Unbelieving Spouse from CBN.com
Once, in an emergency , an old Tennessee farmer hitched a mule and an ox together to his plow. When someone later asked him how it worked, he said, “Well, it would have been all right if my field had been round instead of square, because we sure spent most of the time going in circles.”
Among the laws given by God to Israel in the Old Testament is a prohibition against hitching different animals together. God knew that the differing strengths of the animals would make the match unfair and difficult. The apostle Paul uses this as an example in talking about marriage: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14) God wants a husband and wife to believe together in His salvation through Jesus Christ. And if you’re a believer who is yoked in marriage with an unbelieving spouse, you know how futile it can seem as you go round in circles.
So what can I do?
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That’s good for people to know before they get married, you may say, but what if a believer has knowingly married a non-believer or they were married as non-believers and one spouse comes to the Lord? Well, two things are certain. First, the unequal yoke does not in any way set aside the covenant of their marriage. A covenant is a sworn exchange of promises that can be revoked only if it is already broken beyond repair. The Bible teaches that an unequal yoke does not in itself break a marriage vow. “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.” (1 Corinthians 7:12,13) Second, just as the ox and mule together in the yoke weren’t able to plow a straight line, in like manner the believing spouse’s attempt to forcibly bring the other around will never succeed.
Actions speak louder than words
So if you’re frustrated over your failed attempt to get your spouse to share the new life you’ve found, here is the word that will set you free, not from the yoke of marriage, but from useless struggle in it: All you have to do is to fulfill your biblical role in your marriage, and God will do the rest. Your responsibility toward your spouse remains just what it has always been: to love and cherish in every circumstance. The Bible says, “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33)