A Unique Loneliness
Imagine feeling lonely at home and in church. What is it like to sit in church "alone?" How does it feel to possess a desperate desire to communicate about spiritual matters to the person you love most in this life, and yet never have this need fulfilled? How would you handle the incredible sadness over the impenetrable wall of separation he puts up when it comes to religion and the life that is to come? Could you get used to the feeling of awkwardness, the stares and sighs when leaving family events to attend worship or go to bible study? These are but a few of the feelings women whose husbands are not believers go through. How can those in this kind of relationship build a good marriage and have a strong faith? How can those in these situations play a positive role in raising children up in the faith?
How one entered into the marriage is not under discussion here. Some Christian women marry men who are not Christians. Other women marry long before hearing and obeying the word of the Lord. Those who find themselves in these circumstances should know they are not alone in what they face and that God speaks to them today through His word. Here are some words which may help you as you go through life.
Guard against the tendency to compare your marriage to others. It might be easy to wonder, "if my husband were more like brother "_____", then it would be so easy for me to be a happy, contented, and godly wife." Remember that every marriage has its own hurdles and unique set of circumstances to overcome. When looking at someone else's "perfect" marriage it is easy to forget these facts. "What if's" and "if only's" do not change "what is." It can only lead one further down the road of loneliness, discontent, and unhappiness.
Remember God is there for you. Go to God to get your needs met. Meet with Him in prayer and express your thoughts to Him there. God wishes that we reveal to Him the innermost contents of our heart. Peter wrote: Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7, NASU. Remember that your prayers do not go unheard. There IS hope! The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. (Zephaniah 3:17 NASU) And, know that through His help, you will be successful. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13 NASU).
Know that the way you live your life is persuasive. Peter writes, 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 (1 Peter 3:1-2, NASU). In this context, Peter is describing a wife who leads a pure, exemplary life resulting from the application of God's word to her heart. In verse two, chaste is used. Going back to the Greek, the word carries along the idea of immaculate. In other words, do your best to let the beauty of Jesus be seen in you. Cultivate your spiritual life where your priorities for godly living can be seen without question, without saying a word.
Let your children see the difference Jesus has made in your life. Peter was not the only one to mention wives whose husbands were not Christians. In 1 Timothy 1:5, Paul holds Eunice in high regard for the raising of her son Timothy. Paul said that Timothy's sincere faith and knowledge of sacred writings were his from childhood (1 Timothy 3:15). Acts 16:1 tells us Eunice's husband was a Greek and no mention is made of him becoming a Christian. Before converting to Christianity, Eunice was a Jewess who worked hard on training her son in things that were right. Both passages that speak of Eunice testify to her faith and encouragement.
Depending on the circumstances, bringing up faithful children can be a challenge in these situations. Some non-believing husbands are passive and do not restrict their children from going to church or attending bible class. Others are more restrictive. When we are first introduced to Timothy in Acts 16:1-3 we find him uncircumcised. Could this have been due to the influence of his Greek father? Most likely. Despite these circumstances, Eunice worked hard in instructing her son to develop a love for the one true God. Timothy would become one of the most well known bible characters as several chapters in Acts mention his name and he had two epistles directed to Him by Paul. His work in holding up the truth for the first century church is well documented. All of this started with the godly influence of a mother whose husband was not a Christian.
Always pray that your husband will soften his heart. It can be frustrating for a woman who has prayed for years upon years for his conversion only to see her husband not open to discussion on the matter of salvation. Never give up! Never lose hope! Pray for a window of opportunity to reach his heart with a kind deed done or a gentle word spoken. Your prayers do not go unheard. Remember God is committed to your life! He is in control and knows what He is doing.
This writer commends all who struggle with leading a spiritual life without the assistance of a spouse. Your dedication to God does not go unnoticed. Your courage in leading a life for Christ despite opposition from those you love is inspiring. Please do not hesitate to reach out to others within the congregation for assistance when you need it.
By Matthew Allen
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