Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Best Approach to an Unbelieving Spouse

While God's word tells us that we should avoid relationships with nonbelievers, sometimes we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of an unequally yoked partnership. Maybe you were nonbelievers when you got married and then one of you gave your life to Christ later down the road. Or maybe you married a nonbeliever hoping they would eventually change. Whatever your situation, it happens and when it does, the Bible tells us that there is still potential for good. 1 Corinthians 7:14 says the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Now this does not mean that if you are a Christian your husband or wife is automatically saved. What it does mean is that your influence on your spouse's life may be strong enough to win them over. 

How to deal with an unbelieving husband

While the potential exists, it doesn't always happen easily and rarely on our time making being married to a nonbeliever incredibly frustrating. So what do we do? How do we minister to our spouses without becoming discouraged and driving them away?

Let your light shine 

Like a pile of dirty laundry when we are expecting company, we tend to close Jesus up in our hearts in the presence of nonbelievers. We do this because we're scared they may think we are strange, that we're judging them or we're worried we may come across as too pushy. But I believe that hearts are changed through the example of others. Your spouse may not have accepted Jesus because he/she has never seen what it truly means to have a relationship with Him. As someone your spouse is around every day, you are in the perfect position to be an example of that relationship for them. Be open about who Jesus is in your life. Be honest about your sins so they see that Jesus accepts us as we are. Speak of Him as a friend and allow your spouse to see the joy and peace Jesus brings you. Love them the way Jesus loves you.

No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. 
Matthew 5:15-16

Be willing to be different. Be willing to be strange. Be confidant in your faith because Jesus says that we are the light of the world. Our light may be the only one our spouse ever sees. Let it shine!

Recognize that the fight is not yours 

When it comes to our unbelieving loved ones, we have tendency to place a tremendous amount of responsibility on ourselves for their salvation. This can leave us feeling weighed down and defeated and can place unnecessary distance in our relationships.  
I love what 1 Corinthians 3:6 teaches us- I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. Allowing ourselves to believe this lifts the weight right off of our shoulders and places it in God's very capable hands. The truth is that all we can do is plant the seeds. The outcome is between your spouse and God. 

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.  
Ezekiel 36:26.

 Prayer and Patience 

Ultimately, I think that prayer is the most powerful tool we have when dealing with an unsaved spouse. It is through prayer that God can begin working in your spouse's heart while encouraging you in the pursuit. When you feel defeated, pray. When you want to nag your spouse, pray. When you start to see the fruit of your effort, pray! Ask God to not only change your spouse's heart, but to lead you in ministering to your spouse in a way that is pleasing to Him.  

The Bible says that anything we ask according to His will will given to us. What it doesn't say is that it will be given to us immediately. It is in our waiting time that we often experience a spiritual growth spurt. God uses our wait to draw us closer to Him and enhance our faith. Remember that Abraham was 100 years old when Issac was born. God is faithful to fulfill His promises, we just have to be patient with Him.

 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
 Lamentations 3:25-26

If you are struggling in a relationship with a nonbeliever, I want to encourage you that we serve a God who is capable of moving even the most stubborn and resistant mountains. Continue to shine your light and when it seems impossible, remember that you are simply God's seed sower. He will take care of everything else. 




  1. This is so true,Meagan. It's a great reminder. And prayers is so vital. It is going to be the Holy Spirit who opens his/her eyes. You have shared truths that go beyond just the marriage relationship - but sharing Christ to others too. Thank you.

  2. So encouraging and true. I am lucky that I am married to a believer, but you can still be unequally yoked even as Christians at different times in your life. He may be more enthusiastic then you about serving Jesus and the church or visa versa. The husband is head of the household; so, prayer and patience is really key just like you write. Thanks for sharing. :) I love this song my daughter sings, "I Can Pray."

  3. Very uplifting post, Meagan. Prayer, patience, and and more prayer--praying without ceasing is definitely the way to draw a nonbeliever to the Lord.

  4. Amen! Learning to wait on God is not the easiest but it is often so worth it. Thank you for this blessed piece. I think a lot of what you shared can be applied to unbelieving loved ones in general and not just unbelieving spouses. Thanks again and blessings!