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.
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.
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.
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?