Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Unequally Yoked, Part 1

Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? ~ 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, NLT

I wrote this way back in February of this year after listening to KLove’s morning show on my car radio as I headed in to work. I posted it on my Facebook page as a note, but in light of the struggles that continue to get more difficult for me as each day passes by, I thought it would be appropriate to share a somewhat edited version of it here and now.

The morning show personalities started off talking about the (then) upcoming Super Bowl and whether or not wives who didn’t care much for the game watched it anyway with their over-the-top-crazy-for-Super-Bowl-Sunday husbands. The conversation then moved into a discussion about being equally or unequally yoked with a spouse. I sighed, turned the volume up and drove slower. I HAD to hear whatever they were going to say. And afterwards, it naturally got me thinking. AGAIN. Those who know me well know my situation of being married to someone who does not share my faith in Jesus Christ and whom I’m not altogether sure even believes that there is a God. To say that this has made daily life difficult would be a vast understatement. Parenting, finances, moral values, entertainment choices, family relations and intimacy are just a few of the issues that have made for an excruciatingly harsh and exhausting uphill battle over the years. When ‘80s rock star Pat Benetar sang, “Love Is A Battlefield,” she wasn’t kidding.

Now, I was not a follower of Jesus at the time of our marriage, but merely a ‘church goer.’ Had been my whole life. Yet I hadn’t a clue that they were two entirely different things. For awhile, both my husband and I attended church together because we HAD to...in order to get married in his church and later, in order to have our two children christened. Not long afterwards, however, my husband just stopped going altogether. I, on the other hand, continued attending out of guilt and fear, being raised according to the gospel of “If You Don’t Go To Church Every Sunday, Go Directly To Hell and Burn.” We were eight years into married life when one day I found myself flat on my back, staring up at Jesus’ open arms at the foot of His cross; a lost, confused, broken, at-the-end-of-my-rope woman who realized she NEEDED Jesus. That realization changed me. And HE changed my life, slowly and painstakingly.

And as with many people, I thought once I gave myself to Christ, my life would suddenly become problem-free, similar to the proverbial bed of roses/bowl of cherries concept. But I learned rather quickly that following Jesus very often won’t win you any popularity contests, even and especially with family and friends. In fact, in the Bible, both the prophet Micah and Jesus have this to say:
  I have come so that 'a son will be against his father, a daughter will be against her mother, a daughter-in-law will be against her mother-in-law. A person's enemies will be members of his own family.’ ”  (Micah 7:6 and Matthew 10:35-36, respectively)

I found that my spouse had no desire and continues to have no desire for his own relationship with the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings; he sees no need for a Savior for himself.  I know that I didn't do much early on in my newfound relationship with Jesus to help point my spouse in His direction.  I beat that man over the head with my Bible so much, it's a wonder I didn't give him a concussion. I did ALL the wrong things....like leaving open Bibles and tracts laying all around the house. I nagged him to come to church with me and the kids.  I invited him to church events, especially during Christmas and Easter.   After awhile and after talking to some kind and loving godly people, I realized that I had done more damage than anything else, even though my intentions were honorable and good.   So sadly, there has been no softening of his heart towards Jesus and it has been a heavy and painful heart burden I’ve carried around with me for over eleven years now. In plain and simple language, it’s killing me.

In the New King James version of the Bible, 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 reads this way:
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.” I’ve heard this verse in sermon after sermon, study after study, devotional after devotional. So what exactly does being ‘unequally yoked’ mean? I’ll address that in my next post.

Thanks for hanging in there.  This remains a tough and painful subject for me to deal with.  Maybe because it's more than just a subject....it's my life.

When you're weary
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all

I'm on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.... ~Bridge Over Troubled Water, by Simon & Garfunkel


  1. Oh, this seems difficult/hard. When I read your story I had to think about my older sister. She also married a man who is not religious.I wish you lots of courage and strength. I heard someone say: 'show interest in the interests of your unbelieving husband. He loves football, watch a game together.' But I think you did it.
    I'd like to help you ( and also my older sister) but I really think this is an issue that we, women of faith, shall give in God's hands.

  2. Thank you so much for your comment here, Jedidja. Courage and strength would be much appreciated, as it is something I seem to often be in short supply of lately.

    I have to say that I am most definitely NOT 'guilt free' in all that has transpired over the years in this marriage. I've done my own share of damage to it and its been my choice to do so. And yes, there've been times I've tried to meet on common ground with my husband, but lately, there isn't much common ground. The things he likes, I no longer like; the things he watches on TV are things I no longer wish my eyes to see nor my ears to hear. But even when there's something on TV that we both enjoy, I often won't sit down and watch, preferring instead to be somewhere else in our home. I've built some really tall, strong walls around my heart to protect it from being misused and shattered.

    I do agree that this is indeed something that we can only place in God's more than competent hands, moment by moment. I don't do that often enough.

    My heart goes out to your sister and her struggles. May God bless the both of you.



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