Marriage between a man and a woman is a beautiful merging of two completely different people with different temperaments, upbringings and life experiences. A marriage between two people with the same beliefs and values is challenging enough but what happens when one spouse is a Christian and the other is not?
Some Christians choose to ignore God’s warnings and they marry an unbeliever. Sometimes one spouse comes to faith in Jesus Christ after the marriage begins. I would never counsel a Christian to enter the matrimonial commitment with an unbeliever and it would never be acceptable to leave a spouse because they don’t come to faith in Christ, but if you find yourself unequally yoked, please be encouraged – there is hope. There can be peace and joy in this relationship but first you must give up.
Every spouse must give up on trying to change their spouse. The greatest peace that we can experience in any relationship, occurs when we finally accept them, just the way that they are. The unbelieving spouse needs to experience unconditional love and acceptance. Here is where we leave our burden in God’s hands and He takes over and does a magnificent work – in both spouses. I cannot promise that your spouse will come to faith in Jesus but I can promise that they will more accurately understand the great love that God has for them, because of your selfless, sacrificial and unconditional love.
I know many that find themselves in this situation. At times, it is a difficult and lonely road. For this post, I asked other women to help. They are married to an unbelieving husband. I asked them to share their wisdom. Some of the wisdom came easily and some was learned through hard lessons. Here is what they want you to know.
>We are not our spouse’s Holy Spirit and especially for a wife, she is not her husband’s teacher.
>Remember that it is God’s role to change our spouse’s life.
>We cannot force, pressure or manipulate our spouse into faith.
>Love them according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Read it and memorize it if possible.
>Have a quiet spirit and live a life that demonstrates how you are different in a positive way.
>Remember that God loves them even more than you do.
>Remember that God desires that they have salvation even more than you do.
>Realize and accept that you are in this for the long haul. This road will be full of turns, bumps, darkness and times of joy and light.
>Take notice of the little changes that you see along this journey. Write them down and reflect on them when discouraged.
>Find promises in God’s Word that are comforting and cling to them.
>Love your spouse for who they are right now. Remember, they are still a created individual with wonderful attributes.
>Be supportive of their interests. I’m not suggesting participating in anything that violates God’s Word but don’t be legalistic. If they enjoy an activity, go with them.
>For wives, don’t behave like Mrs. Prudish Churchy. Every husband wants his sexy wife. Be fun, flirt, flash and dress attractively for him. God approves.
>Be an attractive Christian. Show that Jesus’ power makes a difference in the lives of His followers. Pray for joy, genuine love, kindness and to be charitable toward others.
>Church stuff might seem strange to an unbeliever. Don’t burden them with the issues at church and don’t get defensive if they are critical of church stuff or church people. Remain quiet – God doesn’t need us to defend.
>Listen to the wisdom of your unbelieving spouse. Don’t dismiss them – many times they are correct.
>Don’t try to be sly about slipping in the Gospel message. Preaching during a prayer, or using a child to deliver our agenda, makes the unbelieving spouse feel manipulated.
>Respect your spouse on parenting issues. For example, if they are concerned that the children are only hearing Bible stories, mix in some inspirational secular books and stories when reading to a child.
I am married to a believer. He was raised in a Christian home and I was not. I was a relatively new Christian when we married but through all of the struggles of marriage, we had our beliefs and values in common. Most importantly, through 34 years of marriage, Jesus Christ has been the head and center of our relationship. During every disagreement, we have had the opportunity to look away from our own agendas and instead look at Jesus and what He would want for our home. I realize that for the spouse who is married to an unbeliever, they don’t have this common focal point. This is my reason for writing about this. These situations need our concern, prayer support and practical care. If this post describes your situation, I want you to know that I care and so do others. To close this out, here’s a quote from one dedicated wife of an unbelieving spouse – “you loved this person enough to marry them, so love them all the way to the arms of Jesus”.