March 1, 2021
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever departs let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?
1 Corinthians 7:14 – 16
I’ll give you fair warning: this post may be a bit controversial or hard to read. I can say that because early on in my marriage these types of messages annoyed me. Anything about submission, honoring your spouse, and Proverbs 31 (that passage really rubbed me the wrong way!) made me feel uneasy at best. After all, the people delivering those messages didn’t know me personally. They didn’t know what I dealt with. They didn’t know how I felt. Their messages seemed accusatory and impossible to accomplish. I know that they didn’t minister them that way. It was my own insecurities that gave me that perspective. I was trying to measure up to God’s word in my own strength rather than relying on His. It has taken years, but I can truly say that I have grown a lot. I know that every scripture written was done so for my good.
So, I write this challenging message today to women who are or have been where I was — unequally yoked. You and your spouse are not in the same place spiritually. Maybe you are saved, and he is not. Maybe you are both saved, but he does not seem to desire more of God than he has right now. Maybe you initiate every spiritual discipline that happens in your home, and he barely seems to pray. I have been there. I was saved at 9 years old, but I can honestly confess that I didn’t live the life of a believer when I was dating John. When I knew that our relationship was serious, I promised the Lord that I would rededicate my life when John and I got married. I definitely don’t recommend that to you, but God honored my request. I kept my word. I rededicated my life to the Lord. I got serious about living a sanctified life. I loved church and went as often as I could. I read my bible and prayed all the time. Yet, John did not seem to share my passion for the things of God. He occasionally went to church, and sometimes I think he only did it to appease me. I remember reading 1 Corinthians 7:14 over and over. I really mean over and over. I wrote it out. I prayed it. I confessed it. I wanted John to experience a relationship with God, and I wanted us to share that relationship. But my wanting it was not what caused it to be so. My job was simply to be the sanctified wife and leave the rest to God. I learned several things over the years that I am compelled to share with you today:
1) You are not the Holy Ghost — I am sure that you are aware of this, but sometimes our actions indicate that we aren’t. It is not our job as wives to convict our husbands, or worse, try to manipulate them into salvation. Our job is to present Christ through our words, actions, and deeds. I can remember all sorts of ridiculous things I would do to get John to go to church or read the bible. I would start asking him to go on Monday. I would nag. I would plead. I would leave the bible open to certain scriptures. At best it was ridiculous, and at worst it was manipulation and witchcraft. Don’t do it! You are not the Holy Ghost! Convicting of sin is His job. Drawing to Christ is His job. Ask God to forgive you if you have tried any of these tactics, and commit to being His servant and not Holy Ghost Jr.
2) You must be consistent in Christ — You can not go to church and run, shout, speak in tongues, and then go home and be hateful. You just can’t. It is confusing and inconsistent. You can’t be nice to the folks you go to church with, and be mean at home. You can’t fix the pastor’s plate, and not fix your husband’s. You have to exhibit Christ at home just like you do at church. Inconsistency does more damage in your relationship than you can imagine. Pray that you will be stable and steadfast in God!
3) You have to honor and respect your husband — This is a hard one, I know, but it is what God expects you to do. You have to honor and respect your husband. You have to speak well of him. The bible doesn’t say respect him when he is right, or when he does what you want him to do. It simply says honor your husband. Love him, respect him, and (take a deep breath here) submit to him. Ephesians 5:22 tells us clearly: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. This doesn’t mean follow him into sin or things that are contrary to the word of God, but it does mean yield to his authority as your husband. I have seen firsthand that God honors this. He can work good out of the toughest situations.
John and I got married April 24, 1999. He didn’t start consistently serving God and going to church until years later. I don’t mean one, two, or five…I mean years. On this side, I am so glad that I determined to follow God’s commands. I am so thankful that even though I made many mistakes, God lovingly corrected me and put me on the right course. I am so glad that I obeyed Him. It was not easy during the time. Actually, it was hard, but I have to believe that God can use my hard time to help you, dear sister. Nothing is wasted. Learn from my mistakes. Follow God, and obey Him even when everything in you wants to run the other way. Allow your life, believing wife, to minister to your husband. “For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband”?