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“Honoring My Husband When He Didn’t Want Me to Go to Church”

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From a dear sister in Christ – how I praise God for the work He is doing in her and the strength He has given her to be faithful and obedient to Himself during a difficult time of testing. The key is for us to be sensitive to God’s Spirit, His Word, His prompting, and His leading. We will need to trust God with our husbands and the outcomes:

I admit that marriage and my husband were idols in my life. Then God wooed me – partially through two co-workers who have become my most trusted friends. One of them invited me to a service at her church and it was there that I realized my sin and desperate need for The Saviour. My eyes were opened so wide to my callousness, idolatry and hard heart that I remained totally overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit for a few years.

I brought this, as best as I could, to my husband and ran it past him that I would like to continue at that church. He agreed but never showed a desire to attend. I did not grow up in a Christian home or under any direct Godly influence. He grew up in a small town and with religion where life centered around the church through activities and school but he has never said too much about it. He is kind and caring and was my best friend.

I was shocked when he demanded I stop going to church. He had never demanded anything of me up to that point.

I tried to reason with him – I spoke of God’s love and how my eyes had been opened but he didn’t want to hear any of it. He even threatened divorce. After much discussion, he promised to find a church together but I needed to stop going to that particular church. I had only been there a short while and had learned about worshipping in my heart in whatever church he decided.

I learned a lot about humility very quickly. His demand had left me very confused – I didn’t know how to handle this situation, my knowledge of the Word at that time was really limited. My desire was to please God above all else, to seek His will. One of my trusted friends pointed me to many scriptures but the one I clung to the most was 1 Peter 3:1 “In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.” (NLT)

So, I realized this is where the rubber meets the road. The part of that scripture which spoke loudest to me was “without any words”. It was difficult to accept his authority and I wasn’t quite sure at that time what a ‘pure and reverent life’ looked like. But I heard the command ‘without any words’ and that seemed within my realm of possibility. I was quiet for a long time – I continued to be in the Word every day and listened to many podcasts. I waited a couple of months and brought the subject up of finding a church, he was passive-aggressive on the entire topic. No decision had been made. I waited a few weeks more and gently asked again, same response.

I learned a lot during my “quiet period” – how to let the Holy Spirit be the filter for the words I chose to speak but mostly – I learned about forgiveness.

I didn’t want to be a nagging wife. I wanted (and still do desire) to be ‘a crown’ for my husband (Proverbs 12:4). I let go of finding a church home. Almost a year later, I brought the subject up again. This time, while still gentle and humble I boldly brought forward the name of a church that I was interested in going to and invited him to come check it out with me. That was an intense day. He came and approved but the passive-aggressive behavior toward faith and God continues.

I’ve learned that this is where God wants me.  

“and if a Christian woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to continue living with her, she must not leave him.” 1 Corinthians 7:13

“Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you.” 1 Corinthians 7:17 

I believe in the Word with all my heart and soul and mind and know that Romans 8:28 is true; He is causing all things to work together for good.

There have been other situations or issues (clearly sin) come up where I’ve had to stand on the Word and against my husband. Of course I want him to be happy but not above (my) obedience to God. One thing, (I think is ok to share) his opinion on baptism which isn’t really in line with what the Bible says from what I can see. I felt the prompting to be baptized and knew it was against my husband’s opinion – but went ahead and was baptized – one of the best decisions I’ve made.

My two trusted friends from work show me a clear picture of Jesus through their friendship. All through the gospels Jesus was humble and available. I see what a gift friendship is, especially Godly friendship – and to remain friends with my husband is to witness with my life and without any words.

  • I remain respectful in keeping my time with God early in the morning before my husband is awake and I cherish any moment I have in the Word and in study when I have free time – and he is away for the day.
  • I continue to attend the church he is comfortable with and it has turned out to be a better place for me to learn and grow in Christ.

Through submitting to his authority on anything that is not sinful and remaining gentle and sensitive to his needs – I see a new respect coming from him for my faith; it gives me hope for his salvation.

SHARE:

What are some ways God has prompted you to honor your husband that have brought blessing to your family, your marriage, yourself, or your husband in unexpected ways?

If your husband is/was an unbeliever, you are welcome to share how God has prompted you to minister to him.

Gentlemen, if you would like to share why you believe a wife approaching her husband in this way without nagging, preaching, or lecturing would be attractive to husbands, you are welcome to share your perspective.

RELATED:

When My Spouse Is Wrong

Confronting Our Husbands about Their Sin

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

“My Secret Idol” – (my husband’s salvation)

“God, Don’t Waste My Time”

“If I Respect and Honor My Husband, Then God Owes Me a Godly, Loving, Wonderful Husband, Right?”

29 thoughts on ““Honoring My Husband When He Didn’t Want Me to Go to Church”

  1. Did something happen to him in the religious small town? You stated he did not want to talk about it,so I’m curious. Did have a bad experience with religion or something? Some of my friends had bad experiences with their faith which is why they turned away.

    1. I was wondering the same thing.

      Her husband is her protector and his insistence that she not attend that church could be his way of protecting her from something harmful he sees at that church – not just plain opposition. Unfortunately, not all churches are healthy environments and even if he is not attending, he may have been in a bad situation before and trying to protect his wife from the same. We don’t know what God may have revealed to him. Just because he isn’t going to the building does not mean he is not getting the Word. We minister to our husbands with our lives, our tone, our demeanor, so I am sure God is getting through. I pray you get to the point that you can worship and pray together.

      1. Teresa and Child of Ra,
        Yes, it is possible that this husband saw something potentially dangerous at that church. That is an excellent point. And, God may have been leading this wife through her husband even in his desire for her not to be at that particular church at that time.

        Also a great point, Teresa, that a husband may have a deeper faith walk than his wife realizes, so we do need to be careful not to judge our husbands, but allow God to work in them.

  2. Thank you for sharing this lovely, encouraging post about a subject which is no doubt extremely relevant to those of us who find ourselves in this awful situation of being ‘unequally yoked’ with a non believer.
    What I love so much about this blog is that alot of us are still in our ‘bad’ situations, or working on them, rather than always reading about success stories: “I prayed and fasted for 2 years non stop and my husband came to the Lord” type of thing!! I have read several books on this subject, and while these kind of stories can be encouraging, it is sometimes nice to know that others are in the same boat and having the same struggles, and I praise God we can encourage each other like this!

    I became a Christian 12 years ago, after I had been married for 10 years. My husband was (and still is) very atheistic and actually quite ‘anti-Christian’ in his views.
    God has taught me many things over the years and I’ve made many mistakes in how I handled things. In fact only recently (when I discovered this blog!) has He shown me so much about disrespect, control and idols in my life, which I had no idea about! So I am very much a work in progress but I will try to share some of the mistakes I made over the years, and how I have now – or should have – dealt with them 🙂

    1. I would argue with him regularly, and try to make him see my point of view. I would say inflammatory things like “so if God didn’t create us then how do YOU think we all got here?”. He would usually reply with “I don’t know and I don’t care”!! – which would drive me mad!! I became so resentful about his refusal to look into Christianity, that I was disrespectful to him pretty much on a daily basis – and thought it was ok! Because it was all his fault, right?! I can honestly say, that since I gave up the resentment to God, and started trying to honor Jesus in my life more and more, I haven’t had one of these kind of ‘discussions’ and I totally accept that, for whatever reason, he is not ready to think about these things.

    2. God taught me alot about patience, because like the wife who wrote this post, my husband was not at all happy about me attending church, reading my bible, or doing any ‘God stuff’ at first. I had to be patient, tread carefully, and not put church first too often. I often messed this up and got the balance wrong, but God helped me to be wise after a while. And gradually he accepted my involvement, and over the years has become genuinely supportive of various church activities. He has also allowed our children’s involvement, for which I am so grateful. He even came to both their baptisms.

    3. I found that I can thank God for the husband He has given me, and even feel blessed to be married to a non Christian! He is kind, caring and loving, and also totally supportive of me and the children, and always there for us. Yes I do feel lonely sometimes, sitting in church surrounded by couples, but actually there are occasional advantages to having a ready made excuse for not doing something, or being on a particular rota 😉 “My husband wouldn’t like it” Haha! Also, because he is not yet saved I can look forward to the precious celebration I hope to one day have when he is! If he had been a Christian all along, I wouldn’t have the possibility of this joy to come.

    4. I used to feel jealous of Christian couples, who could pray together, make Godly decisions for their kids, do bible studies, etc. but I’ve realised that no marriage is perfect, and these couples have their struggles too, and that actually my husband is pretty awesome really, compared to some of them! I also know several friends who are married to Christians, but their husbands don’t pray with them, talk about God at home or do any of the things that are in my ‘rosy picture’ of a Christian marriage.

    5. I have been guilty of saying many things like “He’s never going to become a Christian” and “It will take a miracle to get him to believe” which I have realised are cursing words that I have spoken over his life. I have repented of these things, and now make every effort to only speak words of blessing and thanks over his life. And now that I’ve repented and realised this, God has shown me SO many ways in which I can bless my husband and be thankful for him.

    6. I used to believe that if I prayed enough for him, fasted, acted ‘right’ etc etc then eventually I would ‘get through’ to him. I now realise getting through to him is God’s job, and that I should’ve been playing my part of being a respectful, Godly wife who can ‘win him without words’. Now that I have concentrated on honoring Jesus and sorting myself out, I realise how much peace I can have by letting go of that responsibility to save my husband! I have also let go of the idol of having him saved, and now I can honestly say that even if this never happens, my aim is now to honor God and bring Him glory, rather than change my circumstances. Does this make sense?

    Sorry this is so long April!
    Much love to you and the wife who wrote this!
    Praying for all my fellow wives with non Christian husbands!

    1. Sunshine,

      I love this! Thank you so very much for sharing. I wonder if you might allow me to share this as a future post sometime, please?

      And you are right – many Christian husbands don’t pray with their wives – 90% don’t – in fact. Some Christian wives feel almost as alone spiritually as wives with unbelieving husbands at times.

      PRAISE GOD for what He is doing in your life and your husband’s life – I pray with you for God to draw your husband to Himself! 🙂

      1. Of course you can share, April, I would be honoured! I’m really very much a work in progress though, and nothing like as ‘sorted’ as most of your other contributors seem to be! 🙂
        God bless xx

      2. Hello April,

        If I may, I have a question regarding your reply that many Christian men do not pray with their wives.

        Was the 90% number you cited in your personal experience or is there a survey of this topic (I would love a link). Also, if you would share any reasons for this (or if any of your male readers would like to chime in) I’d be grateful.

        Thank you in advance!

        1. Autumn C.,

          Hmmm… I know that I read that statistic a few years ago. I have been searching trying to find it this morning! Might have to do more searching.

          Here is a post written by my husband about why praying together is challenging for him:
          https://respectedhusband.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/praying-with-your-wife/

          Truly, the most basic reason I believe there are so many Christians in prayerless marriages is because the enemy is at work in some powerful ways and he will do anything to keep us from praying together.

          Much love to you!

          1. Thank you for your reply April. And what a wonderfully humble and transparent article by Respected Husband.

            I have much to think about.

            Much love to you as well!

    2. Sunshine, I love your post! I also have an unbelieving husband and see so much of our story in what you posted as well. It sounds like we even got married around the same time and got saved around the same time! I’ve been married 23 years and was saved 13 years ago this July (so, 10 years into my marriage, just like you).

      I really relate to #4 and would say that I could write that word for word about my husband and our marriage. We are very blessed to be in this situation, I know many others are not and know (especially after reading on this blog) that there are some very painful situations that God is carrying some of His children through.

      I love knowing that God sovereignly put me with my husband and saved me when He did. (But, that love didn’t come right away, of course!)

      There have been a few things that I believe God has shown me about why I married my husband and what it has meant in my life. I was brought up in a Christian home and knew a lot about the Bible and theology. But, I was NOT born again when I married my unbelieving husband (didn’t even care that he wasn’t a believer, even though others warned me….I didn’t care because I wasn’t one, either, at the time!). After I became a Christian, there was a time that I was grieving breaking up with a highschool boyfriend who was very serious about our relationship. He is a Christian and I kept thinking, “Why did I not marry him? Why didn’t God allow me to marry him, etc.?” But, I realized that I would probably have just been deceived my whole life, sitting in church, living a “Christian” kind of life and it would have been very hard to admit to anyone that I really wasn’t. I believe God, in His mercy, bound me over to disobedience so that He could have mercy on me and save me. I am so thankful for that. Broken Road by Selah was a song that came on the radio during the time that God showed me that and it has a very special place in my heart now.

      I also think that if my husband had become a believer shortly after I did (which I was convinced that he would after I became one! ha!) that I would have really tried to control our family and run it the way that I saw fit as a new believer. We would have been way out of balance with the way I would have gone and I believe God spared our family of that and that my husband has brought a lot of balance to our home when I would have tended to go to extremes in the way we handled many things. (Don’t know if that makes sense or not!) 🙂 God has taught me a lot about His grace during these years of waiting.

      Anyway, had to comment after seeing your story which looks so familiar to me. 🙂 We are not alone and it is so encouraging to read others’ stories here.

      1. Thank you Jennifer! How funny, we’re nearly the same! 🙂
        I agree with your point about balance! At times, my husband has such a lovely common sense approach to counteract the ‘super-spiritual’ viewpoint 😀

        I believe God has a plan for our husbands, and in the meantime we can keep encouraging one another, and sharing what we have learnt.

  3. Hi All, this is a great discussion! After I was born again I thought the same things for a while, thinking I had made a big mistake. I see the mission I have now from reading 1 Corinthians 7:17 to remain where God placed me! We all want to feel valuable to our Father, I’m so grateful that He has me where He wants me.
    Love to you all….

    1. Melanie,

      Praising God for the place where He has you right now – and where He has each of us. Praying for us to be very sensitive to His Word, His Spirit, His wisdom, and His promptings that we might greatly bless our husbands and accomplish God’s good purposes in our marriage by His Spirit’s power working in and through us. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing!

  4. I think I heard a sermon along the lines of this topic. It’s called “carnal husbands,cranky wives and cantankerous kids” by Gary Fraley I haven’t listened to the sermon in a while so I’m not sure if that’s the one but if it is it’s very good.
    Great post April
    Megan

  5. My first husband, a non-Christian, asked me to leave a church when we had moved a little further away from it. I started going to the closest church to our house, and I am not sure it was as good a fit, especially since I felt the need to quit going for 1 1/2 years to keep my sanity. But it was a refuge the rest of the nine years I went. Until, after the divorce, a new man in my life asked me to start attending his church. I’ve been married to my wonderfully strong Christian husband now for 15 years. Ten years ago today, that husband accepted that I had fallen in love with the church we were visiting the first time, and never suggested we look elsewhere. In fact he didn’t even tell me until several years later he initially had reservations. So this weekend, we’re celebrating!

  6. Hey there April….
    just wanted to say that you and your blog are a blessing and an inspiration. Continue to do what you are doing in Christ, it is making a real difference.
    *God bless*

    1. DavidTaylor2,
      Thanks so much for the encouragement. Please pray that God might empower me to be faithful and obedient to what He has called me to do!

      May God richly bless your walk with Christ.

  7. Thank you so much for this post, my husband is a Christian, but has very bitter feelings against the church and does not wish either of us to attend. I have been told by some that I should just fo anyways but have felt it right to continue to obey my husband. And do my worship at home. My husband is not very open with his faith most of the time so I do it alone. Its so hard sometimes. I desperatly yearn for fellowship. But I habe prayed and prayed, and I know if I went against my husband on this it would rurn him away from m, and I believe it would also turn him away from Christ. So we still dont attend. This has made me want to bring it up again, as its been a while, and I dont bealieve he would take it offensively, and to keep on praying for his heart to change.

    I do believe that i. A way this has acrually been really benificial for my faith, instead of rellying on what someone at church has to say I have really speny the time right at the source, qnd seaeching to find true good men of God to listen to.

    Its just so nice to hear someone else seeing that sometimes not going to.church is the best thing we can do to follow God. I know that this is what the holy spirit has been telling me, but sometimes I feel guilty thinking Im not doing enough as a christian by not attending church.

    1. Sarah,

      Thank you so much for sharing! I am really encouraged to hear how you are growing, oraying, and depending fully on Christ. That is AWESOME!! And I am glad you are listening to God’s prompting. We will pray that God might intervene so that you can start attending church again as soon as possible, but more than that, my prayer is for spiritual healing for your husband. I pray that God might empower you to be faithful to Him, obededient, and that you might grow much more deeply in your faith and trust. I pray He might empower you to be the wife He desires you to be for His greatest glory.

      You are most welcome here. 🙂

  8. This has been an ongoing struggle in our relationship, as well. My husband will sometimes go to Church with us, but sometimes he’d rather stay home. He doesn’t like to go, but he goes because he knows it is important to me. I do think that part of it is the social aspect of it, and what it takes to get ready and out the door, etc. etc. He’d much rather stay at home and just say a Rosary together and call it good. My problem is that as a Catholic, I believe that it is a sin to miss Sunday Mass and Holy Days of Obligation. And a lot of times I won’t feel like going to Mass either, and then my husband will “persuade” me to stay home. He never tells me that I can’t go, but he will say, “I really could use your help with this (project or task)”, or, “the weather is bad today, let’s just not go” or, “the weather is too nice today to be sitting in a stuffy church”…any excuse really. It takes a lot of motivation and strength on my part to get the children ready and myself ready and to go without him, but I feel that is what I should be doing, especially for the sake of getting the children to Mass. I know that if my husband were to be adamant about going to Mass, I’d never miss attending and the children would enjoy going more too. I pray often that someday he will be the spiritual leader in our home. I recently read somewhere that if the mother is the one to always take the children to church, that when the children become adults they may or may not continue to attend church. However, when the father is involved in always attending church, the children are much more likely to attend as adults and practice their faith.

  9. I was online and searching for an answer. My husband is a believer and of the baptist faith and I am non denomination. I’ve been living in a new state for 4 years now. I have been church shopping for 4 years now. He works on Sundays so this leaves me on my own. I’ve looking for a church that has contemporary music, and a good preacher. What I find is these churches in my area lean towards a pentecostal way. I found a church and after attending it twice I like it and want give it a chance. However my husband saw on the church’s facebook page they are into speaking in tongues. I have no opinion on tongues. He is absolutely against me going to this church, his believe is that it’s a dangerous church and has evil in it. I am very upset as I’ve so frustrated looking for a church. There where times I didn’t go church at all because I was tired of looking. I will go to a church he wants to when he’s off. He never found a baptist church to go to. What hurt me the most was he demanded I not going this church instead of letting me decide for myself if it was a good church. What do I do? Do I just stay quiet? And do I keep church shopping? I feel it’s the devil working from keeping me from a good church.

    1. Kelly West,

      I can certainly understand your frustration. It is hard to find the right church even when your husband is able to be there with you. But to try to go by yourself with him at work makes it extra challenging.

      Apparently, your husband has very strong feelings against speaking in tongues. I can understand his concerns. There are times when this idea can be misused. I believe there are times when it can be from God, too. But I know there are some who really don’t want to be around it at all. As a Baptist myself, I have never seen anyone attempt to speak in tongues at my churches. Greg and I did run into a congregation that spoke in tongues when we were at a concert in college. It freaked me out at that time in my life. I didn’t know what was going on!

      That church may be a great church. But your husband has big time concerns.

      I vote to honor your husband’s leadership (I Cor. 11:3, Eph. 5:22-33, Titus 2:3-5) in this situation. If God wants you at that church, God can change your husband’s mind. But your marriage covenant is more important than you getting to go to this particular church, in my view. God can lead you to a church that is right for you as you honor and respect your husband’s leadership. There may be a reason why God is prompting your husband to be very against you going there that you don’t know about right now.

      I invite you to check out a few posts:

      Empowering My Husband’s Leadership about Church Stuff
      What Is Respect in Marriage?
      Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them
      Submitting Under Protest
      A Husband’s and a Wife’s Authority in Marriage

      Let me know what God speaks to your heart, my precious sister!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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