Marriage - Unequally Yoked

I have been a Christian for over 30 years. My husband is not. How do I live with this man who seems to be resentful of me for living for God?

First of all, you have to understand that when you make decisions that are contrary to God’s Word and God’s way of doing things, you put yourself in a bad situation. The fact that you married somebody who is not a Christian was mistake #1 because the Bible says do not be yoked together with an unbeliever.

So you have to recognize that confusion and problems are in your life because of decisions that you made that were contrary to God’s way of doing things and contrary to God’s Word. 2 Corinthians 6 says, “Do not be yoked together with an unbeliever.” Now you’re in that situation. How do you live with this man? Well, he’s got to respect your faith and if he doesn’t, then you probably are not going to get along. Either he needs to come to Jesus himself, or if he’s not going to be saved, but he respects your faith and respects your convictions and respects your life, then you’ll be able to live with him.

However, if he doesn’t respect those things, you need to plan on your exit strategy from that relationship, because you’re never going to make it if he doesn’t respect you, and respect God and respect your relationship with God. How can you be in a relationship with someone that doesn’t respect your faith and your convictions? You can’t be. But get counsel before you leave him or divorce him. Get some counseling to see if you can get to that place where he can respect your faith and your convictions. That’s your first step before you just leave him.

Marriage - Unequally Yoked

I have a question about the verse that talks about the unbelieving spouse who is sanctified by her husband and then goes on to talk about their children. Can you help me understand that?

The Scripture you are referring to is in 1 Corinthians 7. What God is talking about here is if a believer is married to an unbeliever and they want to stay together, that marriage is sanctified for the sake of the children. In other words, the children are not under some sort of curse because they are children of an unbeliever. It’s the believer’s faith that influences the children in a positive way.

So we need to use that Scripture as a promise from God’s Word. We need to say, “Lord, you know that I’m married to an unbelieving person and I’m believing for him to be saved. But in the meantime, I thank you that my faith is sanctifying this relationship and that my children are affected positively by this marriage.”

We’ve got to realize that divorce is not the first option we should turn to. Oftentimes, we are looking for rules in the Bible and wondering, “Does God permit me to get divorced in this situation?” God is trying to tell us here that if you are married to an unbeliever, have hope. Things can change. If you are a believer married to an unbeliever, how much more possible is it for things to turn around! If you are discouraged in your marriage, take heart! God can turn that relationship around starting today.

Marriage - Unequally Yoked

I’ve been married for 4 years now. I’m a practicing Catholic and my husband is a non-practicing Lutheran. And that’s how our family raised us. I have been seriously looking at my religion and I’m looking into Christianity lately. And my husband is not willing to do that. And there’s something missing in our marriage because our basic beliefs are completely different. I’m wondering how realistic it is if he will not consider a faith that this marriage can work.

Well, your marriage can work, not based on your denomination or religion; your marriage can work based on love. And if you truly love him and he truly loves you, your marriage can succeed. Now, that’s not to say that you won’t have challenges because you’re pursuing the things of God and he’s not. You have to realize a number of things. First of all, Jesus said to love him more than you love your husband, more than you love your wife, more than you love your own life, more than you love anybody. He’s not saying not to love those people. He’s saying in comparison, your love for Him has to be much greater.

So, number one, follow the leading of God in your heart. God is leading you to a closer relationship with Him and you need to respond to that because that is the higher calling. It’s a higher calling than your marriage. It’s a higher calling than happiness on this earth. It’s a higher calling than anything that this world or this earth has to offer. Follow that calling. And pursue God, pursue Christianity, pursue the Bible, pursue a close walk with God and an intimate fellowship with God. That’s step one. Out of that intimate fellowship with God, you’re going to find that you’re going to be able to love your husband even more. You’re going to find that you’re going to be able to please your husband more because you’re pleasing God.

The problem in most marriages is that neither party has an intimate fellowship with God. There are a lot of people that go to churches, they go to Christian churches, Protestant churches, Catholic churches, you name it. But yet, their walk with God is not intimate. It’s not close. They’re not honest with God. They’re not talking to Him or receiving from Him. They’re not having fellowship or intimacy with God. And any intimacy with anybody else begins with intimacy with God. And so, number one, pursue that.

Number two, let your husband have some time and some grace. God’s been gracious with you because you haven’t really pursued deeply the things of God until recently and now, you are and you want to follow the Lord. You had to come to that. Nobody brought you to that. Your husband didn’t bring you to that. Your relatives didn’t bring you to that. God spoke to you. God put it on your heart. He started to draw you and you started to respond.

And realize that it’s going to take the same thing for God to draw your husband as well. That God will have to touch him, that God will have to speak to him. If you try to push him towards that, then he’ll go in the other direction most likely. So, let him come to his own epiphany. Let him come to his own revelation.

And I think you’ll find less pressure in your relationship and you pursue Christianity in the way that you’re pursuing it and if he wants to go with you, great. If he doesn’t, no problem. Put no pressure on him, but let him see the fruit. Let him see the benefit in your life and you’ll find that that’ll do more than anything you could say to him and more than anything that you could prove to him.

I also want to give you a Scripture. In 1 Peter chapter 3, the Bible says to wives, “Wives if you’re obedient to the Lord, but your husbands are disobedient, you can win your husband through your chaste and respectful behavior, through your love, through your honor, through your respect. And it will win your husband from a position of disobedience to God and it will bring him into a place of obedience.” You can look that up when you get a chance. I really encourage you to look at that, to pray over that. And you’ll find some great peace and comfort there as well. People that don’t have common denominators in their marriages, God can do miracles in their lives. Don’t underestimate the power of God. Don’t underestimate what God can do.

Marriage - Unequally Yoked

My husband, who is not a believer, has become extremely emotionally abusive towards me and my oldest son. He does not allow me to take our children to church. He will yell at me and criticize me anytime he sees me reading a Bible, or any of those things. I’ve prayed and prayed and I’ve begged him to come to church with me, and he won’t. And I’ve begged him for counseling and he won’t do that either. How does God help me be the wife I’m supposed to be when I can’t make my husband what God expects him to be?

Well, you certainly can’t make him what God expects him to be. But one of the fundamental building blocks of a relationship is agreement and union and finding a common denominator. And the most basic common denominator in any relationship has to be faith in God. If you’re a Christian, the most basic common denominator in that relationship has to be that that man has to have faith in God like you have faith in God. It doesn’t mean he has to be a spiritual giant overnight, it just means he’s got to, at least, believe in the God that you believe in. To not believe in the God that you believe in is to undermine every hope of any love and any union and any faith and any hope in that relationship.

That’s why the Bible says don’t marry an unbeliever. That’s why the Bible says we’re not to be in a relationship with an unbeliever. And we certainly shouldn’t be married to someone who persecutes us for reading our Bible, or criticizes us for reading our Bible. It sounds like you’ve done everything that you can do. You’ve prayed for this man and encouraged counseling for your marriage. You need to let him know that your relationship with God is the most important relationship in this world. But it wasn’t meant to divide you from him. There’s nothing that he should feel jealous about. Your relationship with God is what you were created to have. God created you to have a relationship with Him.

So I would encourage you to take one more stab at it. Let him know, “Look, my life changed. God is in me, but that doesn’t mean that I’m better than you. That doesn’t mean I’m more important than you. That doesn’t mean you’re bad. It just means that Jesus Christ came into my life as my Lord and Savior and that’s one non-negotiable in my life. And I need you to understand that. And I need to know why that bothers you, why that upsets you. Let’s talk about that. Let’s get some help. Let’s work this relationship out.”

Appeal to him once more and that way, do the best you possibly do. And if he refuses and you get to the bottom of it, and he just doesn’t want anything to do with God, he doesn’t want anything to do with the things that you believe, then you might have to move on from that relationship. Take your best stab at it one more time.

Marriage - Unequally Yoked

My husband and I got married when we were very young. I’ve grown a lot spiritually and my husband hasn’t and he still has a lot of bad habits. How long are you supposed to wait on your spouse to grow with you, to become spiritually on the level that you are? He’s had an affair and we’re trying to work through that.

The first thing I would tell you to do is, number one, detach yourself from needing your husband to be the spiritual man that you want him to be. Detach yourself from needing that. I’m not saying that he shouldn’t be. He certainly should be. But detach yourself from needing that, and put your trust completely in God and turn your husband over to the Lord.

“Love endures long,” 1 Corinthians 13:1 says, “and is patient and kind.” And so you’ve just got to endure long. But you’ve got to detach yourself from needing him to change. And then start somewhere with him. Start praying for him, and say, “Would you be open to praying for just sixty seconds a day with me, where we can just pray together?”

And start with something small like that. You might find that he’s really open to that. And you might find that there are some baby steps that will help him get to where you want him to be spiritually. But sometimes, if you’re dominating, domineering or demanding it of him…

So, I would say, “If we’re going to work through this, we’ve got to have a common denominator spiritually. And in order for us to work through this marriage and not get divorced, we’re going to have to get both of ourselves in agreement with our spiritual vision and spiritual direction for our lives.” And that should be done with the guidance of a good, godly, spiritual counselor.

And if your husband is open to that, then I think that somebody can help guide you guys into that spiritual restoration and maturity together. But if he’s not open to that, then it is a lost cause, and you need to turn it over to the Lord, and let God deal with him and move on with your life.

But first I would make every attempt to tell him, “Look, you betrayed my trust, now all I ask is that you don’t betray the Lord’s trust. Become a strong Christian with me, and let’s move forward with God together.”

And if he’s not willing to do that, then he’s cheated on you already, he’s betrayed your trust, and he doesn’t want to do anything to restore that trust—so you need to move on. Time doesn’t heal things. You have to restore the trust that’s been broken. Alright, that’s what I would encourage you to do. Have a serious talk with him, get some counseling right away, and God bless you.

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