The Bible tells us over and over to ‘put others ahead of ourselves’. That’s what keeps us from leaving before the fire gets too hot.
When you think you can’t take another minute of the disharmony, you look into the eyes of your children, or into the eyes of the one you promised to share your life with.(Do this when you're not quite so angry.) Or you think about the amazing God who performed a miracle in your life before. You know He can do it again. You have to crucify the desires of your flesh to do the right thing.
What if your spouse does not share the same beliefs that you do? What if they live in a selfish world and make no effort to put your needs ahead of their SELF?
It’s difficult enough to share your life with someone who holds the same belief system you do. Trying to do it with an unbeliever is a whole other level of struggle.
The best thing we can do for an unbelieving spouse is to quietly pray for them. I say quietly because you don’t ever want to “throw” your beliefs in their face. I’ve seen couples use their biblical “wisdom” against their unbelieving or newly believing spouse and it only exacerbates a delicate situation, often turning the spouse away from God's truth.
Most men come to the Lord through a believing wife who has diligently prayed for them over the years and has been an example to them of the love of Jesus.
I Peter 3:1-4, “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. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
Actions DO speak louder than words, especially when trying to encourage someone to come to the Lord. Think about the people in your church who stand up on Sundays and profess to be a ‘holier-than-though’ saint, and then behave in a contrary way the rest of the week. These are the hypocrites many people use as an excuse not to go to church.
If those people are obvious to us, how much more obvious are you to your spouse if you aren’t living a Godly life, yet constantly reprimand them for not going to church with you or not desiring to become a Christian?
I Corinthians 7:12-14, “If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For 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.”
If my husband were not a believer, I would pray for him contiuously. I would also strive to perform at least one act of kindness every day towards him. No matter how little he looked after my needs, I would attempt to put his needs ahead of my own (realizing how exhausting and unrewarding that might be). I would try to win him over as Jesus did, with love.
It's not up to you to save your spouse. Only God can do that. Only your spouse can make that decision. You can plant the seeds and lead the way with your love.
God knows the desires of our hearts. He hears our pleas. He has a plan and sees the big picture. The story is only halfway over. Anticipate the happy ending!