What to Do When Your Spouse (Or Somebody You Love) is an Unbeliever


Do you remember your first date with the person you eventually said, “I do” to?

I remember mine.

Even today, twenty-seven years later I can remember how we laughed. I loved laughing with him. Still do.

But life is full of twist and turns, and as two people stand at the altar repeating vows, they cannot fathom all that life will hold. We face ups, downs, births, deaths, sicknesses, wealth, and financial struggles.

One thing that is for certain in life is change. 

For some of us change came when we came to faith in Jesus after we were married.

Some of us were believers before the wedding nuptials, and we didn’t realize how important it would be later in life to share this faith. Our mom was right.

But now we desperately want our spouse to know Jesus like we do.

The Daily Struggle

We long to share this faith with our loved one . . .  for them to know this hope.

We worry about their eternity, but differences in our beliefs impact our daily lives too. And that’s what makes it so hard. Naomi Schaefer Riley, who conducted an interfaith marriage survey, wrote,

“But religion affects things that affect our marriages: how we spend our time, how we spend our money and how we raise our children.” These are issues that can’t be addressed once, she says, “and then put in a drawer. These are (issues) that come up throughout the course of a marriage.”

How do we handle the daily struggle with our unbelieving spouses? How do we navigate these conversations/arguments that arise over money, raising children, and time? How do we share Jesus with them without nagging them to death?


4 things to Do if your Spouse is an Unbeliever

  • Lean on Scripture

Hopefully the Bite of Bread reading plan will help you if you find yourself in this tough predicament. The scriptures are always our first source. Some of the verses may seem out of date, difficult to do. But, I believe my marriage is proof of the truth of the word.

I knew from scripture that I was to “submit” to my husband. And, even though that word is painful in our culture, my personality helped me do so, (I don’t do conflict) but I believe the Lord helped me “submit” too. Something inside (Holy Spirit) led me to rest on God’s Word. I believed that God would bless my submission or trusting (as I see that word now) of my husband’s decisions even if I didn’t agree. I also believed that as I trusted God and my husband, God would bless our marriage and Mike in his walk with Jesus.

  • Live Your Faith

I knew I couldn’t make him read his Bible.

So, instead of trying to make him read, I did my own study of the Word. My family often saw me doing my Bible study. They also knew I started my day on my knees.

I lived my faith. And I prayed a lot! But my focus shifted from worrying about my husband’s relationship with Jesus to working on mine. I became less preoccupied with who I wanted him to be in his faith, and more set on my own growth with God. God became my source. Mike and the kids were the icing on the cake. That did not stop me from praying for him. Today, I love watching him grow deeper in the Lord everyday. But it wasn’t my doing. It was all Jesus.

  • Let God do His work

God desires for your spouse to know Him and come to faith in Jesus more than you do.

In other words, you can stop trying to change your spouse, which causes strife in your home, and start believing for a miracle instead. God is working to convert your spouse through you, but by your actions much more than by your words. In fact, God may prefer to do the work without your words.

None of us have come to faith without the Lord opening our eyes and heart to Him. When Jesus asked Peter who he believed he was, Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And Jesus responded, “Blessed are you Simon, son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven” (Matt. 16:17).


  • Pray

Pray for wisdom of how to pray. Pray to love your spouse more and more. Men need respect and women need love. So husbands, pray to love your wife and make her feel loved, and wives, pray to find traits in your husband that you appreciate and respect. Do not underestimate the power of prayer.

So, are you ready? Are you ready to start a new strategy? Come dig into the Word with me this week. Let’s start this adventure with Scripture. We must base our actions on God’s truth. Always start with the Word.


Bible Reading Plan



Sneak Peek of Scriptures and Printable Prompts

Monday: John 13: 34-35:A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

  • We must pray to love our spouses and those people God has placed in our lives. Some are easy, some are hard. But we show Christ by our love. Write a prayer asking the Lord to help you love Him more and your spouse more.

Tuesday: 1 Corinthians 7: 12-13: 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.

  • I think the key here is: “If they are willing” to continue in the marriage. If they are willing, demonstrates that they still love the spouse that has come to faith. Love changes things and that gives hope. Communication is key. It’s almost as if Paul is saying, “Let your spouse know about your new faith and see if they still want to be married.” The scripture continues to explain that the unbelieving spouse is blessed by the believing one and their children set apart.  We can’t save them, but we can remain faithful, demonstrate God’s grace, and love them.

Wednesday: Ephesians 5:33: However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

  • Guys need respect. Women need love. Wives, ask the Lord to see things in your husband that help you respect him. Husbands, pray to love your wives more and for the Lord to show you how she receives love.

Thursday: 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.

  • We can’t nag our husbands to faith. Our actions speak louder than words. Ask the Lord how you can demonstrate the goodness of being a believer and the love of Jesus to your spouse. At the same time, this verse does not mean you must submit under the control of abusive behavior. If that is happening, seek help, please.

Friday: 1 Corinthians 2:14: The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

  • Pray for God to reveal Himself to your spouse by His Spirit.

Saturday: Ephesians 5:25: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

  • If you struggle with a husband who doesn’t share your faith, can you thank God that He has such a beautiful plan for marriage as the picture of God and the church? Ask Him to give you eternal vision of how much He loves us and His church, and rest in His love for you as you continue to pray for your husband to one day know Christ’s love.

Sunday: Psalm 118:24: The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

  • Choose joy no matter what. Find reasons to be joyful. Give your spouse a reason to want what you have.


Print or download the printable here for your daily quiet time.

Daily Online Bible Study

Join my daily broadcast on Facebook. (Just follow me.) It’s live at 8:20 AM ET. Come on over to my kitchen and sit around my table for some soul nourishment as we dig deeper into each “bite” for the day. You can watch them later on YouTube too if that’s better for you.

I know this topic is etched deep in many of your hearts. It’s been a lonely road in your faith because of an unbelieving faith. But you aren’t alone. Please leave a comment if this is a place of heart ache in your life or if you have a testimony of what God has done.

Let me pray with you. Hold my hands.

“Lord God, thank you for revealing yourself to us. We love you and worship you. And Lord you know how desperately we want our spouses to know you too. Please help us live lives that make them hungry for you. Lead them to you, Lord. Reveal your love, and reality. You are the Living God. In Jesus name, Amen.”


Digging Deep,




PS. If this was encouraging, and you don’t want to miss any Bite of Bread reading plans and posts, subscribe today! You’ll receive a 22-Day Devotion on Psalm 119 called Finding the Beauty {Full} in God’s Word.Just click here to dig deep to live fully. 🙂 



Helpful Resources

Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands

The Power of a Praying Wife

A Wife’s Secret to Happiness


Article on, Unbelieving Spouse



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