In his teaching on the demands of discipleship, Jesus compares them to the obligations of builders and warrior kings. He says that a builder who does not properly calculate the cost of his construction will run out of money and supplies before his project is completed. He will then be a mockery in his community, and his foolishness evident to all. The king who does not first consider the cost of battle and the resources needed will not know what strategies and tactics to use if he is met with an army greater than his own. The Lord’s point was that anyone who wishes to enter into a discipleship relationship with him should consider if they are willing to give up all that it takes to be his follower (Luke 14:25-33). They should carefully count the cost. This is a high wisdom that applies to every significant relationship, because all relationships have costs, demands, and obligations. Not recognizing those costs, demands, and obligations beforehand will create undue burdens and unpleasant consequences as the relationship melds, and perhaps later rends.
None of this wisdom is designed to deter one from the pursuit of relationships. Relationships are one of the greatest goods in our fallen world (Genesis 2:18). Instead, it is wisdom designed to help a person get the greatest good out of a Godly relationship.
Another piece of high wisdom given by the bible is based on that “count the cost” judgment taught to us by Jesus, and it deeply applies to dating and romantic relationships. It is that one should not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever (2 Corinthians 6:14). A yoke is a device designed to hold two draft animals together so that they can pull a load, or do work as a team. If a large, strong horse is yoked with a small, weak horse, then the two are unequally yoked. They will not be able to pull the load efficiently, and their two differing capabilities will be fighting each other in the common tasks they are trying to achieve. Because every dating or romantic relationship has the potential to lead to marriage, which is a kind of yoke, this command is the most important filter you can use to count the possible costs of that relationship. First, ask, “Does this person share the same Lord that I do?” If they don’t, then you will be at odds with this person in almost every major domain of your life because they take orders from a different lord. Then, in descending order of importance, continue to apply that filter to the major domains of your life. “Do we share moral values?” “Do we share parenting values?” “Do we share economic values?” Try to winnow every domain of your life using that filter.
It is better to count the cost of a relationship before it “blossoms” into one that is meant for teamwork and sacrifice, as well as one for celebration, joy, and pleasure.