My Husband Isn’t a Believer

Let me preface this post by saying – I have not been in this position.  It would be a very difficult position to be in as a wife.  And I greatly admire the many wives who are respectful to their unbelieving husbands and who cooperate with their leadership as they pray for their husbands’ salvation.  It requires a VERY strong faith to do this.  Sometimes the rewards aren’t seen until heaven in these situations.

If you are in this position, or you have been the wife of an unbelieving husband and you would like to share how God used your obedience to Scripture to heal your marriage and bring your husband closer to Christ – please leave a comment to encourage the wives who are still struggling.  Thank you so much!

I CAN RELATE SOMEWHAT

There were times before God changed my heart so dramatically when I doubted my husband’s salvation.  I scrutinized him and criticized his spirituality – I am ashamed to say now.  I would point my finger at his failures and his habits and think so self-righteously that I was much more spiritual and godly than he was.  I did NOT obey I Peter 3 and I did NOT see my husband grow closer to God and closer to me until I finally DID obey this passage.

Sadly, I think that my husband probably had many more reasons to doubt MY salvation than I found to doubt his.  My husband was patient – I was not.  He was very forgiving – I held grudges for years.  My husband was humble – I was prideful beyond belief.  And I was disobedient to a lot of scripture.  So – I am sure my husband should have doubted my salvation.   I didn’t have the fruit of the Spirit.  I was constantly worried, afraid, overwhelmed, anxious, critical and judgmental.  I didn’t have much faith.  I was a very immature believer.  I believe I was saved – but there were so many areas where Christ was NOT Lord of my life.  I did not have the power of the Holy Spirit full blast – my sin had blocked it to a thin trickle.  And I didn’t see it at all.  Everything was “normal” to me.

So – only God knows each person’s heart.  And we are all wretched sinners in DESPERATE need of the blood of Christ to wash away our sins.

FOR WIVES WHOSE HUSBANDS AREN’T BELIEVERS OR ARE DISOBEDIENT, IMMATURE OR WEAK BELIEVERS

I Peter 3:1-6  is God’s prescription for you!  This needs to be your central focus for as long as it takes, in my view

Wives, in the same way (as believers submit to government and believing slaves submit to masters) 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 (peaceful) spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.  They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master.  You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

HOW WILL RESPECT AND NOT TALKING ABOUT GOD HELP?

God knows that words are for women, not men.  Men are not won over by words.  Men need to see real authentic faith in their wives.  They need to see a cooperative wife, one who doesn’t argue all the time, one who doesn’t preach and nag and lecture at him.  They need to see the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) in their wives over an extended period of time.  These are the ONLY ways a believing wife can influence her husband for God.

A wife who is willing to

  • respect her husband’s God-given authority (he is still the leader and authority in the marriage, even if he isn’t a Christian)
  • only resist him (but still with great respect) if he asks her to sin
  • have faith in her man as a leader
  • cooperate with his leadership decisions
  • be silent about the things of God
  • have a gentle and peaceful spirit that does not give way to fear

puts her husband in the direct line of God’s intervention.  He will be in the closest possible position to hear God’s voice and he will be the most receptive to God’s Spirit.

We as women DO NOT like this passage!  We don’t like being quiet.  We want to talk and talk about God, the Bible, what the pastor preached about on Sunday – we want to win our husbands over with words.  Words don’t work on men like they do for women.  Plus, all those words are likely to come across with arrogance and pride, that we are saying we are so much more godly than our men are.  That is a huge reason I believe God said for us not to use words to win our husbands over – it doesn’t work!  Our words push them farther away from us and farther away from Christ.

If your husband refuses to live with you – please refer to I Corinthians 7:10-17

To the married I give this command (not I , but the Lord):  A wife must not separate from her husband.  But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband.  And a husband must not divorce his wife.  To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord):  If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.  And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.  For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her husband.  Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.  But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so.  A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.  How do you know, wife, whether you will safe your husband?  Or how do you know, husband, whether you will safe your wife?  Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.

The closer your husband is to God, the more he can hear your words.  The farther your husband is from God, the more your words will repel him even further away.

WHAT TO DO?

I believe that a wife in this position will have to be EXTREMELY careful to be HUMBLE.  And I believe a wife in this position will need to wrestle with and come to accept the idea that God is big enough to lead her through an unbelieving husband.  Even though he is not Spirit filled – God is still sovereign over his life.  And God plans to use him to lead you and speak to you.  Our God is THAT powerful!

There is a great chapter about this in Gary Thomas’ “Sacred Influence” about a wife who has been married to an unbeliever for 20 years.  She used to preach at him and lecture him and try to MAKE him accept Christ – and he didn’t budge at all.  Then she accepted God’s commands for her as a wife to respect and submit and to win him without a word.  And as of the time of the writing of the book, he was still not a believer.  BUT, she had peace.  And she told many stories of how God would mold and shape her character by speaking through her husband about her bad attitudes, her impatience, her tone of voice, etc.

A LONG ROAD

This is not a journey we would choose to go on.  And I pray that young Christian single women would understand how critical it is to marry a growing believer in Christ who wants to live with Christ as LORD on a daily basis.

BUT, God does give victory on many levels in a marriage where a wife obeys Him.  AND, this is your ONLY shot at helping your husband find Christ.  If you refuse to obey God’s word here – you are going to make it EXTREMELY DIFFICULT for your husband to accept Christ – EVER.

Ultimately, you cannot control your husband.  He has to decide for Christ himself.  BUT, you can make Christianity appealing by obeying God’s Word and being willing to lay down your desires and your wisdom and seeking God’s will and obeying Him in all things.

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOUR HUSBAND WANTS YOU TO DO?

Think about things your husband has asked of you that you have been refusing to do?

  • Go to the church he prefers (if it is a cult that does not teach Jesus is the only way to God through faith – a gift from God that cannot be earned, then you must gently but firmly and respectfully resist him.  But otherwise, you go where HE wants to go – cheerfully and without complaining.)
  • not go to so many Bible studies during the week
  • not criticize him so much
  • not complain and whine about things he wants you to do
  • spend more time with him
  • give the amount of tithe/donations to church he wants to give (And if he is upset about giving money to charities or a church, that is his call to make.  God doesn’t need you to go against your husband to give to His work.  God might decide to use us – but He doesn’t  NEED us.  He desires our obedience more than $100/week or whatever dollar amount it is we want to give.  AND – God is able to change our husbands’ hearts and create in them a desire to give to His work.  So we pray and trust God and wait.  Joyfully.)
  • support his parenting
  • not withhold your body from him sexually (it is a sin against God and our husbands when we do this – unless he is being unfaithful or you have some serious medical issues going on)

I don’t know what your particular husband has been asking you to do.

But you have a LOT of power here when you obey God and are filled with His Spirit.  And you can expect miracles to happen.  We serve a MIGHTY God!  He is sovereign over our marriages and our husbands.  We can trust that when He gives us commands, He knows what He is doing and we will be greatly blessed when we obey.

CHOOSING FRIENDS WISELY

Please choose GODLY friends who will:

  • support your husband’s leadership
  • respect your husband and help point you towards respecting your husband
  • pray with you and for you for yourself and your husband and children
  • set a godly example of biblical submission and respect
  • NOT run down your husband or encourage a spirit of discontentment and disrespect in you!

YOUR BIGGEST TEMPTATIONS

In my view, some of the BIGGEST temptations for a Christian wife whose husband is not a believer or is far from God will be:

  • discontentment  with your current lot in life, wishing things were different.  Imagining being with another man or imagining divorcing your husband.
  • resenting your husband for not accepting Christ
  • envying wives who have believing husbands
  • respect for godly men and leaders in the church that could easily turn into infatuation or romantic feelings
  • wanting to disobey I Peter 3 and try to use WORDS to tell your man about God and tell him what to do

HERE IS A MESSAGE FROM A WIFE WHO LIVED THIS SITUATION FOR 20 YEARS IN HER MARRIAGE.  PLEASE PRAYERFULLY CONSIDER HER WISDOM!

My husband was a non-believer for 20 years. When we married I had fallen away from God as I was saved as a young child. After having my own children, I came back to God and recommitted my life to Jesus. My faith had become stronger than ever. This was really difficult because my husband was still not a believer.

There are four main suggestions that I have;

1) Respect your husband even if you don’t think he deserves it. This can easily start by finding a simple thing he’s done around the house and praising him for it. Keep finding more and more things to praise him for and to tell him you’re proud of him for. Doing this will make him want to show love in return and will make him more open to God and church.

2) Lead by example; don’t nag, push, preach, or get angry. Have a gentle and quiet spirit living your life for God. It may take years of doing this as it did in my case but it works. Stick to it an don’t give up. This really worked with my husband. He will see Jesus through you. My husband saw the supernatural elements of my life and it opened his eyes.

3) Find a church where your husband will feel like he fits in even if it means moving your children from a youth environment that they like. It WILL be worth it in the end. My husband never felt that was good enough for church until we found a contemporary church that embraced him without the self-righteousness. It just clicked.

4) pray fervently for your husband’s salvation daily.

 My husband was saved about 3 years ago and his faith grows more and more every week.

 Fight the good fight. Finish the race. Keep the faith.

CHECK OUT MY PEACEFULWIFE BLOG FACEBOOK PAGE! I’m talking about idols today!

OTHER HELPFUL POSTS
A biblical method of increasing our respect for our husbands as we pray http://wp.me/p28uul-BB

A wife profoundly impacts her husband’s ability to grow spiritually http://wp.me/p28uul-nI

conflict resolution by Rev. Harold Weaver http://wp.me/p28uul-lk

When is it ok to disrespect my husband? http://wp.me/p28uul-vh

When a wife strongly disagrees with her husband http://wp.me/p28uul-mq

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15 Comments on “My Husband Isn’t a Believer”

  1. mamanellie
    August 6, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    My husband was a non-believer for 20 years. When we married I had fallen away from God as I was saved as a young child. After having my own children, I came back to God and recommitted my life to Jesus. My faith had become stronger than ever. This was really difficult because my husband was still not a believer. There are three main suggestions that I have; 1) Respect your husband even if you don’t think he deserves it. This can easily start by finding a simple thing he’s done around the house and praising him for it. Keep finding more and more things to praise him for and to tell him you’re proud of him for. Doing this will make him want to show love in return and will make him more open to God and church. 2) Lead by example; don’t nag, push, preach, or get angry. Have a gentle and quiet spirit living your life for God. It may take years of doing this as it did in my case but it works. Stick to it an don’t give up. This really worked with my husband. He will see Jesus through you. My husband saw the supernatural elements of my life and it opened his eyes. 3) Find a church where your husband will feel like he fits in even if it means moving your children from a youth environment that they like. It WILL be worth it in the end. My husband never felt that was good enough for church until we found a contemporary church that embraced him without the self-righteousness. It juat clicked.

    My husband was saved about 3 years ago and his faith grows more and more every week.

    Fight the good fight. Finish the race. Keep the faith.

  2. Rookie Writer
    August 7, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    There are so many wives that need to read this post. I don’t know how many women I’ve said this to and just because it doesn’t feel right or it’s not something they want to do. They do the complete opposite. This is good.

    • peacefulwife
      August 7, 2012 at 10:10 am #

      Rookie Writer, Thanks so much for your comment. That is a HUGE problem for us as wives. The “without words” thing just FEELS WRONG to us, so we go ahead and disobey God because we believe our wisdom is higher. God definitely has reasons for His commands. Things go MUCH better when we obey Him. I appreciate your insights greatly!

  3. Faithful Wife_CG
    January 6, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    I am struggling with this exact predicament now. We (my husband and I) have been separated off and on for more than 7 years. Neither one of us wants to divorce. I can’t explain to any of my friends why I keep fighting, I believe God wants me to stay. This article was very helpful to me and reiterates what I’ve been hearing for sometime, “be quiet.” Have I been blocking my blessing all this time with my mouth? I will pray 1 Pet 3:1-6 daily until I can listen to its message. Until it gets deep down in my spirit. Thank you.

    • peacefulwife
      January 18, 2013 at 6:53 am #

      Faithful Wife,

      Would you be interested in emailing with a wife who is in your situation, but has begun to practice respect and biblical submission over the past 6 months or so?

      I Peter 3:1-6 is SO POWERFUL! It works in ways we can’t begin to comprehend. But my husband told me that when I stopped talking about God and stopped the criticizing, lecturing, and negative words – it allowed him to begin to hear Gods’ voice. ANd then when I added praising him, trusting him to lead, putting my faith in him, building him up and positive words – he said it was like a megaphone for God’s voice.

      He was already a believer, but was not very close to God when I started this 4 years ago. But this is definitely the way to a man’s soul. IT is so counterintuitive to women!

      I am praying for you! Let me know how you are doing.

      • Faithful Wife_CG
        January 21, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

        Yes I would very much like to have someone to fellowship with. It has been very difficult over the last few weeks. It hard feeling unloved and knowing that we should not be separated. Please feel free to give out my email address. Thank you!

  4. Nicole Rivers
    March 14, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    Thank you so much. You don’t understand how much this means to me and the future of my family.

  5. reflectionsintheskye
    July 19, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    I have been married for 9 months, and when we were dating we discussed the importance of marrying someone who shared our Christian faith. We agreed to fight for purity till marriage, although it was a fight. Now, my husband told me that he doubts Christianity. He is still looking for answers, but he feels like no one is there to hear his prayers. He said he is now Agnostic.

    I was shocked and scared. God gave me the grace to calmly and gently talk about it with my husband. He admitted he was afraid to talk to me because he thought it would hurt me. Right now I have faith that God will continue to draw my dearest’s heart, but the reality is it could take years. I am praying for patience and strength.

    I am disappointed that after getting to know each other intentionally in our dating relationship, we still ended up in a marriage unequally yoked. I really value the design of marriage in which the husband is the spiritual leader, but that is not an option right now.

    My husband is very knowledgeable about the Word of God, he just has not personally experienced or connected with the LOVE of God. I am doing my best to model Christ’s love and to use actions rather than words to reach out to Him. Over the past months, I’ve had irritable and depressive mood swings. I am beginning to see the enemy at work to destroy my testimony to my lover. I am trying to renew my Joy in Christ and my passion for His Word.

    I was almost relieved when my Love told me about his doubts, because my love for my husband may be the motivation I need to kick the dissatisfaction and lack of gratitude out of my life as I grow spiritually. I am seeking peace for the journey ahead.

    • Tabitha
      July 21, 2014 at 7:34 am #

      hi Reflectionsinthesky,
      You can still honor Gods design and follow the path of obedience and respect. In marriage people do not always go in the same pace. One can be doubtful the other full of faith.
      When your husband disconnects from God or is in doubt what you can do is follow the advice to show your husband respect. To win him withouth words. My experience is that preaching works against helping your husband find answers.
      My husband turned away although I do not think he stopped believing in God he does seem to deem it irrelevant.
      We do not talk much about faith and if we do I have to be careful not to come across with lots of certainty.
      I miss it we can not pray together or go to church but in the startt of our marriage I was the one in doubt.
      Hold on to your faith, grow as much as you can but let God handle your husband.
      I applaud you could hear him calmly and keep open the way for him to trust you and be able to voice his doubts, I think that is important if possible.
      Moodswings is difficult I have strughled often and long with depression and one way is to talk myselve through it by voicing that this will not last so hold on.
      A book that recently helped me a lot in finding certainty in my faith was the natural christian live from Watchman Nee.
      Be Blessed

    • peacefulwife
      July 23, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

      Reflectionintheskye,

      Thanks so much for sharing. How heartbreaking! I am so glad that you are trusting God. I Peter 3:1-6 is your greatest power to bless and encourage your husband and to influence him for Christ.

      check out
      “My Secret Idol”
      and
      God Don’t Waste My Time!”

      And Nikka’s interview with her husband. I think it was the 3rd one that talks about his faith

      And “When I Shut Up, My Husband Heard God!

      Also, you can look at the “categories” on the right side of my home page and scroll through to “husband not a believer” and search posts about this topic.

      Praying for God to continue His good work in you and for Him to draw your husband to salvation!

  6. Faye Liquete
    September 24, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    My husband of 18 years has questions about God. I am a believer and have just found a church where I belong. My husband will not go to this church because it is not Catholic, my husband does not practice his faith. I am not Catholic, never have been. He will say grace with me, and has never asked me not to go to church. I am concerned about his salvation.

    • Peacefulwife
      September 24, 2014 at 8:35 pm #

      Faye,
      It is a pleasure to meet you! And this is a great question.

      Is there a Catholic church nearby that he would like to go to?

      Here are my suggestions –

      – If he does not want to go to church, please don’t try to force him or guilt him into going. A wife’s best approach in such a situation is found in I Peter 3:1-6. Words are not going to win a husband who is far from God. It is our godly attitude, respect, acceptance of our husbands, honor for their God-given leadership that will speak most powerfully to our husbands in these times.

      – If he does want to go to a Catholic church, please go with him and allow him to choose where to go.

      – If he doesn’t want to go to church but it ok with you going to church, then go to the church where you want to go.

      Please check out these posts:
      My Husband Is Not a Good Spiritual Leader
      Ways Husbands Lead That Wives Often Don’t Notice
      When I Shut Up, My Husband Heard God!
      My Secret Idol
      Nikka’s 3rd Heartbreaking Interview with Her Husband

      And, I invite you to check out the posts at the top of my home page about respect and biblical submission.

      You are welcome here! I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for you! :)

    • Peacefulwife
      September 24, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

      Oh! And here is one more post:

      My Husband Won’t Go to Church with Me

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  1. Empowering My Husband’s Spiritual Leadership about Church Stuff | Peacefulwife's Blog - January 28, 2013

    [...] How to Respect my Husband Who is Not a Believer [...]

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