Are you married to an unbeliever? I had an unbelieving spouse for the first 8 years of marriage. It wasn’t always easy. I had to be the spiritual leader of the home and that is not a light yoke to carry. I felt lonely in church. I felt lonely in my walk with God. You know, I think it is much harder to remain steadfast in your faith when you don’t have your best friend alongside you.
I was talking with my husband about his thoughts on how a wife can support her husband when they are not living the same faith. He was a great source of information, I appreciate his insight and wisdom. He said that many times, if the believing spouse has been a Christian their entire life – or even a large part of their lives – then they don’t quite understand what it is like to be on the ‘other side’. I thought that was such a good point and something to keep in mind as we bear witness to our unbelieving spouse.
We talked about several points, and these are the 4 that we thought were the top 4.
Don’t Take Them to Church
Church may not be the best place to start. My husband did not want to attend church with me. In those 8 years, he may have come to church with me only a handful of times. Church attendance was just too big of a step for him, too much of a commitment. It was just too much at first.
What he did agree to attend with me was a small group (care group) that was non-threatening. At first he wasn’t too keen on the idea, but because the book we were going to go through wasn’t too ‘in your face’, he agreed. The book that God used to bring my husband to Himself was “The Purpose Driven Life”.
The book choice is not the only important thing. The people in the group was very important. They had to be a group of people who weren’t pushy in their beliefs. They had to be comfortable with tough questions and be ok with not providing the typical Christian response. They had to accept him for him.
Lead a God Honouring Life
Make sure you are living the Christian life outside of church. That means not going to church on Sundays and then living the rest of the week like the rest of the world. Your spouse will see when you are living a changed life and when you are ‘just like everyone else’. If we live like the rest of the world – lying, gossiping, cheating, being busy-bodies and being unkind – why on earth would anyone, let alone your spouse desire to be a Christian?
Be the example
We are our spouse’s best example of how a Christian ought to behave; we are setting the example of Christ’s love – to them and to others. 1 Corinthians 7:14 talks about the unbelieving spouse being sanctified by the believing spouse, meaning that the believing spouse makes the unbelieving spouse holy through her faith. Blessings from God are not hindered simply because they are unequally yoked. Isn’t that a relief?
But, I wonder if leading a godly life is how the unbelieving spouse is sanctified. They see godly behaviour, they witness the love of Christ flowing through the believing spouse and they become drawn to it.
And I wonder if the opposite is true when a spouse isn’t leading a godly life. The Christian walk isn’t very attractive when we are seen talking badly of others – especially loved ones, when we don’t tell the truth or when we behave in ways that would not give any indication to anyone that we are followers of Christ.
So, the big question is this: Are you living a life that clearly demonstrates to your spouse that Jesus is the Lord of your life?
Is God Working In Your Life?
Sharing with our spouse what God has been doing in our lives may prove to be helpful. This must be authentic and the timing must be right. If we are authentic in sharing with our unbelieving spouse about the things God has shown or taught us, they may become more open to the things of the Lord.
I would often share with Marcus many things about my spiritual walk. He was very supportive in my faith and he never mocked me for it. He respectfully listened and encouraged me in this way. And he saw how God was moving in my heart. Especially when it came to matters of conflict between us. He especially liked the idea of the wife leaving her parents and cleaving to her husband in order to be one with each other. There were many Biblical principles that he was able to relate to when I shared with him. And to see God working was evidence of His providence in our lives.
Most Importantly: Pray!
For me, prayer is always a given. I was reading “The Power of a Praying Wife” long before Marcus became a Christian. I prayed and prayed for him to know God and to love Him with all of his heart. And one day, while I was driving home and crying out to God for my husband, I heard God say to my heart, “Aimee, don’t worry. I will get him. And when I do, I will get him good.”
Rest in His promises
I rested in that promise. It may have felt like forever before God fulfilled that promise. But He did and my husband has never looked back. So, don’t give up praying for your husband. Ask God for a promise that you can hold on to.
I also prayed for Marcus in every way I should, including his spiritual walk. I prayed for him as though he was already a believer. I was walking in faith that God would do His part. I prayed that he would lead his family, that he would make Godly choices. I prayed that God would bestow wisdom upon him.
I also prayed for wisdom and discernment for myself – and patience!
To help you pray for your husband, you can get my prayer guide free when you subscribe to my newsletter:
Holding on to a firm faith can be difficult when married to an unbeliever. These 4 tips – attending a small group, ensuring you are living a godly life, sharing how God is working in you and, most importantly, praying for your spouse will be helpful for YOU. If you have or had an unbelieving spouse, what do/did you find helpful?
Next week, I’ll talk about what NOT to do for an unbelieving spouse – I have some experience in that area, too…
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