“Now, I will speak to the rest of you, though I do not have a direct command from the Lord. If a fellow believer has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to continue living with him, he must not leave her. And if a believing woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to continue living with her, she must not leave him. For the believing wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the believing husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy. (But if the husband or wife who isn’t a believer insists on leaving, let them go. In such cases, the believing husband or wife is no longer bound to the other, for God has called you to live in peace.) Don’t you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don’t you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you?”
1 Corinthians 7:12-16.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula that will instantly revolutionize a mismatched marriage, a few principles can contribute to the health of a relationship or send it on a downward spiral. For example, it is never good to talk about God a lot to your unbelieving spouse. “Did I tell you how God…” or “God gave me a parking spot” or “God is love, I’m sure you can see that.” The desire to tell your spouse about God can be viewed as controlling and manipulative and cause him or her to mentally shut down every time the word is used. On the other hand, there are some things to remember.
The salvation of your spouse is not your responsibility. You do not have the power to save that person and you don’t have the power to doom them either. God’s sovereignty is bigger than your words or your mistakes. Release ownership over this and release the fear of failing. This is not your responsibility.
And be patient. You may have to wait through 2021 or 2025 or 2050. You may live most of your married life with an unbelieving spouse. 1 Corinthians 7:14 says, “For the believing wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the believing husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy.” Countless people have struggled through seasons of waiting, trying to be patient. In these periods of waiting we need to trust God. We must resist our urge to do something. We need to have self-control and allow God to speak much more loudly in exactly the areas He already knew our husband or wife needed to hear from Him. We must trust God’s plan and God’s timetable and wait for God to get things ready. It may seem that an unbelieving spouse is out of our grasp but they are never outside God’s grasp.
We need to remember that “…the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” (Hebrews 4:12).
Our different beliefs don’t mean we have to stop relating in other areas. People get married because they enjoy each other’s company and share a lot of mutual interests. While you are waiting, continue to pursue those things together.
- Why is it important to wait on God?
- In what areas do we need to wait on God more in our marriages.