“Do not be unequally yoked” is a verse given to those who are yet to marry. The Bible anticipates the challenges that will come when two don’t agree in faith. How can two walk together unless they agree? How can you raise a Godly offspring if one party doesn’t want God in the family? Akello and I tell the singles that marriage is not evangelism tool. Many have married someone hoping to save them but the spouse becomes more of a stumbling block.

To those who are already married but have a spouse who is not born again, Scripture says in 1 Corinthians 7: 12 – 14 says,  “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 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.”

The above Scripture still anticipates there will be challenges and if you two still choose to remain married, you do so knowing very well you are not on the same page regarding faith. So how do you cope?

1. Do not let your spouse take the place of God.  Your life doesn’t revolve around a mere human being you are married to but around God

2. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Pray, fast, read the word,  grow. Your faith is your personal responsibility

3. Expect differences in how you two perceive things and respond. You will turn to God, your spouse’s decisions might be informed by world views, culture, friends, alcohol, an opposing faith or past experiences and hear say

4. Remember that you too were once lost. You were just found by God earlier than your spouse. You are a product of grace

5. Extend grace to your spouse whether he/she accepts it or rejects it

6. Don’t look down on your spouse because of your salvation. You are not better, you have been saved through grace

7. Do not impose your faith on your spouse and children. Many repel the Gospel when it is forced

8. Be more of a friend to your spouse, not a preacher bombarding your spouse with Scripture and sermons. This is marriage, not a 24/7 crusade

9. Remember the greatest sermon you can ever preach is how you carry yourself in life. Let your spouse observe you as being peaceful, orderly, loving, bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit, full of wisdom and joy to the point he/she gets attracted to your spiritual growth

10. Pray for your spouse and children and cover them

11. Pray with your spouse if he/she agrees to it.  Don’t force it

12. Remember that it is an insult for you to be prayerful yet rude, insulting and difficult to your spouse

13. Teach your children the ways of God in such a loving way but also expect your spouse to counter or teach them something different. You and your spouse should agree not to be in competition but to show love to the children trusting they will make the right choice. Scripture already tells you that they will not depart from it even if they get exposed to other alternatives

14. Live a balanced life. Don’t spend all your evenings and time in church activities and neglect your family. Devote more time at home

15. Be interested in what your spouse likes and share in the experiences. Seek to understand your spouse instead of judging. This way your spouse will let you in

16. Don’t insist on worship music being played in the house all day.  Your spouse might find it irritating. Be mindful as you show love. Sometimes play it just to yourself

17. Be loving, not militant. Remember you are not in spiritual warfare against your spouse

18. Don’t mock your spouse telling him/her words such us “You wouldn’t understand because you are not saved,  you are an agent of the devil”. Don’t be a holier than thou

19. When you correct your spouse who is not born again, do so out of love

20. Remember you are the one who is born again and has seen the light, there should be a difference in how you approach issues. Minister to your spouse

21. Even as you pray for the salvation of your spouse, remember that salvation is a personal choice. Your spouse might never give his/her life to Christ and that is not your fault

22. Be a peacemaker, reason with your spouse

23. Explain to your spouse that there are things that are dear to you, like attending church services or your thirty minute daily devotion time. Prepare your spouse for your intimate moments with God

24. Even as you attend church services and activities, do so in a manner that doesn’t interfere with quality time as a couple. For example, you may opt to go for the mid morning service as opposed to the early morning service to spend quality time with him/her

25. Don’t deny your spouse sex just because you are born again and he/she is not. Your body belongs to him/her and vice versa and also don’t be rigid when it comes to sex

26. Don’t overspiritualize marriage. Marriage has other components such as the emotional, physical, sexual and financial side. Be practical

27. Be patient with your spouse, learn to laugh things out and not get stressed when your spouse does things that you who has the Holy Spirit find are so simple

28. Go out on dates and enjoy each other’s company, when your spouse reveals to you his/her weaknesses such as drinking, smoking, pornography use or gambling; seek to understand and not judge.  Walk with him/her as a wounded person, encouraging him/her that one day he/she will outgrow these things.  Attend to his/her soul and show him/her the true identity in God. If you are the one who doesn’t give up, your spouse might be moved by your care

29. Don’t let your spouse keep you from fulfilling your God given purpose. You will have to give an account to God, “My spouse did not allow me to” is not an excuse

30. Don’t excuse or condone bad behaviour such as cheating, violence, abuse in the name of “He/she is hurting me because he/she is not born again”

31. Remember there is more to life than marriage. Your spouse is not your reason for living