How To Fight For My Unequally Yoked Marriage

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Have you ever doubted the faith of your husband?  Questioned his salvation?  Wondered why he seems stuck about certain spiritual matters?  Begged God to grow him up into a man of authentic faith living out his calling as the Spiritual leader of your home?  Today we are standing together to fight for unity in our marriage whether you are in a difficult season or offensively preparing for the next difficult season.  The focus of our fight today is the unequally yoked marriage.

Living in an unequally yoked marriage is hard in every way, but over the years I've learned to fight on three fronts to get real victories.   This is my strategy: Defend my thoughts Stand in prayer Use words of affirmation Click To Tweet

What Is An Unequally Yoked Marriage?

If you have ever asked, “What is an unequally yoked marriage?” chances are you are in one.  

To be unequally yoked is to be different in what you believe.  Sounds simple right?  And who doesn’t have differences in belief from their spouse?  The issue becomes serious when your core beliefs and values are different.  Let’s look closer. 

What Does God Say About Being Equally Yoked?

By looking at the unequally yoked verse in scripture we can see what God says about this issue.  

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” 1 Corinthians 6:14

This is very clear.  We are not to be close to unbelievers.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t know unbelievers or be around them, only that they should not be who we are close to. 

  • Not as a best friend or a close friend. 
  • Not as someone you turn to for advice. 
  • That would imply not in marriage either.

This verse or passage is not speaking about unequally yoked marriage but God does speak to marriage later on and we’ll look at that as well.  

Married To An Unbeliever Scripture

“…If any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away.

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband;

Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?” 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 NASB

We see here that God does not forbid marriage to an unbeliever, however, it can be so hard that he does give an out for it which is so rare.   So use caution when thinking of entering an unequally yoked marriage!
  • If your spouse, who doesn’t believe, wants free set them free HE says.  
  • If your spouse wants to stay and work on the marriage, stay, and work on the marriage see what great things God can do!

Can Unequally Yoked Relationships Work?

Before we go further, lets clear up what it is to be in a spiritually unequal marriage.  It could be one of several things:

  1. One spouse was saved and the other was not when they married.
  2. Both spouses were lost at marriage but one got saved after the other did not. 
  3. Both spouses were saved at marriage and one has fallen away from God.
  4. One spouse is more mature or stronger in their faith than the other. 
    • I’ll come back to this in a moment.

In a spiritually unequal marriage, one person believes strongly while the other does not.  Regardless of how they ended up in that situation, it is tough because strong faith leads to a very counter-cultural life.  An unequally yoked marriage can cause disunity in marriage in a very deep way!

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What Is An Unbeliever?

Maybe you are reading this because you keep hearing about an unequally yoked marriage but you are confused.  I can relate!  The issue comes up and is quoted often but if you are not religious or if you are only moderately into God and church it can be so confusing.  

An Unbeliever is someone who does not believe in God, who has chosen to ignore the love of God shown by sending Jesus His Son to die to pay the price for their sin.  Maybe the choice hasn’t been officially “made”, but by putting it off they have chosen in a way.  

Why Does It Matter If Christians Date or Marry Unbelievers?  

Marriage is hard.  Two different lives join together creating love and beauty, but also tension and conflict.  When two people disagree about serious issues, like life and death, how to raise their children, political issues, it creates a divide of disunity that is hard to overcome.  

When a Christian marries an unbeliever, they don’t often realize the trouble just around the bend.  Until Christmas or Easter when they see a huge difference in how they celebrate.  Until the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job or the birth of a child.  These big life situations show who we trust and who we turn to when we are hurting. 

Unbelievers can be amazing people, but they don’t understand faith and often belittle the Christian spouse.  It can be tough to navigate.  

Can Two Believers Be Unequally Yoked? 

The last question I want to answer before moving into how to fight for your unequally yoked marriage is a tough one to tackle.  
 
Can two believers be unequally yoked?  Yes and usually.  
 
No two people believe exactly the same and that is how God created us.  On top of that, men and women practice their faith differently so it’s difficult to compare “levels of faith”.  One thing you can count on is that we are all walking with Jesus at different places in the path.  
 
One spouse may love spending time every day reading the Bible.  Maybe they consult commentaries, dig deeply into word meanings, and pray for hours on end over the topic.  
 
The other spouse may be content to go to church from time to time and keep their faith private. 
 
Before you write them off as unbelieving because their faith doesn’t look like your faith I want to advise you to do a few things first.
  1. Look for fruit in their life – they may just be a slow grower.
  2. Compare the past with the present – Sometimes we miss the growth because we are too closely focused on the lack in the present.
  3. Talk openly about your faith and ask regularly about theirs – some people are just private and need prompting to discuss things.
  4. Pray.  Pray long and hard over these issues asking for God’s wisdom about moving forward.

How To Fight For My Unequally Yoked Marriage

My first husband pretended to be saved only to be caught with no fruit, lying and cheating.  Why?  Why do people pose as believers?  What would make them want to marry someone under false pretenses?  

My second husband was lost when we married.  I thought it would be better going into marriage with both eyes open.  Until I realized how hard it was to believe so differently.   

After years of prayer he got saved, but he practices his faith so differently than I do that I often have to wonder about it.  Because I’ve been saved soooo much longer than him we are deeply spiritually unequally yoked and probably always will be.  

My heart in writing this today is to help other wives drowning in the ocean of need and longing that comes when this is the reality of your marriage!

Related: Equally Yoked – God’s Perfect Plan

The Need Is Real For Spiritual Intimacy In Marriage

I long to see authentic faith in my husband.  It is a deep deep need.  Living in an unequally yoked marriage is hard in every way, but over the years I’ve learned to fight on three fronts to get real victories.   This is my strategy:

  1. Defend my thoughts
  2. Stand in prayer
  3. Use words of affirmation

Faith comes under fire in our life daily.  Never forget – we are at war.  There is a battle raging in the Spiritual Realms.  We can’t see it, but we can certainly feel the effects of it in our lives and in our Marriage.

The enemy would love nothing more than to spread doubt, fear, and hopelessness about our own faith.  If that doesn’t work he quickly goes on to whisper a shadow of doubt about our spouse’s faith.

What’s more, there may be truth in his whispering – an inch of truth goes a mile for destroying unity and stirring the pot in a Christian Marriage going through a difficult season.

Related: How to Fight for Unity in a Difficult Christian Marriage

1. Guard Your Thoughts Thoughts In An Unequally Yoked Marriage

The enemy chips away at us in our thoughts.  We make his work way too easy when we do not fight back.  How do you fight back in our Thoughts?  So glad you asked!

Step 1.  Take Every Single Thought Captive.

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5 

Step 2.  Take every captive thought through the Philippians 4:8 Test

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things (Philippians 4:8 NASB).

I’ll take you through this Test for my thoughts – since those are the only thoughts I know.

As I begin to pray and feel frustrated that we are stuck in this same place – again.  The enemy begins to play those same fears out in my thoughts… those thoughts I need to take captive or else end up in a pit of sin myself.

Is he really saved? 

If he were saved would you still be struggling with this? 

Maybe it was a lie. 

He’s such an immature believer if it’s real. 

You are unequally yoked. 

How can he lead when you are so much more mature than he is? 

He has messed up so many times he’ll never get this right. 

We all suffer while he is growing in this area… 

Related: Understanding How Thoughts Affect Communication & Changing Our Thoughts to Improve Communication in Marriage

The Philippians 4:8 Test  

  1. What is True?

    • Is my husband saved?  He says he is and I am not God.
    • Has my husband grown spiritually?
    • Who am I to judge that?
    • God will judge him in this area one day.
    • I am saved.
    • God has told me to love all – saved or lost.
    • I am to bear others’ burdens and show compassion instead of judgment.
    • I can only see his actions – not his thoughts, intentions, or faith.
  2. What is honorable?

    • He makes mistakes but he is not his mistakes.
    • There is good in him about faith.
      • He does not stop me from growing in my faith.
      • There are times he goes to church with me and engages about it.
      • I remember when he would never go to church – he has grown here.
    • He cares that the children have faith
  3. What is Just?

    • His faith is personal and will not look like mine.
    • I have punished him in the past for not conforming to my way of faith.
    • His faith is between him and God and I have to leave it there.
  4. What is Pure?

    • I will not compare him to anyone else.
    • While I pursue authentic faith I will guard against friendships with other men who are pursuing their faith.
    • I will intentionally seek out other like-minded wives to study the word with.
  5. What is lovely?

    • He does not need to meet my expectations about authentic faith.
    • I want to assume his intentions are good even if he falls short.
    • He read his verse of the day when he was exhausted from work.
    • He is trying his best – not my best his best – and that matters.
  6. What is of good repute?

    • He has trusted me enough to share that he struggles to understand scripture.
    • If he were anyone else this would be enough.
    • The pressure to figure all of this out as an adult is huge and he is doing the best he can.
  7. What is excellent?

    • He has a bible.
    • I have seen him read the bible.
    • He has bible apps and has shown me things in his Uverse thing that is personal.
    • He goes to church with us when he can.
    • There are many areas he has grown this past decade.
  8. What is worthy of Praise?

    • My husband is a child of God.
    • God loves my husband so much that He sent His Son to die for his sins.
    • The Holy Spirit is working in my husband – even when I can’t see or understand.

Just a word to those wives reading this thinking I know 100% that my husband is not saved.

To The Wive Who’s Husband Is Not Saved

It can be difficult to respect our husband when we are saved and they are not.  I know that feeling all too well of feeling trapped in an unequally yoked marriage.

When Bud and I married, I was sure it wouldn’t matter that he was a non-christian.  Little did I know the pain of differing in this most core part of who we are.  It became the fighting point in every disagreement.  “You’re just over the top about all this Jesus stuff.”  and so on.

I praise God for the day Bud was saved.  That day came after several years of intense prayer. 

I believe God can save anyone!  Never stop praying for your husband’s salvation!!!!!!!

I found every verse I could about salvation and faith and prayed them back to God, claiming Bud under the blood of Jesus.  His name went on every prayer list I could find.  If anyone asked if they could pray – I wanted them praying for his salvation.

You Are At War

That was a war and I chose to fight for authentic faith through prayer.

Fight this war with strategic specific scriptural prayer!  God is for you.  He will answer.  God’s answer to that prayer was one of the first and it built a faith in me that continues to Grow.

Now my prayer is for Bud’s faith to be authentic faith that is growing so that he will one day lead our family Spiritually.

2 Fight With Prayer For Your Unequally Yoked Marriage

Faith is something that we can never pray too much over.  I’ve separated it into sections because you may not need all of this.  Pick what applies to your situation and take your heart to God.

Pray For Yourself

A Prayer for Myself as I seek to respect my husband and grow in authentic faith!  Here is a prayer to help you get started.

Lord Jesus,

I bow myself at your throne, coming boldly to intercede for my husband. 

Teach me to take every thought captive.

Forgive me for my pride, self-righteousness, judgemental thoughts words, and actions and for refusing to show respect. 

Remove from me this hard heart. 

Teach me to show respect to my husband – because it is Your will. 

Forgive me for every time I have done or said anything that has hurt my husband and stunted his faith.

Show me where I am part of the problem. 

Open up doors of opportunity to love him and respect him and speak life and salvation with grace, gentleness, and love. 

Show me how to accept my husband and leave his faith to You. 

Forgive me for the idolatry of taking control – believing I could do it better than You. 

Help me keep my eyes on You, focus on You. 

Change me into a godly wife growing in my own authentic faith leaving You God of my husband.

Amen

Pray For Salvation

Here is a prayer for your husbands’ salvation.

Father,

I praise You that You loved us so much you sent Your Only Son to save WhoSoEver believes in Him.  I lay my husband at your feet.  He is a WhoSoEver in the world.  You made a way for him to be saved and I come humbly before You to intercede for his soul. 

Please soften his heart so he can hear You and feel You knocking (Ezekiel 11:19).  Open his heart to the gospel (Acts 16:14 ) Defend him from the enemy and release him from any hold the enemy has over him (2 Corinthians 4:4).

I believe it is Your will that all be saved and none be lost, so as I pray, believing according to Your will I will thank You in advance for the salvation of my husband. 

I believe that You will bring The word near my husband and that he will confess with his mouth Jesus as Lord.  Today I stand believing that he will believe in his heart that God raised Him from the dead, and that he will be saved

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:8-13.

I am believing this for my husband and I thank you for it now!

Amen

Pray For Authentic Faith

This is a prayer for authentic faith in your spouse.

Lord Jesus,

please forgive me for expecting my husband to have a faith that looks, acts and sounds like mine. 

Help me accept him the way he is and trust You to grow an authentic faith in his life.  

Teach him that Authentic Faith does not focus on the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.(2 Corinthians 4:18). 

Give him a heart that seeks You and Your Kingdom first and grows to trust You in every area of his life.

Pray For Satisfaction in Christ Alone

Abba,

You say Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:6).  I ask that you would cause every other thing my husband seeks satisfaction to lead only to disappointment. 

Show him how to bring his ever need and longing to You because you satisfy the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul You fill with what is good (Psalm 107:9).

Amen

Pray For Trust In The Lord

Lord,

I know when we trust You will all of our heart You will make our paths straight.  Please give my husband an added measure of faith today to Trust You. 

Give him the faith to say “The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him” (Psalm 28:7)

Show Him answered prayers to grow his faith and help him be a man who prays big prayers – fully relying on You for everything.

Amen

Pray To Submit To God Humbly

Father,

Trouble surrounds my husband.  The enemy has marked him and he is in the midst of great trials.

Teach him the benefit of being fully Submitted to God.

Give him the strength to Resist the devil so that the enemy will flee from him. (James 4:7). This requires such humility of spirit and can only happen when you work it into Him. 

Teach him that humility does not make him small, but a giant in Your Kingdom.

Amen

Pray For Spiritual Growth

Lord,

Make me a Prayer Warrior Wife who can say I we have not ceased to pray for my husband. 

I ask that he would be filled with the knowledge of YOUR will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  Then he will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 

Let him be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might. 

Help my husband attain all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. (Colossians 1:9-12)

Please grant my husband, to be strengthened with power through YOUR Spirit in the inner man.  So that Christ may dwell in his hearts through faith.

Let my husband, being rooted and grounded in love, be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that he may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

Amen

Fasting And Prayer

Sometimes prayer alone is not enough to resolve the issues withing an unequally yoked marriage.  Never be afraid to go deeper with God over. 

Fasting is as simple as setting aside something you seek for satisfaction in order to have more time to seek God for a need.  

God promises that when we humble ourselves and seek Him we will find Him.  Fasting is a way to seek Him. 

Learn how to get started with fasting and prayer here!

3. Use Words of Affirmation To Encourage Growth

The last way we can fight for authentic faith in an unequally yoked marriage is with words of affirmation.

You will have to work back through the Philippians 4:8 Test. Pull out the good thoughts you are now working into your mind.  Pick a few of them to say, text, or write to your husband today.

Examples of Words Of Affirmation

Some examples of words of affirmation I am going to try today are below:

  1. I see you are carrying so many burdens.  What can I pray about with you?
  2. It means so much to me that you do not stop me from growing in my faith.
  3. You are leading us well each time you go to church with us
  4. I remember when you never went to church with us – your faith has grown so much
  5. I am sorry for trying to force your faith to look like mine.
  6. There have been times I’ve given you a cold shoulder for not conforming to my way of faith.  Can you forgive me?
  7. I love hearing about the verse you read today, that is so sexy.
  8. Thank you for sharing that you struggle to understand scripture.  Sometimes I do too.
  9. I know it is hard to find time to grow in faith as an adult.  It turns me on that you make time.
  10. Have you seen anything on your Uverse app that I might enjoy?
  11. As I was praying for you this morning God reminded me that he loves you.  You are precious to Him.  I thought it would make you smile today because it is so easy to forget.

Those are just 11 words of affirmation that show Respect, help us fight for unity in our Christian marriage – even in a difficult season.

I’d love to hear some that you came up with!

Related: Words of Affirmation Are The Best Gift for Him

Words Of Affirmation Notes

Need help finding ideas to speak Words of Affirmation into your Husband’s life? 

Love Notes to Appreciate your Husband - words of appreciation cards printable pack Our words have the power to bring life or death in a Christian Marriage. It can be hard to find the right words to encourage our Husband. It's easy to point our the negative, but sometimes we need a little help finding the words to build him up.

Check out these Printable Words of Affirmation Cards in the HopeJoyInChrist Shop,

Will You Fight For Your Unequally Yoked Marriage Today?

Some of us jumped headfirst into an unequally yoked marriage not counting the cost.  Others of us were duped into this marriage and are struggling to find our way through.  Still, others thought they were fine only to be blindsided by a change of heart.  

Whatever led you to this place, I want you to hear two things today. 

  1. You are not alone!
  2. This does not have to be the end of your marriage. 

I’ve seen God save my marriage and countless others over the years in ministry.  He can come in and save your marriage as well.  

No, it won’t be perfect, but it can be filled with hope and joy in Him!

And no, your spouse may never be the spiritual leader you dreamed of or even share every belief you have, but God can bring unity.  God can grow things in him/her that you could only ever ask for or imagine!  

Trust God today and see what He can do in this marriage.  

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 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

in HIM,

Finding Hope and Joy in My Marriage Online Marriage Course for Wives Only PinIt ( #findinghopeandjoyinmymarriage #ChristianMarriage #ChristianMarriageadvice #BiblicalMarriage #Relationshipadvice #ChristianLiving #HopeinMarriage )


 

Tiffany Montgomery

Tiffany of Hope Joy in Christ inspires Christian Women to grow in faith, live out Biblical Marriage Principles and raise Godly Children.  Join the Wives Only Facebook Group here or keep up with her through Pinterest.

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