I Peter 3:1-2
In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. (NLT)
You see, I was a rebellious 18 year old once. I was frustrated with the rules my parents had and searching for my place in the world. I met a boy, who defied all convention.....a wild one and I was smitten. 3 months later, he proposed and I said yes. 3 months after that we were married.
Sometime that first year of marriage, I realized something wasn't right. I don't remember being taught in church about being "unequally yoked". Rarely did fathers come to church...just some older men, younger boys. So I really didn't understand the full implication of what I had done.
We had a son. I muddled along. Fought depression constantly. My husband was doing lots of stuff that wasn't right, was far from right....some I knew about and some I probably should have known about.....but we had a son. I was stubborn. I didn't want him to grow up without his father. I didn't want to be a single mom.
While pregnant with our 2nd son, we got internet. A whole new world was opening up to me. I began researching homeschooling and learned about submission. At some point, while I was searching, a godly woman told me about I Peter 3:1-2.
I'm so grateful that she did. You see, so many people, even in the church, were telling me to leave. I didn't "deserve" to be married to a non-Christian, I "deserved" better. My son "deserved" better.
Staying was the hard choice but I clung to those verses. I prayed and prayed about God using me to impact Norman's life in some way. Somehow, Lord, use me!
Those years were rough. I endured anger and verbal abuse. I suffered from severe postpartum depression after the birth of our second son. Norman got a great job, that required him to work away from us 5 days a week. My "support system" wasn't always supportive. The depression segued into anxiety.
Some weeks were a nightmare. I won't lie. I didn't always know what to expect from my husband. However, the good days began to slowly outweigh the bad. He cleaned up his life, left that evil life behind. My husband began to focus more on his family. It was slow and some days I couldn't see a light at the end of my tunnel. I had to die to myself and realize that I might never see the fruits of my work here......maybe it would be my children or grandchildren. I spent hours on my knees in prayer. I sought godly counsel, privately, when situations arose that I couldn't emotionally deal with alone.
You see, in our culture, it is much more popular to throw in the towel. Sticking it out isn't the popular choice, even in the church. Women in difficult situations are encouraged the cut their losses and move on.
But is that really what God wants us to be doing?
Over the years, we've been put in a myriad of difficult situations. The lessons that God taught me so many years ago have helped me weed out the unbiblical advice and "cleave" to my husband through it all. Sometimes that meant taking sides. Sometimes against my family.
God designed marriage as a partnership. That partnership doesn't work unless both people are committed. Committed people don't consider leaving as an option. Just having that mindset changes the way a person deals with situations that arise. If you are committed to your marriage then you are forced to work things out. You are forced to learn conflict resolution. You have to forgive, forget and move on. Humility is learned; I didn't always have to be right. We learned to work together. We learned each other's strengths and weaknesses. We learned to appreciate our differences.
This took YEARS. It's not a quick process. I had to change ME, not him. God did the work in him (I will never take the credit for that).
Nowadays, my husband sits beside me in church. We pray together. We discuss the word of God.
I see God's hand in my marriage every day. I couldn't have stayed without God staying right there next to me the whole time. He gave me strength I didn't have. Just when I thought I couldn't do one more day, He was right there to comfort me.
We really don't fight now. I can truly say that we are one. We are a team, working together to mold our lives into God's will for us. We raise a family, together, with little in the way of outside support.
We still struggle, disagree and act in un-lovely ways toward each other. We are sinners, saved by grace. The worst might not be behind us, but God is with us. He's got this and we are committed to each other and to Him. May God have all the glory.
If you find yourself in an "unequally yoked" marriage and want to talk about it, I'm happy to spend some time with you. Leave me your email address in the comments and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. God wants to be glorified through your marriage, just like He is in mine!