Many spouses in unequally yoked marriage relationships mistakenly believe that their marriage can never be successful or satisfying. They think that because they disagree on the level of religious commitment, they will be unable to agree on anything else. However, that is a defeatist attitude.
Spirituality is an important part of marriage, but there are many other things that go into making up a vital marriage relationship. Remembering the full circle of marriage is a real challenge; it does not happen by accident.
Unequally Yoked Marriage
When I first got saved, Christ, the Bible, the church, and spiritual aspects of life were the only things I thought about. I just became this big spiritual person to the point that I forgot about the rest of my marriage. I kept thinking, “My husband and I really don’t have anything in common. It comes down to the fact that I love the Lord, and he loves the world.”
When he talked about going out and doing something recreational, I didn’t want to go with him. I couldn’t imagine him going anyplace that I would want to go. All of the people that we used to call friends were unsaved, so I didn’t want to be around them anymore. Why would a spouse want to change if the only examples of spirituality were from a wife who was no longer fun to be with?
In addition to the spiritual dimension of marriage, there are also parental, financial, relational, psychological, volitional (which is your will), emotional, physical, recreational, and vocational aspects of the marriage relationship, as well.
Unfortunately, I was stuck on religion and didn’t have time for anything else. I just kept thinking, “If my husband isn’t saved, then the marriage cannot work. If my husband isn’t saved, how can we go out and have fun? What kind of relationship could we have? I don’t know if I should tithe or not tithe. What should I do with my money? Should I ask him for money from his check?” For me, the marriage relationship was almost in a cloud. If it didn’t say religion in front of it or if I couldn’t find a verse for it, then it wasn’t relevant.
When I started to identify basic marriage problems as yoke problems, I also discovered that my problems had more to do with my negative attitude and my approach toward my husband than with his relationship (or lack of relationship) with Christ. The Lord began to deal with me and show me how self-righteous I had become. Then I was able to go back and try to approach my husband again, to ask for forgiveness in certain areas, to try to rebuild our relationship, and to rediscover the other areas of our marriage that did work.
Getting Stuck in an Unequally Yoked Marriage
…There is a lot more to marriage than just the religious aspect. You don’t want to get stuck in one place thinking, “Because my spouse isn’t saved, nothing else matters.” You can develop intimacy and togetherness in other areas. There are other things that you can do. Remember the full circle of marriage and see where you can expand your relationship. Ask yourself, “What happened to these other areas of my marriage? Do I need to go back and work on some things?”
…It is indeed a high calling to be in an unequally yoked marriage relationship. Not everyone can handle it. Some women say, “when we got married, I didn’t know any better; we weren’t saved.”
To counter this attitude, I often encourage clients to spend more time looking at the things they saw in their husband when they first met him. Take time to remember what attracted you to him in the first place. There was a reason why you got married.
Reasons for Marrying
Some people were married because there was a child involved. Maybe you wanted your child to have a father in the home. Even if that was your only reason, many of the characteristics it takes to be a good father are similar to those needed to become a good husband. But now that you have him, regardless of why you have him, you can learn to love and honor him.
When my husband asks me, “Would you marry me again?” the answer is an emphatic “Yes!” I love the man. I have learned to look beyond his faults the way God looks beyond mine. Also, I’ve learned to look past all the little things —like picking up clothes (even though he picks up after me). It is those little things that become annoying when they occur on a regular basis and make you think, “Will I ever get through this?”
Instead, I ask God to help me see all that my husband will become. I plan to hang in here until the end, and he knows that. I believe in marriage until death do us part. The key is not to kill each other in the process.
This article comes from the book, Can Two Walk Together? Encouragement for Spiritually Unbalanced Marriages written by Sabrina D. Black, published by Lift Every Voice. This is a wonderful tool to provide those in unequally yoked relationships with hope and help in dealing with disappointment, hurts, and heartaches. Sabrina Black brings her counseling expertise to bear on this difficult subject, assisting couples with creating and maintaining a vibrant, growing relationship despite their differences. She also has a web site at Sabrinablack.com.
– ALSO –
To help you further with this issue, please click onto the web site links provided below to read:
• MARRIED TO AN UNBELIEVING SPOUSE: Shine Your Light
If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
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91 responses to “Can Unequally Yoked Marriages Be Successful?”
Great read! Thanks for sharing Sabrina. I speak from 20yrs in a spiritually mismatched marriage with 3 teens. I was very much like the beginning of this article….when I first was saved, I became this big spiritual person and forgot about the priority… God first, then marriage then children. Then the rest…. I wish a wise woman would have told me, but alas, I learned on my own. Since my husband doesn’t care for church (too many church hurts) I have made my husband my first earthly ministry (on most days)
We struggle, but I am committed for life and I thank God daily for keeping me here. I almost left a few times. God has used my broken marriage as the number 1 tool to push me to trust Him and to grow me into a mature Christian woman, mom and wife. I am a vapor that appears for a short time, then vanishes. I want every moment to count for God’s glory. Thanks for all the additional marriage resources. May God favor bless and protect each marriage that this article touches. 💜💙
Being unequally yoked is difficult but not impossible. Like it or not, this is our mission field. I too became religious and changed toward my husband. I left for six months 5 years ago fooling myself into believing that I was called to the mission field (Japan). I was fortunate. I didnt leave for another man. I left to find my heart. I loved my husband but I could no longer live with him, as I was. I used those five months to focus on Jesus. I was after Him pretty much 24/7.
I spent a month with my sister mostly grieving. Then I headed to Kansas City for a workshop. It was four days. I ended up staying for 3 months, living with a wonderful older woman of God. She offered her wisdom and then let me work it out. I returned to my sisters and realized that God wanted me to go home to my husband and my family. So I returned to the biggest battle of my life. But it was the Lords battle and he was more than equipped to win. And so we had restoration of the marriage. My husband is still not saved. He has not changed. But I did. And that has made the difference. It’s still a challenge. But I learned to pursue Jesus as my fulfillment. I love my husband. I have placed him in the hands of Jesus. I’m certainly not perfect and so we co exist in this imbalanced relationship. And I know that as long as I am pursuing my Lord, it will work.
My born again Christian wife who buries her nose in the Bible, never has my back. If I and another person were dangling off a cliff that she was holding the ropes, she was let me go!