Last week at South Bay’s moms’ group, “Refresh,” Tasha Radford gave an encouraging testimony titled “Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage: Hardship to Hope.” Some of us are married to a nonbeliever and it can be tough. Really tough. And some of us have a parent, sibling, best friend, or child who have not experienced God’s love. This can also feel heavy. Because knowing a loved one does not have the promise of eternal life is heartbreaking.
But Tasha reminded us that we have choices. And the choices we make around how we love our spouse can help lead him toward or away from Jesus. It’s not our job to save, but it is our job to love with patience.
We can choose to say with hopelessness and frustration, “He doesn’t know Jesus…”
Or we can choose to say, “He doesn’t know Jesus…yet.” And then let love guide our words, actions, and expectations. With the addition of just that one simple word, “yet,” our perspective shifts from hardship to hope and we lean into God’s promise to relentlessly pursue our spouse’s heart.
2 Peter 3:9 says salvation will happen in God’s timing:
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
And when we think our spouse may be too skeptical to ever turn to Jesus, we are reminded that nothing is too big for God. Ezekiel 36:26 says:
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
BEING A FRONTLINE SOLDIER
Tasha talked about how important it is to focus on what’s praiseworthy. She is married to her very best friend, and with love overflowing from her heart, she shared how she pictures the day when her husband chooses to follow Jesus.
Whether it’s 30 days or 30 years, she will be by his side. She has chosen to be a frontline soldier on the Lord’s battlefield for her spouse’s soul and we are called to do the same. Even when it’s not easy…
The enemy sees a spiritual mismatch as the perfect tool for driving a wedge between spouses. But we can close the gap by keeping our marriage and family fully alive. By loving our spouse the way God loves him. By seeking out joy together. By being intentional about leading our children to know Jesus. And by honoring and serving our husband, even if our current beliefs aren’t the same.
“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” – 1 Peter 3:1-2
Being a frontline soldier also requires us to rely on the Holy Spirit for discernment of when and how to talk about our faith. Sometimes it may be best to say nothing, but other times the Spirit will nudge us to pray with our spouse or share what Jesus is doing in our hearts. It requires a balance of patience and boldness, something only the Spirit can arm us with.
STAYING STRONG IN FAITH
As we learn to love on our spouse and wait for God to work in his heart, we should also evaluate our own heart for areas that need softening. Is it bitterness? Anger? Anxiety? Tasha talked about the importance of having a support system that helps us work through our “stuff” and keeps us on the path of hope and spiritual growth. Joining a life group and connecting with a spiritual mentor who speaks biblical truth into our situation are both worthwhile investments that will strengthen our marriage and surrender it to God.
The more we pursue God, drawing near to His promises, the better equipped we are for His battlefield. Whether it be through the power of prayer, soaking up the Word, worship music, or podcasts, God wants to keep us close so we can learn to love like Jesus more each day.
There is comfort in knowing God is the one in charge of doing the changing, isn’t there? His heavenly pursuit is far more powerful than our earthly desires and worries. We can argue and talk until we’re blue in the face, defending our faith and what we know to be true deep down in our souls, but that’s not what God is asking us to do. He wants us to know His promises, live them out in our marriages, and find comfort in His faithfulness. Because He’s saying the same thing we are, but with supernatural power: “He doesn’t know Me…yet.”
For more guidance on being in a spiritual mismatch, Tasha strongly recommends reading Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage by Lee Strobel.
Please join us at Refresh every other Wednesday from 9:30-11:30 am. To sign up and get more info, click here.