What Should a Christian Wife Do When Her Husband is Unsaved?

“What should a Christian wife do when her husband is unsaved? What if he won’t support homeschooling, won’t go to church, etc?”

Christians should not marry non-Christians under any circumstances. When Christians willingly become unequally yoked, they have disobeyed the Lord and will suffer the consequences of disobedience. Nevertheless, the Lord is merciful, forgiving and offers grace to those He loves.

2 Corinthians 6:14-15
14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?
ESV

Occasionally, one spouse will become a Christian after they are already married and the other spouse does not. In that instance, then the believer must trust in the Lord and be obedient to the Lord.

1 Corinthians 7:13-16
13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.
16 Wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?
ESV

1 Peter 3:1-2
1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives—
2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct.
ESV

The most important thing you can do is to not become a stumbling block to your husband by your own attitudes and behavior. Give the matter over to the Lord in much prayer. Another thing to remember is that there are many, many families that homeschool for reasons other than their faith. The statistics are there to show how homeschool students excel in all areas of their lives, not just as a Christian. Share some of that information with your husband. Also, most unsaved husbands will not object to families attending church without him. If the unsaved husband resists the wife and children attending church then much prayer and thought should be given to finding the reasons for his resistance. Here a Nouthetic Counselor or a godly Titus 2 woman may be able to help.

We as women cannot make having a “perfect Christian family” an idol in our hearts. The Lord is in full control and you can trust Him to do what is best for your family. That doesn’t mean that you don’t work hard at raising your children up in the Lord, but the things that you cannot change must be given to the Lord. Your responsibility is your response to the Lord and your response to your husband and children. Don’t get in the Lord’s way of working with your husband.

The Lord will deal with each of us in His own way and His own timing. The things the Lord is teaching me today is different than what he is teaching another. My “lesson plans” He has written out for me are different from everyone else’s but they have the same goal my “sanctification” according to His Word.

Even in an unequally yoked marriage, there is much to learn about parenting in some of the good Christian parenting books, such as Family Driven Faith or marriage books such as The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective.

We as women have to seriously watch that we do not become a hindrance to our husband’s salvation by nagging and judging. No matter what, you should be respectful, obedient, and submissive to your husband and his wishes. The book by Martha Peace The Excellent Wife is very helpful for women to see just how we sabotage our own families by not being obedient to the Lord in our response to our husband. Mrs. Peace has a chapter in her book entitled “Advice for Women Married to Unbelievers; Biblical Principles for a Wife to Follow,” which is the best I have read dealing with that issue.

Admittedly, your home is not going to be the ideal situation (but then again none of ours are) but the Lord often uses less than ideal situations for His Glory:

Rahab the Harlot (Joshua 2, Joshua 6, Hebrews 11:31)

Abigail and her unbelieving husband Nabal (See 1 Samuel 25)

Timothy (Acts 16:1)

A single mother who practiced Buddhism raised Voddie Baucham and his father was an absent father who used drugs.

I even came from a very broken, dysfunctional family (Roseanne the TV show when I was young, looked like an ideal, wonderful family to me!)

Therefore, you see there is hope for even an unequally yoked family. You just must focus on being obedient to the Lord and let Him do the rest.

But it is taking so long!

Joel 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, KJV

The Lord can restore all that has been lost and with an abundance.

 


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4 thoughts on “What Should a Christian Wife Do When Her Husband is Unsaved?

  1. I appreciate your comments here and how you have addressed this subject…my situation is interesting, in that, I met my husband at bible college. We were both professing Christians…I did realize about 4 or 5 years into our marriage that I had never truly understood my need for a Savior (by that I mean I needed God to show me my sin the way He saw it)…I had repented of my sin, but could not mourn and grieve over it until the eyes of my heart were opened by Holy Spirit. Anyway, over the years I was always so frustrated by our marriage and family life…it seemed that I had to do all the spiritual work and that didn’t seem right, I became so resentful (sadly). I have repeatedly failed to be that quiet prayerful woman…allowing God to work in His way and in His timing (I know this is shameful…it’s been a matter of prayer for much of my married life). My husband is a sweet and gentle soul…very loving, always having a servant’s heart. What has been difficult for me is that he has had no desire to lead in our home…actually he would prefer that I do it. I am the dominant personality…leading, managing, ordering our home/budget, etc. comes instinctively to me, but it becomes difficult to know how to submit to my husband. I have struggled with this issue for 23 years…in a week we celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Now the interesting part that I mentioned earlier is that most recently my husband has begun to question whether he is really saved or not…if not, that could explain a lot as to my frustration over the years…thinking I’m married to a Christian…why doesn’t he act more like a Christian man should…and to be fair, he has cried out to the Lord many times over the years trying to understand why he didn’t have a passion for prayer and bible study…he didn’t understand how to disciple his children or know that he even needed to. All this has caused me great anguish for years…I SO APPRECIATE what you said about not making the idea of “the perfect Christian family” an idol. Boy did I struggle with that one. Over the years I would say to him in desperation…if you weren’t “a believer” that would clarify my situation better. I would proceed differently, but actually as I’m typing this I’m realizing that in either case I was responsible for my behavior…to be first in prayer, doing all in humility (sadly, I confess my sin of nagging and judging through those years). God is working afresh now in our lives I must cultivate patience to trust in Him. Our two children are grown…one is saved and serving The Lord full time, the other has completely chosen to live in the world…breaks my heart (never did I think this would be the outcome…I tried so hard to impart the things of The Lord as a mother). Again, I appreciate what you said here about God being in control and having his own purposes…I must rest in that.
    I apologize for the length of this I guess I just needed to share my heart.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Susan,

    Thank you for your comment and the kind words.

    Your husband may or may not be a believer. It is very hard for others to judge that, often only the Lord knows. Sometimes, actually many times, people can deceive themselves into thinking they are believers (Matthew 7:21-23). But if he is actually questioning himself that is a good thing.

    The following links might be helpful for him to read over to see where he might stand.

    Are You Saved?

    Are You Born Again?

    Hell’s Best Kept Secret

    Ten Tests of True Christianity

    How are You Serving God

    Ten “Christians” God Will Not Allow Into Heaven

    Six Signs of a False Conversion

    A wife’s submission can look very different in different families. A wife with an accounting degree would handle a budget much better than a husband who hates math and he might be very blessed by her doing so. There is nothing non-submissive in her doing it. However, if he was to say that we really need to cut out the expense for XYZ over the next few months, then submission would be the wife arranging the budget in order to cut out that expense.

    The command for wives to submit is only to the wife (Ephesians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:1-5) . Never is the husband told to ensure the wife submits; however, it is stated as fact the husband is head over the wife. The husband is commanded to love his wife (Ephesians 5:22, 28, 33; Colossians 3:19) and live in an understanding way with her (1 Peter 3:7). Sounds like by your own admission your husband has done that.

    We often tend to have expectations for other believers about things that are not commanded in the Bible. There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that says a wife cannot lead devotions in her home, even with the husband there, as long as she is in submission to him. Only in the context of the church is a woman told to not teach or have authority over a man. Unrealistic and unBiblical expectations of others will cause much heart ache in life.

    It sounds like ya’ll are growing even after so many years of marriage. You are recognizing areas of sin that need to be dealt with. Hopefully, as you grow your grown child will see the fruit of your life and the Lord will call them to Himself.

    Berean Wife

    P.S. Thank you for sharing. There are many who find themselves in similar situations who may benefit.

  2. Thank you for this article. I was a “knew the facts false christian” for 28 years and a false convert for seven. The Lord began to draw me to Himself late last year and this year after many months of struggling (my sin of unbelief), to understand the gospel, i was born again. Repentance unto salvation and grace by faith. (Another gift).
    I am married to a false professing Christian. He hates the new me. (If you knew how much of a scoundrel i was not just inward but also outward you would understand that statement better). We have nothing in common. Really tough. But I trust my King, and am learning to serve and love my Lord, and the same with my husband. I memorized and recite often 1 Peter 3:1-6.

    Berean Wife Reply:

    Lorikeets,

    It is a great gift for the Lord to grant us salvation, even if we thought we were saved long ago.

    Some unbelievers truly cannot stand believers no matter how serving and kind they are. However, since you say your husband is a false professing Christian it is very possible that the Lord is working on him and beginning to convict him of his sin by showing him the difference in your life now. Sometimes those under conviction of the Holy Spirit can fight it and become very angry when others are used by the Lord to help bring conviction. Truly all you can do is pray for him and make your life as much of a beacon of light shining toward Christ as possible. The gentle and quiet spirit, respect, and pure conduct may eventually be used by the Lord to bring your husband to Christ. But if not, then you can rest assured that you have been obedient to Christ and that you have tried to not be a stumbling block to your husband.

    I pray that his heart is changed sooner than later.

    Berean Wife

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