Family, Marriage, Relationships

Deborah’s Story: Praying for an Unbelieving Spouse

My husband is not a believer in Christ Jesus, and I desperately want him to believe in the Lord. Because he doesn’t come to church, we can’t communicate about spiritual things. It would be so nice to be able to talk about the things that really matter, such as eternity and the things of God. Last January, he was in the hospital for a week and almost died. After that, he decided to make a life choice to get physically healthier, but he didn’t want to do the most important thing for his life, putting his faith in Christ. 

I wish my husband and I could go to church together, take Christian trips together, discuss the Bible together. But when I give him a Scripture, he doesn’t receive it well. He doesn’t believe it, so we can’t talk about spiritual things that matter. I have to be the spiritual leader for my family.

Facing doubt and discontentment

After 37 years, I’m tired of being the leader. I’m frustrated, as I’m trying to serve the Lord, but my situation doesn’t change. In my frustration I ask God, “Are you listening to me? Are you punishing me? Do you see what I’m going through?”  It can be easy to fall into self-pity when I’m sitting by myself at church. Sometimes, I feel discontent with my situation. I want to be content and believe the Lord is enough. Hebrews 13:5 says, “be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”   

I also struggle with doubt. I wonder if the Lord hears my plea for my husband’s salvation. God knows the desire of my heart is for me and my house to serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15), but how long will He make me wait to see that desire fulfilled? I lack patience to wait on the Lord’s timing and want things to change in my timing instead. I want to be in control of the situation rather than entrusting it to the Lord.  

Remembering God’s sovereign mercy

God has been so merciful. He has been merciful to save me, and He is the one who sustains my husband and me; it is through him that we live, move, and have our being (Acts 17:28).  

While I know God can work through my prayers, I need to remember that He is in control, not me. He knows everything; He is the sovereign Lord of all—I need to trust in him all the time and not lean on my own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5). I know that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). I don’t need to be nervous about whether my husband will come to faith in Christ, because I know the Lord is the one who will save him.  

Leaning on the strength of my Savior

I’m not very strong on my own; all my strength comes from Christ. If it wasn’t for the Lord, I’d be divorced. I’ve learned to pray when I’m having a frustrating day or feel tension in my marriage, and praying gives me encouragement. Christ gives me peace and comfort. He also shows me humility. I used to hate saying “I’m sorry” because I always wanted to be in control. But I’m learning to ask for forgiveness, from God and from my husband. When I ask God to forgive me of my sins of self-pity and discontent, I know that I am forgiven and I have peace with the Lord. I desire more of the Lord and less of me.    

I’m a work in progress—I’m not where I was, but I’m also not where I want to be in my relationship with my husband. I am reminded of Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” I can see how Christ is changing me over time. As I handle the responsibility that has fallen on me, I can seek Christ and let him guide me. I know he can help me speak the truth in love and humility and not be judgmental.  Even though I’m sometimes by myself, I know the Lord is always with me. He is a friend that’s closer than a brother. He’s always with me. I may look like I’m by myself at church, but the Lord is always with me.    

Persevering in prayer and gratitude

Each day, I can give thanks to God the Father for his many blessings. I am so thankful that I can trust in the Lord. He is the source of my strength each and every day. Jesus is Lord, so I can acknowledge him in all my ways to direct my path (Proverbs 3:5-6). I am thankful that I am in a position to pray for my unsaved husband. I know “the prayers of a righteous person have great power” (James 5:16), so my goal is to be “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18). I am praying that my husband will seek the Lord and know that God will hear his prayer too. I am praying that he will know that Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life (John 14:6).  

With Jesus as my Lord and Savior I’m striving to be all that he wants me to be each day. I want my light to shine to unsaved family members so they can see His light shining. I am still a work in progress trying to perfect this old self, but I am not what I used to be before I knew the Lord. I am thankful to know the Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want (Psalm 23:1). He loves me and will continue to meet my needs each day. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases (Lamentations 3:22). I am so thankful that I serve a mighty God! 

Deborah has been married to Bert for 37 years. They have two sons—Nathanael (26) and Josh (23). Deborah has attended The Orchard since its beginning, serving in various capacities (Welcome Desk—children’s ministry, VBS, Faith for Life, and more). She is a retired teacher after 39 years working at most grade levels. Currently, she is volunteering and serving her church and community. God has been so good!

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