Being married to an unbeliever can be frustrating and discouraging. You’re pulling one way. He’s pulling another. You make decisions based on your faith and trust in God. He thinks only of himself. Ugh.
There is hope, but your situation may not change overnight. The key is persistent prayer. One wife, whom I know quite well, prayed earnestly for about 15 years before her husband finally came to Christ. It was discouraging at times, but she kept believing that God would answer her prayer, and He did. It just took time for God to soften her husband’s heart.
May I suggest that you pray Ezekiel 36:26-27 every day for your husband, inserting his name in the verse? The verse talks about God turning a heart of stone into a heart of flesh. In other words, God can soften hard hearts! Here is how you might want to pray this verse: “Jesus, give (insert your husband’s name) a new heart and put a new spirit in him. Jesus, remove (insert name)’s heart of stone and give him a heart of flesh. Jesus, put your Spirit in (insert name) and move him to follow your decrees and be careful to keep your laws.”
Also, to encourage yourself to keep diligently praying and trusting God, you may want to read the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18.
We all want to receive guidance from the Lord. You may need to make a decision in your marriage or with your children or regarding your work situation, and you wonder which way to go. Well, the good news is that God promises to guide us! Psalm 32:8 says “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” The tricky thing is figuring out exactly how to access his counsel!
Here are two primary ways to access his wisdom and his counsel. The first is….spending time reading His Word. Duh. But how many times do we come up with excuses as to why we don’t have the time or energy to spend much time reading the Bible? Maybe it’s time to stop making excuses and DECIDE to make Bible reading a priority in your life. I bet you make time to brush your teeth and take a shower, so why can’t you carve out 15 minutes for reading the Bible every morning? 😊 Reading the Bible will give you direct guidance on so many decisions you’ll need to make throughout any given day. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Next, spend time worshipping God and in “listening prayer”. When we worship God, he draws near, and he longs to whisper to us through His Holy Spirit if we will strain to listen for that whisper to our souls. 1 Kings 19:12 “After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” So try this. Put on some worship music, or start singing a worship song. As you praise Him, close your eyes and envision God with you. Now ask Him to whisper guidance to your heart. Strain to listen. Did he give you a vision or nudge your heart in some way? I believe He will guide you. Just make sure that anything you believe you hear from God does not contradict what He says in the Bible.
If you’re like me, sometimes you desperately need to sense God’s presence. When my relationships are challenged and I’m not “feeling the love” from my husband or family, I so need to sense God’s love and his comfort. The good news is that God promises to hold us when we cry out to Him! In Isaiah 51:12, God says “I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mere mortals?”
However, it’s not like I can literally see him or reach out and grab his hand, so how can I take advantage of the comfort that He promises me? Well, I take a clue from King David. In Psalm 63:2, he says to God “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.” I believe David is talking about God giving David a vision of himself as David was worshipping.
I’ve tried this and it is a marvelous thing! I enter a time of praising God, with or without music, and then I ask God to help me envision myself being in His presence in perhaps his throne room or maybe in a beautiful mountain meadow beside a pristine brook. Why don’t you try this right now? Close your eyes, voice thankfulness and praise to God, and then ask Him to allow you to see yourself with Him in a particular setting. Can you sense His presence? Do you sense His great love for you? Can you feel His comfort? Do you sense the warmth of His love?
If you’re struggling to experience God’s comfort, let me just say that you MUST believe that God will indeed reveal his comfort to you. Have faith that you will sense God’s comfort. Remember, your faith that God will fulfill his promises is vital. James 1:6-7 says, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord”
I don’t know about you, but I fall into a really crazy and unproductive pattern when I seek God for advice and direction. I intend to be a good listener, but instead of quieting myself and really straining for God to speak to me through his Holy Spirit, I keep….talking! In fact, one second after I ask God the question “What should I do about …..?”, I start mulling over the options. My thoughts start ricocheting in my head and after a few minutes, I feel like I’ve boiled down the choices to 3 or 4 options for God to choose from. Yikes!
The other day I found myself doing this again. This time, however, I heard God speak a word of correction (or what some might call rebuke!). I heard him say “Why are you multiple-choicing me?” He reminded me that He doesn’t need me to lay out options from which to choose. He reminded me that, often, his answer or direction is not even listed among my multiple-choice options! I heard him whisper to my spirit, “What if my answer is “e” and you have only given me A-D from which to choose?”
Thank you, Lord, for reminding me that I need to do less talking and more listening. This is the essence of James 1:19 “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak…”
By the way, one tip that has helped me quiet my thoughts so I can actually hear the Lord’s whisper of guidance is this: Close your eyes and envision being with the Lord. (I like to envision walking beside him in a beautiful meadow next to a quiet stream). Then, while your mind is occupied with that vision, ask your question. Within a few moments, I usually sense Him whispering a word to me, or giving me a vision, or bringing a Bible verse to mind that will guide me.
Are you in the middle of a really difficult challenge in your marriage or in some area of your life? Are you consumed with worry or outright fear about the future? It’s at those times in our lives that we need to press into prayer in a more earnest way. Throughout the Old Testament and New Testament, we see that when God’s people were extremely troubled or worried or bewildered, they sought God with every fiber of their being by…fasting.
What is a fast? It’s a time where you go without some types of food or all food for a specific period of time in which you seek God with your whole heart. Sometimes, people give up something other than food, such as media. I remember a time when I fasted from all food for 3 days as I earnestly sought God’s counsel regarding a relationship. At the very end of that fast, God gave me a vision that made my path very clear. Praise God!
In Ezra 8, we read that the Israelites fasted and implored God for a safe journey through enemy territory and Ezra says, “God listened to our entreaty“. Is it time for you to enter a time of earnest prayer and fasting of some type? Please consult your doctor if you have health issues that could be adversely affected by fasting from food, but otherwise, fasting may be just what you need for a breakthrough in prayer!
Many Christians are familiar with the verses in Matthew 22:37-38 where Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.
Well, I’ve been asked lately about how to develop this actual love for God. You see, it’s very difficult to truly love someone you’ve never experienced. You and I must experience the Lord’s power and love for ourselves in order to truly fall in love with Him. Otherwise, we have head knowledge from the Bible, but no heart knowledge!
Looking back at my own journey with Christ, I realized that I’ve grown to truly love Him as I earnestly sought His help through prayer and then saw Him answer those prayers in loving and powerful ways. I experienced God!
So I urge you to begin seeking the Lord with your whole heart. Come to Him with your deepest needs, but make sure you’ve done your best to obey Him first. After all, God says in James 5:16 that the “prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective”. So, in other words, God powerfully responds to the person who truly seeks to obey His commands and follow His promptings. After you’ve done all you can do to obey the Lord, pray earnestly for His help. When He shows up, take notice! God just connected with you and allowed you to experience His love, power and help! Now, you have heart knowledge of the Lord!
Does your husband have a destructive addiction? Do you have a serious problem with self-control yourself? Are you and your husband arguing so much that you’re not sure your marriage will survive? There are some practical things you can do about all the above scenarios, but more than likely, what you really need is a miracle. You need God to supernaturally intervene to change hearts, expose schemes of the enemy, and fill both of you with the Holy Spirit so that you are radically changed. The good news is He can do all that!
Your part in all this is to pray…earnestly, without ceasing, and with total faith in the power of Jesus Christ to perform a miracle! It really is critical for you to trust in the power of God to do the impossible! In fact, when Jesus walked this earth, he was unable to do miracles of healing in towns where there was too much unbelief! (Mark 6:5-6)
I have seen God perform modern-day miracles, and I know he can do a miracle in your marriage. Here are 2 verses that may encourage you to pray with great faith. Matthew 21:22 says “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” And in Matthew 9:29, as Jesus is about to heal some blind men, He says, “According to your faith, will it be done to you.”
We all inevitably go through stretches in our marriages (or with kids, finances, health, etc!) that are pretty rough on our hearts. Yes, we can persevere, pray, and trust in God during those times, and all those things are super important. But sometimes, we just plain need comfort. We need to sit in the lap of our heavenly father and have Him hold us tight.
Here is what I have discovered. Reading the Psalms slowly and out loud is like a warm embrace from my heavenly Father. As those words roll off my lips, I can almost feel His love and compassion flow over me. I sense the tenderness of His heart toward me. I gain hope once again.
Try it for yourself. I would suggest some of these Psalms: Psalm 103, Psalm 91, Psalm 34, and Psalm 37. God longs to comfort you. He loves you. As Psalm 103 says, “Our Father is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love.”
When we face a challenge, a dilemma, or even a crisis…we tend to search high and low for the easy answer. We cry out to God, asking him to give us the magic pill that will make it all go away! We call our mom or our girlfriends and we whine and complain about the problem, hoping they will have the magical, painless answer to our situation. Well, here’s the thing. The answer isn’t easy, but it is simple. Seek God’s counsel and then actually pause to listen.
Proverbs 18:13 says “To answer before listening, that is folly and shame.” Yet, that is exactly what many of us do. We complain to God. We pray that he would magically fix our situation in the way that WE say is best, and yet, we don’t actually consult the Bible to see what guidance he has for us. We pray that God would tell us what to do about the problem, yet we don’t actually pause to listen for the Holy Spirit’s quiet whisper of guidance.
The answer is simple. Dive into God’s Word. It will guide you. Psalm 119:105 says. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Ask God to give you direction through the Holy Spirit, who is our counselor. John 14:26 says (in the Amplified Bible), “But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf, He will teach you all things.”
In any relationship, especially a marriage, there are going to be times when the two of you are in conflict. Perhaps your husband is breaking your heart through wrong behavior. At each of those times, we have to make really big decisions. Should I confront my husband on an issue where he appears to be out of line? Should I keep quiet and press into prayer, relying on the Holy Spirit to work in my husband’s heart? Should I compromise on an issue where we’ve been in conflict?
At these times, counsel from other godly women is very helpful, but honestly, my very best guidance comes from God himself. I just need to take a few moments to be quiet with Him and ask Him to speak direction into my mind and heart. Psalm 142:3 says “When my spirit faints within me, you know my way.” Thank you Lord!
I did this recently on an issue between me and a close relative. I thought for sure I should make a certain decision, but once I spent just a few moments quieting myself and asking God to speak His counsel into my mind, I received guidance to go the exact opposite direction! He even allowed me to see why my original idea was flawed. Try this yourself. God is waiting at the door of your mind and heart. Open the door and let Him in.