No two marriages are alike. Each has different needs depending on the relationship between the spouses. However, a marriage between a believer in Christ and an unbeliever presents some unique challenges.
It’s true that Scripture speaks against being “unequally yoked.” But what about couples who are already in unequal relationships — or people who find Christ long after saying their wedding vows? If you have tasted the joy of salvation and desperately want your mate to experience the same, what can you do?
Should you put gospel tracts under her pillow? Insert a praise and worship CD in his car the night before he drives on a long business trip? Tape Scripture verses on the bathroom mirror each morning? How can you help your spouse find Christ if he or she is an unbeliever?
Your partner may be a nice person, but he or she does not view life in the same way as you. Your spouse’s concept of the word love, for example, will vary greatly from yours because an unbeliever has never experienced the unconditional (agape) love of the Lord. These different views of love will make your relationship more challenging.
How to Respond
Focus on what you can control. You cannot save your mate. First Corinthians 3:7 reminds us that only God can provide salvation. You can, however, live a life that will stir your mate’s curiosity about Christ. Scripture refers to being salt and light in this world (Matthew 5:13-16). And your sphere of influence to an unbelieving world begins with your husband or wife.
Paul reminded Christians how effective they can be when they live consistent Christian lifestyles before their mates (1 Corinthians 7). Ask God every day how He wants you to live out your Christian faith with your husband or wife. You certainly don’t want to press too hard and scare him or her away. Yet you want your influence to be strong .
So how do you strike a balance?
Walk daily with the Lord.
He will provide the wisdom to give you a little more patience. Or He will give you just the right solution when an issue arises — to be firm but seasoned with grace.
Ease up on the “hard sell.”
Don’t ignore the serious reality of your mate’s eternity. But, to preach a constant gloom-and-doom frame of mind can push your spouse further from the Lord.
Whenever possible, cut your mate some slack.
Don’t expect perfection. (No spouse should.) Don’t be judgmental. Instead, seek to display the peace you have from Christ that allows you to have fun with each other and with life itself. Be positive. While you ache for your mate to experience salvation, often a kinder, gentler approach is more effective.
Invite your spouse to church events and activities other than Sunday morning worship.
Some churches have softball teams that are open to non-members. Others have golf or fishing tournaments that welcome those who need Christ. Your church may have a nutrition or exercise class that’s open to anyone. Inform your mate about events or classes he or she might find appealing.
Pray without ceasing for your beloved unbeliever.
Take your mate frequently to the Lord in prayer. You can even ask your spouse, “How can I pray for you today?” That approach is not threatening and will let him or her know you care and that you believe in the power of prayer.
You may grow weary or feel you’re being redundant in praying over and over for the same thing, but the cliché is true: Prayer changes things. Prayer can change the object of your prayers, but it also changes the person praying. The strength for you to keep on keeping on can come through your many prayers for your spouse. No doubt your love for your spouse will deepen. And, your mate may very well become a believer.
Continue to Sow Spiritual Seeds
Recently our pastor baptized a 76-year-old woman. A few weeks later, a married couple in their late 60s accepted Christ. These decisions for salvation and baptism came after many years of persistent prayer by family and friends.
What are the odds of someone’s coming to Christ after age 60? It doesn’t matter. Rather than worrying about the odds, we must continue to sow spiritual seed and let God give the increase. It does not matter how long your mate has been rejecting Christ, either. You simply keep sowing.
As you continuously share Christ and pray for your mate’s salvation, never forget Jeremiah’s words to the Lord: “Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17). So be faithful. Stay the course. Keep walking with the Lord. Pray without ceasing. Nothing is too hard for God.
This article is shared with us courtesy of HomeLife and was originally posted on the great resource web site of Lifeway.com. It is written by Rodney A. Wilson who is a minister of marriage and family enrichment at First Baptist Church in Smyrna, Tennessee.