Wednesday, August 12, 2009

An Unbelieving Spouse

I used to be married to an unbelieving spouse. I am still married to the same man, but he is very much a committed and passionate follower of Jesus Christ. Not always the case. I know there is a woman out there who needs to read this today - so this is for you.

Before marriage, we talked about church and agreed we would go to church after we got married. Then life happened and church didn't. After we had kids, I started taking them by myself. Nothing like going to church and having your 'flaws' magnified. I was in a Sunday school class with all couples. I didn't even fit into the women's group I sometimes went to. If you are a wife who goes to church without her spouse, you will know what I am talking about in this. You need other women who understand. (Churches - please offer something for women who come to church without their spouses - and don't make it the "so you come alone class?". ) For awhile, I tried to persuade my husband to go. I tried nagging my husband to go. I tried guilting him into going. - No go. So I quit going.

Over the next several years, life was hard in many ways and we often talked about going to church, but still didn't. We did the oh-so-noble thing and sent the kids with grandma. Not horrible to do, but certainly wasn't the best way to go about this.

Fast forward many years. God starts working in ways we know nothing about. I feel God tugging at my heart to go to church. Mention it to my husband, who this time does not shut me down. The first Sunday only my daughter and I go. The next week he goes. Please understand that everything didn't just become easy and beatiful. It took time. Patience. Prayer. Biting my tongue. Prayer. Godly men reaching out to my husband in a non-threatening way. Tears. Disappointments. Prayer. And a lot of hard spiritual work. I was much more eager to jump on board in all ways and wanted to drag, push, pull, coerce my husband into going at the same speed I wanted to go. I wanted him to see church and all it had to offer through my eyes. God wanted my husband to see it through His eyes.

It has been a little over 6 1/2 years since we first walked through the doors of that church. My husband ultimately accepted Christ and was baptized. There have been huge and magnificent mountain top moments over the last 6 1/2 years. If you had told me these things would be so, I would NEVER have believed you. All things that have happened are to the glory of God alone. There also have been some very low, very dark, very difficult times since then. We have been spiritually tested from every possible angle. Again, glory to God alone for seeing us through.

I write this because I believe there are many women out there who feel like there is no hope. They have been praying for years and not seeing any progress in their husband getting any closer to God. They want to be involved and their spouse bulks at them being at "that church one-more-night with 'those people' ". They keep drawing closer to God and wonder if God has forgotten them. They are women who wonder if anyone else out there could possibly understand how they feel. The answer is 'yes'.

There are no guarantees as to if or when your spouse will come to know Christ. But know this, what seems and looks impossible to us is not impossible for God. Don't give up hope. Don't quit praying. If you aren't praying for your spouse, then start.

Are you living out the picture of Jesus in your home? Or are you loving on Sunday and cold-hearted come Monday? Do your actions and words reflect the love of Jesus at home and especially to your spouse? Do you show respect to your husband? Or do you find nagging comes a whole lot easier? Please don't say "when he starts going to church, then I will . . . " You go first. You show respect. If you don't think there is anything to respect about your spouse, find one thing and focus on it until God shows you more. You love on him like there is no tomorrow and don't quit. You want someone to change, start asking God how you need to change first. Please remember - six months of godly living and loving can be severely damaged by one 'heat-of-the-moment-letting-my-tongue-gain-control' word. Ask God to hold onto your tongue. This comes from a woman who has done it all the wrong way for a very long time.

I prayed and prayed and prayed for a godly husband. I prayed that my husband would be the spiritual head of our house and on fire for God. I couldn't figure out why God wouldn't just make it happen overnight after Kenny accepted Christ. Well, I wasn't the wife that Kenny would need as he became that man of God. I needed to change and grow. I needed refined and tested. I needed forgiveness and sanctification. I needed to get the whole forest full of logs out of my eyes so I could see things more clearly. God was about to do a mighty transforming work in my man, but He needed me to be a woman that could walk along side him and not drag him down.

Keep praying. Ask God how you need to change. Ask God to give you a passionate heart for your husband. Show your husband respect - privately and publicly. Take some tylenol at 7 - so you don't have a headache at 9. Hold on tightly to the Lord because He will never disappoint you.

And know this - you are not alone and there is hope. To God be the glory.

1 comment:

Jeanette said...

Your post made me think of 1 Peter 3:1-4. "Wives, be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment...Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."