Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How to Survive a Spiritual Mismatch

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers,” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

“…she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord” (I Corinthians 7:39)

The apostle Paul warned believers that the natural consequence of being married to an unbeliever would be CONFLICT over a myriad of issues, ranging from child-rearing to finances, and the possible choking of the Christian’s faith.

Yet, for a variety of reasons, many Christians find themselves in an unequally yoked marriage (maybe by marrying an unbeliever, or one of the spouses become a believer after marriage) — and have personally suffered the anguish, anger, and arguments that often result. Marriage is difficult enough on its own, without the complication of a spiritual mismatched in marriage, and is often filled with many problems.

But there is hope. If you are Christian who is married to someone who is far from Christ, don’t despair. You can thrive despite your differences.

What does a person do when they are in a spiritually mismatched marriage? How can they calm the turbulence?

Find a Christian Friend for Support. “Two are better than one” (Ecclesiastes 4:9). There are other people who are in the same situation you are, who have survived and overcome, that will be able to help you along. Such a friend will be able to offer godly advice, consistent prayers, and an understanding ear. They will keep you from sinking into self-pity or turning sour towards your unbelieving spouse. Most importantly, they will help you stay focused on God and not distracted by the problems in your marriage. One final piece of advice: this friend should be of the same gender - and the reasons why are obvious.

Don’t Force Your Christianity on Your Spouse. Nobody likes to have religion stuffed down their throat. In fact, it’s counter productive and will only make matters worse in your marriage. Give your spouse space. Regardless of how good your intentions are, you cannot “make” your spouse commit to Christ. Remember, this is a work of the Holy Spirit, so lighten up on the pressure. It still takes the Holy Spirit to draw men/women to Christ. Simply let your spouse observe your life, and always be prepared to answer questions about your faith if asked.

Don’t Allow Your Spouse to Choke Your Christianity. This is one of the greatest dangers of a spiritual mismatch – choking out your faith. While it’s important to give your unbelieving spouse space, it’s also important that you have margin built into your life as well. Live out your faith. Don’t just talk it. Go to church. Stay faithful to church attendance. Read your Bible. Live a righteous life. Don’t compromise. Stay faithful. Don’t be pulled away from God because of martial pressure. Just be strong in God.

Be Realistic about Your Marriage. If your spouse WAS a believer, things might be better, but they still wouldn’t be perfect. Nobody has a perfect marriage. Life is a lot easier to deal with when we settle down and become realistic. This leads to contentment. It’s a trap to start comparing your own spouse to someone else in the church who seems to be “more spiritual.” Cherish the mate you have. God is bigger than the spiritual condition of your spouse. Even if the situation never turns around, you can remain joyful in Christ.

Finally, take hope because God knows about your situation and understands what you are going through. Not even a sparrow falls to the ground without the knowledge of God, and you are more important to Him than a sparrow (Matt.10:29-31).

No comments: