Every Sunday, Carrie Nicholson, a married mother of two, is single at church. Her unbelieving husband is noticeably absent from all church-related activities. Week after week, Carrie saves a seat for her husband. Week after week, his seat remains unclaimed and they were in a spiritually unequal marriage.
Nancy Kennedy, the author of “When He Doesn’t Believe,” understands this situation. After she had been married for a few years, Nancy became a Christian. Now, 25 years later, she remains in what she terms as a “spiritually-mismatched” marriage. Kennedy offers hope to those unequally yoked by reminding them that God is not absent from their situations or indifferent to their struggles. She is living proof that a couple can be “unequal yet whole.” *
God never says, “Oops!
” Perhaps the most difficult thing for a spiritually-single wife to understand is that God is fully aware of her situation. Your spiritually-mismatched marriage can “mold you into someone who looks and loves more like Jesus,” Kennedy says.
When an unbeliever’s wife recognizes God’s presence in her situation, she can relax.
“You’ll be able to enjoy your life and that will ease tensions at home. When that happens, you won’t have to talk constantly about your faith because you’ll be living it.”
Divided by faith
“I do feel resentful at times,” Carrie admits. “I worry about how my faith divides us right now. What are my children learning about marriage and family?”
“Jesus Himself said His coming would bring division in families,” Kennedy acknowledges (Luke 12:51-53). “However, sometimes we are the ones who create the barriers by spending inordinate amounts of time separating ourselves from our husbands.”
When it comes to church events, a spiritually-single wife needs to choose wisely. While she certainly could be more involved if her husband was active, too, she does not need to put the church against her husband. They are not competitors. “It’s not either I can love God or I can love my husband,” explains Kennedy. “It’s because I’m loved by God that I can love my husband.”
What about the children?
Carrie relies on her church family for friendship and support as she raises her children. She worries that if she dies before her children’s faith becomes firmly established, they will grow up outside the church.
“Your children belong to both of you,” reminds Kennedy. It is important to find common ground when it comes to discipline and discipleship. Most men agree with the biblical principles of building character and moral values.
Prayer, the Powerful Tool
The most powerful tool a believing mom can wield is prayer because it is then that God’s power is unleashed to do a mighty work behind the scenes. The power of God can change even the most negative husband, especially when a believing wife respects him and teaches her children to do the same.
It is not easy to be the wife of an unbeliever. It is even more difficult to face the challenges of everyday life without Christ. Yet, you will be blessed as you make your home a place of honor and comfort for your husband.
* Nancy Kennedy, interview by Rebecca Ingram Powell.
This article is shared with us courtesy of Parent Life Magazine.
It is written by Rebecca Ingram Powell, who is a pastor’s wife, mother of three, and the author of Baby Boot Camp: Basic Training for the First Six Weeks of Motherhood from B&H Publishers. Visit her web site at Rebeccaingrampowell.blogspot.com.