Do you love an unbeliever? Planning to get married to one? Or are you already married to one?
1 Corinthians 7:13-14(NIV) says, 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.
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You may not want to hear this, but remaining true to your faith when married to an unbeliever is tough.
It may not seem so for people who are dating. But for those that have been married for a while, this truth strikes home.
Now, this doesn’t mean that Christian marriages are perfect. But pursuing deep intimacy with God is a core part of Christianity.
Christians are encouraged to marry fellow believers so that they can build their marriage on the same foundation, that’s Jesus.
Who is an “unbeliever” according to the Bible?
An unbeliever is someone who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior. It is someone who does not believe that Jesus is the son of God and our only mediator.
An unbeliever does not believe that Jesus is the truth, the way, and life. (1 John 5:10)
Believer and Non-believer Relationship
The Bible tells us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers. But why is that? When a believer and unbeliever get into a relationship, they try to persuade each other to change their religious preference.
This always results in conflict, and that is why most Christians in unequally yoked marriages end up being abused.
Okay, some unbelieving spouses end up giving their lives to Christ when they marry believers. But it doesn’t mean that it will automatically happen to you if you are planning to marry an unbeliever.
It may feel okay to do that right now, but it doesn’t mean that it is right.
What to do if you are already married to an unbeliever
If you are already married to an unbeliever, know that the Bible encourages you to remain in that marriage. So:
- Trust God with your marriage and spiritual walk.
- Share the love of Christ with your loved one
- Talk to someone loving and understanding (maybe a Christian counselor or therapist) about what you’re facing in your marriage.
Here are the thirteen things to remember if you love an unbeliever;
1. Be humble.
Your marriage will go through different tests and trials, just like any other marriage. But your spouse will judge you differently, especially in the way you react when the two of you have problems.
Remember, this person’s conscience will not bug them the same way yours will in such times.
So what should you do? Be humble.
Easier said than done, right? It is hard to practice humility when the other person doesn’t appreciate what you are doing. But remember Jesus Christ remained humble up to the point of death.
Your loved one will hurt you from time to time and not care about your faith. But humility may be the only way that will draw him or her close to God.
2. Learn to be patient with them.
You probably thought that this person would change and embrace your faith after marrying you.
Years down the road, you are still stuck in the same place if not in a worse state than before. Maybe you are no longer allowed to go to church or read the Bible when they are at home.
The truth is that just because you are a believer doesn’t mean that you do everything perfectly.
Be patient with them the way God is patient with you. Know that God’s grace is sufficient, and he will enable you to be patient through it all.
3. Show them, Unconditional Love.
Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners. He did not wait for us to measure up to the standards of God before dying on the cross.
That is what unconditional love is all about. Learn to love an unbeliever even when it’s hard. Romans 5:8
Be there for them even when they do not appreciate you. Play your part in the relationship by choosing to do everything as unto God and not man.
Do not be quick to judge them for their mistakes, instead, be ready to forgive them just like Christ did.
It takes the grace of God to love someone unconditionally. So ask God to help you love them the way he loves you.
4. You were Once an Unbeliever.
None of us got saved from our mother’s womb. We were once unbelievers. But the sad fact is most believers forget that they were once unbelievers.
So we quote Bible verses with motives to make unbelievers feel guilty so that they can change. But look, unbelievers already know that they have fallen short of God’s glory.
They may not admit it openly, but deep down, they know that they don’t measure up.
Quoting scripture and reminding them about hell will not cause them to repent and give their lives to Christ.
Even if it does, it will only work for a short time, and then they will be back to their old ways.
Remember when you were an unbeliever. What made you turn your heart to God? His mercies and love, right?
Now turn to your loved one and show them God’s love and grace in its purest form through your actions.
5. Pray for them.
The best way to love an unbeliever or anyone in the world is to pray for them. Hell was not made for man, and that means that God doesn’t want your loved one to perish.
God wants them saved more than you do. Praying for your loved one will be a way of standing in agreement with God’s will over their lives.
Ask God to deal with their hearts so that they can soften up to his word. Ask him to open their eyes that they may see the truth and forsake their wicked ways.
Remember, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict their hearts, not yours. So turn to God in prayer and ask him to send the Holy Spirit to convict their hearts.
6. They are Watching you so be True to your Faith.
Unbelievers watch what we do, and they judge us by our actions. You cannot preach water to them and drink wine.
They will despise you for not being faithful to your calling and, as such, despise the kingdom of God.
You are the light for the world and the salt of the earth. So, be careful about how you live and behave around your spouse.
Do not yell or look down on them just because they do not share your faith. Ask God for wisdom so that you can know how to behave around them. (Matthew 5:13-16)
Let them see you practicing your faith through your attitude, words, and actions towards them and the rest of the world.
7. Respect them.
Even though your loved one is an unbeliever, they belong to God, so do not disrespect them.
Even though the Pharisees were the religious leaders of that time, they despised sinners. They did not allow them to be near them.
Jesus, on the other hand, healed and preached to sinners. Through his interactions with them, he was able to draw many of them to the kingdom of God.
The truth is, believers, do not show respect to others when they are respected. We need to respect others even when they despise and disrespect us.
It is better to win the soul of your loved one than to win every argument you have with them.
8. Ask God to strengthen you.
Unbelievers believe that they are free to do anything because they are only answerable to themselves.
So there are things your spouse may do that may not be pleasing to you. Some of the things they will do in your marriage will push you to the edge.
During such times, run to your heavenly Father and ask him to strengthen and fill you with peace.
Remember, the Bible tells us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. As you deal with this person, see God’s presence with you.
Let prayer be your outlet when you feel discouraged and disappointed.
9. Hold Firm to your Faith.
Here is the thing, when you marry an unbeliever, you are going to go through different tests and trials.
For example, your spouse may want you to do something that is against your faith. On the other hand, your believing friends and family may treat you as an outcast.
Sadly some people have abandoned their faith because of these kinds of challenges. But you don’t have to do that.
Hold on firmly to your faith during such times. Stand your ground because if you don’t, your spouse will see you as a pretentious Christian and despise you for that.
Let your family and friends see you standing firm in the faith despite their judgments.
10. They respond differently to life issues.
Please do not expect an unbeliever to respond to things the way you do. You are a new creation, and that means that you don’t look at life the same way the world sees it.
The word of God is the standard through which you measure your faith and life.
For example, to you, life is a temporary assignment, but some unbelievers don’t believe in eternity.
They will, therefore, do things without thinking about judgment and eternity. You may wish that they view life the way you do, but they may not. If anything, they end up mocking your views about life.
Related Article: How to Begin your Day with God’s Promises.
11. It is up to them to Accept Salvation.
You cannot force your loved one to give their life to Christ. All of us have to make a decision when it comes to receiving Christ.
So do not try to manipulate your loved one into accepting Christ in their hearts.
See yourself as an ambassador of Christ in their lives. Do what God expects you to do and leave the decision to them.
As much as God is all-powerful, he never forces anyone to receive his son Jesus into their lives. The final decision lies with an individual.
Pray for them and love them with the love of Christ, but leave them to choose the course of their lives.
12. Be Safe.
Now, some people are married to abusive spouses, Christians, and unbelievers alike. Often you will find many Christians encouraging fellow believers to remain in an abusive marriage.
Why? They believe you need to stick there and be a good Christian wife, and because God hates divorce.
But here is the thing:
According to research carried out in 2018, 58% of women who are killed, die because of domestic violence and family conflict.
Shocking, right? Do you want to lose your life or child?
It is okay to work on your marriage, the Bible doesn’t advocate for divorce. But the same Bible tells us to be wise. So find a safe place before you find ways of working on your marriage.
Ask God to give you wisdom so that you can protect yourself from abuse.
13. They will insult your Faith.
You may agree to respect each other’s beliefs when you are in love, but as you start living together, your loved one will knowingly or unknowingly insult your faith at some point.
There will be times you will say things out of the goodness of your heart, but your spouse will see it as an attack. They will retaliate by making sarcastic comments about your faith.
Now, how they react is not as important as how you respond, so be careful.
The Bible warns us against unequally yoked marriages, but the thing is we make our own choices.
Some of us give our lives to Christ when we are already married to an unbeliever. Other people give in to the temptation of marrying unbelievers.
Whichever the case, if you love an unbeliever, know that your heavenly Father loves you unconditionally. He is ready to help you with your marriage if you allow him to guide you.
Remember to show unconditional love, be patient, and remain true to your faith. Your faith may be the bridge through which God can get to the other person.