In our community, our spouses sit on a spectrum when it comes to how much they accept our faith.
At one end of the spectrum, we have those spouses who hate our faith and fight tooth and nail against it. I'm sorry to say that: And it is so tough to walk through a season like that in your marriage.
Then, in the middle of the spectrum are those spouses who feel nothing about it. They express no interest either way and are completely ambivalent. "Meh, whatever," they'll shrug.
Finally, on the other end of the spectrum are those spouses who are generously supportive. They welcome the concept of faith and Jesus, and they find it not unattractive in us ... At times they find it attractive, even. In this case, the spouse hasn't yet surrendered their life to Jesus, but they would be up for it if their passion or interest was ignited.
The acceptance levels of a spouse seem to evolve over time. In my own marriage that's what has happened: Bryce and I have gently, imperceptibly walked from one far end of the spectrum right to the other end.
Amazing huh! Where does your spouse sit on this spectrum right now?
It has got me thinking, and here's what I believe:
When our spouse accepts and supports our faith, it is an act of welcome to Jesus. They are welcoming Jesus in, because they have said 'yes' to it in us and therefore in THEIR life.
All along, they have had a choice. They could choose to leave, which the Bible says some do (1 Corinthians 7:15). It's a big choice for them: Are they going to leave, or are they going to stay sharing a bed and a life with someone who smells like the aroma of Jesus Christ? (2 Corinthians 2:15-17)
This decision, for them, might be one they evaluate, deep down, over months, years and decades. They are faced with us daily and therefore the decision is constant: How are you going to respond to Jesus in your spouse?
I see acceptance, therefore, as a really, really big deal. An accepting spouse might not yet have ticked the 'saved' box in terms of repenting, declaring faith in Jesus with their tongue, and getting baptized themselves, but their response outwardly tells us that in their heart they now find Jesus a sweet aroma.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV)
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. (2 Corinthians 2:15-17, ESV)
So, if your spouse accepts your faith, celebrate it! Their heart is in the right place.
And, on the other hand, if your spouse is currently sitting on the other end of the spectrum and fighting against your faith, do not fret -- Even if it has been years. It is not over till the fat lady sings: God is fighting this battle, and there's a walk along this spectrum that your spouse is going to be taking. You may not notice the shift even; but know that many shift into a place of acceptance eventually.
On that happy note, I say goodbye for the weekend. Where are you currently sitting on the spectrum? See you in the comments.
Lynn, I couldn't stop reading this book! It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean. Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb