Making the best of an unequally yoked union
"What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
- 1 Corinthians 6 vs 15 - 17
Two weeks ago, Family and Religion featured a wife's story about being unequally yoked and very happy. The term 'unequally yoked' by biblical standards refers to persons marrying outside of their faith.
Yoked is also often used in the Bible to express the analogy of having two people who are in the same capacity working together.
It is hard for people pulling in two different directions to function properly.
Unlike that wife, many who are unequally yoked are not as fortunate. Some of these marriages end in divorce, while others hang by a thread.
Partners are sometimes not understanding about the time taken to attend church, and often, the words used to express these feelings are so vile they would make any believer cringe.
Dr Barry Davidson, a marriage and family therapist, pointed out that the main reasons God is against this type of relationship is that:
"Christians have been reborn; they are spiritually alive, whereas unbelievers are not. God is against unequal yoking because it is an affront to His holiness (be ye holy for I am holy - Leviticus 11:45)."
However, all is not lost for those who are in marriages with unsaved partners.
WINNING OVER YOUR SPOUSE
According to Davidson, there are things that both husbands and wives can do to win their spouse into the faith.
"Actions speak louder than words ... wives be submissive to your own husbands," he said.
The family therapist also pointed out that a chaste wife can win her husband over to the Lord.
"As the unbelieving husband observes his wife's chaste and respectful behaviour, he will be won to Christ."
He warned, though, that being chaste doesn't mean she has to be prudish or portray a "holier than thou attitude".
"Being chaste means being godly and spirit-filled. It also means being trustworthy, loyal, devoted, and faithful," he said.
Davidson shared that the wife must hold her husband up in a complimentary light to her Christian friends and should not downgrade him in the eyes of others in any way.
When it comes on to the husband, the therapist pointed out that he must not preach to her or "beat her over the head with a Bible".
"The husband must love his wife, pray properly - pray not just for your spouse's conversion, but thank God for your spouse and your marriage, and ask God to increase your love each day," he said.
A virtue the husband will have to possess, according to Davidson, is patience as he may have to wait a long time for this to happen.
"Maintain a close relationship with the Lord. Study, read the Bible, pray and obey. Concentrate on Christ. He is the only one who is perfect. Be your spouse's best friend. If your spouse is going to be won to the Lord, it is going to be by your godly behaviour, not your preaching or your friend's preaching," he said.