Most of you know that I’m a pastor’s wife, but that doesn’t mean I’m not guilty of pushing my hubby spiritually when it seems like he’s not pursuing God with the same intensity as I am. Of course, sometimes he feels that way about me too. 😉
We all go through seasons when our spiritual lives are not as vibrant or a priority as they should be.
When my husband has struggled spiritually, I can easily flip into pushing him rather than encouraging him in his faith. The same dynamic is true only to a heightened degree in marriages where one spouse is a believer and the other is definitely not.
Often this tension leads to a “tug-of-war” that only worsens the divide. I see this problem a LOT with the spouses (especially wives) that I coach and mentor.
So today I’m going to share some insights I’ve learned and steps I’ve taken to approach this problem in my own marriage whenever it emerges.
Here are several signs that you might be pushing . . .
1. You continue to say the same things over and over to your mate.
If your mate already knows your concerns and beliefs, then leave it at that while praying continually for God to do the rest of the work. To do otherwise is meddling in God’s business and acting like the Holy Spirit in your mate’s life.
Be aware that “pushing” includes leaving subtle (or not so subtle) hints like putting Christian books on your mate’s nightstand or continually asking your spouse to come to church with you.
Naturally, if there’s a special event at church or you’ve not made this an annoying habit, then invitations to go with you can be fine. Just be sure not to cross the line from occasionally inviting to “pestering.”
2. Your spouse responds with defensiveness or arguing.
The good news is that this might indicate that your spouse is resisting God’s heavy conviction, so you shouldn’t take it personally. But it could also be a sign that you’re coming on too strong.
At that point, be sure to switch from “telling your spouse” what he/she should do or believe to asking your mate questions. When you ask open-ended and non-combative questions, you put the ball in your spouse’s court.
3. Your spouse views you as holier-than-thou.
This is a major telltale sign that you’ve probably got a prideful and self-righteous attitude in the mix. Whenever I approach my husband with humbleness, admitting my own failures, he’s always much quicker to drop his defenses and see my concerns.
Another way a holier-than-thou attitude comes across is in Scripture being quoted to your mate. You may feel like speaking God’s word will convict him/her, but approaching your mate in this way comes across as condescending. Use those verses as prayers you pray for your mate in your own private times with God instead.
Additionally, it’s easy to feel frustration over a mate’s resistance—especially when resistance has continued over the years. If that’s the case for you, then a “holier-than-thou” attitude can get projected. So be sure to turn any frustration over to the Lord—never draining it at your mate’s feet.
So what are some ways I’ve learned to encourage my mate spiritually?
- I avoid “pushing” as outlined above.
- I pray for my mate’s spiritual health and passion for God daily—whether he’s struggling or not.
- I make a point to be patient with him when he chooses “unspiritual” attitudes or actions.
- I build up other parts of my relationship with him. This includes being affectionate, going on dates, listening attentively to his concerns, affirming him in the areas where he’s doing well, etc.
- Above all, I seek love and comfort from the Lord rather than putting that heavy weight on my husband’s “weak” (compared to God) shoulders.
What are some additional ways we might “push” rather than encourage our mates spiritually?
Can you add some other ways to my list for encouraging our mates spiritually?
Also, since many of the respondents to my sexual hangups and hurdles questions have asked about remaining anonymous, I’ve created a survey that will allow that anonymity. So if you’re interested in taking this four question survey and letting me use your anonymous answers in my once-a-month series, you can access the survey here.
And I’ve got a bad case of shingles and would really appreciate your prayers for me in this. Thanks so much!
Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, Christian Blogger Community, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Testimony Tuesday, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Nanahood, Moments of Hope, Family, Friendship and Faith, DanceWithJesusFriday and LifeGivingLinkup.