God, please save my spouse
From 1 Corinthians: A 35-Day Devotional
Differing beliefs can create tension in a marriage. For example, you might believe Clemson is the better university, while your spouse bleeds garnet and black. Or, maybe you believe that the toilet paper should feed over the top of the roll, while your spouse believes it should go under. Thinking differently about toilet paper and football is one thing, but what about when your beliefs vary about Jesus?
As the Gospel spread in the early church, it was not unusual for one spouse to believe in Christ while the other remained an unbeliever. The early Christians in Corinth sought to use this difference to justify divorce, rather than focusing on God’s design in Genesis 2:24 that a man leaves his father and mother and becomes one flesh with his wife. In 1 Corinthians 7:12-13, Paul reinforces that God’s plan is for these couples not to divorce.
A marriage in which only one spouse has a relationship with Jesus will likely experience tension, as one spouse looks to Jesus for guidance and the other does not. In Corinth, the unbeliever may have been in physical danger as a result of a spouse’s beliefs. Even today, without the threat of physical danger in most cultures, the believing spouse may face ridicule from the unbeliever. This difference may also hinder a couple in following God’s plan of submitting to one another (Ephesians 5:21) because one spouse is not yet submitted to God.
Rather than using these challenges as excuses to divorce, we can take the opportunity to show the patience and kindness of God’s love in our hearts. Serving and loving a spouse the way Jesus serves and loves can be a live reflection of God’s grace and power, which may lead the spouse to find salvation in Him.
- What's one area of tension in your marriage? As you think about the area of tension, ask God to show you where you and your spouse might be believing different things about God and each other.
- What is one action you can take this week to love your spouse like Jesus does?