What does God want me to do with my Marriage? That is the question so many godly wives ask as they face circumstances and situations they never imagined. Are you such a wife? A godly wife trying to learn how to be a biblical wife to an ungodly husband.
You are not alone. Today Kira Bridges will share part of her story with us about how God gave her Hope for Marriage, re-directed her, and turned marital problems into a healthy successful marriage.
Stay to the end to see a video where I go more in-depth about becoming a godly wife!
Be sure to follow the Entire Series on the Hope For Marriage Event Page.
How To Be a Biblical Wife To an Ungodly Husband
In the course of one week, three different women sent me the same portion of scripture (about being a biblical wife):
“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” 1 Peter 3:1-4
The first time I received these words, I thought my friend must have misunderstood my situation. “What does submitting to my husband have to do with him needing to shape up?” I wondered. I’d rather hear Bible verses about being hurt by my husband.
What I need to know is how to be a biblical wife to an ungodly husband!
I tried to ignore their advice, but God kept sending His messengers. By the third time these verses appeared on my screen, I was fed up. “God, why should I submit when he doesn’t have my best interests at heart? You told him to love me like Christ loved the church, and if he isn’t doing his part, then I can’t do mine.”God, why should I submit when he doesn’t have my best interests at heart? You told him to love me like Christ loved the church, and if he isn’t doing his part, then I can’t do mine. Click To Tweet
God Answered This Godly Wife’s Prayer
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a response.
I thought my argument was pretty sound. Submission needs trust, trust comes from love; no love = no trust = no submission required. (To be fair, my husband did love me, but things were rough and this is how I felt.)
But as I sat in the silence, a scene unfolded in my head. I stood before the throne of God and He asked me to give an account of my actions as a biblical wife. I started to explain about my husband when God interrupted me, “Your husband? He is not here. This is about you.” My heart became heavy and I hung my head; I had no account to give.
At that moment, I realized my behavior cannot be dependent on my husband. God expects me to be a biblical wife, even if my husband never embraces his godly role in our marriage. That is what 1 Peter 3:1-4 is all about; living a life that is pleasing to God—A life that reflects His nature to the world, and of course, to my husband. A life that asks what God expects from a wife, a godly wife.
With this new perspective, I surrendered; “okay God, just show me how to be a godly wife.” Over time, here is what He taught me about how to be a godly wife.God expects me to be a biblical wife, even if my husband never embraces his godly role in our marriage. Click To Tweet
(This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here for full disclosure.)
5 Steps to be a godly wife to an ungodly husband
This Post is not talking about a wife in an abusive relationship. Dear Wife, If you are being abused -physically or emotionally please seek help. This link may help. There is NEVER a justification for abuse. There are places that will help you and your children.
1. A Godly Wife Must Pray
Prayer invites God to work in our lives. Start by asking God to help change you into the biblical wife He desires you to be. Ask Him to reveal the areas you need to work on and to give you the discipline to achieve personal and spiritual growth.
Also, pray for your husband. Only God can convict our husbands of their sin and mold them into godly men. But we can be our husband’s prayer warriors. Plead with God to work in your husband’s life and pray against attacks from the enemy.
Do you need help with this? Are you asking things like, “How to pray for my husband who left me”, or “How to pray for a husband with a hard heart”?
Learn How to Create Prayers for Marriages in Trouble: War Room Prayer Strategy here and get a list of verses to pray.
Praying Scripture for your Marriage Starting a prayer journal provides you with a strategy for strengthening your marriage by praying God’s Word. In it, you can build a strong defense around your marriage to guard against Satan’s lies and temptations, by praying through four areas:
- Claiming victory over the enemy
- Surrendering to God’s will
- Becoming a godly woman
- Strengthening your relationship with your husband.
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4: 10-11NKJV, emphasis added)
God loved us without being loved in return. Our love for our husband should imitate God’s love for us. But the question is, “how to love your husband unconditionally?”.
Theologian Miroslav Volf explains unconditional love this way,
“You love God for nothing, or you don’t love God.”
He uses marriage as an example saying if he only loved his wife for everything she did for him, and how she made him feel, then he didn’t actually love her.
Biblical love cannot be conditional. It cannot depend on whether you feel loved, or whether you receive love in return. Even when it is hard and painful to do so, you must love your husband unconditionally.
“It [Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a (NIV)
Related: 13 Powerful Ways to Show 1 Corinthians 13 Love in Marriage
3. A Christian Wife Shows Compassion
Bitterness will thrive in the heart of a Christian wife who doesn’t show compassion to her husband. (Ask me how I know.) But bitterness is not an attribute of a biblical wife, so we must learn how to have compassion for our husband’s sin.Bitterness will thrive in the heart of a Christian wife who doesn’t show compassion to her husband. Click To Tweet
Being compassionate for your husband means acknowledging your own sinful nature and how hard it is to overcome sinful tendencies. It also requires setting aside anger for understanding and demonstrating grace and mercy because that is what Jesus does.
Having compassion for your spouse’s sin does not mean you ignore the sin. The Bible makes it clear we are to gently call out sin in the lives of others.
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.”Galatians 6:1 (ESV)
But we can be hard on the sin while still loving the sinner.
Need help with this? Check out Boundaries in Marriage.
4. A Godly Wife will Lead From Behind
Remember my argument with God? How I essentially asked, why should I submit to an ungodly husband? I struggled to obey not because I was against submitting, but because it seemed foolish to submit to someone who wasn’t walking with God.
What helped me get over this mental block was an article by Rick Thomas called Nine Effective Ways to Disciple Your Husband While Submitting to Him. Rick makes it clear that wives are not supposed to passively accept their husband’s immature Christianity. He states:
“One of the wife’s primary responsibilities in her marriage is to counsel her husband. She is the number one sanctifying-agent in her husband’s life.”
He calls this our responsibility to disciple our husbands; to offer them biblical care and to point them to Jesus. But we in doing so, we must remain within our God-ordained role and therefore, lead our husbands from behind. This includes praying for your husband, demonstrating the behavior you desire to see from him, encouraging him, and giving him opportunities to learn from godly men.
It took me a while to completely wrap my head around this concept, so I highly recommend reading Rick’s full article here. (This article is addressed to women whose husbands claim to be Christians but who are not stepping up to be the godly leader in the family, which was my case. However, even if your husband isn’t a self-proclaimed Christian, I think you will find it helpful.)
5. A Godly Wife must also learn to Forgive
I’d love to share the Pathway I found to truly forgiving the Pain, Abuse, and Betrayal that stoke so many years of my life. I was stuck, unwilling to forgive. I had to learn to release people so I could walk in freedom! I’d love to share that story with you – It is a Free download below.
Being a Godly Wife to an Ungodly Husband is Hard Work
Let me repeat, being a godly wife to an ungodly husband is hard work. It doesn’t seem fair, and somedays, it might not even feel worth it. But I promise it is! Over time your behavior may win over your husband as 1 Peter 3:2 suggests. But even if it doesn’t, you can stand confidently in God’s presence and say, “I did my part. I followed your instruction and worked hard to be a biblical wife – to an ungodly husband – in whom you can delight.”
Do You Need To Go Deeper?
This is part of the 9-week Marriage Bible Study –Finding Hope & Joy in Marriage. Through this course, we will explore the 9 Biblical foundations of having a successful marriage in God’s way.
This class will include:
- 10 video lessons
- You can watch live or when you have time
- 9 weeks of personal study
- 5 days each week that should take 10-15 minutes
- A private Facebook Group to discuss the homework and talk through the weekly challenges
- 45 Days of Prayer prompts
Kira Bridges is a writer and online mentor for Christian women. She is all about finding practical ways to honor God with your whole life. Kira provides Christian encouragement and resources for living a set apart life on her website, KiraBridges.com. You can connect with her on further on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you enjoyed this you would also like these Posts:
- 14 Characteristics of a Godly Wife that will Save Your Marriage
- 40-Days to Be Still and Know God More
- How to Fast and Pray in a Way that Pleases God
Some resources that can help you if you are struggling in a difficult marriage, an ungodly marriage are below
56 thoughts to “How To Be a Biblical Wife To an Ungodly Husband”
Love this testimony! Thank you for your transparency in sharing what God has taught you. I appreciate the practical help to navigate this path 🙂
Thank you! This article really helped me!! I took a lot of notes. I was really struggling with this….I felt like…. why isn’t my husband stepping up spiritually in our family and leading us in prayer, bible reading and attending church….I felt like I some how left that box unchecked before I married him but he went to church with me….with me…..we are now married 15 years and looking back through out the years I have always been the one to find a church, lead the prayers and bible reading…..so I am feeling frustrated because I feel like…. it is only me that wants a closer relationship with GOD and only me that feels like if our family is close to GOD we wouldn’t be experiencing some of the problems we are having. Thank you again for this article.
I get that Sharron… I live in it. So glad you found this and it blessed you. I am praying for you and your family.
I am so glad you found this helpful. What you are experiencing is so common, yet not often addressed. Definitely check out the Rick Thomas article I linked to about disciplining your husband if you haven’t already.
This was amazing and somehow or shall I said I was lead to see this even though its almost two years later
Praising the Lord with you Stacy and praying for you today.
Wow, this article really hit home with me I thought I was one in a million going through this. MY husband is a Wonderful man by any means does anything to help anyone in n need, but when it comes to following me in going to church or simply praying he will not do it. I have tried to express what it would mean to me and to us but he can’t.
I am so glad this helped encourage you. This is a common problem… yet most of us feel like we are the only ones. So glad we can be real here!
You are definitely not alone Debbie! I can’t stress how important it is to pray for your husband’s heart because even if he did go to church or pray just because you asked, it wouldn’t be sincere. Only true heart change will make a difference, and no one but God can make that happen.
What if he is a gambler and dispite disapproval he continues? His grown sons are following him. He is also going to a pagan church. I left the pagan church and got saved 20 years ago. We have been married over 30 years. Now all our sons are grown up. I am retired and babysitting our grandkids.
I still go to church and pray.
Barbara I am praying for you in this situation. You are not alone. We all struggle with sin that becomes addicting – even when it is destructive to our families. Some sin is just more visible than others. Some of the ladies wrote about this in this article. I pray it encourages you. http://hopejoyinchrist.fistbumpmedia.com/reclaim-hope-joy-betrayal-marriage/
Hi Barbara, so sorry to hear about situation. I believe the tips in this article are still applicable for you. But please understand that having unconditional love and compassion for your spouse does not mean he can do whatever he wants without consequence. I highly recommend reading Boundsaries in Marriage. They talk about dealing with spouses with addition and other distructive behaviors in a biblical way.
My husband told me that even though he vowed to be faithful to me on our wedding day, that he cannot promise to be, nor can he promise not to ogle women and fall back into pornography. I told him before we ever got together that porn, cheating and lying were not going to be accepted and that if he cannot be faithful, he should not pursue me. He promised me that his former addiction to porn was well behind him, that he was never turning back, and that he only ever wanted God and me. Well, 10 months into our marriage, I discovered that he was stalking my friends on Facebook, lusting after them, and that every single device he owned had porn stashed on it somewhere. He was doing this even during our engagement, so he knew that he was deceiving me when he told me that he was faithful. My heart and trust are shattered. He married me under false pretenses. I am warring between what this article says and the sick feeling within me that tells me he is into a lot worse than I realize. Please pray for me and share anything that the Lord asks you to share with me.
I am praying for you friend. It can be so hard… There aren’t words that will help here. Only prayer and trusting God to guide your steps. He has this… even though He allows us to feel the consequences of others sin. We’ll talk about this in the class. Keep an eye out for week 5 and 6.
I’m so sorry to hear this…I have gone through a similar circumstance. Found out my husband lied and was addicted to pornography around 11 months into the marriage. Even though I told him the same thing you told your man. I too felt tricked and trapped into a marriage that I didn’t want. Almost 2 years later I am a woman who God actually used the situation for MY benefit spiritually. I have never been more secure with who I am in Christ even though I have a lot left to learn. Me and my husband are still married, expecting child #2 and he has taken steps to help stop the addiction. He claims now to be an unbeliever so that’s a whole new trial itself. But God has shown me how to look to him for ALL things instead of yo my husband. If you would like to chat please contact me I would love to see how I can help you. Praying for you!!
Thanks for sharing your story! What a blessing that God turned things around and blessed you in this way!!!!!! Praising Him with you.
I have a hubby who is using drugs and constantly manipulating situations lying, I cry everyday trying to get through to him, I have failed as a Christian and he is a non believer……… at a point where I’m closed in against a wall please help!!!!!!
So sorry things are so tough, Veneshia. I highly suggest counseling for you to help you set up boundaries to stay safe while or until he gets help. Often boundaries help our husbands see they must get help, but not always so a good counselor can help you see things clearly and make wise choices. ALl the while I will stand with you in prayer that God will move in miraculous ways!
It’s not often that I leave comments anywhere but I felt the need to after reading your post. We can only hope and pray that the Lord sees our hearts and protects our men. I can’t help but to think of the beginning when Adam and Eve were created. Man being first, but it was Eve who was tempted by the devil. We women need to be protectors of our husbands. Just doing what the Lord asks of us may save the life of them. Peace and blessings to you!
Thanks for that Jennifer. So true, God protects us in ways we can’t always understand. And we are helpers in that way! such truth.
God, why should I submit when he doesn’t have my best interests at heart? You told him to love me like Christ loved the church, and if he isn’t doing his part, then I can’t do mine.”
I struggled with this too. Waiting waiting until someone else took care of their business before I took care of mine. That can be a long wait. Then I turned to Jesus as my husband while mine earthy husband struggled. That made all the difference. I trust Jesus. I can move forward with his love for my husband and my family and me!
That is it exactly Tanya! Thank you for sharing your heart. I too struggled, waiting for him to get his part right… but as I’ve surrendered to God about this He has been working wonders in my husband as well!
Thank you for this article. I am really grateful to God for leading me to this website. I got married 6 years ago to a man I thought had become a Christian. We went to church together before getting married, and both served together as ushers. He promptly stopped serving in church after we got married. It’s now been 2 years since our church split and he quit church altogether. He refuses to read the Bible and is indifferent when I talk about anything to do with Christianity. We clash every time I try to teach our 5 year old daughter what’s right and what’s wrong. It is very frustrating! I have been praying about this for 6 years (on and off since I get tired sometimes). It has also been a very lonely journey. I’m still waiting on God. I trust I will learn a lot more from this website and this community of believers.
When the church splits it is hard on all of us… but more so when a believer is immature. They tend to base their identity in the church rather than Jesus Christ (since they can see the church) so when it splits they have an identity crisis. I would love to help you craft a prayer strategy to go deeper into the heart issues of what is happening with your husband… though you may already have one 😉 SOunds like you are working hard toward hs soul spiritually. Reach out if you would like help. Praying over you today in the meantime.
I could use all the help available Tiffany! I’d really appreciate your help to craft that prayer strategy!
absolute. Let’s chat privately through it. Either through email or on FB – you can private message my page there – facebook.com/hopejoyinchrist
My husband is an unbeliever please i need prayer for him
Praying right now, peace.
Wow, I was really feeling alone. And foolish. I know what the Bible says. We were awesomely compatible for probably 7 of our 17 years. Been through more than our share of trouble but we were fine. I don’t know what hurricane came through but it did and my husband’s heart changed. He did a 360, he cheated. I decided to stay. He never asked for forgiveness I found out. Then he acts like he hates me. He is resentful of me I have no clue why. But I pray for him still. And something biblical tells me to stay. I deserve better behavior but God has me planted. He stopped going to church when his mom died 3 years ago. This was just so timely for me. Thank you.
Praying for you and for this hard situation Deedee. God can work mirricles when we honor Him through the difficult seasons.
I just found this and it really spoke to me. I have struggled over the last 5 years (we have been married for 6) to be a godly wife to my husband who claims that he has accepted the Lord but refuses to live like it. It is reassuring to know there are other women who face the same thing. I always feel so alone! I know the Lord is with me but there have been some dark, dark times.
Praying over you today Traci!
What a beautiful post Kira. So transparent. I watched my grandmother do this very thing, and she did it beautifully, faithfully, and with the right spirit. Lots of prayer and eventually my grandfather came to know the Lord as his savior. It was a special day I will never forget! Her years of being obedient to God paid off in a very big way! No doubt, had she not played her roll right, things may have turned out differently for my grandfather, but God used my grandmother to bring him to His Savior! Thanks for these lovely reminders!
Pinned & Tweeted.
Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!
I love hearing stories like this… they are rare in our day but I pray they begin to be more common. God really can use marriage to bring our spouse around if we stick with it (outside of abuse of course)
Prayer! I’m slowly learning to pray instead of responding to my husband in anger.
I love that this is the lesson God is teaching you. Everything changes when you begin praying first.
This is a great post that doesn’t grow old! I love this statement that caught my attention: “He calls this our responsibility to disciple our husbands; to offer them biblical care and point them to Jesus. But we in doing so, we must remain within our God-ordained role and therefore, lead our husbands from behind.” Leading from behind…wow! I will go read that reference post by Rick Thomas.
Rick Thomas has lots of amazing things. Another I love is on Pre-forgiveness. Hope you enjoy!
I’m sure your readers will find this helpful.
There are some in a tough spot. Our prayer is that they find hope.
I’m sure these tips will help a lot of people
That is our prayer, Paula. Thanks for stopping by 😉
I am married to a man who was once godly, but has backslidden. I definitely feel conviction to pray more for my role as a wife. It’s hard to be an example for my husband when I don’t ask God to work in me!
It is more and more common and so hard to work through. Praying over you today as you commit to being a praying wife. God will honor that.
im reading this but im a man in a marriage with a women who doesnt have my best interests at heart. I assume this all applies the same for a man in reverse?
It really does. The Bible tends to apply things in both ways. Praying over you and your marriage today Inu.
No one from my church has been able to help guide me. My 19 yr marriage has been abusive. He has sinned aggregiously. He has had a sin and repent lifestyle. Im suffering severely from the years of his ptsd and narcissism. Who do I talk to? Please steer me. I’m about to loose my mind. I pray 24/7 for years now since my grandson died near me. His mom can’t have any now. Her 2nd loss off a child and my husband tried to groom her for sex after her last child died. God can’t possibly expect me to respect and submit to this evil man? I can’t walk away. No income if I did. And I re home horses and many other abused animals. I’m really in a mentally strained position getting worse. And God keeps me a prisoner with a psychotic Christian??
I’m so sorry this is the situation you are living in. No, I don’t believe God calls us to live as a prisoner in any situation. When it begins to feel that way I believe God is filled with grace and mercy. There are many biblical cases where husband and wife separated. Abraham and Sara even lived separately near the end of her life… probably because he tried to sacrifice their only son 🙁 This is a tricky situation and will require much prayer and wisdom. I will stand with you in prayer over this that God will open doors to get you out safely and provide for you financially through the transition. And that God will change the situation going forward… work healing and hope into everyone’s heart so that the future is not covered with shame and bitterness.
Well i wish i had come across this 2 years ago satan stole my husband and destroyed my marriage we got divocred but i still love my husband very much.
I’m so sorry things happened that way, Mary. I am praying over you both today. Divorce hurts. It changes so much. But we can always go to God in prayer for hope and healing – even after the divorce. There are many days I pray for my ex-husband. I pray for his salvation, healing, forgiveness, and family. Prayer is a way to love them even when they are gone. And we can trust God with the results.
Thank you for this . God is doing great things even when I can’t see it or sense it or feel it. I just needed this today and will be returning soon ❤️🙏🏻
Praying over you today, Dar. So glad this encouraged you!
I have been there and couldn’t agree more with all that you’ve said. It’s not easy to do at first, but with much prayer and trusting God with each step, it can be done. God’s word NEVER fails! Admitting to God why I struggled with it/what I feared would/wouldn’t happen, really helped me in surrendering to God.
Amen. Thank you for sharing, Melanie. God is so good to do mighty things!
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