Thriving In A Spiritually Mismatched Marriage


Deanna, answered: An unequally yoked marriage is a difficult path to walk. But I want to encourage you by saying that one can have a happy, fulfilling marriage with an unbelieving husband. You do not just have to survive your spiritually mismatched marriage, but you can actually thrive in the midst of it.

On November 14th, I (Deanna) celebrated 28 years of marriage with my beloved unbeliever. God has had to do a mighty work in my heart and I have come to know my Lord and Savior intimately as God has taught me how to be a godly wife to a man who had no interest in spiritual things. My life verse has been, “I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13)

As I reflect back over the years I would like to share with you some of the Pitfalls to having a marriage that thrives:

First, I had a “Holier Than Thou Attitude”. I esteemed myself above him because I was a Christian and he was not!! Oh my!!! God’s word says: Phil 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.”

Second, I had a judgmental attitude. I was often mentally critical of his actions and words. I felt since my husband did not seek God, how could he speak into my life! I used sarcasm as a weapon. I played the martyr and treated my marriage as a cross I must bear for being unequally yoked. I did not treat my husband with respect. Ephesians does not give us an option on respecting our husbands. It does not say “if he deserves it” or “if you feel like it”,” if he is a Christian or not”- just to respect our husbands- period! (Ephesians 5:33 “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”)


My focus was on my circumstances.

I focused on the negative attributes of my husband.


I
focused on my pain and heartache
I felt when I was sitting in the church pew alone…again. Looking around with envy at all the couples wishing my husband was next to me.

I focused on the burden of being the spiritual leader in my home. I focused on not having the spiritual under girding from him because sometimes moral support was not enough.

I focused on my children not having a godly dad. I focused on the weight of teaching and nurturing the spiritual upbringing of our children.

I focused on the pain and despair I felt when my teenage son decided not to go to church and his excuse was “Dad doesn’t, so neither am I”

I focused on the fear that would well up inside of me when I faced the reality that my husband may never accept Jesus Christ as his Savior. This fear fueled my tactics of manipulation and scheming in an attempt to get my husband to see his need of a Savior! Before I knew it, I felt responsible for his salvation!!!

I focused on my loneliness and spiritual isolation.

I focused on the deep, deep heartache of not being able to share anything spiritual with my husband. Yes, I could tell him how God answered prayer or how God’s word touched my heart, but he does not understand. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

I focused on the longing I had for the day we could worship and rejoice together over God’s blessings to us.

All these desires and strong emotions are valid and real, but my focus was wrong. My focus had to change from my circumstances to Jesus. I was tired of being miserable. I wanted that abundant life that I read about in the Bible. I began to cry out to God and asked Him to change my heart. I asked God to help me die to self and began to consciously choose to yield and be submissive to God. This allowed me take on a submissive attitude with my husband also.


I prayed for God to renew my love and passion for my husband. I prayed for God to show me how to respect my husband when I did not feel like it or feel he deserved it. Through the power of the Holy Spirit I was able to love and serve my husband with joy, placing his needs above my own. When I am feeling frustrated, lonely or angry I cry out to my Rock and Redeemer. In Christ I can be gentle and kind, desiring to be a blessing to my man. When I fail, I ask for forgiveness and try again. 1 John 1:9, Ps 116:1-2

So, how do you deal with a husband who doesn’t believe but you do? 1Peter 3: 1-4 says, “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. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 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.”

Abiding in Christ enables a believing wife to live with and thrive in a happy marriage with her unbelieving husband. It is about a daily, sometimes minute by minute laying down of selfish ways, forgiveness, not neglecting God’s word or quiet time with your Savior and being obedient to God’s word- and pray, pray, pray. (John 15)

Here are some practical ways to apply God’s word:

1. I am paraphrasing 1 Peter 3:1, Keep your lips zipped. Allow your actions to speak of God’s love. Wait for the prompting of the Holy Spirit to use your words.

2. Read or study your bible, visit with Christian friends or teach your children godly principles when he is not around.

3. “Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Cor 11:3 It is very important for your husband to know he comes BEFORE church activities and friends.

4. Take your frustration, anger, loneliness or hurt feelings to God first. Pour your heart out to Him and allow Christ to quiet your heart and heal your wounds. Then, if necessary, address the issue with your husband. (Ps 62:8)

For more encouragement, I recommend the book “Beloved Unbeliever” by Jo Berry

Do not give up hope. After 27 years of prayer my husband accepted Christ as his Savior!!!!!

~Deanna
Today’s post is a part of the “Put Your House In Order” Series. Please visit the ladies below for more on Parenting, Decorating, Cooking and Finances!Walk with the King!

Thank you to Tammy from Tammy Labuda Photography for her photos today. Tammy is a friend from my college days at the Moody Bible Institute. She is a Wedding and Lifestyle Portait Photographer based out of Dallas, Texas and she is willing to travel to you if you need a photographer. To see more of her portraits go to Tammy Labuda Photography or “Like” her Facebook page.

So I asked a friend and woman I admire – “How do you thrive in a spiritually mismatched marriage?

Comments

  1. Homeschool on the Croft says:

    Thankfully, this wasn't the providence God had for me, but I know many, many Christian women (and many husband too) who are with unsaved spouses. Two of my best Christian friends are in this position – they were saved after they were married and their husbands are not saved….yet. One of my husband's best friends is a Christian with an unsaved wife. It's hard, but we certainly see love and happiness in these marriages between the couples. It can be done! Let's pray for them all today….

  2. Lisa Maria says:

    Dear Courtney – How I loved this post. It really spoke to my heart. I, too, had those challenges early in my marriage. My husband, though baptized in our church, didn't really pursue a relationship with God. I felt like Deana in your post. I resented all the 'ungodly' things he did. I felt like a martyr because I couldn't become active in my church without his support and I did focus on the negative. Then, after 12 years of marriage, the unexpected happened, my husband fell in love with God. The roles were now reversed. Now, HE wanted me to do the extra I had wanted from him. I became resentful of the fact that he could give so much to the church and I had had to give up everything. I resented how he took for granted that he could give his time to others when he wasn't giving it to us at home. I, ashamedly admit, I was JEALOUS of his relationship with God! Incredible, isn't it? It took another 9 years, but we're finally on the same page, both looking to serve God together. Praise God for His love and mercy! Thank you for this post!

  3. Mr. and Mrs. Smith says:

    What a great post – thank you for sharing!!

  4. Oh love this post so much. My unsaved husband and I have been married for almost 11 years now. I continue to have faith that God will soften his heart but I also have all the same thoughts listed. Thank you for speaking a much needed word.

  5. I was wondering if I could ask your readers (and you), what do you do if you and your spouse are on disagreements as to which church to attend?

    • Marilina says:

      You should submit to your husband, for he is the head of the house. If you follow his lead (even if it’s not what you want to do) The Lord will honor your obedience.

      • Maureen says:

        What if I do not like his church? I feel there are things that they do that is not a 100% biblical. We are not yet married. Do I leave him?

  6. Thank you for this post…I have much of the same feelings as Deana. What an encouragement this article has been.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Courtney, and all ladies, would you please pray for my sister Barbara and her husband, they've been married for over thirty years and we thought they were christians, now in the last several years he has become very verbally abusive and threatens to take her to court, he's always quoting scripture to prove his point. she often doesn't say anything to keep things from beoming worse.They have eight beautiful children with the youngest becoming 18 in March.

  8. Oh Courtney!!

    God is using you sooo much!! This was an awesome post!! I can identify with Deanna… my first marriage lasted 19+ years and then he chose to walk away… i am now married to a godly man who loves the Lord but i catch myself with the same attitudes especially the criticizing and not respecting just because his thoughts & ways are different than mine! THANK YOU THANK YOU for this reminder and lesson I am enjoying the James study and todays verse 2:1 goes right along with this–show no partiality oh so difficult to do (at least for me)
    keep up the excellent work the King is using you to minister to many sisters!! I am so thankful I found your blog

  9. Anonymous says:

    All you ladies, please pray for my sister Barbara and her husband, they've been married for over thirty years and we thought they were christians at that time. now for several years he's been very verbally abusive and threatens to take her to court for things she has no control of, using scripture to prove his point. she often doesn't say anything so things won't become worse. they have eight beautiful children the youngest will be 18 in March. what is she to do?

  10. I appreciate so much this post. When my husband and I got married almost 8 years ago we were both Christians. After suffering greatly with his health a couple of years ago my husband decided that God was no longer relevant here on earth and has since fallen heavily into agnostic and even atheistic teachings. It has been a huge struggle for me since I desire to raise my children in the knowledge and way of God. This post has given me a new perspective on the wife that I need to be for him and the woman of God I desire to be. Thank you so much.

  11. I love reading stories like these. Its comforting to know that while it may not happen tomorrow, with much prayer i CAN happen.

    i'm only 2 years in but covet your prayers!

  12. This post was wonderful. My dad was not a believer when my parents married. They were together for almost 30 years and it was such a blessing when my daddy finally accepted Christ a few weeks before he passed last year. We didn't get to experience him being involved in church and walking with the Lord on this side of Heaven but it was such a comfort to know that we'll see him again in Heaven.

  13. goodgirlgonehome says:

    The post offers wonderful advice. This is a difficult situation that many people face.

    How inspiring to hear that after 27 years, her husband was saved! What a wonderful article.

  14. Thank you! I got married in the church with a willing husband over 10 years ago. I knew our faith experiences weren't the same, but I felt we would balance each other and grow together. That's happened in a lot of areas, except in church. I haven't gone to church in many years, siting as my excuse "I want it to be something we do together." And that's true, but not necessarily a good excuse. I've recently been trying to find ways to increase my faith…I've been missing it. Thank you for pointing out that I can pursue my faith with his being different.

  15. This is the first time that I have seen a post on Spiritually mismatched marriages – it seems to be a topic that is normally ignored – and something that I need encouragement in!! Thank you for the encouragement.

  16. I've been married for 34 years. Early in our marriage,my husband was thinking of becoming a minister. He brought me back to church. A few years later, he became bitter and lost his faith. He is a nonbeliever. I have felt so alone, and desperate. I am thinking of divorcing him. He has a harsh temper and I could never confide any of my thoughts or needs because he would erupt in an outrage. I can't believe God wants me to stay in a situation like this. I have tried to leave before and kept giving him another chance. I'm just so tired now. I don't know what to do. I want to follow what God wants me to do, but I feel God wants me get away from this and find peace in life somewhere else. I hope you'll pray for us. Loved this post.At least I know I'm not the only one facing this battle.

    • Cynthia says:

      Casey, Thank you for your post in February. I am dealing with the same thing (my husband wanting to become a minister he became bitter and lost his faith, no longer believes in God) except my husband has filed for divorce after 7 years. I was devastated it was so sudden. I keep telling myself it would be better to just walk away he’s done it all for me. But we both are stuck in a financial situation where I don’t have enough income to leave the house right away and his business is suffering. So we both have chosen to be civil until I can I get on my feet. In the mean time my emotions are just like Deanna said pain and hurt. But once I began to pray I stopped hurting because I was focusing on the Lord then I began to pray for restoration of our marriage. This has been going on for about 2 months now and I don’t if anything will change between us. But I know the Lord is carrying me through this (and yet I have hope). I have left my heart open to whatever the Lord decides to do with our broken marriage. Crazy huh?

      • Casey–look at the website http://www.cloudtownsend.com. I think it may help you–it has helped me a lot. I am still learning how to establish boundaries, but I have learned that when I do, it makes a world of difference…and yes, I can relate to your situation, although mine has been somewhat different. But I’ve been called a Prude, a legalist, hypocritical, etc. I have come to see that much of my husband’s anger has been reactionary in the past…usually I think because he hasn’t felt respected or loved in some way. We have completely different love languages, so it is not an easy thing for us. But, I will say that when I began to pray for my husband, God began to change me. I do not mean that you should stay with an abusive man by that…God may change your heart to see that you are actually enabling his behavior by staying with him, or God may show you things you are doing that trigger this that you could change and it might change him. It depends on what God tells you ultimately, but do not underestimate the power of heartfelt prayer. I used to pray that God would change my husband, until one day God asked me “Why Laura, why do you want me to change Josh?–You had better be honest because I know your heart” You know what my response was…I begrudgingly had to say it was for selfish reasons…because I wanted a better relationship, I wanted us to get along, I wanted to have a good marriage and someone who loved me, I want, I want, I want. God convicted me that day–it was not because I genuinely cared about my husband or about his heart or about the fact that I genuinely wanted him to know Christ–I just wanted things to be better. God told me that until I could genuinely start praying for my husband’s heart, that God would not do anything, period, because I was asking out of selfish ambition, and God does not give in to our selfish ways. So…than I was faced with a “but how do I genuinely pray for him if, I was completely honest, I pretty much hate him right now…and I feel I have a right to because of the way he has treated me…I don’t want to pray for him, so how can I?” I had to bring that question to the Lord…God told me to start asking Him to help me want to pray for my husband…and that was seriously, the absolute hardest thing to do. But I did it…and I made myself do it outloud…I made myself voice those words outloud, and God began to answer in so many ways…but mostly in beginning to show me how decrepit my own soul was, that I would pretend to pray for my husband (and let myself believe I was praying for him) when it was all based on my own wants and needs. And God began to fill the needs I had with Himself–and He changed me; and as He began to change me, I noticed my husband changing…reacting differently to me because God showed me how to handle certain things differently.
        Again, I’m not saying you stay with an abusive person or in a toxic situation. If you check out that website, you will see they tell you that “True love ALWAYS does what is best for the person it claims to love,” and that may involve leaving if you are just enabling their behavior. Only you can discern what exactly your situation is, but I would strongly encourage you to check out that website. They offer free, Godly counsel by a trained Psychologist (or Psychiatrist…sorry, I don’t recall which is which) and a trained counselor, and I can tell you–it has helped me immensely. I have learned how to set boundaries–I actually just had to set another one with my husband as he tends to like to control things, and I usually just go along because again, my love language is Acts of Service, so it is easy for me to just do whatever he wants to do…but at some point, I have gotten tired of being the only one “giving.” Our skirmish the other night was small (compared to many others…trust me, we’ve been through everything a marriage could possibly go through, so I do understand your situation, completely)…but it had to do with me wanting to watch something and him just ignoring my requests…which was basically disrespectful, as I don’t usually ask to watch something different–I usually just go along with whatever he wants, but occasionally I will voice I want something different, and while I do not expect to always get my way, I do expect he treats my request with respect at least. He has treated me disrespectful in many ways, aside from the name calling…under-the radar comments and jabs at me, etc. So my response to him is that, from now on, until he can respect my desires as his when we are watching TV, I will not watch with him what he wants to watch. Since his love language is quality time, that is a big thing for him…but it is his choice, not mine. I am not withdrawing my love from him…he is choosing that I will walk away and go read a book somewhere or do something away from him because he is choosing to be controlling–that is his choice. If he chooses to actually include me in the decision making process, then I will stay. Simple and no need for anger or resentment–I have made my boundaries clear and I will then act accordingly. After I discussed this with him later that evening, he apologized for not turning on the show I had said 3 times that I wanted to watch (and this was after, by the way, he tried to argue with me that I had not been clear in what I wanted to watch…yes, he tries to pull that one out, but I’ve picked up on that whole “it’s not my fault, it’s yours” attitude). Anyway, that will probably seem minimal compared to what you are dealing with, but trust me…I have been dealing with the issue of disrespect for a long time now and I can see the signs…you need to start setting boundaries. If he yells at you, you tell him that either you will not talk to him until he can talk respectfully to you. If he calls you names, you tell him the same thing. If he ignores those “threats,” you tell him you will remove yourself from the room (or even house) for a certain amount of time or until he can speak kindly to you. You do not have endure abuse, and that is just enabling his behavior. He needs to experience the consequences of what his behavior brings or he will, most likely, never change. If you need to leave for a night, go spend the night at a friends house, but take it in steps….gauge your response to your boundaries, but if he continues to be abusive and ignores all of these things, then yes, you should separate as your staying with him only tells him “I can treat people this way and get away with it.” He needs to experience some pain from the pain he is inflicting to prompt him to make an effort at changing.
        Anyway, I have written enough. Please check out that website—it is Great Godly counsel. I hope this will help you–it has really helped us.

    • Casey, your comment touched me. I am currently engaged to be married to a man that sounds a lot like your husband. I am struggling with “should I marry this man or walk away now?” I want to do what God wants from me and not be selfish but I don’t know what to do. I know that God put me in his life for a reason but is it to spend my LIFE encouraging him in Christ, through addiction, dishonesty, selfishness, etc? I do feel as if I’m “nagging” him like a child to “do what’s right”. It’s tiring and it sounds so much easier to just go find a man that’s spiritually equal (or thereabouts) to me so we can live life together. I don’t want to be selfish! I just never saw myself marrying someone with all of these “problems”. I envisioned a strong man of faith that can encourage me and vice versa. A husband that’s a SPIRITUAL LEADER. My fiancé only goes to church when I am there to take him. When I’m not around all he does is sleep, eat and work. I’m frustrated and confused. Anyone… Advice?

      • Dear Teen – Marriage is a very serious decision and a life long one. I would strongly encourage you to not marry this man. I too struggled with whether I should marry my husband or not. I went ahead and married him and it has been a life of pain, frustration and hurt. I didn’t know as much spiritually as I do now. I took my marriage vows seriously and will continue to lean on God but there are times when it seems like more than I can bare. Please don’t make the same mistake.

      • Proverbs31 says:

        Don’t marry him!!!

      • Hello “Teen,”

        No, do not marry him–at least, not right now. He needs to be emotionally and Spiritually mature, and from the sounds of it, he is not. I think every woman understands that desire to get married, so take the advice you’ve been given on here…some things definitely need to change before you commit to a permanent relationship with him. Trust me and every woman on here–he will not change–how he is now will be how he is later, and maybe worse. We so often think “When I got married, I thought my husband would change when he saw how much I genuinely loved him and showed him I cared–and we have since been through, exactly as has been said, A Lot of pain and heartache…you name it, we’ve experienced it—do not think your life will be any different…there are countless women out there who have thought the exact same thing, and they can tell you to this day it is not a good choice for your life. You Both need to be emotionally mature before you get married–even couples who are not Christians, yet are emotionally mature, seem to have decent marriages, and the reason is because God’s rules stand true whether or not we believe in Him. For example, business people who are successful and may never have even read the book of Proverbs in the Bible have somehow learned to practice many of the words of wisdom laid out in that book (for example, being faithful in your work and diligent, etc) and they prosper because of it. It is the same with marriage…if you commit now, I believe neither of you is emotionally mature, and you will have a difficult road ahead of you. Trust your gut…obviously you are questioning this…as Beth Moore says, the Holy Spirit often speaks to our Spirit–prompting us with a “yes” or “no, don’t do it” or “this doesn’t feel right.” We either choose to listen to that voice, or we go ahead with what “we want,” which usually leads us down a very difficult path. There is no rush to getting married…if it is who God has for you, then at the right time, God will work that out, but for now, I would say the warning signs you have been given have given you some insight into this man’s character, and no matter how much you love him, You cannot change his character…only God can do that–and don’t tell yourself that he will see God and desire to know Him more by the example you give him in loving him…it is not in our works and God does not need us as women to reach our men–God can use us, definitely, but God does not need us. Let God work on this man’s heart in His own time. There is a great website I have referred to often that I would advise you check out before you make this decision–it is http://www.cloudtownsend.com . Excellent site with Tons of videos by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend–Biblical guidance that completely makes sense. I hope you check this out before you make any permanent decisions–I would strongly advise against marrying this man right now.

      • The word tells us not to be unequally yoked. It sounds like you are not equal. Seek God,fast, pray and wait on God. Every good and perfect gift comes from God.

      • Teen-
        Many of us don’t face the real issue of being unequally yoked. When a spouse is not in tune with God then the enemy uses your spouse to discourage, bring pain and destroy your relationship with Christ. Coming from a family of many women who married unequal partners including myself, I can truly say that your fiance may truly love you but will not know how to be a husband to you and a father to your children until he experiences the love of Christ. I believe the most pressing issue I beat myself up over is the effect it has on my 3 daughters.
        It was selfish of me to not consider how an unsaved spouse would affect how the children are raised. Remember, the enemy’s goal is to break down the Godly family. We give him ammo when we yoke up with an unbeliever. I will be in prayer with you as I truly don’t like to say yes or no without praying first. I can say after 12 years of marriage I am truly tired. I applaud the women who prayed for 27 – 30 years and their spouses were eventually saved. You would have to make up in your mind that there is a possibility you will be married to him for that long before you see change and consider how it will affect your entire family, not just yourself. I truly wish you all the best and you are in my prayers.

    • KingJames says:

      Its important not to be so selfish. If a person is screaming to be heard then they deserved to be listened to. Even Jesus listened to people and understood them before anything else. Each person is important in a relationship and usually angry rage is a sign of irritation. Irritation can come from not being heard or made to feel less important for any reason (money, kids, or in this case beliefs). Ego and pride dont mix with love and respect. If weman are to be true weman of God they should take a more messianic approach and submit to the fact that sheep will stray from the flock and can be rough around the edges from not enough grooming by our loving shepherd Christ the King. It can be hard submitting to a person, male/female, if they arent of God but that is a choice, which tho the bible warns of unequal yoke, is definitely possible. If God isnt thier moral guide just make sure they also love and understand your wants and needs, while at the same time you doing that but double! Sounds hard but you have to be a representative for your faith and let them experience the UNCONDITIONAL LOVE that GOD put in your heart. BE WISE AS A SERPENT YET HARMLESS AS A DOVE. PRAY AND FAST ALONE ABOUT IT AND IF HE JOINS YOU, FANTASTIC, BUT PRAY AND FAST FOR HIM TO LEAD YOU IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. GODS LOVE.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Dear Courtney ,
    I love this post.I have been through the same situation.The moment I decided to change my attitude and behaviour towards my Christian husband who is a non-believer in Christ, rather than to change him,I could love him as he is -more and more.This love melted his stand.My husband slowly started to believe in Christ.He is growing now in his faith in Christ.Sometimes I wonder if He trusts in God more than me!!! Meanwhile I am learning that patience and love wins.My turbulent heart changed to a quiet and calm one now.It took about 10 years for me to understand this.

  18. My husband was unsaved for the first 8 years of our marriage. One thing I learned was to pray but keep quiet. I never forced my beliefs on him or made him feel badly because he wasn't going to church with us. It wasn't me witnessing to him that finally brought him to saving grace, it was other men he worked with and a neighbor. I think my meekness in this area, really made him wonder what I had. We've been together for 17 1/2 years now and now enjoy a love and life based in Christ's love.

    Blessings,
    Mel
    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

  19. Anonymous says:

    Courtney-Thank you for this post. It is something that is weighing heavily on my mind lately as I grow in my relationship with Christ. My husband would say that he is a believer, baptised, confirmed, and a regular church attender. While I know that he believes, I know that he does not really have a relationship with Christ-in the words of Francis Chan "Lukewarm" at best.Sometimes I feel like I am pushed into a sinful situation by trying to be submissive to my husband. We don't really agree about which movies to watch, what friends to hang out with, and what is appropriate to expose the children to. I was just wondering if you have any thoughts on how to be submissive without being sinful. Thanks so much for all you do.
    Tiffany

  20. Sam {fitnessfoodandfaith.blogspot.com} says:

    this is so beautiful!! what an encouragement to so many women.

  21. Catherine says:

    Thank you so much for this post. My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years and after going through personal struggles, he decided several months ago that he doesn't believe anymore. It has been SO hard, and I have been experiencing all of those feelings Deanna wrote in the post. While it is difficult to know that I could have to endure this MUCH longer than a few months, I do have hope that he will come to know the Lord again one day. It is also encouraging to read everyone's comments. Thank you again…

  22. pinkcombatboots says:

    What a beautiful and encouraging post! I'm married to a believer, but found many of the points to be just as valid for me.

    And it gave me some insight into what others are working through too.

    Thanks!

  23. Juarezitos says:

    I've been struggling with this for several years and this is the first article I read on the subject. Thank you so much for this post!
    Much love,
    Karla

  24. The Gimlins says:

    What an encouraging post! I too am married to an unbeliever and now that we have a son I find myself returning to some of these thoughts. I am going to post that passage from 1 Peter where I can see it daily as a reminder. My husband isn't a believer (yet), but I can still experience God's joy daily as I witness to my husband as He would have me to. Thank you!

  25. Anonymous says:

    What an amazing post!! My husband is a Christian. When we met and married, he had a very close walk with the Lord. He was such a great example to me; a baby Christian back then. But slowly as years went by and lots of tribulation, far beyond our control, began steam rolling thru our lives, he became backslidden. Tho' I have no idea what it is like to be unequally yoked, I do feel I've gotten a true taste of it. So, I gleaned A LOT from this post! It was very encouraging. I want to be a godly example to my hubby and not lose heart that he will one day be walking closely with the Lord again.

    ~A

  26. D L McCarragher says:

    Courtney,

    Thank you for a great post on living in an unequally-yoked marriage. I have been married for 29 years and was saved 7 years into our marriage. It has been a difficult road over the years – but God is good and indeed gives us the strength to carry on and be a light to those in darkness. Asking God to renew the love you have for your spouse is key to seeing your mate as a gift from above, and not as a "burden to bear" or the old "martyr" syndrome.
    I wrote a Christian book for women titled MISSION POSSIBLE. It gives the reader a glimpse into my marriage and quest to reach my husband for Christ.
    Great blog you have Courtney. God bless…

    http://www.Godmissionpossible.blogspot.com

  27. Darlene Schacht says:

    Beautiful post. I love it!

  28. Saved by Grace says:

    What an awesome post, and great encouragement to those with unbelieving husbands. I want to forward this to my Mom, my Father is not a Christian but He attends church. I know the seeds are planted and I am just waiting for that bud to crack threw the dirt and flourish. Please keep my Dad in your prayers, that He would accept Jesus Christ in His heart and that He would become his Lord and Savior. Thank you!

    Blessings!
    Adrienne

  29. Myra @ My Blessed Life says:

    Wow! What an excellent post! My heart is so convicted and encouraged and my husband is a believer.

    Thank you so much Courtney and Deanna!

  30. Smockity Frocks says:

    What a wonderful encouragement! Doing the right thing isn't always easy, but it is always RIGHT!

  31. I wasnt going to read this post has i am no longer married and didnt think it applied to me. I divorced my husband 12 yrs ago but it wasnt an easy decision and life hasnt been easy since. I thought we believed the same things. We went to the same church and we appeared to walk the same road. However we cannot hide what is truely in our hearts and eventually it comes out. We were married for 12 yrs but for 8 of them years i lived in an abusive relationship, which both myself and my children continue to pay for. Attending the same church does not guarantee anything but having faith brings hope that things can be better. I still walk the same road i have always done but he, he walks a very different road.

  32. What a great post! Thank you so much for sharing!

  33. american girl primitives says:

    Thank you so much, I needed to hear this right now. I know I have been judging too much. The author's story is just like my life. It gives me strength to know that after 27 years her husband is saved. I pray that being faithful will create the same thing in my marriage.

    Thank you for posting this!

  34. Anonymous says:

    Wow, I couldn't imagine being with a husband who doesn't believe. Although my marriage has had to deal with other issues. The children that my husband and I have LOVE God. But when it comes to my step children they don't believe in God. That can be hard as well. But we work our way through it.

  35. Hi Courtney,

    I want to thank you for sharing this beautiful woman's story. There are so many women who live in a spiritually mismatched marriage. They feel alone and judged by other believers, they struggle with how to honor God and their husbands. I so appreciate Deana's story. It's my story as well. It's also the passion the Lord has given me to help these women find others who are traveling this path.

    We pick them up, dust them off, and we travel this crazy and mixed up journey to heaven, praying for and loving our husbands with fever. We also pray for them. Send them to us and we promise to help them see Jesus fresh and powerful in their marriages, BIG hugs, Lynn

    http://www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com/

  36. Dear Courtney, I love this post. It spoke to my heart!!!!
    Blessings from France

  37. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for this. My husband knows Jesus, but does not live for Him in a way that I desire for him to…. while I dig into my Bible for hours each day, listen to at least one sermon every day, and read Bible stories with my children, my husband tends to lean more toward Sunday Christianity, and it breaks my heart. This is a wonderful post not just for the wives of the unsaved, but for those of us who are married to "Sunday Christians".

  38. Cafe/Angell says:

    I personally have read Beloved Unbeliever, and although I think it's a pretty good book, I know of a better one.

    It's by Linda Davis and it's called "How to be the Happy Wife of an Unsaved Husband."

    Here's a link to Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/How-Happy-Wife-Unsaved-Husband/dp/088368358X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1297191695&sr=8-1

  39. What a great post. It's great to apply this not only to husbands, but unbelievers in our life in general. Respect is KEY! Thanks for the post.

  40. Awesome and encouraging post! What a mighty God we serve!

  41. Thank you for this! So needed a different perspective!

  42. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for this post! There is nothing we need more than hope the constant reminder that our Beloved is more than enough.

  43. I lived 1Pet3:1-4 with an unbelieving spouse for several years. I came to Christ first, and actually those verses were the first time I ever heard God speak directly to me. We had had a pretty big fight (worse than an argument, actually) over my faith and his refusal. I cried out to God to SHOW me what I was to do in the midst of his unbelief. That evening, as I read my Women's devotional bible, I was instructed to read those verses. I couldn't get over the very direct answer I had received. My husband loves the Lord today, and I still marvel at God telling me what to do as I waited.
    Blessings,
    Toni

  44. Thank you for this post. I was saved a few years into my marriage, and my husband is still unsaved. For a while, I meant through many of the things you mentioned – fear for him, as well as anger that he wouldn't just "wake up & see the truth", then the smug "superiority" of feeling like I was more spiritual, judging him and treating him with resentment instead of respect.

    I was also greatly helped by the book "Beloved Unbeliever". That book helped me to see that I needed to just live my faith and accept who he was, and stop trying to force a change in him. I was finally able to put his salvation back where it belong – in God's hands, and in God's timing.

    It is still hard at times, not knowing if he will ever be saved, and wishing we could be the "model" family so many others seem to be, but I can respect and appreciate him as he is now, rather than feeling burdened by things beyond my control.

  45. Thank you so much for the encouragement!

  46. Anonymous says:

    I've had young women come up to me and say to me, "well, you're happily married to an unbeliever, so I could be, too." I would tell them, "Yes, I am. I love my husband and God blesses marriage, even unequally yoked ones because He created marriage, but we're not receiving the FULL blessing he gives to a couple who are one under Him completely. It's also heartbreaking to know that should something happen now, my husband is going to spend eternity separated from God."

    Thankfully, after 8 years of marriage and prayer, my husband has accepted Christ. Now it is a whole new ball of wax in wifehood for me as he journeys through Christian infancy and I must also toss aside preconceived ideas as to how he should be as a Christian. I also have the responsibility as his sister in Christ now concerning spiritual things as the Lord leads!

  47. Very well said. You captured well some of the painful realities of women in unequally yoked marriages and gave very sound, Biblical advice for overcoming them.

    I have been married to my beloved unbeliever for over 21 years now and I can add my endorsement of Jo Berry's book as well. It is one I read recently but wish I had read earlier in my marriage. My own review is here.

  48. Lisa notes... says:

    This is a very enlightening post and a great encouragement. I'm thankful I'm not in that situation, but I pray this will be beneficial to help me be more understanding of those who are.

  49. One of the best posts I've read this year. Thank you so much for these precious reminders and teachings, they were just what I needed.

  50. Just Writing says:

    This is a great post and I agree with Deanna. I just want to point out a couple of things. One, having a joyful marriage to an unbeliever is possible but it's not permission to get married to one. Single ladies, please, let a relationship with Jesus be the top requirement for even considering dating a guy. Two, don't put up with abuse and addictions or any behaviors that put you and your children in danger in the hopes of "winning his soul". Your and your children's welfare come first. This is a lesson that, sadly, I learned the hard way.

  51. Thank you so much for this post…. my husband is unsaved, grew up Catholic, and was not exposed to the Word himself much, and it's frustrating to love someone so much and not be able to share this deep part of life with each other. And yet often he is a better person than I am. We can learn lessons from each other and yet I know it's God's will that he come to know Christ. What I long for is to be pulling together toward the same goal, on the same road. And that our 3 young children would see us both united in faith as well as in our daily life. If anyone would like to pray for him, his name is Peter. :-)

  52. Courtney (Women Living Well) says:

    Just writing – thank you for adding your thoughts – I agree 100%!

    Anonymous, saying a prayer for Peter right now.
    Much Love,
    Courtney

  53. I can very much relate to this post. For the first 14 years of our marriage my husband was an unbeliever. After my son turned 5 we would go to church every Wednesday and Sunday on our own. My husband's heart changed slowly over time and now is a believer and was even a deacon at our current church. God obviously answers prayers. It was a long go but we made it thorugh, it was not easy. My mother has been married to my father for 50 years and I wouldn't say that he is an unbeliever but he has never gone to church as an adult. We continue to pray for his salvation.
    Blessings
    Diane

  54. Another great book on mismatched marriages:

    "Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage" by Lee and Leslie Strobel

  55. Very encouraging and confirming. Thank you!

  56. Thanks a lot for the post, i washed my face with tears reading it, but make me fee better knowing that i am not the only one who feels like this, after 27 years, God give wisdom and strength to run my race with grace. May God bless your family evem more.

  57. Maid4Him says:

    I too have been saved for about 16 years and in an unequally yoked marraige. Experienced all of those emotions but THANK GOD his word has been my guide so even though I have stumbled over and over -I confess , get back up and go on. My question is ,is it my imagination or is this subject not talked about too much in church circles? I was in a church once and wanted to form a group for support or at least be a part of it and there was great resistance to that. My understanding was that they thought it would be a big pity party or something. Sadly I think not allowing a group to be formed did more to cause us to feel isolated and discouraged. Praise God though He is faithful in everything. Still praying and believing for my unsaved husband!

  58. Courtney (Women Living Well) says:

    Maid4Him – I'm so sorry there's not something for you in your church. The ladies ministry in my church has a group for ladies with unsaved husbands called "Caught in the middle". Many testify that it has helped them to have this community to comfort and encourage them. I do think there's a need…pray that God changes your pastor's heart…or consider starting it yourself!
    Courtney

  59. This is such a beautiful post. I have been a Christian for years and I know that deep within me, I love the LORD. But then, I fell in love with an unbeliever. He likes it that I am a Christian and is very supportive of my church involvement. In fact, he encourages it. He just could not grasp yet the concept of Christianity. I know that it is highly discouraged to marry an unbeliever because of the difficulties involved in it. And so I am preparing myself for the possible struggles that I will face should I pursue a marriage with this guy.

    Thank you for this post. Truly helpful.

  60. Thank you! I found this from Kelly’s Korner. I have been married for almost 7 years to someone who is not a believer. I take our two children to church and I sit alone, surrounded by my friends and their husbands. It is very hard. I sit here in tears right now because I have not been a Godly wife. I love my husband dearly, but I too have been plagued with how I want him to be versus how he is. I feel responsible for his salvation and get angry when he isn’t the husband I think he should be. I want him to care and love me, yet I am quick to cut him down and act as though I don’t love him. When we argue I know exactly what to say to hurt him as bad as he has hurt me. We had an argument last night that spilled over into this morning and I was not nice to him and it ended with me getting frustrated at my children as well. I was ashamed and embarrassed all the way to work this morning because of my words and my actions. None of my actions were Christ worthy. I want and need to be a better wife and mother and somehow I continue to think that can only happen if he is a better father and husband. Thank you for reminding me that is not the case. I need to do as the bible says, “1PE 3:1 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,” It does me no good to claim to be a Christian unless I act like one at all times. Thank you!!!

  61. Oh my word, you just melted my heart with this post. It’s one I’ve needed for so long and I felt like you have shown me a sign from God that I have been praying for. Thank you!

  62. Dominique says:

    Thank you so much for writing this post. I am a 21 year old daughter of an unequally yoked marriage. I can testify that I often see the pain and struggle that my precious mom has to go through, being married to an unsaved man. But I can also say that it is just as hard for my sister and I to have a dad who does not know Christ. It is our greatest desire for him to be saved, but we oftentimes struggle because we see the amazing men of Christ in our church and desire the same thing. It’s also hard not to get bitter at him at times; we have to constantly be reminding ourselves to set a Godly example, and to love him because he doesn’t know Christ. I want my father to know Jesus before walking me down the aisle. I want him to respect my commitments and my heart for missions, and not question whether or not I am wasting my time when I could be pursuing my professional career. I love my dad with my whole heart, I am a Daddy’s girl all the way… it’s just hard. Thank you!

  63. I found your blog a few weeks ago as I was looking for more Godly women reading to influence my life. I searched your blog and found this post after recently talking with my husband about his beliefs. I grew up in a Christian household and his childhood was different. They believe in God, but it wasn’t as traditional as mine. When we met and began dating he began to go to church with me and eventually we were both baptized in our current church. He had expressed some of his beliefs and disbeliefs when we started dating, but I thought by the point he was baptized those things had changed. We were married a year ago and now I’m finding myself focusing on many of the things you mentioned in this post as he has again expressed his doubts about the Bible and other beliefs. My heart feels broken. Not by him, but for him. Oh, how I want him to firmly believe. Thank you for this post. I was struggling to see what I should do. Thank you for the encouragement and the reminder of how important respect is. I would really appreciate you prayers for my attitude and both of our relationship with God!

  64. we have been married almost 8 years. we have a 4 and 1 year old. this post basically sums up our marriage to this point, except for one more MAJOR issue. i found out in june that my husband was having an affair. he says it’s over and he wants to work on “us” but he still denies that he needs God’s help. i know i should forgive him as God forgave us, but i don’t know that i can trust him ever again. how do i move forward in this marriage? we are up to our ears in contempt, bitterness, distrust, hurt, anger, defensiveness… i feel like i’m drowning when i’m with him. the only thing keeping me from serving him with the divorce papers i have in my inbox from my attorney is God and our kids. but i really have no desire to stay with him.

    • OH girl! You need more than what I can offer you in this little comment section! I am SO sorry this has happened in your marriage :( I want God to restore your marriage but absolutely your husband has much repentance and proof of trustworthiness on the road ahead.

      I have only one blog post I have written on this topic…and you have reminded me that I need to address this more deeply – I apologize that I don’t have more for you :(

      http://womenlivingwell.org/2010/05/restoration-of-marriage-after-adultery/

      I recommend that you talk to a counsellor or a trusted older woman friend or pastor. I also recommend this book titled “I Don’t Want a Divorce – A 90 Day Guide to Saving Your Marriage” by Dr. David Clarke. It would be a book you and your husband went through together – it is EXCELLENT and gets everything out in the open and on the table to deal with! Even if your husband doesn’t do it – I recommend you read it and try to do some of it.

      Hope something here helps!
      Love,
      Courtney

  65. Wow, this was the smack between the eyes I needed, thanks Courtney and Deanna! I came to know Christ after my husband and I got together. Immediately (not even a month) after I gave my life to the Lord my eyes were focused on my husband’s actions. I remember crying (literally) out to God in my car one day asking Him to show me how to react to and treat my husband. I “heard” a clear-as-a-bell voice speak softly, “Love him as I have loved you and have forgiven you. I’ll take care of the rest.” Those words still give me goosebumps today! It’s still undetermined by my human eyes as to where his heart is but I have learned to trust the Lord with my husband’s faith and I know God is totally trustworthy. Reading the comments truly touched and encouraged my heart. I do have to say sometimes I long to simply know where my husband stood. He goes to church, is involved at church, but his actions and words at home don’t often show that He really loves the Lord (he is NOT abusive though)Oh to only know which side of the “fence” he’s on. BUT the Lord used this post and the other comments to remind me I have SOOO much to be grateful for. I have a husband who attends church with me and does TRY and desire to be the leader in our home… now if I would just back off and let him :)

  66. I can’t help but add just one more comment. I want you all to know Diane, Rachel, Dominque, and the many anonymous commenters out there that you have been lifted up to the Lord in prayer. And you too Courtney! Thank you so much for the encouragement you continue to bring to us. I also wanted to say that I have been a believer for 5 years and if you read my previous comment you know it wasn’t long after being saved i started to try and “save” my husband. Oh how I deceived ymself in thinking my intentions were “because I love him”. Just as Deanna stated in the post, my focus was wrong. Courtney I lvoed how you worded this in the post linked to this one. “How we handle our husband’s short comings reveals more about our own character than our husbands.” I just want to encourage you, and remind myself, that while God desires and longs for us to have spiritually equal marriages ( He longs for this more than we do btw), He is doing a great pruning in your life molding you into the WIFE He wants for your husband! Be Blessed Ladies

  67. A million thank-yous! Doed Deanna have a blog? Please say yes!

  68. Thank you so much for this!! My husband and I have been married for 7 years. I was saved about a 1 1/2 years ago and my husband took that walk down the aisle 5 months ago…and has since decided that he has no desire to pursue God in any way. He is annoyed with me as when I teach our children from the bible, talk about Jesus and he complains that he does not want to go to church and critizes anyone we meet at church. I have been focusing on all these wrong things and have been living defeated. It is so difficult to climb out of all the negativity at home and just be joyful in my Savior. After reading this I know that I need to change my focus off of all these things, and put it back on Jesus. So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6 I need to firmly recommit myself to cast all my cares on the Lord and just love and respect him even when I don’t feel like it. Thank you so much!

  69. Oh! I just found this post, and although I knew everything you mentioned, I can ALWAYS use a reminder…however, you have given me such hope just by sharing that your husband accepted Christ after so long! We have been married 6 years…and sometimes I do worry that if He hasn’t accepted Christ as his savior by now, maybe he never will…but I just keep praying, and submitting, and being a quiet example as best I can! Thank you so much for the renewed hope!

  70. I thank God for your post! I believe the Holy spirit lead me to this page. when i read your introduction to the page i had to stop every 5 seconds because i couldn’t stop crying because everything you wrote was how i viewed every aspect of my marriage in such a negitive sense. my husband is loving and caring and was brought up in a bible based home and i just didn’t understand why he didn’t know the Lord like i did. He doesn’t mind going to church though he is not living a christian lifestyle and the Lord let me know that people may know of Me but my husband has never really met Christ and tht there is such a big difference. My husband is a daily Weed smoker and it bothers me so much, even when we were dating i hated it, we got married when i was in a backslide state and after marriage the Lord drew me back to Him. to make a long story short i’ve always felt a sense of guilt about my marriage because no one on my side of the family knows he is a daily weed smoker and my mother is a minister and i am just so ashamed. in all i just want to thank God for you and the words of wisdom he has given you. please keep me in prayer for God to change my heart and for salvation for my husband thank you.

  71. What a fantastic post. More encouragement like this is definitely needed. Often we can feel judged by other christians and can be hard on ourselves, carrying around the guilt of being spiritually mismatched. Thank Jesus for his grace and strength. I am married to an unbeliever. At the time of my marriage I was judged so incredibly harshly by some christians telling me I wasn’t obeying God’s will and this wasn’t what God wanted for me. I experienced what I can only describe as a terrible period of doubt and confusion. I had prayed so much for God to provide me with a partner, somone I could love and who would love me and my now husband came into my life. He knew from day one about my faith and belief in Jesus and he has shown me nothing but respect and encourages me to pray and go to church, even though he is ‘agnostic.’ As time goes on I thank God for him, he is a wonderful man. I won’t deny it’s not always easy, there are times when I wish we could pray together and he would just believe. I find the devil and often reminds me that I am unequally yoked and I can be overwhelmed with a feeling of guilt that I have disappointed God, but I try hard to pray and remember that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. I found this post so very helpful and encouraging. It is vital to focus on God and the strength he gives and commit everything to him in prayer. Thank you so much for this post.

  72. Amazingly said. I loved every word.

    I will be sharing this post next Tuesday at my {Wives Book Study}. We are studying “The Politically Incorrect Wife.” – THis is perfect! THank you!

  73. Rebekah says:

    I have looked over several Christian blogs, looking for posts on this issue, but until now haven’t found any. Thank you to Diana for sharing her heart.
    We were married two years when the Lord saved me. It’s been a long ten years since then, but my husband is still outside of Christ. I have so often struggled with these same thoughts and am even now struggling with respecting him and the decisions he is making for our family. He goes to church with me every Sunday, every service. He hears the Word. He gives generously, regularly, and for extra needs. I get discouraged wondering when the Lord will work. I’m learning to be patient in the waiting, but it’s something that God keeps bringing me back to–His timing is perfect, not mine!! Thank you for sharing this and I hope you will pray for my husband too.

  74. staci criswell says:

    27 years! Today, I don’t know if I will survive that! I know that it is wrong to feel this way. I know that that is just a feeling. I know that God will restore my wounds, even if he never finds his way to Christ. BUT today…the thought of dealing with this for 27 more years makes my stomach turn, my heart race, and takes my breath away. Thank you for your story. I know that another day God will bring it to my mind and I will feel hope. But today…is not that day.

  75. I just want to thank you so much for you post. When I married my husband he claimed to be a believer. We went to church together, we grew up in church. But life threw so much at us between him losing several jobs, financial troubles, that he just snapped and said there is no God. I have been praying for him. We have a young daughter and oddly enough even though he feels this way, he still goes to church, he encourages her to go, pray, and even teaches her Bible songs. I am so thankful to God for that. Seeing all of this made me think he does believe again until yesterday. He said he believes that the institution of church is nice and great for guidance but does he believe if he prays to God he will ever answer a prayer. He said no. He hasn’t been living a godly lifestyle at all, and his view is so if when he was praying God did so many things to him and didn’t answer his prayers, what does it matter. To him the bad things happen if he believes or doesn’t, so to him what ‘s the point. He said the only incentive he sees is not going to hell. If you would all please prayer for him and God will show himself to him and soften his heart again. To be honest my husband knows the Bible better than I do and I find it hard talking to him about all of these things when he does know about God and everything. Thank you so much for this post. It is nice not to feel alone in the situation. I didn’t knowingly marry an unbeliever, but it sure seems like everyone avoids talking about unequally yoked marriages, but what about those that fell away from Christ and decided not to believe after marriage. God Bless you for posting and thank you for the prayers!

  76. Wow. My husband is the Pastor of a new church plant. We have about 170 ppl and about 15 women who come faithfully without their husbands. I have recently felt such a burden for these women (knowing how I struggle as a wife even with a godly husband). I put together a group we are calling “adorned” (after 1 Peter 3) where we will meet only once/month to encourage these women and plead with the Lord to save their husbands and give them grace so they can be a means He uses. I’ve been putting together notes, feeling so inadequate to speak on this. I’m compassionate toward these women in our church, but this post showed me that I’m not near enough. You pointed out some things that I would’ve never been able to assume they go thru. Their burden is so much bigger than my words could ever soothe. I pray the Spirit will speak thru me and point them to the “God of all comfort” who will strengthen them for the amazing calling He has given them. Thank you for your insight.

  77. I have only been married four years. My husband was devoted to God and church while we were dating, then the Sunday after we were married he stopped going to church and having a relationship with God. My biggest standard was to marry a godly man, now i just feel trapped in misery. I feel very sad when I’m at church by myself and everyone asked,”where is your husband?” it embarrasses me. Our relationship struggles because we have nothing in common now and I cant share my relationship with God with him. God is the most important person in my life. I know its wrong for me not to believe, Gods word says all things are possible with him and I do try my best to believe that. But some days are so hard. Not only that most of the time I feel like he doesnt love me I dont want to start a family with an unsaved husband. I dont know what to do. Any suggestions?

    • Tracey,

      I have been married almost a year and a half. The exact thing happened to me, except it was about 8 months into our marriage. It has been SO hard. I had the same standard of marrying a christian man. I honestly wouldn’t have married my husband if he had come to this decision before. I feel stuck and trapped and that my life is going to be miserable because God doesn’t want me to divorce. My husband is just a different person than the man I married and we barely have anything in common anymore. Over the weekend I tried start up some conversation with him and asked, “How do you want to make a difference in this world?” He said, “I don’t really want to make a difference.” How did I marry someone who doesn’t want to make a difference! We don’t have the same dreams or goals. This is so hard. I would love to maybe keep up with you and we could help each other.

  78. Great, inspirational and educational story! Thank you for giving me the answers to every question which has crossed my mind about my husband. I will continue to pray and have faith that my husband will accept Jesus as his Savior.

  79. thank you so much for this post It has been a big eye opener :)

  80. I found your site online after searching and searching for an answer. My husband told me last night that he is pulling away from Christianity and no longer believes. We have 2 daughters, married for 11 years and have always gone to church, been part of small groups and lived Christian lives. I feel like my heart has been ripped out of my chest, I don’t know how to carry on as a Christian wife and mother.

  81. Thank you so much for your reflection and humble sharing of your initial negative focus. I am struggling with this right now, and I could hear my voice in each of those negative statements. This is a very powerful reminder for me to worry less about what’s not being done and focus more on prayer, showing God’s love even though the situation is not how I’d like it to be, and to spend more time “abiding in Christ.”

  82. Titania Montoya says:

    Hi, I know I am soooo late from when you posted this, but I found it just in time. I was married in 2007 to a christian man. He worked for God, all the time, giving bible studies, praying, etc.. and I was the one who was not in the vision with him. I was a christian, but didn’t walk close to God. He would wake up to pray and wanted me to pray with him, I would ask him to let me sleep. He would want to have bible studies at the house and I would tell him not to count with me, I was too busy. I was dumb, because in 2010, he walked away from God. We had our 1st son in 2011 and am expecting our 2nd due in July 2013. And I can’t take it anymore. I feel like I can’t wait soo much for him to come back to God. I know some women have waited 20 or more years, but I just can’t see myself waiting that long. I hope someone reads my post.

  83. God Bless You! This post is timeless, and right on time for me! Your points are spot on and so true. Thank you for speaking the truth in love!

  84. All I can say is thank upi so very much. I’ve been asking myself everyday during this first year of marriage what do I do when my husband seem to have no desire for God. Many times, I’ve simply wanted to walk away. He has been more of an influence on me than I have been on him because I’ve wanted to please him. I’ve been rebelling against Gd for the last year. But fortunately, I’ve Ben faithfully going to church…. Only because I work in ministry….but if I didn’t, who knows where I would be. My husband doesn’t trust Christians and definitely not ministers. He is stong willed and his mind is convinced that church is a fraud…. And to him… He knows there is something bigger than him out there….but not God….in his life…he believes he controls everything….not some God as he says. But I’m gonna hang in here and try some of your tips….AGAIN THANK YOU.

  85. Both articles are good and what surprised me is just HOW MANY women are in mismatched situations and/or with husbands who don’t believe or are unable to lead. This is very sad. I read many of the comments and I believe one thing missing from the conversation is an acknowledgment that some women may be in such an unsafe or unhealthy marriage they truly should get away from it. I do not believe our Lord intends women to remain in some situations and to live their life as the sacrifice for their husband. A Godly woman who is in fear for her life need not ‘hang in there’ and allow herself to be abused either emotionally, verbally or physically. Sometimes it is not the woman’s responsibility to ‘save’ her husband or to subtly ‘teach’ her husband or to ‘live with’ un-godly treatment. Sometimes the Godly thing to do must be to be strong enough through Christ to remove yourself from evil.

  86. Courtney,

    Here it is two years later and your post is still vital. Just moments ago I asked the Lord what to do in my situation. I am well into a new marriage with a wonderful man. He believes in God, but doesn’t know much about Jesus and has not accepted Him as his saviour yet. My personal belief is that God ordained our union for the purpose of His will in our lives. I’ve noted and referenced many of the scriptures you posted. They work…God’s word always works! My hang up was believing that some scripture, mostly old testament, concerning being unequally yoked with a non-believer. Although I do believe these scriptures are necessary, I do not believe they pertain to my situation. I also understand that you can also be unequally yoked to a believer IF your spirits are not in agreement. Overall, my marriage is an assignment introduce my husband to Jesus through the love of God that flows through me towards him. My personal relationship with the Lord has matured as a result of me seeking was to bear witness of His everlasting love. It took an extremely hurtful divorce after a prior 14 year marriage to reach this point past my struggles. And now I am experiencing a beautiful union. All things should be viewed through the eyes of Christ, who while we were yet sinners, sacrificed His life because He loved us. Thanks for this adoring post!

  87. Melissa says:

    Thank you for writing this. My heart has been struggling with this and your article.was exactly the guidance I needed to help me get.my heart and my head right. I find myself feeling the news to be so defiant or have a bad attitude because I am frustrated and its just not right. It is so uplifting to read this and know I am not alone in any way! Thank you so much!

  88. Im a born again Christain taught to obey my christain husband after about 30 years of living like this Im ready to go into a mental hospital I feel Ive had no say in the big issues of life eg children and where we went to church for over 20 years .I study at uni now and think for my self now which my husband says he likes but falls into old way we are shouting alot where have I gone wrong I came to the cross as a huge sinner 34 years ago about now, my husband has destroyed my faith where has my God been?
    Jenny.

  89. Diane Tayman says:

    After 46 years with an unbeliever, I realize my entire life was wasted. My son has become mentally ill from my husband’s emotional abuse which goes on to this day. I got saved 11 years after I was married. He cheated on me, disrespected and is still an alcoholic. I recently got on my knees and repented to the Lord for staying married to him. I am so filled with sorrow concerning my son. I am now 61 years. I spent all my 20′s, 30′s, 40′s, 50′s alone while my husband adored tv instead of me and adored alcohol instead of me. He still adores tv and adores alcohol. He tells everyone I am a wonderful wife. I have never hurt him or made him cry. I have respected him. He is a Viet Nam war vet who refused counseling or help. This story did not turn out great. God tried to tell me long ago, and I would not listen.

    • I am married to an husband of 37 years and right now I am going through ups and downs in this relationship because how he has been a deceiver, a liar and a cheat. He works two jobs and would not even ask if I needed money or not, I have find out about some lady he was suppose to be intimate with, texting walking in the park, he wants to have a private life and be marry, I find that to be wrong, I use to cook, which I do not too much any more, being in this relationship has be hell and still I don’t like how it is turning out. I am a Christian and trying to hear from God about the situation; whether I should divorce or stay. Each day is a different day. I don’t know how to being to even pray for him or the relationship because I don’t know if God really hears my prayers. I am a woman to be marry, so if God want to remove us I ask him to do so, not out of selfish reasons, but because of misery. I am ready to move on with my life and live. If I had the money I would divorce him, and I am still asking God to supply the need if need be. I know he had divorces but I am sure He does not want His people in harms way. I love him, but not in love with him right now. I don’t trust him and right now don’t even know how to. Tis the season.

  90. I’m just not sure anymore as to whether or not my husband is saved. He appears to have no interest in spiritual things; no fellowship at the place he use to worship at; considers prayer as being an “option.” We just had our anniversary last month of 21 years. I could not even get excited about it. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about a divorce. What is really challenging for me is communicating how I feel about this. My husband excepted Christ prior to our marriage in September 1992 in the Bahamas. He was committed to studying, fellowship, prayer and our marriage. Then in 2008, I started to notice a change in him. There is a lot that has happened: He is no longer participating in bible study, no worship with other believers, was ordained as a deacon and no longer living up to those responsibilities, the list goes on….

    I am spiritually depleted when attempting to bring Jesus or God or Holy Spirit into the conversation. When he is in a situation, my suggestion is that he pray about it. His response is “that’s an option” or no response at all. Other believers call him to see how he is doing; either he doesn’t pick up the phone or he doesn’t say anything to me about someone calling. People tell me they have called and a lot of times I am not aware of it.

    So, what would be the christian godly thing to do in this situation?

    Tired and want to move on with my life now….

  91. Excellent effort to make this blog more wonderful and attractive.

  92. Dear everyone,

    Jesus is lord. I came searching not even knowing what to search for because I was confused about my marital relationship.

    I thank God for this article, my husband is saved but we dodnt have the same zeal for Godm i find myself taking up the responsibilities of the family and I have been very resentful.

    After reading the post and what other people have posted, I thank God who always has solutions at the verge of confusion, I found out that the problem has been me not my spouse; I am feeling so bad for now knowing this truth before.

    Thank you very much Deanne for sharing this truth, I have been focusing on more of what is negative than the positive. I thank the Holy spirit who directed me to this post.

    Jesus you are so wonderful.

    Love you all women of God.

    Mutesi

  93. I got married to my ex husband at age 18 when I was 8 months pregnant with our son. He got abusive after we got married, we fought all the time, more so than when we did when we lived together. I grew up in church, so did he, so we knew the gospel. After 5 years of enduring his abuse and neglect and crying out for help, I became numb and had an affair with a friend of his. Once he found out he moved out, backslid and took off to be with an old high school friend and her kids. That didn’t work out, and he came back and stayed with some guys while our divorce was finalized. It’s been almost 3 years since we split up, and he came to me 3 months ago stating he wanted to start again and was willing to do what it took to get his family back. My heart was full, I felt like God was restoring what the devil stole. It started out great, he was so sweet, totally different person. But the past couple of week went downhill. He became distant, stopped calling and texting, didn’t show up to family things or come over to see our kids as much. We got into a huge fight because he’s still friends with the girl he went to be with. Then, when he was supposed to come to church with us, he never showed or told me he wasn’t going, and then I caught him getting high at a friend’s house. I hit the roof, I wasn’t even hurt that he was getting high again, but hurt that he stood us up and lied about what he had been doing all this time. I love him dearly, we have 13 years together and 2 kids. I’ve forgiven him for the past, and he’s forgiven me. But when asking him what was going on, he said he didn’t think he was ready and that he doesn’t like that he has to hide that he still likes to drink and smoke sometimes because he knows I don’t like it. I’m hurt and torn about what to do, I wanted to end it and in a way I did, not because of the drinking and smoking, but the lies and secrets. It came out of no where and I don’t understand it. We were doing so good, I didn’t expect him to become full of the holy ghost again and be a preacher, but the deceit was overwhelming, being stood up and blown off hurt. I love this post, it reminds me so much of myself and how I feel towards him with him struggling in his walk. I focus so much on everything else that I don’t pray enough for him or for us. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m going to trust that God has it under control. After chewing him out for lying and how my kids deserve better and how I didn’t understand what was going on with him, I prayed and told God to help me love him and see him how Jesus does. I left him a message asking him if we can start over, no secrets, no lies, but be open with what we’re dealing with and struggling with. He said that he’s wondering lately if we just got together because we were lonely, and I truly believe that’s a lie from the devil, but getting that across to him is almost impossible. I know no one can respond to this, but I need prayer. He needs prayer, we need prayer. I wish I had a friend that’s been through this that I can talk to, but most of my friends tell me to write him off, that he’s a loser and we deserve better. I agree that we deserve better, but I also believe in healed homes. Pray for me please, for wisdom and guidance, strength and hope. And pray for him, that God reaches down to his inner core and saves him before it’s too late.

  94. I married 20yrs ago. My husband & I became very involved in the church then & were for many years. We shared pretty much the same beliefs. The exception was that he was raised Catholic & I really wasn’t raised in a church. So, we were learning together. We had two daughters while in that church & were all happy there for the most part until something unimaginable happened.
    My husband was assaulted by another man ( a fellow churchgoer) while on the job. He was in such a rage that he punched & kicked him repeatedly, causing a deviated septum & concussion. W were told he was fortunate to not have brain damage!
    It was literally a nightmare. We chose not to press charges because he did not want to relive it & also because the at attorneys & police were very flippant about the whole thing.. Asking what he did to instigate it. Instead we tried to follow biblical instruction & take it before the elders in the church. BIG MISTAKE!! The only person that understood was the counselor on staff.. Basically none of the others knew what to do. The pastor excommunicated the offender from the church until he could prove he had sought counseling… Which he never did. Then the pastor claimed he. “didn’t remember excommunicating him & let him back in, which was horrifying to us. I mentioned it to the pastor one morning after I’d seen the man in the foyer & while stuffing a doughnut in his mouth he said “don’t let him steal your church” & walked away.
    That was when we left the church, after some 12+years. Absolutely heartbreaking!!
    So… Fast forward 13 yrs & my husband has NO faith or respect for pastors or fellow believers, NO interest in church & seems to have a completely different belief system from mine now. We still have kids in the house & I feel like I can’t open my mouth about what I believe & want to pass on to them without him stepping all over me to disagree. I am so sad, disappointed & hurt. I feel it’s our responsibility to teach our kids the truth about GOD & HIS word & we don’t even agree on what that is. He calls me judge mental & intolerant in front of them because I do believe Jesus is the way, the truth & the life. I’m not criticizing others beliefs.. I just believe the bible & want my children to.
    They agree with everything he says does. He’s the fave around here because he’s the fun one & I’m the disciplinarian . This is causing me to become very sad & very angry . I hate going to church alone & having to keep my thoughts & beliefs to myself as to not cross him. What about our children???? HELP!!

  95. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing a Godly perspective on the heartache of a bad marriage. I feel a shattered person in my marriage. I knew before I married him he was not for me but felt desperate for the white picket fence scenario of my dreams. This is most lonely place I could have ever imagined. I can only look to Jesus Christ to help me exist in this. I pray first and foremost for Gods forgiveness for not trusting him and waiting for the person he had for me. I further pray God will forgive me for not behaving in a Christian manner. My anger and resentment has caused me to lash out and say very hurtful things and act in a very ungodly manner. I pray God will restore in me a pure heart and help me to be the best mom possible to my 19 month old son. I pray through Gods help I can work through the anger, loneliness and resentment. I want to be a viable, positive and Godly woman/mother no matter my marital status or situation.

  96. Dear ladies,

    I give thanks to Courtney for the encouraging post and to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for giving her a heart to minister to women who are in similar situations without rejecting or judging them.
    I have long felt that women in marriages to unbelievers have been treated like lepers within the body of Christ and it is time we started treating ALL people like our Lord did! In all the blogs I have read about this issue, a huge emphasis is placed on blame, shame, rejection and the continual guilt of these women as a mark of their repentance – not unlike a scarlet letter (not men in the same position though we know many). Did the Lord ask that we continually feel like sinners after he forgave and saved us? (Rm8:1) No, God forbid, but He made us sons and co-heirs with Christ (Rm8:17). In the same manner if one finds oneself in this situation – repent (1Jn2:1 & 1Jn1:9)and then get Gods help to turn it around as He does not want to teach you a lesson for making a mistake by allowing you to ‘endure’ or ‘suffer’ through your marriage (Matt7:11), contrary to popular teaching. The believers authority in Christ is not only given to men but to women as well (Lk10:19)- so wield it and use it within your marriage to keep the enemy away and out of your sanctified territory – YOUR MARRIAGE! (Heb13:4) You are not wrestling with your spouse but with principalities and powers and spirits of wickedness (Eph6:12). I believe if you are spiritually militant and physically submissive/respectful and loving to your husband then the atmosphere of your household will change then joy and salvation will follow. Believe God, love your husband and fight against the principalities and powers trying to ruin your marriage. The Lord Jesus bless you all.

  97. Thank you for sharing .
    This gives me assurance and hope that my
    Faith in God and submission ( which is difficult ) will
    Allow God to work on my husband . It’s already been ten years
    You summed up all of my thoughts and
    Actions. Just good to know that someone before me
    Actually saw a change and deliverance . Hallelujah !

  98. I am so thankful to God for leading me to this beautiful site! I was literally weeping as i related with Deanna’s post, and felt both encouraged, and also gently convicted by the Holy Spirit as i read about her approaches for the attitude change that needs to happen within myself! What an eye opener! I have never thought about it that way, that MY attitudes of resentment and a lack of respect for my husband can actually be hindering both his growth as well as my own! Also, after reading the ladies’ posts I am filled with the comfort of not feeling alone anymore in this issue of being unequally yoked. I came to Christ two yrs after we were married, and we have been married for 9 yrs now. We have been so blessed with 3 beautiful daughters, our oldest whom has recently received Christ! I long for my husband to join me (and surpass me one day!) as the spiritual leader of our household. He was baptized about 6 mo after I was, but has never shown any interest in developing his relationship with Christ, reading the Bible, or praying. He will attend church with us, but his heart is never into it, even to the point of my embarrassment as I often have to nudge him to stay awake during service. He refuses to absorb any teachings, admit any need for personal growth, and even refuses to pray with us as a family (he will bow his head at dinner time while my girls say grace, but will never lead us in prayer, even when our daughters ask him to.). My husband has had struggles with addiction throughout his life which I never had a full understanding of until well after we were married. Sometimes I fear that his decision to get baptized was in order to dissuade me from separating from him during a particularly bad relapse with his addiction (prescription pain pills). I have prayed over the last 7 years for God to help him overcome his addiction, and for him to become the husband, father, and spiritual leader of our home I long for him to be. I realize that I need to shift the focus off of viewing him negatively, and ask God to shape and mold ME into the wife and woman He wants me to be. My husband had seemed sober for a quite some time, but lately I feel unsure. I feel a constant lack of trust in him. It is this lack of trust that has led me to this place of bitterness, resentment, and most recently (and most worrisome) this sense of feeling out of love with him ( though as a Christian, I feel called to remain married, and hope that these “feelings” of mine are just a season.) I have never felt that he has jeopardized our safety, but I do question almost constantly whether I need to separate even temporarily so that I am in no way enabling his addiction if he has in fact, fallen off the wagon. The heartbreak that this would bring to our family, my 3 daughters seems unthinkable. Anyway, I appreciate Deanna’s advice, and plan to adopt this new, much more Christlike approach, as I continue to pray over this issue, and seek God’s will in my whole decision process. Thx so much the encouragement I have found here today! Prayers for all of my Sisters in Christ here…

  99. Proverbs 31 in training says:

    I am new to Women Living Well, but this post really resonates with me. I am Christian Orthodox. My husband, baptized Catholic, is agnostic. He rolls his eyes and makes snide remarks anytime I mention religion.

    I just finished reading the Proverbs 31 ebook. I want so badly to become more like a Proverbs 31 wife. I can feel The Lord pulling at my heart strings, calling me back to Him. I am praying that by changing my actions, I can in turn show my husband how God has helped me become a better wife, mom, and woman.

    I hope becoming more like a Proverbs 31 wife won’t be for nothing.

  100. What a beautiful and inspiring testimony. I really needed to hear it. It is very tough at times but with God everything is possible.

    Thank you for sharing your story. God bless you and your family!

  101. Undecided says:

    This post and comments have helped ease my racing mind. I have been dating an unbeliever for about a year now. We have everything in common except our faith. We already finish each other’s sentences. The seed is planted and I can tell when he gets confused. He wants to believe, but has so many questions that it is over powering that. Lately, I’ve felt lost. I’ve been struggling with being away from my family (away at school), the area I live in is horrible for part-time jobs for students, stress is sinking in with trying to find my career as I graduate at the end of the year. I know I need to let go of this stress because I am a deep thinker, too deep.. Over thinking creates worry and stress in other areas of life that are just fine. I need to let go and let God.

    My boyfriend has attended church a few different times with me this last year of dating. Less than 10 times, but I give him encouragement for trying. He doesn’t make rude comments when I research or read my Bible. We are coming to a point in our relationship where we are talking about BIG decisions and commitments. I have been doing different research in how I want to purse this matter. I am quite fond of 1 Peter. It shows me that God has a place for unevenly yoked marriages. Thank you again for the encouragement and I look forward to reading Jo Berry’s book. I can’t wait to put those 4 steps you shared into my daily life. I also want to thank all the ones who have commented on this. Especially the young teen that everyone is giving advise to. It has really settled my nerves and I can’t wait to talk with my boyfriend this weekend so we can come to final conclusion on the steps we will take from here.

  102. Marah Walta says:

    What if your husband has been baptized, believe and know God? He continue to open doors that will lead back to the same sin. I have been through the storm with my husband many times (only married 3yrs and 10 months). He is playing in band that does not glory to God. I stated I only support him because he play the drums. The bar environment where there is drinking, smoking, mild nude and other sinful things. I still go to support him playing drums. We both communicated when the band had taken a break to just go for the enjoyment of playing drums, to not let this overcome you because the enironment is not pleasing to God. Well now since the band started playing again. He cut his arm at work and communicated to the leader of the band, he did not care about his arm being cut, just wanted to know if he can play. My husband just blew if off like nothing and said he just being an **s. The other person on the band was making fun of him because he share with him using an equipment to help him better effient playing the drums. Because the other person on the band discourage him from using it, he stopped using it. He began making plan on his cell phone while he is at work regarding sister birthday parties, finding gigs for the band setting and executing dates (all this while at work). When I brought this to his attention he started deleting all his phone calls and text messages before coming home are in my face. Then he said to I swear before Jesus I am not hiding nothing from me. But he say he is doing it because I am taking out of context. I communicated to him that he is hidding something from me by executing plans in the future while at work without us discussing together. God has change for the better going through the last storm with my husband. My husband know better, I have share with him God has put information in front of you that the environment does not pleases God, the people you are playng band with are not your friends, they are your friends because you have drums. This morning I just been renewing my attitude. When things are going his way our marriage is okay, it could be better but he chooses to not deal with some issue discovered. When I shared with him I know what is happen in this band relationship that he choices to keep me out. Also stated please to discontinue booking gigs because I do not want out Saturday be the same sleeping and up all night with the band until early Sunday morning. I he responded but I know he is not going to follow through. Meaning I will be caring the load in our home while he is leaving the flesh.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] through your actions(I Peter 3).  Please take a moment and read one of my previous posts titled “Thriving In A Spiritually Mismatched Marriage.” It talks about the common pitfalls of women in this position from the “holier than [...]

  2. [...] For ladies caught in the middle, looking for more answers and encouragement – I invite you to read one of my archived posts titled “Thriving in a Spiritually Mismatched Marriage.“ [...]

  3. [...] 2. Thriving in a Spiritually Mismatched Marriage – WomenLivingWell http://womenlivingwell.org/2011/02/thriving-in-spiritually-mismatched/ [...]

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