What if your husband is “lost”? What if he doesn’t know the Lord? What if he doesn’t go to church? Then what?
Praise be to God, Scripture tells us exactly what we are to do.
1 Corinthians 7:13 tells us, “If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.” Divorce is never God’s answer. He may have provided divorce as an out due to sexual immorality, but that was only because of the hardness of our hearts (Matthew 19:3-9). 1 Corinthians 7:10 adds emphasis to this in that “the wife should not separate from her husband.”
So we stay, and then…
1 Peter 3:1-2 instructs “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”
In order for our submission to win him over, our silence must speak volumes!
1. Put the Lord first — above everyone (including your husband) and everything.
When Kevin and I were first married, I did two things wrong. First, I did not leave and cleave (Matthew 19:15). I had just recently developed a close relationship with my mother that I had longed for all of my teenage years, and when Kevin and I got married, I held onto her. I kept her close. I made her a priority; sometimes above Kevin. Second, I put Kevin so high up on a pedestal that he could never meet my expectations.
This was bad for two reasons: (1) He was destined to fail — you cannot have the same expectations for man that you have for God. Man is sinful, selfish, and flawed and could never compare to the perfection and holiness of Christ. (2) Kevin was so high on a pedestal, he was higher actually than God. I sought Kevin’s approval, love, attention, and time. Please do not misunderstand — God was still very much a part of my life. He was so much a part of my life that it took years for me to figure out what I had done. I figured if God was part of my life, everything was good. But the prioritization is so very important — God first, then husband, then everyone and everything else. Always!
2. Go to church and Bible study.
- “meet together” (Hebrews 10:24)
- “fellowship with one another” (1 John 1:7)
This one is hard, because we often do not want others to know what we are dealing with at home. We don’t want others to think badly of our husbands because they are not there. The easy solution is just not to go to church, but the fellowship is so very important. If you are concerned about your husband’s reputation, go to a church that is out of the way, where the two of you would probably not go together. Go with family or with friends so that you have support.
3. Study the Word and hold it close to your heart. Post Scripture all around you.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16).
“And take … the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
“In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Ephesians 4:6).
Pray for yourself first — that God will direct your path; help you to be the wife He created you to be, the wife your husband needs.
Pray for your husband — that God would open his heart to the love of Christ; that he would love you as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25-33).
Pray for your marriage — that it would become the Biblical example given in Ephesians 5 with the husband as “head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church.”
5. Follow Scripture’s guidelines for being a child of God and a godly wife.
- “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22).
- “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).
- “Walk in love” (Ephesians 5:2).
- “Be subject to your own husband…in everything” (Ephesians 5:22,24).
- “…and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).
- “Set your minds on things that are above” (Colossians 3:2).
- “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5-6).
- “Do not lie to one another” (Colossians 3:9).
- “Put on … compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another, … forgiving one another, …love, …peace. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:12-15).
- Adorn yourself with respectable apparel, modest and self-controlled (1 Timothy 2:9).
- “Learn quietly with all submission” (1 Timothy 2:11).
- “Continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control” (1 Timothy 2:15).
- Be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine; love your husband and children, be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind and submissive (1 Titus 2:3-5).
“Likewise, wives, be submissive to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives – when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external — the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing — but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:1-4).