i thought i knew what to expect going into a marriage with a man who did not hold the same view of God as i did. i had been told of how difficult it can be when you are, as the common term describes, “unequally yoked.” i was aware and i walked down that aisle anyway. we were wed before God, friends and family by a pastor who knew of our differences but carried out binding us together with a hope in his heart that was bold enough to overshadow the doubts.
you see, i
wanted want the husband who gets me up for church, pours my coffee and picks our son’s tie. the husband who reaches out to meet unfamiliar faces and introduce me as his “lovely wife.” the husband who can’t help but praise with a full heart during worship and hold me when he doesn’t know the words. i want the husband who has it all together and brings me with him.. i want the spiritual leader.
when i lay it out like this, i begin to hear God respond to my list of wants in the perfect man. the messages of conviction that come from the Lord always halt me in my proud little rant and draw my gaze upward. His grace corrects my attention just like a father-in-the-flesh does so with a hand under his daughter’s chin. it’s in that moment of eye contact with Heaven that i realize i have it all wrong.
my husband is the spiritual head of our family. i do not see it until it is too late, but i do see it most days. the Lord has found a way to take every flaw i think i see in my beloved and expose the goodness and strength that flows through it. he is the means by which i practice patience, love, grace and forgiveness. (most days..) he is the way i see my own sin; for as soon as i want to call out the speck in his eye i need to travel the length of the beam in my own. he leads me to convicting truths just by living out my emotions — sometimes i find myself wishing that my husband was a completely different man, all the while forgetting how disappointed i would be if he wished such things about me.
it hurts to open this part of my heart, but the realization is so imperative to my spiritual wellness that it’s something i must be held accountable for.. and shouldn’t we all?
consider Jesus’ commands for us — we are to love the Lord with all of our heart, and then love our neighbor as ourself. we are to go into the world and make disciples of those around us. well, who in the world is more close a neighbor than our own husband?
there is not a single person or event that is a greater ministry than the one we live in each day. our home is our learning ground, and it is here that we hear from God and receive the answers to our prayers. it is here that He gives us room to make mistakes, time to try again, and grace to go on the same way as the imperfect human we are. Jesus commands us to give the grace we have received, and in our marriage this can happen whether our partner is a believer or not.
there are days when my husband is a better representation of Christ than i am. it is not only embarrassing, but humbling. he can put me in my place and call me on my little faith as quickly as i can mentally search a scripture to support the illusion that he has failed me as a leader. not once have i ever read a scripture that tells me my non-Christian husband has let me down, but i can work it into the context if i’ve let my mind become the devil’s playground… Lord, help me.
what i do find, however, is the call to be strong in my need for God and God alone. what i find is the reminder to continue to extend the love i have received, outward. what i find is hope when i remember the saving work of Jesus and the creative sovereignty of God.
“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 believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
we are told to be wary of unequally yoked relationships because they are the breeding ground for conflict and strife. (here’s a pretty long list), just as He warns us of the challenge of marrying outside of our beliefs, He also encourages us to work through it if we have. the challenge is not letting our partner dictate our relationship with God. the maturity comes from knowing how much work it really will be. the joy is in seeing the adventure that we can call this time together as we grow.
my husband’s relationship with God is just as tedious and special as mine, though it is not as outward and active. he has his own conversations, his own doubts and questions, and his clear request for me to never disrespect them. knowing the greatness of my God i can navigate such moments with confidence simply because i know who is working in my life — and that life includes my husband. it is not my job to change him, but rather, to love him and make room for God to do His own work.
are you in a similar relationship?
how have you seen God work through your different views?
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