TITLE: Your Unbelieveing Spouse
By Cyndi Brandon
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I have read many books and articles on marriage, written by Christian authors. They contain very good advice, suggestions, and wonderful testimonies. Most of them, however, are all about both couples actively serving God. What about those of us who aren’t blessed with a spouse who loves the Lord at least as much as we do?
Some out there may have a spouse who is totally lost or a spouse who only sporadically attends church, rarely reads the Bible, you know, one of ’lukewarm’ Christians. Or maybe, you have a spouse who has loads of integrity, is an honest and giving human being but just doesn’t care to give God the time of day.
Each situation is different. All of our well meaning Brothers and Sisters usually have one of two things to say to us. The first is just to ’Trust the Lord’. That is my favorite because it is so very true, but, we humans sometimes need more info in order to trust the Lord. The second is ’be ye not unequally yoked’, meaning they think you messed up and married the wrong person. Well, here you are, yoked to this person--now what?
Before we go on and for the sake of this study, we will act as if your spouse is truly lost. It may be that they aren’t, they just aren’t on fire.
How you became unequally yoked is not the issue now. The fact is you’re here. You want them going to church with you because maybe you feel that getting them to church is half the battle. Chances are, however, that they know as well as you that a person can be with God anytime. Many people use this as an excuse not to go to church services. We know that church attendance is an outward manifestation of our relationship with God. We may feel that our spouse isn’t keeping up that relationship because of lack of attendance.
Hebrews 10:24-25 ‘And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.’
This scripture speaks volumes to us. We know that when our partner attends church with us, they are sharing a most important part of our lives. If they are in church then they may hear a word in season that speaks to their heart and causes a desire to know the Lord more. I believe that is another reason why we so desperately try to get our spouse to go with us.
We also know, most of us from experience, that we can do very little to persuade them to go if they aren’t inclined to do so. Yes, we have come back around to ‘Trust in the Lord’. While you are trusting, please read on. There is encouragement to be found in the Scriptures and also in just knowing that you aren’t alone in your situation.
Sometimes those same well meaning fellow Christians will advise us to leave or divorce our spouse. ***** Some in the Corinthian church thought they could better serve God if they didn’t have an unbelieving, or at least a not serving, spouse. This is the issue Paul was addressing here.
1 Corinthians 7:10-13 And to the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
Don’t leave them, unless the circumstances are that your life is in danger. Don’t divorce them. Remember, God is still in control and He loves them even more than you do. If you know anyone who is divorced, you know that this can cause an immense amount of pain even for those outside the husband wife relationship.
1 Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
Whatever amount holiness is in your marriage, you brought it in and God can work with that if we let him. You may need to do some heart searching to see if there are any areas in your personal spiritual life that need a little more holiness.
1 Corinthians 7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
God has called us to peace! This can go in either direction. Do whatever you feel is prayerfully necessary to keep your marriage together. If they desire to leave, don’t try to use force to keep them.
1 Corinthians 7:16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
Should they decide to stay and sometimes even with their departure, your Christ centered lifestyle may draw them to God. Whatever they choose to do, to leave or to stay, you must always life your life pleasing to God.
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