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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What Do You Do with an Unbelieving Spouse?

If your spouse is not a believer you have probably had a Christian tell you, "You are the very reason that the Bible says you shouldn't marry a non-believer!" That doesn't help, does it? You have some real problems and telling you what you have learned already will not get you through them. So, what should you do?

First, you should try your best to remain married. You are the best hope for your spouse's salvation. You must stay with the spouse as long as he or she will have you. You must bring the presence of Christ into the marriage. This means you will act with greater patience and love than someone who does not know Christ. You must comply as much as possible with the wishes of your spouse. This does not mean you will do anything that is ungodly but you should participate with him or her whenever you can. It means you will go to the Christmas party at work. It means you will change your plans for something at church to go with your spouse on something that he or she wants to do. Your spouse will resent church if it takes all your time. You must only do what you know you should at church. You can't come to everything.

You must keep yourself prepared to share the gospel with him or her. The gospel seldom comes in one message. It comes through many people through many encounters. You should be gentle but firm in your approach. The best way to be prepared is to spend time with the Lord daily. Read the scriptures and pray. The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say.

Enlist another believer or believers you trust to pray for your spouse's salvation. This person or persons will hear your triumphs and disappointments. They will give you encouragement when you don't think you can continue. Their prayers will supply the spiritual power you need to do things you didn't think you could. These prayers will help give you words you would not have spoken to your spouse. Everyone needs prayer when going through a difficult time. There are few more difficult times than someone who has a non-believing spouse. Make sure you surround yourself with these people.

Resolve that you will not do anything ungodly. Your spouse does not know the Lord and may ask you to do something sinful. You can't participate. That may mean that your spouse will leave you. You have to stand for the Lord or you will never have a witness to your spouse. This means you may have to let him or her leave. You are not trying to run your spouse off. You are trying to show him or her the Lord. That can't happen while you are participating in something sinful.

Make sure that you ask for your spouse's forgiveness when you do something wrong. It does not matter if it hurt your spouse. You should explain that you hope for your spouse's commitment to Christ. You should tell your spouse that your actions would not have led him or her to the conclusion that you are a believer. You ask for forgiveness for not presenting a clear picture of who Christ is to you. Your spouse may not understand. This is okay. You have made a point of telling how important your relationship with Christ is. You have made your point of telling how important your spouse is, too.

Remember, God does miracles. The darkest nights may be before you. The most discouraging moments will come when your spouse rejects the faith one more time. "Be of good courage," Jesus says, "I have overcome the world." He who has overcome the world can help you overcome any obstacle.

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