Dear Word Washed Wife,
I am married to an unbeliever. We were both unbelievers when we met. We married and then I met Christ as my personal Savior. I love my husband and I don’t want to leave him, but I’m so lonely. My husband is a highly moral man, but I desperately want a Christian husband who can pray for me, encourage me through scripture and lead my family spiritually. We have two teenage sons and they are watching their dad closely. Neither want to go to church anymore and my husband says “it’s their choice.” I’m heartbroken and afraid I’ve stayed in this marriage too long. Help, please!
I am so glad that you are my sister in Christ! I rejoice with you over the redemptive work that Christ has done in your life. I hear your sincere plea for your husband and your two sons. God hears it too! First, since you found Jesus after you married, I would say that your marriage is not what is keeping your husband or sons from God. Second, God’s timing is perfect! Please let me encourage you to continue to love God and your family well. Your role in your home is not weakened by your living with an unbelieving husband. Instead, let me offer that it may be your marriage that ultimately draws your husband, and your sons as well, to Christ. Paul wrote to the Corinthians to encourage them to stay married to their unbelieving spouses (1 Corinthian 7:13) in order that their spouses may become believers themselves. Paul did not write that the believer in a marriage is to be the Savior for the unbeliever in a marriage – the only route to our Father is through Jesus His Son. Rather, Paul wrote that the best way for an unbelieving spouse to see his own sin and to view the redemptive work of Christ is to be in the home of a believer and to be part of the believing spouse’s life inside their home. This is the truest form of sanctification in a community setting. You may not have known it, but you are right now participating in your husband’s and your sons’ sanctification! So, do not be discouraged. Instead, keep pressing in, sweet sister! The potential outcome is their eternal reward. Amen!
I strongly identify with your concerns for your sons. Every Christian mom prays and yearns for the day when each of her children surrenders their life to Jesus. Church attendance helps, but it does not guarantee it. I love this analogy: sitting in church doesn’t any more make you a Christian than does sitting in your garage makes you a car 😊. I know of many young men who were raised in a Christian home and regularly attended a beautiful church body who yet struggled with their faith; my oldest son included (see Shepherding the Prodigal Heart). So, do not lose hope. Keep loving your family well and bring up the name of Jesus every time the Holy Spirit tugs at your heart to do so. You be obedient in your part of the deal and allow the Holy Spirit to do His part and draw your boys to God. As moms, our jobs are to raise our children in the knowledge of Christ, to pray for them daily and to love them without condition. Your life speaks volumes to the people living in your home, so let that light shine (Matthew 5:14-16)!
Lastly, I know that you are lonely and are probably dealing with envy of the Christian couples you see in your church and community. I encourage you to allow Jesus to be your husband and meet your most important spiritual and emotional needs. And, daily wash yourself in the Word of God. If you do not have a structured community Bible reading plan, I suggest the Community Bible Reading plan. The app for this plan helps and encourages a group of believers to each day read the same scripture – one OT passage and one NT passage. After all of the group has read the passages, each participates in discussion of the parts that resonate and need to be applied in their lives. There are other great plans, but this one can be for you an excellent basis for Godly fellowship in a community of other Christian women. Check it out or PM me for more details. And last but not least, become the prayer warrior that your family needs you to be! I myself have become much more systematic in my prayer life. I use an index card system with a card designated for each person I am praying for. On the card I include needs for that person and scripture verses that I believe are appropriate for that person. You could make a card for your husband and for each of your sons and start praying scripture over each of them today. God promises that the prayers of a righteous person work (James 5:16)! Carve out a time each day and lift your family up. I promise to pray with you as well!
I trust God at His word that His plans are good (Jeremiah 29:11), even if at the moment they don’t look so. Stay the course, my sister! And let me know when your prayers are answered so that I can rejoice with you!
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).”
DISCLAIMER: In the interest of brevity and an intent discuss particular topics faced by many in marriage- I have simplified most letters to one question. I have personally reached out to each person who wrote me an e-mail to offer more specific details that address their individual needs.