Wednesday, July 26, 2017

When You're Married To An Unbeliever

If any brother has an unbelieving wife and she is willing to live with him, he must not leave her. Also, if any woman has an unbelieving husband and he is willing to live with her, she must not leave her husband. . . For you, wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Or you, husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?
1 Corinthians 7:12-13, 16

My dad didn't follow God. My mom did. So, I watched it first hand. My wife married me when she probably shouldn't have. I claimed to be a believer, and probably thought I was, but I wasn't. So, I've lived it first hand. This is not an exhaustive treatment of the topic, "How to live with an unbeliever or backslider." It's just some observations that I hope help someone.

1. Confess your sin.

Scripture tells us not to be unequally yoked. If you're a Jesus follower and you married someone who wasn't, you sinned. You can beat yourself up or ask for forgiveness. Beating yourself up won't do one good thing. Confessing your sin will result in your forgiveness and your cleansing.

2.  Love your spouse, but don't follow them spiritually.

You have to strike a balance, but you don't have to walk off into spiritual oblivion with a lost or worldly spouse. Your spouse may be a "good" lost person, but they have a different worldview than you. Follow Jesus. You have to do life together and you want to. You're married. So, ask for wisdom and pray for strength so you don't follow a lost person down the road to hell.

3.  Commit to your church.

It's amazing how much I found to do on Sunday mornings when I was lost. You want to do life with your spouse, but you're part of an eternal family, too. As a matter of fact, you were never intended to be successful in the Christian life apart from a church family. Commit to your church. Find a small group with people of the same gender who can pray for you and support you. Ask for wisdom to know how to love your spouse and your church.

4.  Abide in Christ.

Sometimes we ride our spouse's spiritual coat tails. We loaf while they love Jesus. You can't do that if your spouse doesn't love Jesus. Really, we can never do it. If you're married to a lost person, you need your daily walk with the Lord more than ever. Discipline yourself in scripture, prayer, meditation, and obedience.

5.  Don't go there.

The world will drag you down. If you're married to someone who is walking in the world, be aware that you will probably be tempted to walk the same road with them. If you love your spouse, and you should, it's going to be hard not to get sucked into the worldliness.

6.   Pray, pray, pray for your spouse.

Never underestimate the importance of your intercession for your lost spouse.

7.   Humbly live it out (meaning you repent when you're wrong).

Your life is the great tool God wants to use in the life of your spouse. If you're faithful to Christ, it will cause conflict with your spouse. That's why humility is so important. If you're not faithful, they will see that there is no real reason to believe in your God. How you handle your failures before your spouse is just as important as how you handle your successes. Do both with all the humility you can muster.

I hope this helps someone. It's tough, but God is greater. Hang in there. Don't give up. Trust in and follow the Lord. He is faithful.