“Spiritual conflict in marriage is painful, especially when your spouse doesn’t have a 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. 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, to give you an idea of some of the content:
“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.”
Here is a link to the 3-part series for you to take advantage of listening to or reading the transcripts:
• WHEN THE ONE YOU LOVE DOESN’T BELIEVE
(Part 1, 2, and 3)
There IS hope, and there is help.
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:
– MARRIED TO AN UNBELIEVER
(Same title, different 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: