“I try to read the Bible....but it doesn't sink in....I read it and I don't "get it".....I read it and I don't hear what other people hear....so I give up. I give up because I doubt....I give up because my husband is so stinkin mean about "religion".....”
Over the past few posts I have been sharing excerpts from a one of our new readers, Celia. Above she writes about her doubt and about lack of understanding the Bible. So many of you left comments filled with truth, prayers and encouragement. To read those posts, scroll down or start here with the first one.
On Monday I shared with you the strange phenomenon of when we mature in our faith, even a little, our need to defend Christ and to argue the truth with our spouse diminishes. When we aren’t always on the defensive, our spouses tend to back off.
Today I want to share the second truth. In every relationship and especially our marriage relationship there comes a time to: Stand up or shut up.
I actually have very strong feelings on this matter. So much so that I wrote about this very thing in our book, Winning Him Without Words. Once again, it comes down to our maturing in faith and to understanding that we and our spouses see life from two different world views. Because our spouses don’t have the Holy Spirit to help them discern life, they often become hostile. Especially when you consider the bombardment of negative/hostile information about religion they receive via media and science*.
I want to share this excerpt from chapter seven:
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).
They just don’t get it.
Using the bullhorn approach with our spouse reminds me of the uselessness of a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal referenced in 1 Corinthians 13:1. Loving our husband and living out our faith consistently, in a manner that reflects Christ’s power of transformation, is possible. An unbelieving husband can’t argue with the fact that he is living with an authentically changed wife. And that’s the key: a transformed life.
Pick and choose battles that are of lasting importance. Stand up for principals, for they keep you from sinning. Stand on the authoritative truths laid out in God’s Word.
Agree to disagree on the small stuff. Don’t depend on your feelings for these choices, but look to guidance from the Bible, and pray, pray, pray. Consider the needs of others, yourself and your husband, and then decide if the issue at hand is truly worth conflict. Surrender your need to win. Let go of your desire to control. Be the peacemaker in your home, and let Christ handle the rest.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt. 5:9).
A Transformed Life
God is in the business of change. As long as we are breathing, He will be about the work of transforming our heart, character and soul. Our entire faith-walk is designed to conform us into Christ’s likeness. Within our unequally yoked marriages, God’s plan becomes remarkably apparent. The Lord will often employ conflict with our unbelieving spouse to bring about our transformation. Darn it! ~~~~~
Conflict or dealing with a mean spouse has a funny way of changing us. It’s not what we expected when we married but God will use our unbelieving spouse to show us His depths of mercy, grace, protection and unending love.
I’m still amazed by this unexpected journey.
One other thought. I recognize that there are people who are truly mean-spirited. There are spouses who turn mean because of unresolved pain and anger from their past. People can be mean when they drink, or when they are caught up in other addictions or they suffer from mental illness. All of these are issues that can pile on top of a spiritual divide in a marriage. There is hope even for people who are dealing with these. We have hope because our Great Big God saves. He restores. He redeems. He hears our prayers.
If you need help with these other issues, there are fantastic resources available to help you and your spouse take a step forward. Seek out counseling, AA, online help through Christian organizations such as Focus on the Family. Perhaps today is the day God has called you to read this article and begin your new journey.
Celia, I hope you find some encouragement to walk this path with all of us. It’s not always the easiest. Actually, I assure you, it’s not the easiest but wow, the experiences you will have with God and His son, Jesus, are so very worth it.
Be blessed, Lynn
*One day science will catch up with the theologians and we will discover that they were both on the right track all along.