What if I’m married to an unbeliever?
Pastor Mark Jeske
Some Christians acquire spouses who are not believers. Maybe they didn’t care at the time. Maybe they assumed, or hoped, that the spouse would come to faith later. Maybe both were unbelievers at the time of marriage and then one came to faith. The question is the same: what do I do now that I’m yoked to an unbeliever?
It is not justification for divorce. It is both a high risk and a major opportunity. The risk is that the unbelieving partner becomes a deadening drag on the believer’s faith. The splendid opportunity is that the believing spouse would be God’s personal agent for the salvation of the nonbeliever.
It is an ancient dilemma. Here is St. Peter’s counsel from the female point of view: “Wives, in the same way 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” (1 Peter 3:1,2).
None of us likes to be pushed around, and men are particularly testy about it if done to them by a woman. Guilt, pressure, nagging, bargaining, or begging won’t work. What does? Showing that one’s faith in Christ makes you an even better wife. Unconditional love demonstrated in a loveless world is irresistible over time. It is my privilege to know some marvelous men who once were brought to church by their marvelous wives.
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