SPIRITUALLY SINGLE: Living With an Unbelieving Husband

SeparationWe’re called to live at peace with everyone, including our unbelieving spouses, which can require extra effort on our part,” Ellen says. “We all have to find what works best in our individual situation. There’s no magic formula, but God will help supply the right answers if we ask.”

That said, don’t be afraid to grow. Looking back, I realize my growth has enhanced our marriage and didn’t hinder our relationship, as I originally presumed it would. When I put God first, He changed my heart toward Dean.

Whole Heart

God used Paul’s advice to the Colossians to challenge me: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (3:23). God was asking me to put my whole heart into my marriage —for Him.

Lori, a friend at church, shared with me what God taught her during a difficult period in her marriage. “Regardless of what Steve did or didn’t do, regardless of his salvation status, and regardless of his contribution to the relationship, God expected my best. Marriage isn’t a 50/50 proposition, but rather my giving my 100%.”

Those words have haunted, rebuked, and blessed me many times over the years. She’s right. When I stand before God, I long to hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful wife.” I don’t desire to stand before Him blaming Dean for my shortcomings. “But, God, I didn’t because he didn’t…” Those words won’t carry much weight with the Almighty.

Reasons to Grow

The spiritual condition of my spouse doesn’t change my role except to create a more vital need for obedience to Scripture. As Peter reminds me, the unbeliever will be won over by the behavior —not the words of his believing mate. Even more reason to grow. How an I practice what I do not know? And how can I know unless I grow in my knowledge of God?

Proverbs 31 paints the epitome of a godly woman,yet never states whether her husband practiced faith. With so little revealed about him, I must surmise his spiritual condition held no relevance to her role as a godly wife, nor does my husband’s for me.

So I pass the gauntlet on to you. It’s with love, hope, and prayers I say, “You grow, girl!” Move toward God with passionate fervor. Don’t wait for anyone or anything. May God bless you as you grow in Him!

This article comes from the book: Spiritually Single by Jeri Odell. It was published by Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, Missouri. Jeri Odell has been married for 34 years and has persevered alone in her Christian walk for nearly 29 of those years.


The following web site article links are provided to help you further as you strive to live with your unbelieving spouse. Please click onto the link below to read:




There was a Revive Our Hearts radio broadcast series titled “When He Doesn’t Believe” with Nancy DeMoss who was interviewing Nancy Kennedy, who is married to an unbelieving husband, that you might find especially helpful. Below are two of the links to the audio and transcripts to this compelling interview. Please click onto the links to listen to and/or read:



If you would like to obtain the book that Nancy Kennedy wrote, that was being discussed throughout these interviews, please click onto the link provided below:


If you have additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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70 responses to “SPIRITUALLY SINGLE: Living With an Unbelieving Husband

  1. I sure am struggling to love or even want to love my unbelieving husband. Last time he was home (truck driver) his swearing was from the depths of hell. I struggle with esteem issues, living life, hurt feelings, and he and his family are all big heavy personalties.

  2. It’s right and biblical that it is only God who saves indeed. I am sailing the same boat with my husband, but I know that God is on the watch and he is my lawyer. One day God will save him and I shall sing a song of thanksgiving to my Savior. Amen.

  3. I am a man and my wife has fallen. She started drinking like we used to do. How do I bring her back? She doesn’t want to go to church or to do anything about God. My world is upside down. We work different hours, and I know now I should have found a way to take her out on a date; stupid me! Any sister that can help?