Before we dive into this subject, I want to acknowledge that there are many ways people can get to this point in their marriage. Perhaps you did not prioritize marrying someone with the same belief system as you… your spouse played the part when you were dating but really didn’t believe… you came into your faith after getting married… you rededicated yourself to your faith after marriage… your spouse changed after marriage… etc. Regardless of how you got here, this is such a difficult place to be.
Your deeply held beliefs impact how you live your life. Your beliefs effect your thoughts. Your thoughts effect your decisions. Your decisions effect your behaviors. Your behaviors effect your life outcomes. Sincerely held beliefs drive you to pursue certain things and not pursue others. They drive your motivations and lessons you teach to your children. They dictate how you spend your time and your money… how you treat or view others… in other words…
When you and your spouse do not have the same beliefs, it just plain HARD to do life together. You are two people moving in two different directions… it just doesn’t work. Some of you may have more hardships than others, but at the end of the day there are some road blocks to truly becoming one flesh.
This is not a post meant to inspire guilt or hopelessness, however, for those of you who find yourself in this situation. Rather, the previous narrative is meant to validate your difficult life experience, as well as, to act as a warning to those thinking of compromising their life in such ways. BUT… let’s get to the hope restoring already!
Thankfully, your life’s worth and potential is not tied to the condition of your marriage. And if you have found salvation and hope in Christ, you are much better off than being in agreement with your spouse and living without Christ and eternal life. Your woes are a result of immense, 100% worth it blessing. I will not pretend that this truth so easily negates all the strife, worry, and sadness in your day-to-day life though.
If your spouse does not agree with your faith and even asks you to do things against it, here are 5 things to keep in mind…
- You may be your spouse’s only representation of Jesus, the bible, the church, and/or Christians. Praise God that He has allowed there to be a light in your family… but that also comes with a great deal of accountability. Are you communicating to your spouse, through your lifestyle, that Jesus is worth it or makes a difference in people’s lives? If your spouse only sees you as a source of strife or frustration, does he/she have any incentive to become a Christian? Instead of focusing on how your spouse is not handling things like a Christian… start focusing on how you are being Jesus’ ambassador to your spouse and what areas are in need of improving.
- God’s design for marriage is for the husband to be the leader. So, if you are a man with an unbelieving wife, are you leading your household with LOVE? Are you living sacrificially as Christ did for the church? And if you are a woman with an unbelieving husband, do you take his lead? Do you allow him to make decisions? Do you listen to his requests? As long as you are not being told to do something that is clearly against God’s word, fulfilling your God -given marriage role is extremely important in winning over your spouse.
- Prayer is not the only thing you can do… it’s the BEST thing you can do! I hear so many Christians moan that all they can do is pray about it. If we really realized what prayer actually was… this would be SO exciting! Coming to the God who can do all things, has unlimited power, and tapping into the Holy Spirit… aka the only thing that can change your spouse’s heart… is a huge game changer! Not only this, but you will soften your heart toward your spouse and be more aware of your witness to him/her. Don’t. Give. Up! Keep praying!
- STOP nagging about your faith or things you think your spouse should be doing. When it comes down to it, your unbelieving spouse literally CANNOT live to obey Christ. I think that these two Scriptures sum up this point quite well…
- Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife [or husband!] Proverbs 21:9
- The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14
- Do not speak negatively about your spouse’s rejection of faith to your children. Your children may or may not be willing to pursue faith with you. It is not uncommon for a child to reject your faith as well if your spouse is not on board with you. Do not allow this to cause you more anxiety or strife with your spouse! Of course you want your kids to know Jesus, but blaming their rejection or struggle on your spouse is not going to help anyone to see Christ for who He is! Don’t allow this to be a divide in your home. It may be tempting to speak negatively about your spouse’s choices or behavior, instead, choose to say that you are praying for your spouse and understand why it is not a priority for him/her now… but you have faith that God can change his/her heart!
Annnnnnnd, BONUS point… because I just don’t feel quite right ending this at #5!! Make sure that you are in a group of believers that will lift you up, encourage you, remind you of God’s love and plan for your, and be a great witness to your spouse. If you do not have that type of support, I would love to help encourage you. Go to my client portal now to schedule a free 20 minute consultation and let’s work together on finding solutions to your situation!