Sunday, February 27, 2011

What to do if your spouse is not a believer?

This is such an awesome topic and an important one. Many of my good friends over the years have been in this situation. Each situation is different and needs individual advice but here are a few thoughts.

1. Be gentle and loving. Scripture says to share our faith with, "gentleness and respect". This should be especially true in a marriage.
2. Be the best spouse you can possibly be. Work on yourself more than the other person.
3. Pray.
4. Be careful about what you say about your spouse to Christian friends. Your spouse is still your closest covenant person.
5. Stay committed to you church, to ministry, to giving and more. There is nothing wrong with who you are. If you are a committed Christian then that is who your spouse is married to. Trying to be something else so that you don't 'bother' your spouse will create resentment in you and cause you to lose who God made you to be. Obviously this will mean some tension and some missing places in your life and your spouses life. Of course you should be careful of super duper over involvement in Christian activity (but this is true for anyone, not just Christians married to non-Christians).
6. You can still have an awesome marriage. I have known non-Christians with better marriages than Christians. I have known inter-faith marriages that were great. Marriages work when we use God's principles to make them great whether we are Christians or not.
7. Ask God for the grace and strength for your situation. Phil 4:13 where Paul says, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength." is about finding joy in the midst of tough circumstances. One of the greatest witnesses of God's amazing power is when God gives us the grace to be content in the worst of circumstances. Be careful of getting down on yourself, your spouse or your situation. Negativity is poisonous.
8. Get wise council. If you are unsure, ask for wisdom from wise people and from God. Be careful of 'conventional wisdom'. Not everything you hear will be right.
9. Plead with single Christians not to marry non-Christians. Your voice is a powerful one because of your circumstances.
10. Millions of spouses have come to know Christ after their husband or wife. Pray, believe, wait. Be content.