in the 'old' days, Christian parents may have been pushed into giving their daughters in marriage to powerful pagan men (as in the story of the Christian who became the princess), and in these situations, the marriage would not have been in church. the powerful simply did as they pleased, and the alternative to agreeing with them was usually very unpleasant to all concerned. maybe they should have resisted and been killed, but we usually don't know enough of the history to judge on their behalf how they should have behaved. however, God did not abandon these women, married against their will in a society where women had very little freedom to choose for themselves. so, of course, people pushed into marriage in this situation are still considered members of the church in every way.
however, if a Christian willingly sets out to embrace the real spiritual pain of abandoning the ideal of a Christian family, learning and loving together and growing together spiritually, then i really pity that person in their misguided rush into sin.
i pray the God will strengthen and guide those who are in that situation now, either through conversion from another religion / atheism, or through sin which they have now repented of.
i really appreciate quietmorning's openness in revealing some of her pain that she hopes we all avoid. may God give her great peace as she seeks to be the good Christian wife spoken of by saint paul, who brings the life of Christ to her husband through her Godly life.
but i would never, never do anything to suggest to someone who declares that he / she follows Jesus Christ but decides to ignore His teaching and be a partner to someone who is running a different race. how could i possibly face him / her in the future when he / she comes weeping, recognising the error of her / his ways and unable to see any way forward in the difficult situation that usually follows these unions?
it happened to a childhood friend of mine. contrary to all nice fairytales, they are still spiritually miles apart after more than 15 years of marriage. it happened to others i know. and it's confusing to the children to find out that faith in God is sort of optional and not a really big deal.