Be a Salty Spouse

Brad says…

It is the desire of every married Christian to go deeper with God while walking hand-in-hand with their spouse. Kate’s post, “Grow Together Spiritually” gave some great suggestions on how couples can challenge themselves to walk with God, together.

For many Christians the thought of doing a Bible study with their spouse is closer to a dream then a reality. When one person in the marriage has a deeper relationship with Christ then the other, or when one is a believer and the other is not, growing together spiritually can feel out of reach.

Is it impossible for these uneven couples to develop spiritual intimacy? 

What, if anything can one spouse do to encourage the other in their own personal spiritual walk? 

These questions do not have easy answers, but they are at the heart of every husband or wife who is in this midst of this challenging situation. Here are a few suggestions to help. 

Step Back

I know you are desperate for your spouse to find God. Your soul aches for them, and you feel the hole that this disparity creates in your marriage. This is not the first time that you have tried to get them to change. That is exactly why you need to take a step back.

Evaluate what methods you have been using to reach your spouse. Are you discipling or begging? Guiding or pushing? If your methods aren’t working stop, take a step back, and pray for some insight and new ideas.

You might need to stop asking them to go to church. You might need to stop begging them to read their Bible. You might need to stop asking them to change.

Share

If you wanted to share your faith with a friend what methods would you use? Usually, it would be open conversations, and questions followed with a no pressure invitation to church, a small group or maybe Alpha.

Are you doing the same with your spouse? All too often in close relationships we start to use guilt, manipulation, pressure and “Bible Banging” to get our point across. The desperation we feel turns us from no pressure invitations to pressured demanding.

Change or Relationship

When you talk to your spouse about faith is it because you want them to change their behaviors or because you want them to have a deeper relationship with God? You know what the “right” answer to that question is, but is that what they are hearing?

It is only natural to desire to see changes in your spouse. Yet, it might be the thought of those “required” changes that keeps your spouse from a deeper relationship with God.

Non-Christians often see “thou shalt not’s” as requirements for membership. They don’t know that it is only out of an amazing relationship that our hearts desire to make those changes. Make sure you are encouraging relationship not pushing rules.

Be Salt

Matthew 5:13 challenges believers to be salt and light to the world. That is much more difficult when “the world” is your husband or wife. If you are the only “Jesus” your spouse is going to see you had better think about how you are representing him.

Dive into Scripture and figure out how God is challenging you to be a wife or a husband. If it is your husband you are trying to reach, think about how to show him what being Godly wife is all about. If it is your wife that you want to bring to a deeper faith, figure out how God wants you to be a better Godly husband.

Don’t fall into the trap of saying, “They aren’t living up to their responsibilities so I don’t have to either.” It says, “Love your wife as Christ loved the church” there is no asterix saying “*Only if she is doing her part too”.

Are you in this situation where your spouse doesn’t believe, or isn’t active in their faith? How can we pray for you? 

If you were that spouse at one time, what did your wife, or husband do that helped you to eventually find a deeper relationship with Christ?

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8 Responses to Be a Salty Spouse

  1. This story was the first thing I needed to read this morning when I woke up I have heavy heart! My husband is not a Christian and it is so hard to stay married because our interest are totally different. I don’t like being around people drinking and parties! We have been married 22 years and I wasn’t a Christian when we married. I found the lord after 8 years of marriage. I don’t trust him I love him though. He is in to Internet porn and it drives me crazy he says he will stop but I just find out later that he still doing it. I feel like all I do is worry about what he is doing and nagging him to change. I feel like we would be better to go our separate ways. My youngest son is a junior in high school and I stay for him. What do I do just pretend like I don’t know what he is doing and sweep it under a rug or do I just need to leave? Please pray for God to give me wisdom and the right path to take. I want to be in his will because I know there is no other way!
    Thanks

    • Hi Carla! Thanks so much for writing and sharing. My heart goes out to you for where you and your hubby are. Yet there is always great hope in God’s plan for marriage and intimacy! I would say, that you cannot change your hubby-only God can do that. What you CAN do is be the wife God is asking you to be. You can honor and respect your hubby, even though he is not a believer. You can support him when he makes decisions, you can encourage him and uplift him for what he does. For providing for you all, for caring for you. He was designed to do so and needs your love and affirmation of those things-they all speak respect to him, which is his way of feeling loved. I would also say that making and keeping sexual intiamcy a priority is so important! It is what God asks of both husbands and wives, but if you are making that a priority and special time for you and your hubby it will speak volumes to him about how you prioritze him.

      He should absolutely stop the porn and parties-BUT he is not a believer and we cannot automatically exspect them to adhere to our standards, simply because it is what we believe and desire. It is so tough, but you can love him through it. Is it going to mess with your emotions-yes! GOd can be all that you need him to be through those difficult times. God can be what your husband is not!

      I greatly appreciate your sharing with us. Please know that we are praying for you! God desires for restoration and blessings in your marriage. He is FOR your marriage! Blessings, Kate

  2. @Carla, I think your first step is to stop nagging him. You’re just going to drive him further away. Second, he’s not into internet porn because he’s not a Christian. He likes to look at porn because as men, we’re visually sexually driven. Emotional intimacy isn’t necessary for us to be sexually stimulated. Not that it’s appropriate behavior if you’re not OK with it. I agree that he should stop looking at it since you’ve communicated you’re not alright with it. But, as a married man with a wife that tries to modify my behavior from time to time, I can say your time and energy would be better spent by trying to engage with him more sexually, conversationally, and generally doing things for him with a servant’s heart. I feel for you because I’m in a similar situation. We were both strong believers when we married. She still is. I’m not. I couldn’t keep believing as my life experiences didn’t ‘work together for good’ as I turned to God and brought all my cares to him for help. I also couldn’t reconcile some basic earth and origins science with the Bible’s account of creation. However, I still respect my wife’s beliefs. I honor her by attending church every service, praying with her and our kids, and I stopped speaking negatively about discrepancies in the Bible and hypocrisy I observe around us in churches, religion, etc… Our marriage isn’t that good either, but I’m trying to do my part in making it as good as we can. About the party thing, it’s tough that he wants to go to parties and you don’t. On that note, I wouldn’t expect him to change. After all, you can’t expect a non-Christian to life their life as if they were one. Those are not his beliefs. I wish you the best. The decisions you’ll need to make are not easy ones.

  3. Thanks Tim it’s always nice to have someone else opinion! Thanks for taking your time to comment. Best wishes and prayers to you and your family.

  4. There’s some room, Tim, with respect to the whole “earth and origins” debate within Christianity. It’s very coherent (and quite fulfilling), to enjoy both Christianity and Science. My two cents.

    • Totally agree! To be honest, there are many times I don’t understand things in the Word, or how it all works together, but that is ok! God has it all figured out and since we are blinded by our sin, we won’t understand all until we enter into His presence. Science need not be disproved to prove God and that he sent His son to die for us. I believe science points to God repeatedly! Just my two cents as well! Thanks AtALoss for sharing! Blessings, Kate

  5. It’s funny because I was just thinking about this topic and what can be done in a marriage where each spouse seems to be at a slightly different spiritual level with God. It can feel overwhelming, like you are in a dark box. For instance, if I am always excited about talking about God and what He’s doing in my life, and how to reach out to others, and applying Sunday morning’s sermon to our walk with Christ . . . but those things seem to be the last thing on his mind and definitely not what he gets home and is all excited to talk and share about! He’d rather watch movies, talk about car models, or discuss politics. Blah!

    So is it the wife’s place to initiate doing devotions together? (This is assuming the husband is a Christian, just not at the same “excitement” level.) Or praying together? Or should she wait for the husband to take leadership in that area? Is the wife pushing if she asks about these things? Can she ask about them, and show interest, but wait for him to initiate it? Or is she pushy if she plans it on the calendar and requests they pray together every night at 8pm?

    If the answer is for her to suggest it to him, and wait for him to lead . . . then it feels like it would be good for her to find another woman who can share her excitement for God with her so she doesn’t become discouraged, depressed, or just worn out and weary from not having anyone to talk to about her passion that is bubbling inside of her.

    These are all great things to think about and discuss. I like that blogs like this are opening up the discussion.

    • Hi Kat! Those are awesome thoughts and questions. I think that it is ok for a wife to ask her husband to pray with her, expressing how much she would like that. If he doesn’t really step up to that, then I would suggest waiting. I think devotionals are a bit intimidating if your hubby won’t even pray with you. I would start with prayer. It is not an easy dynamic and there certainly isn’t any magic equation. One hubby might respond great and the next, not so much! I do agree that if you have tried a few things and are now in the waiting stage, finding a women who will pray, hold you accountable and encourage you is a must! Wise idea! Thanks for sharing! Kate