Many preachers today thunder against the concept of an unequally yoked couple, to the point of saying that if you're dating an "unbeliever", you should break the relationship off forthwith. (John and Matthew Hagee are particularly...forceful, on this subject.)
Certainly, there are both Scriptural and practical justifications for this. Paul, after all, did speak of this (2 Cor. 6:14)...and there is a lot to be said of a couple moving in the same direction, and looking forward together.
But I wonder. The unfettered heart can often see more clearly than the Word-bound head, and Jesus did offer an intriguing possibility. When he advised the rich young man to sell his belongings, give the proceeds to the poor, and become a disciple, the chap went away sad (mind you, we don't know if he did this or not). When asked who could get into Heaven, Jesus said that no man could make it alone, but that with God, all things are possible.
This opens a door. Marriage is the closest temporal relationship we have, and it provides the best avenue for witnessing that I can think of. Not proselytizing - I doubt that any marriage (or friendship, for that matter) could stand the strain of year-in year-out preaching. But for the Christian partner to simply live the Gospel...that's an incredibly powerful force.
Not only a force, but a calling. If you truly love someone who isn't overly impressed by Christ, it's not too much of a stretch to think that the Savior's power will work through you, giving strength to your faith for the specific purpose of living your life as an example.
And what greater victory than to one day see your mate pick up a Bible one day, and start idly riffling through it. And to hear, "Maybe I'll go to church with you this Sunday...if we can maybe get back before the NASCAR pre-race show?"
I'm fully aware of the obstacles...okay, land mines...that are arrayed on this road. The irritations and squabbles and sheer bloody-mindedness that are a part of every marriage and that can set things back a century or two, with an ill-considered "smart" remark. I'm married, after all (and married twice...to the same very long-suffering woman).
Nevertheless! I think that Jesus threw down a gauntlet to challenge us. To say that all things are possible, and that even if we retain a bare fingertip hold on the hem of Jesus' robe, He'll stoop, not to conquer, but to help us win through.
For our mate, for ourselves, and for Him.