While there are many struggles and "opportunities for growth" in marriage, one of the toughest for me has been to be unequally yoked in my faith with my husband. It is a lonely feeling to be so pumped up after a mountain-top experience like a retreat, a really good sermon, or even a concert, and not have the person closest to you want to share that. While it almost seems disloyal to blog about this, there is no disrespect intended. I know without a doubt that I am supposed to be married to my husband. Even though he doesn't always "get" me, I know he loves me.
I first heard the phrase unequally yoked about a year ago. It comes from the Bible and refers to plow animals in a yoke. If they are not equally matched, they only go in a circle. Ideally, the little one would pick up the pace, but realistically, the big one has to make the accomodation if they want to make it to the finish line. In Sacred Marriage, the author says what if marriage wasn't designed to make us happy, but to make us more holy. Not holier-than-thou, but holy as we are called to be transformed into Christ's image.
When the person we are to love the most makes a comment that hurts our feelings, the best thing we can do is put on our shield of faith. Deflect those ugly things by focusing on whatever is true, noble, beautiful, and righteous about that person. Dig deep. Sometimes the best thing you can say is Thank you, God, for my husband because he showers regularly.
Another big thing I've learned is that pouting only robs me of the joy I feel in my own life; it does not give my husband a sense of the Holy Spirit when I have a chip on my shoulder.
The absolute biggest thing I have had to learn in the last few years, and by far the hardest, is that I cannot control my husband's walk to faith. I can pray for him. I can pray for another to be a good example for him. I can make my request known to God with prayer and thanksgiving, but I can not change him myself. Only the Holy Spirit can do that.
If you are in my same shoes, don't just hang in there. Stand firm in your faith. Don't take your eyes off God to focus on what you wish would change. Remember that God is doing a work in your husband, too, even if we can't see it.
Father God, I pray for my sisters who are in this struggle. I ask You to help them see You in every small step, even the backwards ones. I pray that we would all be able to see You at work, even when it doesn't look the same in each of us. I pray that they have strength in You, to remember that You love them, even when it seems very lonely. Lord, please send them friends to lean on, to encourage them on this journey. Help them to not get bitter, but to see their marriage as a chance to show Your love to those who matter most to them.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
I cannot believe it has been three years since I wrote this post. I would love to tell you that the world looks vastly different, but it doesn't. I can tell you that God has continued to use me in my husband's life, to be a voice of hope to him, and to provide godly counsel when needed. I have had to walk out the desires of my heart in moderation because some things he just doesn't get, and I can't let my enthusiasm for all things Jesus become a wedge between us. I know, though, that God will give me the desires of my heart me when I honor Him through obedience. At the bottom of it all, I still know that God is in control and will bring my husband along in His timing. (August 8, 2011)