Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. – Colossians 4:5-6 NLT
Is your spouse not a Christian? If so, you may feel a lot of tension in your marriage. For example, being unequally yoked because of different faith backgrounds or no belief in God at all. If you are in either of these situations, you may wonder if you should stay or divorce.
In 1 Corinthians 7:12, the apostle Paul gives clear direction on this matter. He says, “If a fellow believer has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to continue living with him, he must not leave her.” In short, Paul says if your unbelieving spouse wants to stay with you, do not divorce.
Later, in verse fifteen, Paul says, “But if the husband or wife who isn’t a believer insists on leaving, let them go.” So if your unbelieving spouse wants to leave, Paul encourages the spouse to let them go.
Here are six steps to help you navigate your relationship with your spouse:
1. Recommit to your marriage. Ask God to help you not give up on your relationship. No matter how many differences you share, decide to stay and improve your communication, friendship, and conflict resolution.
2. Pray for your spouse to come to Jesus. This requires patience and trust in Jesus. Remember, God can turn any situation around. Most of the time, our timing is different than God’s. Be patient and keep praying for your spouse to come to know Jesus.
3. Stay close to Jesus. Don’t lose sight of the importance of maintaining your relationship with God through Bible reading and prayer. The Holy Spirit helps to keep your heart right while everything feels wrong. They might not understand why you are so committed to Jesus, but God can make them curious.
4. Listen and suspend judgment. Try building bridges with your spouse by understanding and taking the time to listen to their concerns. Don’t judge them because they don’t believe.
5. Don’t argue about religion. Having a discussion and respectful disagreement is ok but arguing pushes them away from you and God. This is where you’ll have to trust that God is at work, even when it seems like nothing is getting through.
6. Refuse to idolize your spouse. Remember, your spouse is not God in your life; Jesus is. Focus on loving Jesus first, serve your spouse, and remember the goal of marriage is to honor Jesus. As you do, God will lead you in your relationship.
1. What is one way you can serve your spouse this week? Commit to this today.
2. Why is it important to have Jesus at the center of your marriage and not your spouse?