So you’re married to an unbelieving spouse and you might be thinking, “What do I do now?” Or perhaps you’re thinking, “I can no longer live with this wretched man!”
In some unequally yoked marriages the unbelieving husbands aren’t hostile towards the Gospel, meaning, they don’t mind you going to church. They don’t mind having worship and praise songs in the home. And they don’t mind you raising your kids in the faith. They are not angry about your Christian faith. But that’s not always the case for every unequally yoked marriage.
Some unbelieving husbands condemn wives for going to church. Some forbid them to listen to any “Jesus/church” music in the house or car. And some husbands won’t even allow their wives to spend time with their Christian friends and family. In fact, some would like to move their wives out of state! Well, I got news for a man like that…Jesus will still be in Texas, New York, West Virginia, etc. No matter where he wants to take his wife, Jesus will always be with her, because Christ is in her heart!
This post is geared towards the wife married to an unbelieving husband who is hostile towards the Gospel. But even if your man is not hostile towards your faith, I believe what I’m going to share today will minister to you. Goodness, if you’re breathing and married…I think these tips will help you, too.
10 Ways to Live In an Unequally Yoked Marriage
1. Find a common authority in your marriage and build from there.
Ask him if he feels it would be appropriate in your marriage to treat each other with respect? The word respect might grab his attention.
Ask him if he feels it would be appropriate if the two of you had sex? Again, he might be listening to you now!
Ask him if he feels it would be appropriate if the two of you were kind to one another?
If a husband says no to all of these basic marital questions then I’d ask him why he’s staying in the marriage? Why hasn’t he left you yet? Is a marriage filled with strife, contentions, void of love and physical intimacy the type of marriage he’s always dreamed of?
You’re not looking to get into a disagreement with him here. Nor are you looking to preach at him either! You are simply looking to find answers to his heart. You’re being a friend to him as you find out what makes him tick in regards to your marriage.
After you learn what he has to say, (I’m going to assume he said yes to the respect, sex and kindness,) then you build from there in your marriage. So when the arguments ensue, you could come back to asking him questions in a humble manner.
Hey honey, didn’t you say you felt it was appropriate for our marriage if we treated each other with respect and kindness? Can we start over and do that?
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov. 15:1
2. Diffuse the conflict.
It’s easy for an unbeliever to feel like they’re an enemy with someone who’s a Believer. As a wife, try not to make him out as your enemy, because he’s not. The Lord calls the two of you one flesh.
One of my favorite verses regarding a difficult person is this one…
If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink. You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the LORD will reward you. Prov. 25:21,22
Is it easy to heap burning coals of shame upon someone’s head? Absolutely not! You’ve got to die to your flesh.
I have a couple of friends that are in marriages where they are unequally yoked. One friend’s husband is outright hostile towards her and her faith. One day as I was sharing with her, I asked her what her husband’s favorite homemade cookie was. Her response, “Chocolate chip.” At the time of the conversation she was serving in our church’s kitchen making, guess what? Chocolate chip cookies for our cafe! I said to her she should go home and make a batch of chocolate chip cookies for her husband. Just because. Not to butter him up or manipulate him. But as a kind gesture. She looked at me like I had lost my mind. And then I told her to make some dough, roll up individual balls and place them in the freezer. And the next time her and her husband got into a fight she should whip them out and bake them up for him. At this point her mouth dropped open and she gave me the stink eye that said, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Being that you’re married to your guy, here’s something else you can try to soften his heart. Start taking your clothes off in the midst of the argument. Yep, you read that right. I said, “Get naked.” I’m sure he wouldn’t know what hit him. Again, I would take this approach if I wanted to soften his outrageous and sometimes completely ridiculous rantings and outbursts. (Mind you, I’m not talking about a guy who is physically, emotionally or mentally abusing you, but rather someone who is not exercising self-control in the midst of an argument.) He doesn’t have the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him, therefore, he’s not going to exercise self-control like a Believer would. So keep that perspective.
3. Show humility.
Something I hear often from wives who are unequally yoked with their husbands is that they’re constantly walking on eggshells as their husband is waiting to point out to them how they have missed the mark. Well, here’s a new flash. WE ALL MISS THE MARK! But these wives feel because they’re representing Christ they need to be perfect in their husband’s presence since he’s always watching her. Well, yes, I would agree that your witness matters to the unbeliever, but there’s a big difference between trying to please the Lord and trying to being perfect. Perfection is not attainable here on earth. Something I believe every marriage needs, whether the man is saved or not… is humility.
When you screw up, apologize. It’s as simple as that. I believe our world needs more humility. Imagine if we all walked through life humble? Wouldn’t that be an interesting site to behold? Hmmm, we’d all start to look a little bit more like Jesus, wouldn’t we?
So try the path of humility rather than perfection. By the way, pursuing perfection is exhausting. Don’t even bother taking this path. I think when your husband hears you constantly apologizing for falling short, perhaps he’ll feel a little more compassionate and empathetic towards you rather than outright hostile. Of course he won’t always embrace this because you’re walking in the Light and he’s in darkness. Sometimes those in darkness recoil by having the Light turned on them. But again, humility gives them a chance to realize they don’t have to act so proud, so tough, so “I’ve got everything under control and I don’t need Jesus in my life.”
Humility says, “I don’t have everything under control and I need my Savior to help me.”
4. Attempt to be his friend.
Take up a hobby with him. Ask yourself what was it about him that initially drew you to him in the first place? Think on those attributes and tell him about it. He’ll like hearing your loving and encouraging words about him.
5. Minister to him.
Make sure you spend more time ministering to him and your marriage rather than to anyone else, including those at church. I know a woman who is always at church serving, yet on a regular basis she’s leaves her unbelieving husband at home to make his own frozen t.v. dinners. It’s easy for a husband like this to become bitter towards the Christian faith. Don’t let your serving others cause him disdain towards your God. A marriage like this is out of order regardless of his faith or lack thereof.
6. Don’t major in the minors.
If he doesn’t like chicken for dinner, then don’t bother preparing it for him. If he doesn’t like having pictures on the wall, then don’t put them up. My man’s a Believer but he can’t stand peanut butter. (I happen to like it, especially in my dark chocolate ice cream!) But if I made a dessert with peanut butter in it I’m sure he would feel disrespected and somewhat unloved because I dismissed his preferences. In the scope of things, this minor stuff does not matter. It does nothing for God’s kingdom. Remember, you’re here to build God’s kingdom, not your own.
7. Major in the majors.
Let him know you’ll do your best to be respectful to him and ask him to be respectful to you, more specifically when it comes to your relationship with the Lord.
8. Initiate physical intimacy with him.
Every husband needs this from his wife. Period. Now if you can’t go there just yet, then do your best to just like him.
9. Grow strong in the Lord.
Other things to do for your own spiritual well-being is make sure you’re attending church, reading your Bible, listening to praise and worship music with earbuds so he’s not so annoyed. Surround yourself with strong Christian women who would encourage you in this journey. You need this so you can walk in the Spirit. And if he still gets angry and you can’t deal with his antics, then remove yourself from the situation for a time. Go for a drive and let him know you’ll return later when things have cooled down. Come back when you’re walking in the Spirit and not your flesh. And then try to heap more burning coals of shame upon his head when you return. Prov. 25:22
10. Pray for you and your husband.
Ask the Lord to give you His eyes of compassion, grace and mercy for your man. If you knew your husband was going to die tonight and he wasn’t saved yet, would you treat him differently knowing that he was going to Hell?
Pray without ceasing. 1 Thes. 5:17
Bottom line: It is not your responsibility to bring your husband to the Lord. This is the Holy Spirit’s role. Your role is to please the Lord by walking in the Spirit.
The unbeliever is not governed by the same Authority that you are. They don’t have the power of the Holy Spirit who can intercede on their behalf. And they don’t have the fruit of the Spirit: His love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc. like you do.
Your God will be well pleased with you if you choose to walk in the Spirit.
In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. 1 Peter 3:1,2 NLT
Need some more help in your marriage? I’ve got you covered with the Wisdom for Wives On-line Conference. Check it out here.
Live a poured out life for Christ,