What to do When You are Married to An Unbelieving Husband” by Stephane Singletary

What to do When You are Married to An Unbelieving Husband” by Stephane Singletary

Finding my way through these years with my husband was difficult.
God’s love and compassion, gave me the strength to face the battle that was just beginning.
Living with an unbelieving husband is challenging, and can be downright difficult at times. We are worlds apart, thoughts afar. 
Each a day you are faced with a man who wants nothing to do with “your” God and cares only for himself and the things you are fleeing from.
He looks at you differently, says words just to hurt you, you kneel in prayer but end in this same fight over the things that pertain to God.
Are you in these same shoes?
How do we, as women of God, live with and love our unbelieving husbands?
Can I submit to this man?
How do we love them through the darkness and show them the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Year after year these are questions, I struggled with. Gal, I have knelt in the place of prayer asking that his heart be changed. My struggle was real
No one knows the heart of a man except God
 We were living in two different worlds, living in the same house, trying to raise two
children. I wish I could tell you that if you just follow these basic principles outlined for us in I Peter 3 that your husband will become a Christian in a year.

But that is not how it works. God knows when your husband will be ready to accept Him, and He alone knows what it will take for him to bend his knees and confess that Jesus is Lord over his life.

 “For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you shall save your wife?”  1 Corinthians 7:16
I wrote “Winning Him Without A Word, Learningto live and love an unbelieving husband” so my story could be an encouragement to women who are on this journey with their husbands.
Are you struggling like I did?
From the heart of a woman who has been there, who has walked this way before.
I did not save my husband, God saved my husband.
I was less than perfect at being a Christian wife to him, but through prayer and following the Word of God my husband was able to see the light in the midst of his darkness, five years later.
Today, I share these four lessons I learned all through those years:
   1.  The Power of Submission “Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husband, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without the word, may be won by the conduct of their wives.” 1 Peter 3:1 NKJV
Yes, there is that word again!
I know, it is a tough one to hear, but it is the first thing that Peter tells us we need to model before our unbelieving husbands.
God is a God of order and rank.
He has placed certain people over you in your life as a child, your parents, as worker, your boss in authority over you. 
Every time you obey the traffic lights you choose to submit to the laws of the city.
You pay your taxes because you choose to submit to the government that God has
placed in authority over you.
Submitting is not difficult, we do it all the
time; we just have a hard time submitting to our husbands, and in this case they are unbelievers. 
God has placed your husband to be the head of the home, the Commander.
Submission is a “voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden” (Greek/ Hebrew Lexicon) It means that no matter where our husbands are at spiritually we have a
responsibility to them and to God to submit to their authority.

Submission is not a giving in and bending over to let him walk all over you.
Jesus was in submission to the Father, but He was considered equal with God the Father.
We are to be in submission to our husbands, but God sees us as equals as well.
When we truly grasp the meaning of submission we will begin to see ourselves as no longer singular, but as a part of a unit, a part of a team.
Our motives for submitting to our husbands is not because “God said” so much as it
is, “God said and I love God, so I am going to submit to this man God
has placed over me, because I seek to please God above all else.”
Now you see your choice for submitting, in this case, to an unbelieving husband means that we seek his good above our own. Our motives for submitting are not for our good and our benefit, but for his good and his benefit.
  2.  Remember, You are Not the Holy Spirit “…even if some do not obey the word, they,
without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives.” 1 Peter 3:1
     This for me was a difficult passage to grasp. I am a dive in head first kind of personality, so when I gave my life to Jesus Christ I went all in. I held nothing back, and preached to every person I could.
But my husband was not ready to hear what I had to say, and the more I tried to
tell him about Jesus the farther away he went.
And there I was mistaken,
The more we try to preach at our husbands, the less likely they will respect
Christ. Our words and efforts to try to “save” them actually hinder the power
of God working in their hearts.
God does not force Himself upon anyone, He did not force you to become a Christian, and He will not force your husband to believe either.
My husband needed to see who Jesus is through my walk with Him.
A pastor of mine once said, “You may be the only Bible people ever read, and you may be the
only Jesus people ever see.”  It is about how we live before them as Christians, as true followers of Jesus Christ. Don’t try to be the Holy Spirit, let God be God and you be the light that He has called you to be.
  3. Make what’s important to him, important to you “Finally, all of you be of one
mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be
courteous,” 1 Peter 3:8
My husband and I were struggling in our marriage.
I was struggling with his lack of faith and he was struggling with my faith.
There was constant tension in our home. He was always fussing at me about our household finances. He saw the glass half empty; I saw the glass half full. I believed that God could move mountains and provide all our needs.But he saw only the low balances in our checking account and the numerous bills that came each month. He saw no way out except through hard work and cutting expenses. I just wanted to pray and believe. This created a constant battle in our marriage. 

One day, during a prayer group I belonged to I poured out my heart to my fellow sisters. I told them of the struggle we were having and asked for prayer, for myself and my husband.
One of my sisters took my hand and said, “Make what is important to him important to you.” She explained that our husbands, no matter where they are in life, need us to recognize what is important to them, and we, as Christian wives need to respect whatever that may be. Her words cut me to the core.

Just as the scripture says we are to be of “one mind” with our husbands. Some versions have the word “like-minded”.
What is important to your husband? 
Is it finances? 
Is it his career? 
Whatever it is, we must, as Christian wives, align ourselves with them and make what is important to them, important to us. Philippians 2:3.
We are to “let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself.” We are to esteem our husbands better than ourselves. This means that we are going to have to let go of what we want and pick up what they desire.
This means that we are going to have to let go of the struggle to be ‘right’.
Your husband needs to see Jesus. He needs to see the light of the gospel of grace in his life.  

When we allow our wants and our
needs get in the way of his, we block out the light of Jesus. 
Jesus laid down all that He had for you, and for your husband. He was willing to put on the flesh because you were important to Him. Your husband needs to see that example
lived through you.
When we desire a situation to be resolved or to be better, we have to be the first
ones willing to change.
 This is hard to do, take it from someone who understands and has walked this way before, it won’t be easy.
Being of one mind means that we no longer fight against them, but we now agree to fight alongside them. Your unbelieving husband needs to see and experience Christ Jesus for himself. He needs to see the sacrifice of Christ, and it all begins with you.
Esteem him,
Love him, and
Respect his desires and dreams.
They are a part of who he is, and you are a part of him. Make what is important to him, important to you. You don’t have to agree with it, all you have to do is give him the respect he is due. There is hope for peace in your home. There is hope and a light at the end of the
tunnel, you just have to be willing to walk it.
If you are struggling with and unbelieving husband or a lukewarm husband and need someone to talk to, please email me. You are not alone sister. There is someone else who has walked this way before. 4. Trust God: Finally, I want to encourage you today to keep walking and trust God through it all. Don’t give up in prayers and hope.



This is an excerpt from the book. You can buy Stephane’s book today Available in Paperback and Kindle copies

About the Author
Stephane Singletary gently leads “The Upper Room” Women’s Ministry where writes and teaches women to love Christ. 
You can find her writing regularly on her blog One Woman at A Time, on Facebook and Google+

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  • I'm learning so much here. I hope I marry someone with the same faith as mine or someone who can lead me by his faith.

  • This is a great post. I can't imagine the strength it takes to be in this situation. Love really is the answer for everything.

  • Beautifully written word. Thank you for sharing this. I'd love you to come over and link at my Date Night Party. I think this word is so relevant and needs to be shared!
    Bless you for opening your heart and sharing this!

  • This is an amazing post, Stephane. I know the struggle of this, but prayer is so incredibly powerful. I went through this many years ago with a husband who wanted to live for himself, and almost lost my marriage. It was during this time that my faith in the Lord grew, and He carried us through this hard time. To the point, where my husband is actually trying to obtain his degree to become a pastor. God is good. Thank you for sharing this post with #SocialButterflySunday 🙂

  • Excellent post right here! I'm thankful for such wisdom to share with wives who are in the same situation. Thank you for linking this post up with us at the Grace & Truth link-up!!

  • I have been a believer for almost 5 years now and I'm still praying for my husband's salvation. His thoughts have shifted over the years and I can see God working in him. What has helped was to stop being so hard on him. I just decided one day to let him to be how he wants to be and to love him exactly how he is. I have vowed to love him unconditionally. He is a child of the King, even if he doesn't recognize it yet. His time will come. I have Faith that it will! 🙂

  • This is such important truth for women who are in this position – and I know there are many of them out there! I'm so glad you shared this with us at Grace & Truth. I'd love to feature it at A Divine Encounter on Friday, but the rules require a featured post to link back to the blog of one of the hostesses. It's possible that I missed your link back – if that's the case, or if you'd like to add one, let me know and I'm happy to make it my feature! 🙂

    • Jennifer, I am not a tech person, and am surprised that I can navigate a blog at all! LOL! But if you would like to use this article I can either email it to you directly, or you can email me with what you need me to do to make it accessible to your readers at A Divine Encounter. (Sorry I am just getting back to you)

  • Such a good word for these women. It requires a lot of patience and trust that God is at work. Thanks for sharing your heart here.

  • I know all about this after almost 30 years of marriage to a non-believer. It is difficult, it can be painful and very unpleasant but it teaches you about trusting the Lord completely, leaning on Him for all things and that makes this journey all worthwhile. Trials are sent to us all, and this is mine, it may be very bumpy at times but I need to simply follow the Lord and let Him guide me through this as He knows best. I can’t change my husband, but I can show him what walking with the Lord looks like and that is what I attempt to do.

    • 8 years ago

    These are great principles and important tasks to follow in any situation where we don't agree with our hubbies, Stephane. But I truly appreciate your desire to walk with women who are "unequally yoked." It is a very common problem and not addressed often enough in the Christian community. Thanks also to Ifeoma for sharing your thoughts and highlighting your book!

  • I like this line: When we truly grasp the meaning of submission we will begin to see ourselves as no longer singular, but as a part of a unit, a part of a team. I think it is so true. We are a unit and one of us has to lead the way. God made the husband to be the leader in a marriage. Thanks for linking up with us at Literacy Musing Mondays. 😉

  • Phenomenal post! I went through this with my husband and your words spot on. The final step for me was the letting go of badgering him about church and faith. I had to let it be between the Holy spirit and my husband – not me. Shortly after I did that, my husband began to change. Today I have a husband that still doesn't live his faith as I do, however his faith is strong and is the guiding compass of his life. Beautiful post that will give hope to many struggling wives! I'm sharing this on my facebook page for sure! Blessings and smiles,

  • Phenomenal post! I went through this with my husband and your words spot on. The final step for me was the letting go of badgering him about church and faith. I had to let it be between the Holy spirit and my husband – not me. Shortly after I did that, my husband began to change. Today I have a husband that still doesn't live his faith as I do, however his faith is strong and is the guiding compass of his life. Beautiful post that will give hope to many struggling wives! I'm sharing this on my facebook page for sure! Blessings and smiles,

  • Thank you for your honesty, vulnerability and real grappling with God's word. Thank you and God bless you
    I am here visiting from FAith Barista 🙂

  • I feel like this was placed here specifically for me to find. I am married to an unbelieving husband and it is so hard for me to submit to him because I feel like I know better, and I can be very hard headed in that way. I know my actions are bringing him no closer to Jesus. He struggles with our finances as well, though I think we are in a great position. I see now that I need to champion his cause and listen with an open heart and mind when he shares with me. This post was a blessing to me.

    Visiting from #SittingAmongFriends

    • My prayers are with you Alyssa, I know and can relate to where you are at. Feel free to email me directly if you ever need some encouragement.

  • This grabbed me, "Submitting is not difficult, we do it all the time; we just have a hard time submitting to our husbands…" In Genesis God told Eve that we would all desire to control our husbands, but I didn't really think about it on the terms of submission until I read your post. We do submit to lots of people and things. It's our husbands we struggle the most with. Wow, thanks for this eye opening post. ~~visiting from #DanceWithJesus today.

  • As a newlywed, I can tell you that marriage is indeed hard as it is without having to deal with an unbelieving husband. Even with the challenges I go through, this is one area I thank God for. My husband is a believer, which I think helps us deal with issues a bit better. My mom had this struggle but in the end my father accepted Jesus, which makes my heart so happy. Thank you for sharing these honest words.

  • My mother got saved after my parents were married. These are the very same words she would tell others if she has the opportunity. Not being the Holy Spirit – that one hit me, because it was something I saw while growing up. You can't push an unsaved person into salvation no matter what you do.

    Thank you for sharing your heart with Thankful Thursdays.

  • I really needed to read this. I struggle with submitting to my husband — and at times I think how can I, especially if it's something that goes against my faith? Does that make sense.

    I appreciate your advice here and will put it to practice. I especially like your point that "you're not the Holy Spirit" – yes! I was once told, "You can't save your husband believe and trust that he's already been saved by the Lord – it will come in His perfect timing."

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely day.

  • Purposefully practicing submission helped my husband become a believer. Another friend of mine saw it work in my life, and she practiced submission, and HER husband became a believer, too! God's Word is true! Thank you for sharing this and helping others!

  • I'm so sorry you are walking through life this way. I pray the Lord grasps your husband's heart and draws him to himself!

  • The recommendation to make what is important to my husband important to me is vital in any marriage. Thanks for the post.

  • The trust God part – so huge! I can only imagine how hard it would it be to travel down this path – thank you for sharing your heart and your experience to give comfort to those traveling it now.

  • Stephane,

    I love your passion for Christ and love for your husband. Both come our in your writing. These are not only excellent ways for winning over a spouse, but sound advice for sharing the gospel, in general. I think too often, us Christians, share in ways that turn people off. We can be loud, argumentative, and insist that those around us change now. This is such a wise, refreshing, and sweet post.

    • Thank you Jed for your kind words. I once was asked to speak to a group of ladies about unbelieving family, and these same principles applied to them as well as to our spouses.

  • I agree with Anne. These are great reminders for all. Thank you for sharing this with me.

  • All of these things apply to Christian husbands as well! Great reminders

    • Thank you Anne! God's Word is applicable, no matter the situation!

  • I think the biggest takeaway here is to remember we are not the Holy Spirit. I think that applies with a believing spouse too. Thanks for sharing this story. This can apply to wives too!

    • Yes, Jonathan, you are correct. Whether male or female, learning to not be the Holy Spirit applies to every relationship!

  • Oh yeah! I love this post! It's in my "amazing blog posts" file that I keep for my Roll Out The Red Carpet Thursdays posts I do. I was planning on sharing this with my readers this week or next week! 🙂

    • Thank you Danielle for your support and for sharing! I pray that women out there who are struggling with an unbelieving, or even luke-warm husband will see and know that they are not alone, many have walked this way before!

  • I enjoyed this so much; such a wise story. I'm so glad that you linked up at Together on Tuesdays. We all need to read this, whether our husbands are saved or not.

  • Stephane and Ifeoma, I really like what your friend told you. “Make what is important to him important to you.” This is good advise for Christians wives with a Christian Husband. Are we really interested in what he is interested in? I know at times I am not interested in the ball game he watches, but we do watch a movie together or a series on TV. Thank you for sharing your helpful words here at Tell me a Story.

    • Thank you Hazel! Next to 1 Peter 3, that was the best advice anyone could have given me!

  • I really don't know how couples live this each day. I have known so many and it is a constant pressure to stay faithful. Thanks for sharing the post.

    • Thank you Debbie for your comments. Yes, it is difficult, and all these women need the love and support of other women. Prayer, and encouragement each and everyday. That is how the Lord brought me through many years of this.

  • I've known several women through the years who have been in this situation. My prayer goes out to them all; marriage can be hard enough with a believing husband, but with an unbelieving husband, I can imagine it's even more difficult. Thanks for sharing this resource.

    • Thank you Lisa. Marriage is never easy! But God, through His word gives us what we need to face each and every day!

  • "You are not hte Holy Spirit"! Yes! So difficult to remember sometimes, isn't it? Our job is not to convict people–whether its a spouse or a friend or other family member. Our job is to shine the light of Jesus.

    • Amen to that! It was and still is the most difficult thing for me to remember in regards to my husband and any other relationship I have!

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