hope to keep prominent the next time I happen to meet a tall, friendly, non-Christian guy who asks for my number. No matter how cool he seems or how long of a dry spell I’m in.

Used by permission of Fleming H. Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, copyright © 2006.  All rights to this material are reserved.  Materials are not to be distributed to other web locations for retrieval, published in other media, or mirrored at other sites without written permission from Baker Publishing Group.

Camerin Courtney is managing editor of Today's Christian Woman magazine, author of "Table for One," and a columnist for

Todd Hertz is an associate editor for Ignite Your Faith Magazine, formerly Campus Life.  He's a frequent contributor to and