What If Your Husband is Not a Believer?

A reader wrote:

Dear Courtney
I’m a new Christian and my husband is NOT a believer. I have read Proverbs 31 and 1 Peter but find it really hard to put into practice. I do pray that my husband will come to know God but I want to know how to be a good example to him to encourage and inspire him to seek The Lord. Any suggestions?
Natalie, 35, London, ENGLAND


I have asked my friend Deanna to share her wisdom today:

Deanna writes~

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!!!!!



I love Deanna’s testimony! She’s a true Titus 2 Woman and after 27 years God answered her prayers!

Chime In:  Do you have/or have had an unbelieving husband and how would you encourage Natalie?

Walk with the King!

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  1. Rebecca Z says


    Thank you so much for doing this! I have actually written you myself about this very topic! I teared up as I was reading this…especially the section she wrote about what she focused on; it was like she had been watching the CNN commentary running at the bottom of the the screen inside my head. I really look forward to see what else you post regarding this subject.

    I would like to tell Natalie to NEVER stop praying for her husband. I have gotten into spells where I get so frustrated about the situation that I’d rather not even think about it (in a negative sense not in a give it to God way), and that poor mentality also seeped into my prayer life and prayers for my husband disappeared. I have found that when I do that, my relationship with him suffers, and unfortunately, I have to say the blame doesn’t mostly fall on him. So Natalie…stay strong in praying for him and don’t give up.

    • Kimberly says

      Rebecca, I too have had times when I couldn’t pray for my husband and had to enlist the help of other believers to pray for him and for me. I’ve also asked people to pray for me to stay out of God’s way so He could work on my husband’s heart. Know that I’m praying for you and your husband!

  2. Megan says

    That is so amazing and wonderful that Deanna’s husband now knows the Lord! I grew up in a home where my dad knows the Lord and my mom doesn’t. So I have a good understanding of how difficult it can be. I know there were times when dad wanted to throw in the towel, and I’m sure mom did too, but the Lord kept them together by His grace. Now their marriage is the best it’s ever been. They’ve been married for 31 years and I know mom will be coming into the kingdom soon. :) My advice, as a third-party witness, is to keep praying and keep living out your faith before your husband, having an attitude of respect and be ready to forgive, forgive, forgive!!!

  3. Kimberly says

    I also am a relatively new believer with an unbelieving husband. Through strong Christian mentors, I have learned to focus on growing my walk with the Lord. I have learned so much through bible studies (good morning girls and Bible study fellowship), reading The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O’Maritan and have cried out many times to the Lord in prayer and frustration. I also liked the book Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage by Lee and Leslie Strobel. And I pray Ezekiel 11:19-20 over my husband. Thank you, Courtney, for addressing this difficult situation!

    • Megan says

      Oh my, I was just praying that God sew the broken pieces of my husbands heart together with his grace and heal my husbands hurt so that he may release his anger and see Him and know Him. I had never read that verse in Ezekiel before you mentioned it right now. I am in awe of Gods faithfulness! Thank you so much for sharing. I know God is speaking loud and clear!

      • Jaci says

        @Megan: My husband, too, has a lot of hurt and anger inside. I try to remember to pray for him everyday, but unfortunately the hectic hustle and bustle of everyday life distracts me and some days I forget to pray at all, let alone for my husband and family. It’s a constant battle every moment of every day to walk the path with God and try to be an example for my husband and family. I stumble a lot. Maybe we can have an email group so that we can encourage each other to keep moving forward? I’d love to have a support group or even just a friend who understands. If anyone else is interested, please email me jlopez3211 @ live dot com.

  4. says

    I think that this is applicable to believers as well. I love the Love and respect series, it really changed my marriage and the way that I approach my husband. My husband is a devoted follower of Christ so I cannot share in this struggle of being married to an unbeliever… The one thing that I can say is the Lord never gives us what we cannot handle. and every time that you are tempted to react in an unloving way to your spouse God will ALWAYS provide a way out of that temptation. there is no such thing as the “High” road in marriage, because the high road is often where the spirit of pride walks in… there is following in the footsteps of Jesus way in marriage and he will convict and nudge you in whatever direction HE wants you to go. Blessings to you!

    • Sharon says

      I, too, thought this post was applicable to me as well, even though both my husband and I are both believers. Far too often I am judgmental and have a “holier than though” attitude towards my husband.

  5. Anna says

    I too have a husband that says he believes Christ is his Savior but feels he does not have to go to church. This is so encouraging to me. Thank you for posting. PERFECT timing. :)

    • Becky says

      I have the same situation. Only my husband gets mad when I go to church. I struggle with the desire to fellowship with believers and with keeping the peace at home. This post was perfect timing for me, too. I need to remember to pray and to be a godly wife. The rest is up to the Lord.

      • Jennifer says

        Just yesterday I asked my pastor “how can I submit to my husband as God tells me when the choices said husband makes are unhealthy physically and spiritually for our children?” My husband believes in God and is thankful for what he has, but has a foot on either side of the fence. My kids have a hard time respecting my husband as well. He has made progress and feels he “has changed enough” and I should be happy with him as he is. I keep praying and I know someday he will decide to follow Christ wholeheartedly as long as I don’t nag and don’t preach to him. This is one of the best postings on unevenly yolked marriages I have ever seen :)

  6. says

    I’m married to a non-believer. We have been married 10 years and I have given my heart to Jesus about 4 years ago. I could relate with what Deanna wrote in the “My focus was on my circumstances” section, especially with the feeling of loneliness and spiritual isolation and the sitting in Church and looking at all the other families. I did that, I looked around at the other families and then looked at me and my kids and felt sad. I stopped going to Church for a while for that reason. I felt alone.

    Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one with a non-believer husband.

    Thank you for re-posting the article.

    • tseegii says

      hi Miranda, i know how you feel because i have same issues, I thought i was alone here with unbelieving husband and i usually struggle to go to church alone and get jealous over couples who walk in the same direction toward God. This website really encouraged me to pray for him continuely and not give up. I was even considering to give up on our marriage because i thought he would never kneel before Jesus and ask help from God. i guess, too early i am giving up but now i know God wants us to keep praying and not give up. Miranda, you too not give up, expect God to do his work….One thing i just realized that no matter how many times i prayed for him, i never expect God to change him, thats like a faithless prayer. Now i know I should put my faith in him and expect his miracles to turn my husband back to him. Hope it helps you Miranda!! just know that you are not alone here, we all have same struggles, issues!

      • Maria says

        I am so pleased I found this blog, I too was laughing at the looking around the church in self pitty that I was alone tears. I am also praying for my husband, I know god will answer my prayers.
        I am an inpatient woman married to a non believer, my first lesson learned was patience and persistance.
        2nd lesson was self pitty, get rid of it, its not attractive.
        I sometimes get really upset as I feel alone in my faith, but always brought to laughter when I learn little lesson ie patience, no wallowing in self pitty.
        slowly, slowly, my husband is coming round and now sometimes attends church.
        my new dilemma is our friends have now gone off me(as I do not get drunk or want to sit in houses with smoke, not judging , but its not good for me its easy to fall back) I feel quite hurt as im no longer invited out with them after 15 year’s , I wouldn’t go any way it just hurts. On the plus side, when im over the hurt , ill be stronger and learn another lesson. Reading this think im still learning selfpitty. Lol

  7. Jen says

    I became a believer not long after our 4th anniversary, that was 10 years ago. I’ve been through phases with my husband as my faith has grown. I began with begging him to come to church with me and constantly talking to him about my new faith. He completely shut down. The more I talked and begged the further away he drifted. “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” 1 Peter 3:1-2

    I was blessed with guidance from a woman who had lived as a spiritually single woman longer than I had. She said just keep praying for your own heart. Ask God to change your heart. Pray for your husband for him, not for you to have a believing husband, but for his salvation. I started praying, studying God’s Word and praying….

    I went through a phase of wanting what all my friends had, a husband who came to church, led their family, dropped them off at the door when the church parking lot was full of snow… I prayed, and prayed and prayed…..

    God answered, He changed my heart, not yet my husbands, but He has changed mine. It is still just as hard as it was 10 years ago. It’s hard to do everything at church with my 3 girls alone. God is still good and is still answering my prayers. He has completely surrounded my husband with believing men. He is moving my husband’s heart. He has gone from slamming the Bible on the kitchen counter closed to programing in Christian music to my car, yeah and even his car. It’s the first thing he turns on when we are together in his car. I continue to pray, and cry, and pray, and plead with God for my husband’s heart to be softened. I pray for my girl’s future husbands, that they are being raised to love the Lord. I pray for God to help me with my unbelief. It’s been 10 years and may be 10, 20 or 30 more before God’s perfect timing for his salvation.

    It’s a lonely place to be, but I continue to learn to pray, plead, lean on and find companionship in my Savior. His Grace is sufficient and He is mighty to save!

  8. Pam says

    Isaiah 54:5 My Maker is my true husband. (He sits with me at church when I think I am alone. He whispers “I am enough, you are never ever alone!”) I hope this helps miranda in the above post. I know it has helped me as a wife to an unbeliever for 19 years, 10 of which we have been unevenly yoked. Romans 15:13 He gives us hope. (Hope helps me endure!)

  9. says

    I am so blessed to have a godly husband. It’s easy to play the comparison game, or to let my expectations (or even the guidelines found in the Word) give me a jaded view of my own marriage. My husband doesn’t lead the way I feel God’s word calls him to and there are many things that could be better…but no relationship is perfect. And, this post is a reminder that even if there are things we need to work on both together and inidividually, it’s such a blessing that He is saved. He’s not perfect, but he’s forgiven, and he is striving toward godliness, just like I am. And that is a huge blessing from the Lord.

    Praying for the women who are struggling in this. My heart goes out to all of you!

  10. Miss Beth says

    Boy… close to my heart!!! Like Rebecca, seeing in print the “I focused on monologue” really hits home, and encourages me to be purposeful about where I allow my thoughts to go… thank you Deanna!

    Some years back, my husband was deeply involved in some really bad things… things that tore my heart apart and were tearing our lives apart… things that anyone, whether a believer or an unbeliever alike, would agree were his bad acts and decisions… it got to the point that I would wake up and have to tell myself to breath in and out… to keep on existing… I was totally broken, beyond my imagination. We had kids at home that needed us to be parents and survive… yet no one would give me permission to leave him, which is what I thought I was entitled to… with nowhere else to turn, I had no choice but to cling to my Heavenly Daddy for dear life…. and made a commitment to be a “Godly wife” for him… eyes upward, not in front of me…. Here is where my words to Natalie come in… when I surrendered myself to be the best “Godly” wife I could be for God, not my husband in front of me, it was ME that was transformed… not my husband! I was totally astonished and blown away by what God was pointing out in my life… I hadn’t been the one in the wrong…. I wasn’t ruining this marriage….. and yet I could literally feel His presence transforming ME as the wife and how I played that role. Well Natalie… my husband still is not a believer, but he is a changed man… our marriage is one that people point to and say I want what they have…. what I have learned is that like any other commandment or instruction in the Bible on how we are to walk as a Christian, our role as a wife is laid out in the Bible also…. and it doesn’t say, if your husband is a believer… or if he is thoughtful…. or if he makes you happy….. or if he deserves it at that moment…. is just instructs us on OUR role…. before God! It truly just comes down to that….. being obedient to God, in our role as a wife. Thinking that I have the power to do anything more that will or can save my dear husbands soul, is pretty inflated thinking… but we can pray, pray, pray!!! Natalie… I would encourage you to be the best wife you can be for your Daddy, God…. eyes upward on Him…. let Him pour out the blessings!!!!

      • Joma says

        Wow,amazing testimonies.

        My husband is a believer but my problem is i want God to change him first before i am respectful.It is sooooo hard and i don’t think my spiritual tank is filled enough to give what i ought to.I do my best to obey but there is such a struggle to focus on me as opposed to his shortcomings.

        I want to please God i really do,being a wife really isn’t for the faint hearted.Any tips?

  11. Robin says

    Boy oh boy this is my life story as we speak my husband isn’t a true believer sure he goes to church w me but I feel like he wasting space on a pew and it’s an act he still verbal and emotional abusive to me very controling disrepectfnothing in him has really changed our 2 yr old is know treating me the same way he idolizes his daddy I try so hard to b a gd wife w nothing in return I’m burned out and have nothing else to give I’m done trying just going through the emotions and trying not to set him off so I don’t get yelled cussed oust and belittled

    • says

      Hi Robin, I’m SO sorry you are having such a difficult time. First let me say that there is NO excuse for abuse and it is NEVER the abuseds fault. Having said that…Alot of people are mean when they are not happy with themselves. Unfortunately, he may be trying to make you miserable (because we know misery loves company). Try to be crazy encouraging! Thank him regularly for taking “such good care of you and your son” (if he’s the bread winner and it’s true) you don’t have to lie, just point out the truths to help bolster his self esteem. When he’s “controlling”, if it doesn’t break a judicial or Biblical law, and if it won’t hurt you or your child, submit to him. Be as godly a wife as possible and be the constant encourager. Pray over your son, lay hands on him while he sleeps; pray that God will heal any damage that your husband has caused, pray that God will close his eyes and ears to the abuse, pray for his future: to be a believer, to be a godly man, Pray for his future wife, his children, etc. I used to lay hands on and pray over my husband while he slept…I figured, as long as he’s snoring, I’m gonna keep on praying! LOL!

      I’m praying for you! For peace, direction, rest, and refreshing!
      Much love to you!

  12. Britaine says

    Wow, what perfect timing. This topic has been weighing heavily on my heart for a while. I have been with my boyfriend for 4 years now, we have 2 beautiful children and I am very much in love with him. Although I have always believed in God I did not have a deep relationship or even desire for one until he blessed me with my children. I have now renewed my faith and am on the best walk of my life with him. The only problem is that my boyfriend does not believe. I pray for him constantly that Jesus would soften his heart. I pray for myself to he patience while I wait. My boyfriend comes to church with the kids and me every week, he reads the Bible, devotionals, and prays with me. I feel very blessed that he does participate but I want to be married because I feel that is what God wants and I want to set the right example for my children. Our church will not let us dedicate our children because we live together and are not married so that adds to the pressure. I will continue to pray and look to God for peace and patience. I trust that everything will work in his timing the way he desires.

  13. says

    I too am a third party observer in this kinda situation.
    My Mom was the believer, and my Dad was not.

    I’ve learned from my Mom’s example of how to submit to your husband, even when he is not a believer, and you really think you should do XYZ. Although my own husband is a believer, he’s young in faith. so I’ve found myself feeling holier than thou, and taking the reigns.

    God has worked big time in my heart, and continues to do so.

    I will join in an pray for those who have unbelieving husbands, or husband young in faith. God IS enough!


  14. says

    As mentioned above, the Power of a Praying Wife is a gem! Especially when you are feeling down or frustrated, and it’s just hard to find the right words to pray, this book will walk you through praying for your husband.

  15. danielle says

    My husband is an unbeliever. We have been married 10 years, and I do have a promise from God that my husband will give his life over to Jesus., but somedays I feel like it just won’t happen, after years and yers of praying, and compromising, and being ridiculed and being told that I am ‘brainwashing’ our children I grow impatient waiting for his salvation. When I started reading this article I thought “Oh No! She has been waiting 28 years….What if it never happens!? Her husband and mine will die unbeleivers!” When I read the last sentence I started crying. “after 27 years of praying…..” Miracles do happen! This was shot of hope for me, Thank You!

  16. babylochs says

    This is a beautiful example of Christ’s love. Thanks so much for sharing and opening up. It will help so many wives.

  17. Jane Grayson says

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve been married for 19 years and although my husband believes God exists that’s as far as it goes. This has been especially hard as 5 years ago I was ordained (Church of England). My husband is supportive of my ministry, but we don’t talk about it. I would love to be able to pray with him, be in church together and minister together. I too pray every day that he will come to know Jesus. My eldest son is a Christian which is fantastic. The part about making sure your husband knows he comes before church and friends resonated with me. In the past I didn’t do this and it caused real problems. The Proverbs 31 study was great! Jane, Manchester, England.

  18. Ashley says

    wow, my husband says he belives but doesnt go to church , and doesn’t always hve cleanest mouth arond people, He is a good dad and very good to me , but I do get lonley , I am always so afraid that I will get made fun of if I try and chair gods mircles in my life with him . I get loneley at church wanting him to be there with me , and wanting him to be a godley dad for our daughters. Now I know what I need to do , pray , pray , pray ,pray,!! Thank you so much for posting this you have no idea. Courney you have changed my life in many ways , I am so glad I found your blod

  19. Suzie says

    Very good article. I am married to a back-sliden Christian, but I was one myself when we met. I have now renewed my faith and am active in the Church, but he is not. However, we have come a long way, and that too, is as God changed ME!!! Our marriage got very bad, due to a lot of the same things from the article, I came back to God and my husband didn’t, so I ridiculed him and criticized him and was not a nice person to live with… I thought I was so much better than him, but in honesty I was worse. When an affair nearly threatened to destroy our marriage and he said he did not love me anymore or want me either, I thankfully cried out to God. God told me I had to love my husband no matter what, and when I said I couldn’t, He said, yes you can as I will help you. I cried and sobbed and pleaded why was it that he was the one who wanted to end it and didn’t love me, why should I be the one to change? But in the end I listened, and asked for help and God enabled me to love my husband, no matter what. I changed, and he fell back in love with me… I know only God could have changed me and made this happen, and I thank him for it everyday. Now, because of my being changed into a respectful, loving wife who can never do enough to please my husband and look after him, he is changing too, slowly, but he is changing. He now admits to believing in God again, even though he says he is not a Christian and he will not come to Church. He too has become respectful and loving of me, and our marriage is awesome!! I could never have believed as my heart broke those few years ago, that I would feel this. So, I would encourage all of you to keep praying, keep loving, keep forgiving and KEEP BELIEVING. XX

  20. says

    I prayed, for years, that God would do something drastic in my husband…”God, do whatever it takes, smack him in the face and say I am God!”

    He did! My husband has come to accept the Lord after being diagnosed with terminal Kidney Cancer! Praise God! Really! http://www.iamshellykelly.com/2012/03/blessed-by-cancer.html

    (God continues to remind me “becareful what you pray for”…I once asked Him to help me loose weight. I woke up at 3 am with food poisoning. Hugging the bowl I looked to Him and said “I didn’t mean like this!”)

    • Jaci says

      This is very true! Be careful what you pray for, because you just might get it, but not the way you wanted it! I once prayed for patience, and every since the Lord has given me situations that tested and strengthened my patience. That prayer was 12 year ago!!

  21. Karla says

    Wow! Natalie you are NOT alone! I’ve been talking with God about this very thing and here He provided to help me understand what I can do. Thank you for this post!!!

  22. Natalie says

    I am the Natalie of the original post and I am so grateful both that Courtney chose my email to answer and also for all the wonderful comments you ladies have made. I feel so inspired and encouraged to keep praying for my husband and I know that God is working even when it doesn’t feel like it. So thank you Courtnay and all you lovely ladies, you have helped me more than you know.

    Natalie, 35, London ENGLAND

    • says

      hi natalie,

      just to say, i actually live in london and so if you want to know of some resources for encouragement, ideas for where to turn or if you need fellowship, do just drop me a line – you can get in touch via my blog. just to say – the alpha courses (run by Holy Trinity Brompton) are fantastic and can be a great introduction for people exploring the faith – maybe something you could do together? my husband and i lead a homegroup where a couple that was in your situation has seen the husband commit to the Lord in the last year and it’s been a blessing to watch, all because he attended an Alpha course at our church. There’s also a great course run by All Souls, Oxford Circus area, called Christianity Explored which is slightly more intellectually focussed, if that is more your husband’s thing?

      just to say, there’s a ton of resources available right here in London, and I pray that your are steeped deeply in a strong community of believers.

      brie, wimbledon

  23. Jennifer says

    I printed off this article months ago and keep it in my Bible. I bring it out time to time to read and remind myself in the tough days with my husband. It is uplifting to know there are others in the same “boat” as I am. We have to remember to step out of our boat, walk onto the water, and trust that God will keep us afloat until the day our husbands are completely committed to Christ. When we take our eyes off Him, when we become “holier than thou”, THAT is when our marriages take a little swim until we refocus. :)

  24. Anna says

    This was great! Thanks for sharing!! It is comforting to know that I am not the only one going through this because at times it can definitely be trying.

  25. Laura Ritsche says

    This is a very wonderful topic to read on, very encouraging! The Lord truly is in us, we win our husbands over with the chaste conversation coupled with fear. God know what is going on in my life but believing in him and having the faith can move mountains!! Laura

  26. says

    I understand how it can be a challenge. I try to just practice service leadership/lead by example. Since marrying my husband, there have been changes (for the good of both of us!) in our relationship that I could not have imagined. I have faith and trust that his heart will seek the Lord eventually. I am prepared to continue to support, love, and nudge him in that directions peacefully and gently.

  27. Amanda says

    I’m sitting here reading everyone’s stories and I am so thankful for your post Courtney. I can relate to everyone here and have had an aching in my heart for a love like His here on earth. Sometimes I find myself physically longing to run into my Savior’s arms just to be wrapped in His strength and security. I too have been focused on my circumstances. I have felt utterly alone and unloved. But I find encouragement here this morning and I am so thankful that my Daddy used these few minutes of reading your blog to speak directly to my heart. Thank you to Courtney and everyone else that shared their story. Blessings.

  28. sarah Stinnett says

    LOVED IT!!! Thank you!! I have been married for 10 years to an unbeliever and we have 3 children. A few years ago when I was having a pity party about the difficulty about my life the Lord showed me what a special intimate relationship I have with the Lord that is because of my marriage.

  29. Tracy Carr says

    I highly recommend reading the book Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. It is so encouraging and offers different ways to encourage you to give your husband the respect the Bible calls us to give. Because he’s not a believer, you can’t expect the love for you in return, but there were several stories about women who went through the motions, as hard as it is even in an equally-yoked marriage, and were so blessed because of how they treated their husbands. Showing respect towards your husband when it’s the hardest could be the best way that you could witness to him.

  30. Jessica says

    Thank you so much for this encouragement! I have been married 3 years to an unbeliever, who I thought was a believer when we were first married. Somedays I feel like I’m the only one who has to go through this and like giving up. It’s so encouraging to know that it may not happen right now, but if I keep believing and praying, it can and will happen!

  31. Krista says

    I posted this to facebook but I wanted to make sure the people reading here would see these resources as well. I have read and found encouragement in the book “Winning Him Without Words” by Lynn Donovan and Dineen Miller. Their blog is http://www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com/ . I will be leading a small group at my church this fall on this topic.

  32. says

    Thanks so much for this beautiful article that uses scripture to tell women what they need to do if their husband is an unbeliever.
    I just returned from Africa where I taught a group of women a lesson very similar to this one. Many, many of the women there live in an environment where the women are treated as nothing more than a servant. Yet they have a smile on their face and a baby on their back. They are starving to death for the Word of God and they gladly serve.
    Thanks so much for your post.

  33. Sue VanParys says

    Thank you for posting this, it is very hard to be married to an unbeliever, for 23 years now. Sometimes I feel myself getting jealous of couples at church with arms around each other, worshiping together. It is all I want. I have been praying for my husband to come to Christ for ever. I will never ever give up on him, he is not a bad person. He is just one of those people who if I cant see it, or explain it, then I dont believe it. So, I would ask anyone who is reading this post, to pray for my husband, Todd he deserves it. THANK YOU !!!!!!!

    • Shelly says

      I have read and cried and prayed over many comments tonight because I have experienced many of the same heartaches. I became a believer after 7 years of marriage and have cried many tears over the past 22 years pleading with God to save my husband. I realized that many times I wasn’t praying for him but for myself. I just wanted to enjoy life and to have my husband sit beside me at church. I do love my husband dearly but it has been a difficult burden to carry. A few months ago, my husband told me that he was going to start going to church with me and now he does! He still isn’t a Christian but I know, that I know, that I know, God is working in his heart! Please ladies don’t ever give up. God still uses us even when we make mistakes. Don’t forget that God wants your husband saved as much as you do and He is working behind the scenes even when there is absolutely no evidence of it. God is good all the time!

  34. Nancy says

    Deanna’s story could have been mine. I too had a judgmental and holier than thou attitude and tried to change my unbelieving husband myself. After all, I was the one who was the believer. But it was only when I gave up and allowed God to do what only He knows how to do did my husband become a believer. Now after 43 years of marriage he is the pastor of 2 churches and I might add a very good one. What a beautiful work God has done in my husband’s life. Praise God!!

  35. Dawn says

    I just want to encourage Natalie that she is not alone. God knows, sees, and has it in His hands. I heard a wonderful broadcast on Focus On the Family once by 2 women who have unbelieving spouses. This is the site to the book they have written:

    And this is their blog where they talk about ways to live Christ to the unbelieving spouse:

    I would encourage anyone with an unbelieving spouse to check out their blog, they give practical advice and share experiences from their lives. “Do not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”~Galatians 6:9
    Though we do not know what the harvest will be, we can only see one tiny piece of the overall puzzle, we can still take comfort and be encouraged that God sees the completed puzzle and knows the outcome. We do His work, that He would have us to do, and let God take care of the harvest. Keep Praying!

  36. Ashley says

    I too have an unbelieving husband my story is a lot like one I read above I had two children out of wedlock while backsliding and I wanted to be married so badly despite my pastor and his wife warning me that I should wait for him to be saved and I was going into this unevenly yoked marriage knowing what Gods word said about it and disobeying anyway well my disobedience had its consequences and I really do wish I would have trusted God to save my husband and lived apart until he was saved but I thought I knew better!!!! Well I’ve gotten serious with my walk and baptized and have a great pray support at church I received Gods forgiveness and work very hard at being a good example of Jesus to my children and husband but like I said I sure wish I did things Gods way!!! I often feel like the Israelites wondering through the wilderness for 40 years because of my disobedience I would never suggest marrying an unbeliever if you are truly saved!! The verse Ilove is Isaiah 42:16

  37. says

    What a timely read — and so much of what Deanna writes doesn’t just apply to the unbelieving husband, but the unbelieving parent, friend, etc. I’m blessed with a believing husband who’s also a tremendous spiritual leader; but as I read, I thought of others in my life who are not believers — and I was so convicted reading Philippians 2:3-4 this morning — totally changed the scope of my day. Great share this morning! :)

  38. says

    This really blessed and spoke to me in a time of need. Thanks so much. I, too, will be copying this post to read and encourage me often.
    We women tend to take control all too easily. I need to back off,trust, and let God do what it is that He is best at! Being God!

  39. Lynne Gann says

    Wow, what a host of responses. Amazing how this topic has touched so many ladies lives! I also have been married to a non-believer for 22 years. I re-dedicated my life after 10 years of marriage. I have only one thing to add to all the above comments. We should treat our non-believing husbands just the same as if they were believers. Our role as a wife is very clear no matter the circumstances of the husband. It won’t be so much what you do as what you don’t do. Don’t push, nag, harrass, roll your eyes, huff & puff & act superior or make others more important than your husband. Love him as Christ loves us, respect him & be humble before your man. Let him see Jesus as a real person in your life, impacting you in everything you do & don’t hesitate to ask forgiveness from your husband for any failures. If you’re like me there will be plenty. :)
    Make your man the most important person in your world below Christ. This will influence him more than anything. Let Jesus handle the responsibility of speaking in your husband’s soul. I love my husband more today than when we first married & that is all due to Christ always loving me when I don’t deserve it. He has been my role model for loving my husband. God bless all the ladies in this sacred walk.

  40. Sofie Findley says

    Thank you for posting this and the excerpts from the book. I was that wife, trying to be her husband’s path tho salvation. He did accept Jesus when we were dating but never fully developed his personal reltaionship. Now 6 years later he has moved out and we are separated. He nor I have mentioned divorce not has there been any extra marrital relations. I am confused. Do I still be a godly wife? Wear my ring even if he took his off? I’m in a limbo and the only thing I’ve heard God say was ” be patient, do nothing.” That’s hard! Your blog gives such encouraging godly advice and I’m so happy I found it 2 years ago.

  41. says

    Thank you so much for sharing Deanna’s words. They are encouraging and
    practical for me, the wife of an unbeliever. I’ve already been learning how
    to change some of my incorrect focus on this topic, and it’s good to know
    of other ways I can improve. :)

    I think I would tell Natalie “You’re not alone” and encourage her to pray
    that God would woo her husband. I like to pray that way because it reminds
    me that this is between God and my husband. God may use me to show His love
    and to share a few words that will shed light on the Christian life, but
    it’s not my job to stress over my husband’s salvation and *make* him come
    to God. Let God work on his heart and soften it.

    Thanks again and God bless!

  42. says

    I have a somewhat unusual story in that I *thought* I was a believer married to an unbeliever of a husband. We were both young, 20 yrs. old. One year after we married, he went to church with me, walked an aisle and became a believer.. but was never discipled until 12 yrs. later.

    However, for two *believers* we sure didn’t live like it! I was still very ‘pious’ and judgmental towards him due to what I thought was our differences being raised in different denominations.. He was a milk fed Newbie Christian dog-paddling the Christian walk. Not a great environment for a loving Christain marriage. On the outside we “looked” the part. On the inside, we were regular Church goers going thru the motions of being Christians.

    Fast Forward, to age 42 and all of a sudden during a revival I became so convicted of my lost condition that I was willing, FINALLY, to give up all my worries about “What would people think if I admit I’m not a Christain and profess in front of my entire community?” I was the wife of a deacon, sunday school teacher, etc… I had told myself, that I would hurt the casue of Christ if I made a public profession. I even tried to negotiate with God to allow me to make my profession private between He and I so it wouldn’t “hurt” my witness!! Ha!!

    God had His own plans…after years of battling doubts and conviction of being lost, I declared my need for Christ in front of a community sponsored revival and guess WHO sat down with his Bible and witnessed to me at our dining room table??? MY Husband who had grown in his walk with the Lord. right under my nose. I had been too busy judging him to notice the changes in him. How’s THAT for a twist of Fate?! I can honestly say that our marriage has been better than ever, our lives show what we believe, and I gave up my seat on the Board of Judgmental Pharisees!!

    We are now 59 years old, retired, and at peace with our faith. Oh My God was certainly patient. I am thankful for His Grace and Mercy every day! At last, my husband and I are BOTH ready to face eternity TOGETHER!

  43. says

    Thanks for sharing this. I have written a lot about striving to be a Proverbs 31 wife on my blog, so I had to share this with my readers today that struggle trying to walk this path alongside unbelieving husbands.

  44. Erin says

    This is so what i needed and what a lot of other women needed to hear today. I am married to a man” who claims to be a believer but doesnt want to live a godly lifestyle and gets mean and angry a lot. I tend to get the same way and i know im not supposed to. I will pray more and devote myself more to the word and prayer. This post was such a blessing and i pray for God to pour out his spirit and bring salvation to all of our husbands. I pray they will lead us and ouR children, and God help us to model a godly marriage to our children regardless of our husbands being saved or not. They see how we deal with problems and children can learn a lot by watching our faith and obedience as wives, holding our tongue when need be and show kindness and gentleness and love.

    • Bethany says

      I’m in almost the exact same situation as you Erin. God has shown me thru this post that it’s My heart that I should focus on changing; b/c only God can change my husband’s heart. I am too often nagging, holier-than-thou & very critical & judgemental of my husband. Shamefully I’m honestly not modeling Christ-like behavior at all. But Christ has shown me this & is giving me a desire to change. He is speaking to my heart the truth that we must focus on Jesus & on things above. We must live with eternity in mind. I’m soooo grateful to Courtney for allowing herself to be used by God thru her blog. And so grateful there are other imperfect Christian women admitting their struggles. Often I feel I’m alone in my struggles. But this blog shows me otherwise. All the glory belongs to God! :)

  45. Renee' says

    Thank you for posting this! I have been struggling with this for years and had gottten to the point of just believing my husband would never accept Christ. My prayers for my husband went from speaking things as though they are to Lord keep him safe to sometimes even forgetting to pray for him. I did the Proverbs 31 with a wonderful group of ladies but after a while I didn’t really the sense in doing it. I didn’t want to be a Proverbs 31 wife because I felt my husband was worthy of having such a wife. I tried reading The Power of the praying wife but after a while I just gave up. I’ve gone through the envy of married couples at church, praying with my husband and doing bible study. After reading this today sirens just went off in my head like crazy. How am I gonna draw my husband to Christ if I am not showing him the Christ in me. I show it to everyone else but my husband. Then when I read that God had answered her prayers after 27 years, I started to cry and asked God to forgive me of my selfishness and to please save my husband no matter how long it takes.

  46. Ev says

    I just loved this post. I too am married to a man who has not yet come to Jesus!! I pray expectantly but find that sometimes I get in God’s way. I think Peter was wise when he told us to shut up. I think I oftne have done more harm than good. I think as Christians we have to realize that non-Christians are watching us very carefully to see if our walk matches our talk. My husband is quick to point it out, especially when we disagree. You are the hands and feet of Jesus that your husband sees. I find my husband watches all Christians, not just me. And yes, never stop praying and never stop believing. I think we have to pray expecting that they will come to know the Lord. And we are to be busy doing all those other Godly things while we wait. At those times when you have trouble praying, or trouble following the word, then by all means ask others to pray for you and for your husband. Satan is on the prowl and he knows where all the buttons are hiding. Let’s try our best not to give him opportunity. I believe we have to see our husbands as Jesus sees them and try to love them as Jesus would love them. God first, then our husbands, and then everything else. Know that I am writing this and fail miserably lots of times. Then I take it all to the foot of the cross where I should have carried it in the first place. I don’t know, but I think it was Ruth Bell Graham that said praise your husband and bring the complaints to God. (my paraphrase)! Wise woman. And lets all remember to hold each other up in prayer. It seems that quite a lot of women marry husbands who do not believe. Maybe we believe we are rescuing them. I know I have that problem. I am a fixer. So let us hold each other up before the throne and ask God to bless us as a community of women who pray for their spouses to come to know the Lord. God bless you all, Ev

  47. says

    I feel I was where Deanna described herself a few years ago. My husband and I were on the edge of divorce and went to marriage counseling. I was lucky that he allowed us to have a Christian counselor because it really helped me open up and trust what he was saying but he also pushed me to be the wife that God has called me to be. Then I also found a group of really great women that are all believers and have been for a long time. They are still an encouragement to me during my hard days. We did a book study together through “Created to be his Help Meet” by Debi Pearl and it really helped me to see how to be a better wife in our house. There are parts of the book that I struggle with but I love most of it and it really helped me. I’m lucky that my husband was brought up in a Christian home and therefore has similar beliefs in the way our household should be ran. He wants me to be a homemaker and to homeschool our boys. He doesn’t mind me taking them to church and teaching them about God and His love. I completely trust that God is going to bring him around one day. I feel like God promised me that and I trust He will come through. We have gone through some really tough times as a family for the past year (I have shared some of it on my blog) and the only way that I have gotten through it is trusting that God is using every struggle to break down walls that my husband has built and to help him to come back to Him. I’m grateful for God’s love for my husband because I know how much I want to my husband to know Christ and God’s desire is so much greater than mine! God will never give up fighting for my husband and I feel that I have to do the same! But as a wife my fighting is very quiet most of the time. I’m the one that is showing him I love him through my actions. If he can see how much I love him, especially when he isn’t always the best husband, then hopefully he will see Christ love through me and know that even when he isn’t being the best child of God that Christ still loves him. Keep praying! It will truly get you through every struggle!

  48. Robin says

    Thank u Shelly for ur kind word and prayers !! He is just doing to me what was done to him growing up I know still not an excuse I pray he gets help and let’s god work in him deep down he is gd person and wants to live right im glad we all have a place to come and encourage and pray for each other

  49. Lois says

    wow…reading this blog was like a mirror into my own life!!! I have been married to an unbeliever for nearly 30 years now and its exactly the same, clear to the detail of the teenaged son that said
    Dad doesnt have to go so why should I? I WASTED years , being resentful. its only been fairly recently that I finally learned to love him anyway and instead of pining for a soulmate, to make him my soulmate!!! I have a suggestion. When you pray for your unbeliever mate, picture him going to church with you, picture him praying with you, imagine it in your mind, even picturing the clothing he is wearing walking into the church with you. Pray with BELIEF that God WILL answer your prayer as you have asked. and remember, our timing is not Gods timing. and His timing is perfect. so just keep on being a sweet and loving wife , showing him what a christian is, and praying, and asking, you WILL recieve!!

  50. Stephanie W says

    Ok here’s my question…how do you handle your finances when married to an unbeliever? I believe in tithing, he doesn’t…struggling big time with how to honor my husband while also honoring God on the area of my finances. DH likes to spend, spend, spend and I wanna get out of debt…I can’t seem to get my views over to him without becoming unglued. Any suggestions??

    • Andrea says

      Stephanie, have you gotten any answers from theLord on the tithing issue? I’m going through the same thing. Thanks!!

  51. Skye says

    Hey lovely ladies
    I am in tears as I read this – its just shown me how selfish I ve been yet I still feel like I m not 100% sure what to do – I entered an unhealthy relationship 10 years ago even though i felt a voice saying No don’t do it ….. which with hindsight was God ….. it was hurtful and destructive to both of us …… we had a son nearly 8 years ago and moved country to try and help the situation and because our country was in chaos …. I started my slow walk with the Lord 6 years ago and We became engaged last year which I thought was the “right thing” to do … this year our relationship has pretty much fallen apart and i think it may be both of us questioning having to spend the rest of our lives together ….. I feel confused and don’t know Gods direction in this situation whether we should proceed and get married and try and make it work or let go ….. please I ask you to not judge but I would really appreciate some heartfelt wisdom and truth into this situation which I know I have caused ……. Thanks so much

  52. Deepali says

    Fighting all the time. Angry all the time. Threatening and plotting all the time to leave the marriage of 14 years now. Stuck in a rut of hatred and game playing. Days on end never talking, finding ways to be sarcastic and caustic. I’ve been there and done it all. From throwing furniture at each other, to opting out and taking the kids to my dad’s place. Everything has been done. I never wanted to move a finger in service for the ingratitude and insensitive rebuttal of rejection and sarcasm my husband would hurl at me. He felt my anger in every bit of duty i performed in the home. I hated being around him. He moved away on work and said he would stay out of my life and the kids’ to give us space. 2 years and I asked him to come back and stay with us . I had reached my end of the line realising it took two of us to be good parents and my kids needed a father.

    On returning , he became more and more threatened by my lifestyle with the kids as we seemed to have become set in our ways and he often got left out of our activities. It took one crazy fight for me to decide to open up to my 10 year old and tell him how i felt. The loneliness, the pain and the anxiety i was going through. I actually shared with my son that i was gonna tell his dad to move out bcos I couldn’t live in loneliness anymore. You will not believe what i heard in return . Through his tears he told me I was missing the big picture and focusing on the little things that I was focusing on. He said I should zoom out and see the big painting before me and not the small mess up in the side!! I had started painting at the time, and could relate immediately to this. He said we should involve his dad in all that we did so he wouldn’t feel left out. It was so comforting to be able to share all this with my son. He seemed so calm and rational that all my fears and guilt at being angry melted away immediately. I was being heard and counseled to by my own son!!

    I couldn’t praise and thank God more than i did that day. I was proud and feeling supported. Since that day something inside of me clicked in place and though the hurt is there I am in control. 3 weeks ago my husband was diagnosed with 3 blocks in his heart and had to undergo heart surgery. My anger came back because i knew he hadn’t been looking after his health and had told him he was heading for a disaster for which he laughed and said he would last longer than me.

    Now i was faced with staying by his bed as he writhed in pain in the hospital. Being poked and prodded, and without sleep, his intense bullying and demands for nursing attention continued. I sat by his bed, feeling angry and forced into submitting my young and life full of promise down beside that bed. I cannot tell you how angry i got . I would take long walks outside the hospital while he was sedated to work out the anger and get my balance back. i had no compassion or tears left. Just anger.

    But once we got home, and family and friends began visiting, they all had such kind words for me. The elders who came by said things to him that i wished i had said in my anger at the hospital. Some scolded him, some cajoled, and some advised. But all said the same thing….stop living for yourself and submit to the needs of the family. There were his friends too whom I would hate, but now would come around regularly and talk to him about his behavior and habits and ask him to take care so he would be a good example to our children. I see a change in him. I’m not sure if its because he is dependent on me now. I am hoping its not, but truly, it is only now that i can see the fruit of all that tight lipped service and dedicated bedside service that i did.

    God has his plan and ways to bend us into submission if we don’t do it on our own. So…..I do it all cheerfully now because I know there seems to be a plan and an opportunity for us to shine in all circumstances that seem bad. There is someone witnessing all that we do, and it is creating an impact that we may not see immediately.

    Thank you for this post, and for the wonderful stories from everywhere….truly this should be made a book for reading. Please consider it….

  53. Jessica says

    Thank you for this. I have been beating my brains out trying to understand some things. I have been saved for almost 3 yrs now, and I believe with all my heart that God sent me my husband. However, the Bible says that He will not give us a husband unless they themself are under Christ. My husband has never been baptized. He believes in God, but he has little ways of showing it. He refuses to go to church, too. It makes me sad, because I want us to be able to attend church and walk together with the Lord. Im an imatient woman, but I do know that prayer is powerful :) I have faith!

  54. sylvia says

    This doesnt just apply to those married to unbelievers. My husband is a christian. Our story is too long to relate here but we became complacent and he fell away from the Lord. I found myself in a situation similar to that of having an unsaved spouse. The same advise applies. The Lord used my situation to draw me to Himself. To take me out of my complacency and show me that HE is my protector. That HE is my strength. That HE is faithful. I was only to be still. I was blessed to have good counsel, praying friends and the right people placed in our lives at the right time. I am so thankful to be able to say that God moved mountains for me and drew my husband back to HIS mercy.

  55. leslie a. says

    This has been so inspiring. My husband has always been a believer as I have, too. But has been in the last few years that my faith and relationship with God is what it never was before. I too so badly wanted my husband to be the leader of our home being an example to our children, showing them what a godly man looks like. I felt my faith was so much greater. I prayed and prayed to God. Our walk with Lord has changed so much. Daily I see the changes in my husband. We now pray together and read Gods word as a family. My husband goes to Church with me every Sunday he can and on January 26. My husband and I along with our three children were baptized. I still pray for God to continue to strengthen our walk with him and that my husband continue to strengthen in leading us. That I be the best wife and mother I can be. God does answer prayers. I love the moments I see God working in our lives. He is great. Just look at his promises.

  56. Jenny says

    Like so many others here I thank you for this post. While my husband says he is a believer in God and I am blessed when he decides to come to church with me, I realized after only 2 years of marriage that he is only doing it to please me and not because he wants to please God or have a strong relationship with Jesus. Even though he does believe in God and he does pray with me out loud every night (his idea). Again it fills my heart with joy to do that with him. However, he is unsure about how his belief affects his daily life choices and I often find myself disappointed and feeling all of the things for him listed above. I have to remind myself often that I too was in his shoes (just not married at the time) when I couldn’t decide if I was ready to live a life completely for God and have a genuine relationship with Jesus. I often even wish he would just make up his mind all ready because I feel like I am on an emotional roller coaster ride. However, for me to expect him to just make a decision because I feel like he should is really judgmental and is me seeing him as not good enough for me, which has to be an awful feeling for him. I have apologized to him and ask for forgiveness from God and Him for treating him that way and I now pray that God will just take it from me ( I just needed to give my husband to God, because He belongs to God first not to me first). It takes a lot of me to do this and it often tears at my heart, but I have realized that it isn’t God’s conviction tearing at my heart (He wouldn’t do that to me) it is actually the enemy trying to tear me down so that I will work against my husband and not for him. I am learning every day and feel so blessed to have this blog to come to for encouragement! Thank you.

  57. Cheryl says

    This is such a Blessing for me!!! Thank you Lord for letting me come upon this article, I gave up the attitude a while back “that I could change my husband” and started focusing on my Christian walk with the Lord. I have faith that the Lord will do his work in both of our lives.
    God Bless you Courtney and Deanna! Thank you for sharing!

  58. Linda Nickell says

    Thank you so much for posting this. After 42 years of marriage, my husband is not a believer. It makes me so sad that we can’t share the joy that God provides. I don’t know why he is unbelieving. He just told me that he didn’tike what our pastor said. But he can’t tell me what it was. I want to be an example for him, but I’m weak. Maybe my faith is weak! I feel so much responsibility for Everything! I pray that I can find some peace.

  59. says

    Thank you so much for posting this. This is very timely!
    I have a friend who’s going to get married this coming Saturday and the guy she will marry is not a believer. My friend really wanted to raise her family in a Christian household but she is having doubts and that her husband-to-be might be mad about this idea. We continue to pray for her husband to be that he’ll become a believer.. And I will forward this post to her right now!

  60. angee says

    This was so right for me to read today.I was so very miserable last night because I was tired and couldn’t’ pray about it with my husband. It is really difficult to temper my resentment sometimes. I have a great man who is a wonderful provider,but the burden of having to spiritually lead my family does take its toll! I often feel like we could offer the Lord so much more as a family if my husband was filled with the kind of joy that I am.. Reading this was a reminder of what I need to meditate on and pray about. Thanks!

  61. Vivica says

    I came to tears during reading your article and it alleviated so much that I personally felt responsible for in my husbands life. I felt remorse over treating him so harshly in the past. What an awful representation of a Christian at times I was. My husband accepted Christ a few years into our relationship but didn’t have the same desire to serve the Lord as I have. He doesn’t feel the need to pray, read the bible, teach our children about God but will go to Church on Sunday. I held it against him for so long and your testimony convicted my heart immediately of my wrongs. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us! I will continue to pray him.

  62. Rebecca says

    Thank you for that article. I was raised baptist for 15 years rebelled well into my late twenties. Married my long time very loyal and loving boyfriend but then slumped into a terrible depression (shift in perspective). Began to find my way out of it and found that God was still there for me and restarted a relationship with him. But my husband is jaded towards the church ( catholic) for some very good reasons, I will agree. His Dad is too. And talk of God or Jesus is provocative, to say the least. I didn’t realize how my faith would become so incredibly important after kids and so… here I am. My husband and I fight about beliefs… but I have come to understand that he believes it could be possible that there is a God… but his discussing or contemplating God’s importance in his life is moot. He doesn’t make the connection and has once or twice compared the belief in God to believing in Santa. Gratefully, he doesn’t talk poorly about me going to church or taking our two boys with me and I have thanked him for that. I talk about God with them when he’s not around and I pray with them too. I am really comforted by the idea that I am right where God wants me. I do pray for my husband already. But thank you… I loved the article and gotta say that it is really comforting knowing that I am not the only one. And there is even advice about it in the Bible! This is apparently an old issue!

  63. Lai says

    Great article. I’m a believer, who is newly engaged to man who has decided after four visits to church (I’m raised Methodist), that belonging to church is not right for him. Even during the time we dated (two+ years), I told him that it was important that my future husband be willing to at least attend church with me, as I would like to raise a family among a Christian community. I’m feeling a bit blind-sided and confused.

    So, my question to wives of non-believers is:

    If you had come to know Christ BEFORE getting married to your non-believing husband, would you still have married him?

    • Sally B says

      Absolutely not. Marriage is hard enough, but add a non believer to the mix!!! Read all the posts above, how lonley it is and how difficult it is to keep your children on track. If I had to do it over again, I would have him read all these blogs about the subject and then tell him when he has served the Lord for 5 years you might consider marring him then. I know that’s harsh, but my husband went to church for me and so I married him. As soon as we were married, he stopped and has not returned and doesn’t serve God. Everything talked about above is true for my life. Don’t do it.

    • Rachel says

      I love my husband dearly, but the truth is, it is very difficult to be married to someone who doesn’t share the same beliefs as you. I have suffered a lot of heartache for 16 years, trying to compromise my beliefs when I knew it was wrong just to make peace or get along with my husband better. If I had to do it all over again, I would not have married him. I do have two beautiful children and have a good life, but it it hasn’t been easy. I often envy other friends who share the same beliefs. If you do or did marry him, be encouraged by this article. I certainly have and will continue to have faith that my husband will be saved one day. I also find encouragement in how God wants to change me first.

    • Denise says

      Run, do not walk away from your unbelieving fiancé. I would have NEVER married my husband if I was a believer prior to our marriage. It is not biblical and will only bring years of heartache and pain. Not to mention the fact that when you have children, you will be bringing them to church alone.

  64. Barbara Jenkins s says

    Dear Courtney,Thank you for sharing with us.I have been married 43 years.My husband has been in and out of church ,mostly out.That is what makes it so bad.He believes and Judges me all the time.I pray I can be the wife God wants me to be..I am a leader of a small group of women,who’s husband do not go to church with them.Some women or divorced or widows.My husband needs to sell out to God.I just try to keep praying and be all I can be in Christ.

  65. Jillian says

    My problem always was that I was told to put God in front of everything else. (The story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac comes to mind). And I used this as an excuse to put my church activities and church friends ahead of the love of my life. Seeing the distinction thanks to this post, I hope that I can learn to somehow keep God my first priority while still not sacrificing my relationship for church activities.

  66. Rachelle says

    Thank you so much for your encouraging testimony. I’ve been married to my husband for almost 16 years now. We met in church but along the road, after our first born, he decided church was no longer for him. I’ve learned to accept my husband’s choice as his own and remember that his walk is his walk. However, my biggest battle now is with my teenage son. All 3 of our children have been raised in church, solely by me. And recently my oldest has given me the most resistance when coming to church. At times I feel hopeless and tired of fighting but I know that I can’t just give up pushing him in the right direction. But should I be forcing him to go with me? I just don’t know if I’m doing the right thing by telling him he has no choice or am I only setting him up for a future of resentment toward myself and God? I’m so torn.

    • Marie says

      I feel for you Rachelle as a wife and mother. My husband wasn’t interested in going to church when we were first married and I was blessed with a Christian friend & mentor that shared with me 1 Peter 3:1-4 and told me she would pray with me about my husband coming to church and for me to pray and NOT pressure him. (Keep in mind I was raised in Catholism so I did not have scripture memorized so it taught me something.) Through prayer and me NOT pressuring my husband he decided to start going to church with me. I kept taking my children to church with me and I am thankful that my husband never tried to keep us from going to church. He has his ups & downs like all of us but PRAISE THE LORD he is an associate Pastor at our church. My almost 20yr old son likes going to church but I am am thankful that him playing the guitar helps him stay involved and wanting to keep going. My 11 yr olddaughter goes with us and likes helping in church. I am praying that my children will grow closer to the Lord. Because I am a controlling mom and I need to learn when to back off and give it all to the Lord.
      I personally feel that if your son is 18 or older than don’t pressure him and pray without ceasing and have others pray for him. If he is younger than explain to him that you would like for him to go until he turns 18 and you will let him decide.
      It really is a fine line and I agree with you not wanting to pressure him.
      We have to let go and let God when they reach adult hood. We have to trust in the Lord to take care of it because He is true to His promises. :)

  67. Brenda says

    Thank you! I stumbled across this by Googling believing wife, unbelieving husband. I know this is two years later, but better late than never. The question I have is will God still answer prayer or give something to the unbeliever, if the believer asks? My husband was laid off after 8 years of employment, due to budget cuts. I was a “backslider” until recently when I realized I really do need God and can’t do ANYTHING without him. I have been praying for my husband to find another job, but nothing is happening. He is only getting unemployment for a few more weeks and then I don’t know what we are going to do. I am on disability because of several autoimmune diseases. I know God can do anything, but will he answer my prayers even though they are for my unbelieving husband? I usually am pretty much at peace, but it gets hard when my husband keeps worrying about what is going to happen. You can’t help but take on his worry. So I continue to pray for peace in my spirit and not worry and continue to pray for a miracle. I think I know the answer I just feel alone right now and need encouragement that I am doing the right thing and God will take care of us, even with an unbelieving husband. Thank you again for sharing this testimony. I feel not so alone!!

  68. Karen T says

    We have a large number of women in our church whose husbands are not believers. We Would
    like to start a small group to help these women. Are you aware of any good training materials on this topic?

    As so many have expressed in the replys I have read and in my own personal experience – God changes us first. It is a continuous struggle but with continual prayer and faith things get better – for me it’s been baby steps but God is showing me some progress. I love him and have been with him for 28 years and I believe our Lord Jesus Christ will get him there. Thank you for the opportunity to reply. God Bless You!

  69. Lydia says

    I was hurt and broken hearted when my husband of 5 years recently told me that I was putting my son and God before him. My son and I, along with my daughter-in-law hold a bible study every other Saturday at my son’s home. Currently, we are apart which makes matters worse–my husband lives in Colorado he is retired and working on our retirement property there. I still live in Calif. soon to be retired in about two years. When we married, we initially agreed to this arrangement in order to plan for our immediate future together. We spend a lot of time apart and visit each other as often as possible. But I feel spiritually distant from him because every time I speak about God’s love and how we need to grow closer in Christ he resists and totally becomes defensive about his existence. Out of anger frustration and pain, I found this website. I feel that somehow by reading your beautiful and inspiring words that I am not alone. I pray everyday that through God’s will, he will touch my husband’s heart. I was contemplating legal separation but somehow my heart is resisting to go through with this. I will never give up my faith and I know that my prayers will not go unanswered.

    • Hillary says

      Hi Miriam,
      I am also married to a nonbeliever. It is tough but the Lord is providing. Please follow God’s command in 2 Corinthians 6:14: ‘Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?’
      God commands this not because he doesn’t want us to love and enjoy someone but he wants us to love the person HE chooses for us. This is also going to be someone who is a believer if we are believers.

      Trust me, being married to and dating believers, will save you a lot of heartache in the end.

      Hope this helps

  70. sandra says

    I work with youth through my church and I can tell you Miriam that Hillary is right – there are so many wonderful individuals out there and if you are a true believer – DO NOT BE UNEVENLY YOKED – Marriage is difficult enough without having a core value of moral standards to live by when crisis hits – and they will! I counsel the youth in this – God is all knowing and He is wisdom – following His wisdom is not just a good idea it is life!. I have been married for 26 years and am an on fire – Holy Ghost baptised tongue-talking believer who walks in power and authority and wow is it frustrating living with an unbeliever!! Yes God is good – and Yes God does answer prayers (in His timing – when we get out of the way) and Yes He loves the man you are currently interested in and would love to bring him to salvation – but hold off and let him know your values and priorities BEFORE committing to this man – God will honour you as you honour God. He will counsel you and enable you to make the right decision as you lean into Holy Spirit.
    My husband is a wonderful man – we have raised two wonderful successful children but it has not been and is not without tremendous difficulties – It can seem like a tug of war between God and man when we fail to surrender fully to God and His ways. When you are unevenly yoked you do not stand together on stable ground and that puts you at a disadvantage. He is merciful and gracious and can give you immeasurable favour with man, but in the end – it is mans decision to rebel or to surrender and God doesn’t make anyone conform to Him that doesnt want to. He is all loving and honours our choices – then we must submit to God and allow Him to do the work in both of us. As we surrender to Him because of the Holy Spirit that resides in us our spouse and even our children are sanctified:) God is good – pray before making any life altering decisions and allow God to do what He does best – advise you with Wisdom:)

  71. Stef says

    This could have easily been me writing this post. Her description of her attitude towards her husband was mine for almost 8 years. The holier than thou, condescending, how can I take anything he says seriously since he’s not a believer, kind of thinking was poisonous to our marriage too long. The negative thoughts and constant disappointment was a consistent real I played over and over in my head.

    The thing is my husband is a believer it’s just often the fruit doesn’t match up and I guess only God knows for sure if he’s saved.

    But we were at a breaking point and the closest we’ve ever been to calling it quits. We recently attended counseling and being made to the harm and heartache I was causing my husband by my negative attitude was eye opening. God began working on my heart and opening my eyes to truth and how easily I can deceive myself.

    Now the constant reel of negativity is silent. When I do have those feelings of fear, disappointment, anger come up I make them captive to Christ and ask for his help. I can’t say my husband is a transformed man but I know I’m transformed and it’s allowed me to really cherish and appreciate my husband which has been softening his heart. It’s amazing what the Hoky Spirit can do when you surrender

  72. Dawn says

    I want to thank Deanna for her testimony she made me look at myself I’ve only been married a few months and my husband goes to church with me but sometimes his actions are less than we Godly I also have faults and what I realize is I don’t give my husband the respect the bible say he deserves. And I must apologize to God for that. We are new Christians and want to grow in our Holy Spirit, so again I thank you as I continue this journey and learn how to be a kingdom women and wife. God Bless you all.

  73. Diana says

    This is exactly what I needed .. I have been with my husband 15 years and he was catholic but never went to church and I have battled him for so long that I am tired . I live him and we have almost 7 children and I struggle wanting to force him to live te lord as I do . I have been embarrassed that our family does church with out daddy and that we never get invited for family things beause of that and when we do he argues and feels odd going . He has even told me to stop reading my bible before because of arguments . This post has shown me to just be quiet and let God do the work and to just live my husband for te loving man he is . And not worry about the christian things or what the other people think .. Thank you so much .. I know God will change him .. And I know God will change me to be a better wife to him !! Blessings

  74. TL says

    Wow! Thank you for this article. I am 26 years old and my husband and I have been together since we were 15. He has never been a believer and my walk with God has had many ups and downs because of my struggle with faith and feelings of loneliness. As I get older, my faith has been gradually getting stronger and I love God so much! He is my rock! My husband doesn’t understand my relationship with God and although he does not outright criticize me, I know he thinks he would rather that I was an unbeliever. Other then being unequally yoked, my husband and I are and have always been so in love, we enjoy each other’s company and are best friends. Everyday I pray for God to strengthen my marriage, to make me gentle and submissive and most of all for my husband to be saved. I have to admit to many Sunday’s, the painful loniless and longing when I look at the happy Christian couples in church. Imagining their times of prayer and living their life together seeking God’s will. I know this discontentment is a sin, and I pray for forgiveness. This article has helped my feel less lonely. God bless you and everyone in this situation.

  75. Lacey says

    I needed all of these comments and this article. My husband was a believer when we got married and so was I but was not raised in the church and was not really taken to church but a few times. We have been married 8 years and he is not sure if he wants to stay married to me because he says I accuse him and don’t believe a thing he says because of the lies and hiding of porn and other hurtful things since we have been married, he says looking at porn is not like cheating because he is married to me and I still turn him on. He recently since November when he said he didn’t know if he wanted to stay married said God allowed all this to happen in our life or whatever is going on in his life as he struggles with ptsd. He has always been secretive and needed his personal time to do the things listed above and so bad do I hurt and want a man who will love only me in every aspect and not hide things from me as I struggle with trust my whole life. So how do you be that wife described in the bible when your husband believing or not is bringing you so far down and you don’t have enough self love to love another? How do I not ask who he is talking to or what he is looking at one the computer? How do I keep quiet and be that godly wife when my husband is disrespecting me in every way?

  76. says

    Thank you SO MUCH for this. I was just praying about this today. This is so practical and applicable. Praise the LORD for His goodness in sending this my way and answering my prayer. :)

  77. Ruth Phillips-Vargas says

    I have prayed for my husband for 3 years to come to know the Lord. He served in the military for 11 years and says he went through a very rough time and is grateful he made it through. However, now he battles with PTSD and wont seek help. I remember him mentioning while he was serving in Desert Storm he went to church with his other soldiers and when he got out he stopped going. I told him that was great to worship him ☺ Now we are married and he says I really dont want to go to church and he tells me keep “your GOD” to yourself. I dont need any of that spiritual stuff. Help me pray with guidance and patience that GOD will lead him back to him and accept him in his heart. It’s kinda strange he saaw GOD as really important while serving in the military but now he wants to keep him at arms length. God Bless.

  78. Heather says

    Yes, to all of this! I have been married for 12 years, and despite our unequal yoke, we are making it well! I had to give up my husband’s changing to God. It is not me that will change him, but God in me! Or, maybe it will be God in someone else, or one of our children. Respect, love, and letting him be the head of our home have been key. I believe that my salvation covers our home, and that even in his unbelief, God can help him make the right decisions for our family! Great article!

  79. Phoebe says

    My husband says he is a believer, but his life shows contrary. He was divorcing me and we recently reconciled . I don’t know his heart and I am not his judge but have been trying too change/save/control things for years. There has been abuse but since reconciling God has shown me that we both can be different and is showing me that I need to change as well, and how. My pastor has said my kids and I cannot come to church without my husband, because there has been division in the church because of things both my husband and I have said. My husband doesn’t want to come back to that church (conviction) and is now looking for another church for our family. This is all very difficult but I have to trust the work God is doing in our relationship and our lives. I didn’t mean to cause any division and I am sorry for any I have caused. Lord help me and my husband!

  80. Ashley says

    I’m so glad I found this! My boyfriend was raised Catholic and had bad experiences that cause him to be unsure in his faith. We have talked about him being open to attending church in the future. He recently asked my parent’s blessing to propose. I knew that his stance right now would be an issue with my parents, but it has been harder than I expected. My parents printed out an article quoting 2 Corinthians 6:14 and said they would pray I’d have the strength to do the right thing (break up with him). I have been very disheartened over how they are acting. I want to be a light that would lead him to Christ, not give up on him where he would have another negative experience concerning faith.
    They gave him a study bible and he found a list of verses that are helpful in different situation or speak to particular emotions. So, I see the effort and the fact that he is trying to learn more. Does anyone have advice on how to deal with my parents in a tactful way?

  81. Suzanne says

    Thank you writers and readers for these postings. I am in a marriage of 25 years and have recently come back to Jesus and my faith. Through pain and suffering, he found me!!!! The joy and comfort have been astounding. My husband is a non believer and I can’t tell you how much the previous letters have allowed me to be more myself and more free and trusting of this process. I have been seeing things in our lives in new ways. I am not sure about the “trying to be a godly wife”. That will take much ground support and healing on my part, and the zipping of my mouth. My husband is a man that wants to be in the marriage with me but has an avoider personality. It can feel so lonely for me with him. Especially now with my newfound faith and joy welling up inside of me. Help!

  82. Lydia says

    I am sitting here sobbing after reading this. I have been married for almost 8months and I sit terrified everyday trying to figure out how I got here. How did I, a life long Christian and lover of the Lord, get here?? I do not sit alone in church, he goes every week, we pray together and he listens, but what about everything else? What about spiritual guidance? What about a husband who prays over me? What about a husband who reminds me what scripture says? What about a relationship with Christ? What about future children?
    I’m going to read the book suggested and I need to learn to be a more humble and submissive wife.
    I wonder if that’s why I chose this, I wanted control. Not to give control to God or a husband.
    I will not run away.

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