1 Corinthians 7:14 (New International Version)
14For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
By Amy Forbes
Ok, where do I start? Well, firstly my husband and I met and married in 1994, we were both new Christians and started attending a local café style church. Whenever my husband went up for prayer it was a powerful thing, he’d usually fall down on the floor and be slain in the spirit for hours at a time – he was such an on fire man for the Lord at the time. Then over the next few years gradually his faith seemed to wane as mine grew and I’m told that apparently this is a common thing. It was so frustrating as I watched him turn into someone that seemed to hate me so much for my faith. I had such a thirst to know God more than he did and unfortunately he had many extra-curricular activities he was involved in around our community so I was alone at home most nights and weekends so with our now three small preschool children it was hard work. We attended church together every Sunday but I could tell his heart wasn’t in it, day after day when he was at home he’d watch never ending amounts of tv. Like many wives I tried talking to him about it, I also tried yelling, screaming, nagging the silent treatment but it just produced anger in both of us. One day God said to me so emphatically to stop being a dripping tap because I really did sound like a nagging wife – that stopped me in my tracks. I did come across three books that literally saved my sanity:
The power of a praying wife – Stormie Omartian
What happens when women pray – Evelyn Christenson
Lord, change me – Evelyn Christianson
In the first the author talks about how she too tried the same methods with her husband that I did plus the whole book has many awesome prayers we can use when praying for our spouses. The third one however was the most valuable because it showed me that here I was criticizing my husband and looking at his shortfalls and failings when in fact I wasn’t perfect myself – it gave me a lot to think about and really did start me off on the path to asking God to change me instead of my husband. I can’t tell how many times unkind words were said by the both of us to each other and how many arguments we had over the years – many of them so silly that I can’t even remember what most of them were about but one time I had a big pile of his shirts to iron for work and I was so angry at him for the way he’d treated me that I swore I wouldn’t do them until God all of a sudden reminded me about blessing those who persecute us and he pretty much pushed me to pick up the iron and do all of those shirts while sobbing over my ironing board venting my feelings to God. From then on whenever I was upset instead of having a go at my husband I went to God and told him all about it and every time I felt like He was picking me up, dusting me off and helping me forge ahead in my walk with Him. There were many times it was just me and the kids attending church week after week without him. Then about 2 months ago I felt God’s voice so strong saying to me “don’t say anything more to your husband, leave him for me, I’m dealing with him”. So I did, I stopped trying to get him to church, I stopped reminding him about reading his bible – I just kept quiet and then suddenly two weeks later my husband came to me and we sat down calmly and discussed our marriage in which he mentioned counseling (which was great as I’d been trying to get him to attend it with me for a good few years) and that God had been speaking to him since he’d backslid 10 years ago but that he’d been running away from His voice. Now apparently God had said to him that “it’s now or ever, either you come back to me or that’s it, you won’t get another chance”. Well, that blew me away! Since this happened my husband has been coming to church with us every week, he’s been reading his bible, the tv has been on a lot less and our relationship is a lot less strained, the kids seem to be more calm too. The best thing is that all the hurt I’ve been carrying in my heart has all of a sudden gone, it’s amazing what a simple apology and explanation will do for us ladies as we think with our hearts whereas men just don’t realize how they affect us. I can tell you one thing I’ve learned over the years, God has never left me, He was always there for me, and each stumbling block in my path was a lesson, I’ve come a long way from where I once was. I think that our husbands look at us, they don’t hear our voices they want to see the changes in us first – the bible in 1st Corinthians says that “the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband.” So true, let us be the light to others, let them see our example as we make the changes first in us.