What do I do when the person I am married to is not a Christian? Should I leave them?  Should I get a divorce? God says, “No!” As a pastor, I have been asked this question several times. I have seen the hurt and heartache in a marriage when one spouse is a Christian and the other spouse is not.  Most people believe they can change their spouse.  The reality is you cannot change them.  In fact, it is not your responsibility to change them.  Only Jesus can change them!  I hope that one statement relieves the burden you are carrying around by trying to change your spouse.  However, it does not take away the pain and heartache:  the loneliness of sitting in church by yourself;  the pain of hearing other’s talk about the married couple’s small group at church and how much it is helping their marriage;  the burden of trying to teach your kids about Jesus and your wife/husband is never around;  the frustration of not being able to pray together with your spouse through difficult times or life changing decisions.  I could go on and on and share with you all the conversations that I have had, but the question you are asking is, “What do I do now?   My spouse is not a Christian and I need help!”

The first thing I would encourage you to do is take responsibility for your own actions. Quit playing the victim.  Quit complaining about your marriage.  Quit blaming you spouse for your unhappiness.  You will never have a great marriage if you continue complaining and regretting getting married to your spouse.  

Galatians 6:5 - For we are each responsible for our own conduct.

The reality is you cannot control your spouse's actions, and you cannot control your spouse's attitude.  However, you can control yours!  Choose to work on yourself rather than your spouse!

The second thing to do is to @@start believing God wants to change your marriage.@@You think your marriage will never change, and you will never be happy.  You may feel confused, hopeless, or disappointed but God does not!  Anything is possible with God!

Matthew 19:26 - "Humanly speaking, it is impossible.  However, with God everything is possible."  

If God can raise His Son from the dead, He can raise your marriage from the dead!  Where do you start?  On your knees!  You need to make a “War Room” (Rent it on Red Box).  You need to begin to pray for your spouse,  that God would open his/her eyes so they can see Jesus!  Don’t quit praying!  Believe!

The third thing is to do whatever it takes. Great marriages do not just happen overnight.  It takes hard work and tons of patience.  It takes honesty, humility, forgiveness, willingness, and perseverance.  Some of you are thinking I do not feel like working on it anymore.  I do not love him/her anymore.  What do I do if I do not feel like working on my marriage?  Ask God to give your feelings back.  Ask God to restore your heart back to the love you once had for your spouse.  Always do the right thing and never give up!  It will pay off!

Galatians 6:9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we do not give up.

The fourth thing I would encourage you to do is get in a small group through your local church.  Why?  You are going to need support from godly people who love you and want to pray for you.  You need to be around people who love Jesus, love His church and love you.  You will need encouragement and prayer support from others to help strengthen your faith every day.  God has created us to be in community with each other and not to do life alone.  Quit isolating yourself and jump in a group today!

The last thing I would encourage you to do is to@@show your spouse Jesus.@@Ladies, please read these verses:

1 Peter 3:1-2  Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

If you are going to win your husband to the Lord, it is not going to happen by preaching at him, arguing with him, withholding yourself from him or trying to bribe him.  It is going to come through your actions, your tone, your love, your patience, and your faith that God wants to save him!  Peter said, show him Jesus without even preaching! Why? So they may be won by seeing Jesus in you.  Let me ask you a question: Can your husband see Jesus in you?  

Husband, please read this verse:

1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 

I am going to be really transparent with you.  I have never personally met a husband who was sold out for Jesus, and his wife is an unbeliever.  I know they exist, but I have not personally counseled them.  The reality is, these verses would apply to a believing husband and a non-believing wife as well.  Men, we are to love our wives as Christ loved the church.  Peter challenges us to respect our wives so that it would not hinder our prayers.  If you want to see your wife come to the Lord, you must pray.  If you want your prayers answer, then you must love and respect her!

I am praying that God will do a miracle in your marriage.  I believe the best days of your marriage are ahead of you!  Keep praying and keep believing the best is yet to come!