I am unequally yoked (I became a Christian after 10 yrs of marriage and thought he would jump straight on board with me! It was a shock when he didn’t and still to this day refuses to hear about God and maintains an atheistic viewpoint). My main area of disrespect has been about this.
- I secretly (and often not so secretly) resented him for not believing and have been extremely angry towards him and bitter in my heart about his stubbornness. I had no clue about my own disrespect because after all it was ALL his fault. He needed to change – not me.
He wouldn’t listen to the Truth. He was being stubborn. It couldn’t be my fault, right? When God woke me up to my disrespect and the fact that perhaps I wasn’t a perfect wife after all, I was mortified, devastated, ashamed and repentant. What a controlling, self-righteous, prideful, awful person I was! Yuck!
- I have let go of my resentment over his unbelief, and truly accept in my heart now that even if he never gets saved, I will still choose to honour and respect him because I want most of all to honour and respect God – and I feel like my marriage mirrors my heart towards God. So, yes I believe those verses that my husband may “be won over without words” 1 Peter 3:1-6, by my new attitude BUT if he doesn’t, then I trust God anyway and will choose to live for Him and leave my husband to Him.
- I have learned that I am not responsible for my husband’s heart or attitude, and I am not his Holy Spirit! God needs to reach him, not me. So I’ve stopped nagging and trying to control him.
- I forgive him quickly now, where before I would carry things on for ages.
- I pay attention to small requests he makes – like, suggestions for food I could cook. Before I would just override his opinion or suggestion with my own decision of what was easiest (for me) to cook, or where we should go. I always felt like these small decisions didn’t matter anyway, and basically I think I just despised his viewpoint (I’m so ashamed!) so I just never gave him any respect or opportunity to lead our family, even on little things like where to go for the family dog walk on a Sunday afternoon!
- Gradually, as I’ve allowed him to take the lead, he has! At first, he continued to back off, as if waiting for me to take over, but now he will take the lead far more. I also say jokey things (but of course I mean it, in a nice way) like, “It’s up to you, you’re the boss.” Or to the kids I’ll say, “Ask Dad, he’s in charge,” and although I say it teasingly, I know he has started to actually believe it! (If I said it in a serious way, he would feel under pressure and would hate it, and not want me to say it)
- With the children, I was so disrespectful behind his back, and didn’t support him at all, but now I do. This has been hard – undoing all the damage I have possibly done to the kids’ relationship with him, and any bad role modelling they may have taken on, in how to be, in their own marriages one day. I have cried many tears over this area of my disrespect, but I am trusting God that He can restore any damage I have done, in His sovereignty. Thankfully my children have always had a good relationship with their dad, but it’s no thanks to me and some of the things I have said about him behind his back! Moaning when he hasn’t done something in a particular way, and worst of all, creating a kind of ‘three against one’ atmosphere – because of his atheistic views against our shared Christian views. Of course, this will always be a huge area of potential conflict, BUT there ARE ways to handle differing view points respectfully and I have learnt that God really CAN lead our family through a non-Christian husband. I have commented about this before on other posts, but it has been a revelation to me.
- The other massive thing has been all the idols that I realised I had in my life! I had made an idol out of: having children, my children’s salvation, my relationship with them, and my need to be a “perfect mother.” I wanted to be the opposite from my own mother and give them a “perfect childhood” the opposite of my own terrible one. I had also made an idol out of getting my husband saved, having the perfect marriage, and many other things. I literally had NO IDEA I had done this! I thought I was a mature, ‘switched on’, Spirit-filled Christian!!! I had to repent of so much. But there is an incredible amount of peace and happiness to be found in giving up all your idols! The fears I had surrounding all these areas have completely gone.
I praise God for what He has done and is doing in my life. I also praise God for April and this blog and the many, many honest and heart-warming and helpful stories people share on here.
Portia’s Story – Without a Word