Married to the Unbeliever

“You and your Jesus!” Is your husband jealous of your God and hostile toward your faith? What do you say, and do, if he forbids you to go to church on Sunday? Perhaps he is otherwise a nice guy and is treating you well? Do you keep the thought in the back of your mind that there is something that’s between you and your husband?

I don’t know your background and how you ended up being married to a Non-Christian. Perhaps both of you were unbelievers before, but you became a Christian some time into your marriage. Or, your husband told you that he is a believer in Christ before you got married, but he renounced his faith later on. As a Christian you might have even chosen to get married to an unbeliever thinking you could eventually win him for Christ.

Depending on the individual situation and timeframe, struggles are more or less intense already. Some of them look really hopeless…

No matter what the case, now you are in a situation that isn’t always easy.  In fact, you are desperately looking for help on how to go on in this marriage. The last thing you want to hear right now is: Keep going. Endure. What you need is practical advice! But where do you find that? From whom are you seeking and taking counsel at the moment?

Just submit!?

He will not come along, so you are attending the sessions on your own. The Christian counselor you are seeing emphasizes that you must submit — no ifs and buts. You wonder if this is really true, so you begin to start feeding your own train of thoughts. And the pathway you are on becomes wider and wider.

Your husband messes up, and he knows he did. He gets in trouble. Suits him right you are thinking when after a while he asks for your forgiveness and treats you double as nice as before. It looks like your chance to settle things — to lead him to Christ. You explain the Gospel to him. Oops! He does not want to know. The bubble bursted. His kindness? Gone!

I failed again! You torture yourself by feeling guilty. This was all my fault comes to your mind. What shall I do? How can I change — him, myself, the way we are living this marriage?

Unhelpful vs. Helpful Advice

Does all of this, or at least some of it, sound familiar to you? Have you seeked help from others before? Were they able to give you advice? Did it work? If what they suggested hasn’t helped you a bit, please be gracious and forgive them. It’s hard to counsel and comfort someone in something you have never gone through before.

I also was married to an unbeliever. Times were quite tough back then. The counsel of my Christian counselor and friends didn’t help much. In the end, believer in Christ or not, I felt like a total failure!

There is advice that is more of an illusion than reality. Then there is the kind of counsel that guides you while you are walking on stony ground; the kind that will also pick you up when you stumble and fall; one that encourages you and gives you reasons to press on and then shows you how.

The book I’m about to suggest was written in 1972. Thirty years ago it could have changed my life and the way I treated my husband. Reading it over the last few years (it’s a book I’d like to come back to again and again) helped me to gain a fresh perspective on marriage. It’s called:

Christian Living in the HOME
by Jay E. Adams

Chapter 9 (How to live with an unbelieving husband) offers some practical, really helpful advice on how to live with and influence the unbelieving husband.

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