When I try to explain to someone the role of influence we hold in our husband’s lives, it’s almost too difficult to put into words what I sense so deeply in my heart. I will say it is something I feel very passionate about.
As women, we hold a very important place in the lives of our family. In many ways, as wives and mothers, we are the heart of our family. We influence the mood, the routines and the relationships of everyone in our home.
We have a wonderful biblical example in the story of Esther. Did you know she was unequally yoked? She was a Jewess married to a Persian King—a pagan. Talk about finding yourself in a mismatched marriage and a unique situation, right?
Yet if you follow the story, Esther finds herself suddenly in a position to influence her husband for the sake of her people. Yes, hers is a life and death situation but we can glean so much from her story.
At first she is afraid of the risk. If she approaches her husband and stands for her beliefs, she’ll ripple the waters. Yet her Uncle and mentor, Mordecai, reminds her that even in her place as Queen, she will not escape the fate of her people. He gently yet firmly shows her that this is most likely her time to stand strong in her faith—that it’s no accident she is where she is.
What I find so fascinating in this story is that God isn’t even mentioned verbally, yet He is very much present. Nor does Esther try to convert the King to her beliefs. Through fasting and prayer, Esther receives the strength and guidance she needs to help save her people. She influences her husband through her gentle spirit, her confidence in God and actions that garner her husband’s favor and trust. She puts aside her fear and concern for herself to achieve a greater goal than her own comfort.
As wives of faith, we stand on the front lines for our husbands. And like Mordecai asked Esther, “who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13), and as Paul asks, “How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him” (1 Cor. 7:16-17), where are we choosing to stand?
For me, I’m in this place by marriage and by calling. I feel called to stand by my husband to support him, to pray for him, to encourage him and affirm him. I want to be a reflection of Christ in his life. No, I don't go before an earthly king, but I stand before our heavenly King, petitioning for the soul of my loved ones. For me, this is a place of honor and one I want to do well—finish well. One day I will stand before Jesus, and I so want to hear him say, “well done!”
Walking in a spiritually mismatched marriage means leaving our places of fear and walking in courage and confidence that God has placed us in our marriages for a higher calling than our own happiness. I know that can seem overwhelming at times, almost as if it’s too much responsibility, but the beauty of it is, we are not called to function in this place of influence within the parameters of our own definition and strength. As I’ve said before, God never places us somewhere without equipping us. (And please understand that I’m not saying we must stay in abusive marriages—that is a very different situation.)
Finally, I want to tell you that in this place of service, which I consider to be so very noble, God meets our needs. Every one of them. This is the part I find difficult to put into the words. The lonely places, the disappointments, the heartache, the struggles—God has met me in every one of these places and has met my need, healed my heart and taught me how to walk the path of a mismatched wife.
All this still within the parameters of a mismatched marriage. Not after my husband came to faith. Now. This frees me to love my husband just as he is and allows me to enjoy our marriage. My focus isn’t on our differences, which often causes us to see our spouse as an enemy. My focus is on seeing my husband as my partner and friend. And I know if I’m feeling this freedom, he is too. That’s how I’m influencing him.
Next week I will talk more about this place of influence in our mismatched marriages and talk about what that looks like. In the meantime, start praying and asking God what place He’s calling you to in your marriage.
Dear Lord, I ask that you help me to understand my place of influence in my husband’s life. Let my heart be knitted to his as a conduit of your love and mine so that he may know who You are. In Christ’s name, amen.
Praying and believing,