A Difference that Divides

Differences can divide us, making our marriages messy and full of pain …
especially when those differences are spiritual or faith-based. God clearly reminds us that our faith can be a stumbling block to those who don’t believe (Rom. 9:31-33). And the Apostle Paul warns us against being “yoked together” with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14).
But sometimes a spiritual mismatch just happens or remains.
So what then? How can you come together with a spouse who does not value the relationship you hold so dear with God? In fact, many times in a spiritually mismatched marriage, the spouse comes to resent his or her spouse’s faith. It’s as if the unbelieving spouse feels he must compete with, of all persons, God! Talk about feeling intimidated!

Since I do not have, nor have I ever had, this problem in my marriage, I will not attempt to give answers from my own perspective. But I certainly can recommend a book, Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch, from two authors, Lee and Leslie Strobel, who have been through this difficult dynamic in their own marriage.

If you are in a relationship with someone who does not share your beliefs about God, even if you feel your spouse is a believer but isn’t pursuing God as he or she should, then this would be a great read for you.
Allow me to give you a little background on Lee and Leslie. At one time Lee was a staunch atheist who worked as an award-winning legal editor of the Chicago Tribune. Early in Lee and Leslie’s marriage, they felt this difference dividing them when she became a Christian. As the book unfolds, both Lee and Leslie share from their own individual perspectives.

They go on to share the things that drew Lee closer to Leslie’s faith, as well as, the things that flat out turned him off. After much trial and turmoil in their marriage, Lee eventually willingly and joyfully surrendered his life to Christ. Fast forward to today and Lee is now a powerful minister to the skeptic, as well as, to those who struggle with a spouse who is a skeptic or antagonistic toward faith in God.

This book will open your eyes to the struggle that is behind a spiritual mismatch and will give you principles to follow that will give you the ability to persevere and potentially break-through the barriers that stand in your spouse’s way.
In the weeks and months ahead, I hope to have true-life testimonials about the difficulty of being in a spiritually mismatched marriage. So share with me exactly what types of problems you face in a marriage that is out of balance in this very important way. Thanks so much!

 Today’s post is linked to –





  • kathleensomuchtosay

    This is an interesting topic. My husband and I have different styles of how we approach faith and spirituality, even though we share the same faith and many of the same philosophies. I hesitate to say mismatch, though…I think for us it’s a matter of trying to find common ground.

  • Leahwhitaker

    uh, that’s me! lol my husband is an atheist and it’s REALLY difficult. i may just look into that book this month. thanks for the tip!

  • Stacey

    After Bryan and I had been dating for quite a while, he shared with me that he had initially believed that I was arrogant for saying that I KNEW I was going to heaven. What I believed as a promise from God’s word seemed to him as an arrogant assumption at best. Until, of course, he stopped believing he had to earn salvation and surrendered his life to Jesus as his personal savior. I never really realized how my comments might seem to others, and I am now grateful to him for sharing his thoughts with me!! Certainly gives me pause to consider how I might express myself in the future!

  • Spunds like a great book to share and talk about.
    Kath

  • s faust

    Thanks for the book suggestion, I have a few friends who this may help.

  • Thanks for this post. Earlier in our marriage we were equally yoked. Lately, I’ve become discouraged with church and church people. My spouse would like to attend church, but I balk at the thought. I know I need to change. Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog last week. Come back anytime.

  • messymarriage

    I hope you give “church people” another chance. You can count on people to disappoint and hurt you, but Christ will always love and care for you. I hope you find healing in Him! I’ll be praying for you as you consider your next step!

  • messymarriage

    It really is easy to forget what it’s like to be in an unbeliever’s shoes. I think this book provides that “other shoes” perspective. Thanks for sharing, Stacey!

  • messymarriage

    I hope it helps, Leah. I didn’t know that your husband is an atheist. I need to introduce you to a friend of mine who is in the same marriage position. Thanks for sharing!

  • messymarriage

    Since our faith is so personal and important to each one of us, it can really create friction in an intimate relationship like a marriage. We want our spouse to look at life the way we do and when they don’t, it can feel, at the very least, frustrating. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Just got unfriended on fb because another church lady is a stalker on my blog. And her husband called me a hater on twitter. You can check out my post http://beinghappygirl.blogspot.com/2011/08/get-on-bus.html?m=1
    And see that I didn’t do anything to out her or be hateful. But there you are. This is what got her panties in a wad. And set the phones aringing. Really. How thin is their skin.

  • Maybe you need to find a different church. I think churches are often like families–some are dysfunctional and some are healthier. I know, because I’ve been in both kinds. I’m not saying that there are perfect churches out there, but if you have a church with a “culture” of gossiping, back-biting, or holier-than-thou attitudes, etc, it might be time to shop around! Just sayin’.

  • this book sounds incredible. thank you, for being such a godly resource, friend. bless you and your ministry.

  • BigD

    Thanks for the book recommendation.
    My husband was a new Christian just as we were getting married (compared to me, who grew up in a Christian household and never knew life without my faith).
    It’s been hard to be at different stages of our walk. I think I would do better with someone more mature than I. But, I didn’t recognize that 20 years ago, and now it’s water under the bridge.
    Now, I’ve been watching my husband fall away almost entirely. It’s particularly hard, because I see our daughters’ faith growing immensely. I want so much to see my husband step up as the spiritual head of household, but he seems to be going exactly the other way.
    I’m clinging to prayers right now that his heart will turn around. This is really a discouraging space to be in right now.
    I think I’ll look up this book. Thanks!

  • Beth Steffaniak

    I’m so glad you’ve found my blog and let me know how the posts impact and help you. Having a husband who does not share your spiritual passion can be just as discouraging as having an unbelieving spouse. I will definitely pray for you and your husband, Denise.