Most Christian wives enter into marriage with excitement, eagerly looking forward to the promise of a beautiful life of faith and devotion to God, strengthened by a strong, believing husband.
Maybe you were one of them.
Many of us have gotten to enjoy the growing faith and iron-sharpening-iron we envisioned, but for others, sadly, that's not always how the story ends.
While true believers will grow in their faith and deepen their walk with Christ, some wives are facing a completely different, scary reality.
And maybe you're one of them.
Maybe, instead of seeing your husband's faith blossom, you're watching him slowly abandon the faith.
The Bible is very clear: not everyone who claims to be saved truly is. I've known many people who seemed to exhibit a deep and growing faith only to witness them later turn their backs on the very belief system they once claimed. Some of them were husbands and fathers.
If you're in a marriage where you suspect that your husband isn't truly saved, what do you do?
I wish I could give you a hug and tell you it's going to be okay, that by your Godly conduct, you'll be able to win him over to a saving faith. But of course, I can't do that. What I can do is strengthen your hand in God by offering five Biblical tips to keep in mind during this season of struggle.
The very first thing I want to encourage you to do is to stay faithful. No matter what your husband does or doesn't do, you need to stay faithful to God and His Word. It's not always easy to continue honoring the Lord when you don't have your husband's encouragement (and even more so if he's actually trying to dissuade you from doing so).
No matter what happens, whether or not your husband repents and begins to seek the Lord again, you must stay committed to the faith.
A few months back, after a rough patch of blogging, I reached out to my friend Ruthie Gray and asked for her advice. I will never forget her straight-forward answer to me:
"Girl, have you hit your knees about it?"
I'm pretty sure Ruthie wasn't asking whether or not I'd mentioned it to the Lord in a passing prayer. She was asking if I had taken deliberate, dedicated time to pour out my heart to the Lord and to wait for His reply. (If you want to know my answer to Ruthie's question, no, I had not been earnestly praying. But after her recommendation I certainly did!)
Most of us do pray for our husbands. But when was the last time you set aside dedicated time to really, earnestly, and deeply pray for your husband's salvation? Are you crying out to God over the situation, or are you just going through your days, hoping that somehow, things will turn out?
If you are in the habit of daily, earnest prayer, keep at it! Don't give up, even if it seems fruitless right now. Don't let discouragement prevent you from hitting your knees.
If you're not in the habit yet, today is the perfect day to begin. It will take some time to get into a routine of deliberate daily prayer, but it is so, so worth the effort.
Because the Bible is clear that we as wives are to serve our husbands and to let them make the final decisions for our families (that's not to say that we can't offer our opinions or make any decisions of our own), it can be difficult to know how and when to Biblically confront our husbands.
If your husband has claimed the name of Christ but is now living in a manner contrary to God's Word, as his sister in Christ, you may need to confront him about it. Please understand that I'm not suggesting that you berate, belittle, or shame him. Instead, gently but firmly speak the truth in love, just between the two of you.
If you need some guidelines, here are some excellent things to keep in mind:
- Pray about your need to confront him.
- Approach him very humbly.
- Whenever possible, choose a time when he's fully awake and isn't stressed about work or other matters.
- Remember that it's never easy to hear your sins called out; so it's also going to be hard for him to hear what you need to say as well.
- Use Scripture to support your concerns.
(Note: If he still persists in living contrary to God's commands, you may need to take the steps laid out in Matthew 18.)
Remember Scripture's Promise
In John 10:28-30, Jesus gives us an unshakable promise:
"And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one" (NKJV, emphasis added).
This is great news for any wife watching her husband slowly abandon the faith. If he is a true believer, he cannot lose his salvation. It can be incredibly frustrating to think that your husband might not be saved. It can even be scary. But Jesus promises us that He will never lose anyone whom His Father has given Him, so if your husband is saved, he cannot lose that assurance.
And if it turns out that he actually is not saved, there is still good news from the above verses: "My Father is greater than all." Just as He has already saved those of us who are true believers, the Lord is capable of saving an unbelieving husband, too. Even though we cannot know whether or not He will, God is powerful enough to save your husband. We must simply pray and wait for Him to work.
Keep Your Eyes on Christ
As you weather the storm of a husband who seems to be abandoning the faith, keep your eyes on Christ, not your circumstances. It's so easy for us as wives to look to our husbands for love, care, and provision when we should instead be looking to the Lord for those things. Don't lose your focus on the Lord, no matter what your husband does or doesn't do.
(Note: As a final thought before I conclude this post, it's definitely worth mentioning that sometimes, there are underlying issues that can cause a person to appear as though he's losing his faith. Undiagnosed illnesses, depression, and extreme stress can all derail a person's interest in spiritual things. If you suspect that your husband is abandoning the faith, I highly encourage you to seek medical help for him to ensure that there isn't a physical reason that's causing him to lose interest in spiritual growth.)
Maybe you're a wife watching her husband slowly abandoning the faith. If so, I encourage and challenge you to stay faithful, pray steadfastly, confront Biblically, remember Scripture's promise, and keep your eyes on Christ. The road will likely be long and wearying, but keeping these five things in mind will help you to run your race with endurance. Remember, the joy of the Lord is your strength!
(Linking up at Grace and Truth)