When The One You Love Doesn’t Believe

Dollar Photo Loving couple in the park. Doesn't believe“Spiritual conflict in marriage is painful, especially when your spouse doesn’t believe or have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Popular author and pastor Kent Hughes speaks powerfully about how to stay with and pray for your unbelieving spouse.”

The above quote is an explanation for a 3-part half hour Family Life Today radio broadcast titled, “When the One You Love Doesn’t Believe.”

If you are living with an unbelieving spouse, we highly recommend you listen to these broadcasts. You can do so by contacting the ministry of Family Life Today at Familylife.com. They also make the transcripts available for you to read.

Here’s a preview quote from the 1st day of this 3-part daily program, covering the issue of one spouse who doesn’t believe:

When the One You Love Doesn’t Believe

Dennis Rainey:

“A person who is not a believer has their eyes are darkened, they can’t see. They’re blind. They are in need of us being fervent. That word ‘fervent in love,’ means stretched out as a runner stretches out to break the tape first. We are to stretch and strain in the Spirit in loving those who aren’t spiritually alive.

And be hospitable. That’s just being kind, making your home a warm place to be. I’m not suggesting easy answers for those who are married to non-Christians. I can’t think of a more challenging situation than day in and day out living the Christian life and loving someone who doesn’t share it with me.”

If you are in this place, it’s difficult to “stay and pray” for your unbelieving spouse. As the days grow into years, one can lose hope.

But something Kent Hughes said in the 2nd day of this 3-part radio program, might speak to your heart:


I remember the story of George Mueller. Just before he died, he had been praying for two men for 50 years, and they hadn’t come to Christ. As he was dying someone questioned him about that. …His prayers hadn’t been answered. He was noted as a great man of prayer. And Mueller said, “Do you think that God would have had me pray for them for 50 years and not answer my prayer?” And he died. The next two years both those men came to Christ after his death.

I think there’s a sense in which when God lays something on your heart. He calls you to pray and leads you to prayer. Very often it’s because He’s going to have that prayer fulfilled.

So I think that there are a couple of things here. I think that this matter of persistence in prayer and persistence through difficulties and hard times and expectancy. See, it’s fascinating, in Luke, the 18th chapter, the parable of persistent widow. The whole point of that parable is that she goes to this unbelieving, terrible judge, and she bugs him until he answers.

Persist in Prayer

And then it says we ought to persist in prayer. But the reason we ought to persist in prayer is not that God is like this grudging judge. It’s because God’s just the opposite. He is our Father. That’s why we ought to persist in prayer. And so prayer is the first thing.

The second element after prayer is your example, your live-in testimony. The way believers live with unbelieving spouses is huge on the landscape. I want to say that if you’re married to a nonbeliever or if someone that comes to Christ is married to a nonbeliever, that there is substantial hope because, very often, that spouse comes to believe. Not all the time. I want to be very careful to qualify what I’m saying about that but “very often.”

There IS hope, and there is help when your spouse doesn’t believe.

There are others that have walked this long road before you. And perhaps they can minister to you in ways that others can’t.

Below you will find several web site links. They will lead you to articles that you could also find helpful in your journey of being married to someone who is an unbeliever. Please click onto the links provided below to read:


(This is the same title, different a article.)


— ALSO —

The Crosswalk.com web site posted a 3-part series of articles written by author Cindy McMenamin, which you may find very helpful when your spouse doesn’t believe:



And lastly:


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

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3 responses to “When The One You Love Doesn’t Believe

  1. (USA)  Hi – I have finally come to the conclusion that my husband really is not saved. Just a little background on our situation. My husband and I met over 16 years ago we were both in the world and I got pregnant with my now 15 year old son. When my son was three, I came to Christ. I was living with my son’s father at the time and we were scheduled to be married within a year. Life became miserable and I had no choice but to leave him (the Holy Spirit was moving strong in my life). We broke up and for three years, although I still loved him, I wanted a Godly man for myself and my son.

    During our separation my son’s father starting attending church on his own (the Lord had placed godly people in his life one being his manager who was a pastor) and he ended up joining his manager’s church and getting baptized. I truly believed my husband had accepted Christ as I thought I was seeing some small changes. We ended up getting married.

    Now, after 7 years of marriage, my husband calls himself saved, he will go to church with me without a problem and seems to really enjoy church, writing down the scriptures while we are there as if to study them.

    Here is the problem: in the 7 years that we have been married I have never seen my husband pick up the Bible once. He knows no scripture, he is very worldly and listens to worldly music even in the presence of my 15 year old son and 3 year old daughter. His mouth is foul and he can be very verbally abusive.

    He quit his job and now our only income is from a 1 night a week club party that he has. He has told me his desire to open another night club (he use to own one before we married) even though he assured me that he was beyond that before we got married.

    If you asked my husband when did he come to Christ, he will say "I’ve been a Christian as long as I can remember". If we get into a discussion or disagreement and I will quote a scripture he get’s all upset and say things like "Oh, I forgot you were all sanctified" or "oh, you holier than though, there you go again". I think you get the drift.

    I need to know how to pray for my husband. As of now, I don’t like him, despise might be a better word. I’m angry that I have to be the spiritual leader and fight with him about everything. Sorry to ramble.

    Thanks for for time time to read my story.

    1. Be grateful that your husband believes. You are very lucky in that way. I have a strong faith but do not pick up the Bible. That is not a mark of goodness, God cares how loving we are to each other. Try to find a way to understand your husband. Worldly music is not unGodly. Pray Together. My partner doesn’t believe. Perhaps think of another income stream so there is less financial pressure, e.g. child minding. Love and peace x