Faith Family Relationships

What if My Significant Other Isn’t a Believer?

Most Christians are familiar with the term “unequally yoked.” It comes from the verse 2 Corinthians 6:14: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

You may or may not know that the term unequally yoked refers to a farming technique where two animals are harnessed up to a yoke, which allows them to pull a heavy load or till difficult, rocky soil. Together they can accomplish much more than just one animal could. However, if the animals were to be unequally yoked, they would have an extremely difficult time accomplishing their shared goal because they would end up working against each other more than they would with the other. Thus, if you’re unequally yoked as a Christian, your spouse is not a believer and you may find that you both have a difficult time going through this life as your goals are different.

So whether you became a Christian after you were married or your spouse made the decision to leave his or her faith after you were married–or you married someone, hoping things would change later–you will likely find that this is a point of pain and difficulty in your marriage.

Here are some tips for those who are unequally yoked:

Talk to Your Pastor or Counselor
If you’re experiencing disunity within your marriage on a spiritual level, you need to be able to talk to a trusted person about it. It is important to have an outside guide leading you through this difficult journey.

Pray for Your Spouse
When you’re in conflict with your spouse, it is difficult to resist the desire to “win.” This is not how you should approach your spouse’s faith journey. Pray for them daily and ask God to give you patience and love for your spouse.

You Should Not Initiate Divorce
The Bible is clear on this subject. Read 1 Corinthians 7:12-16: “To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?”

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