When Your Spouse Isn't a Spiritual Hero
By Janel Breitenstein
It’s a cringe-worthy moment.
Someone’s talking about how they pray or have devotions together every night. What would you even say? That your spouse rolls her eyes when you broach the subject? That you’re dragging him to church?
Thoughts to consider:
1. Take inventory.
Am I grateful for what my spouse is doing right? Do they know it? When I’m honest, how much of this is my own image management?
2. Understand your spouse’s whys.
Is there alienation or anger about spiritual issues? Does she associate rejection or shame with church?
Until you understand the underlying “disease,” you could actually compound your spouse’s hurt or anger by addressing symptoms only. Creating a safe place to get honest and heal is critical. We all walk through sickness and health of the soul, too.
Inward transformation for your spouse is encouraged by your listening to understand. Not instructing.
3. Place your trust where it belongs.
We fear what happens if he doesn’t step up. We fear for her soul or spiritual maturity. We’re a little embarrassed for him (and ourselves) because of associated social failures.
We’re usually grieving legitimate loss, too: of the hopes for our homes or marriages; of having an ally in the foxhole, a teammate in what matters. And in that, we can cry out to and take refuge in God like so many before us.
Ultimately, our trust can’t be in our spouses. It’s in God, who gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).
4. Show your spouse Jesus.
You may be the closest representation of God in your spouse’s life. Is God bitter and disappointed, waiting for someone to get their act together? Or is He patient and at peace, arms wide open?
The first step to your spouse witnessing Jesus starts right here, in how you meet their weakness.
The good stuff: You have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. (Psalm 63:7).
Action points: Acknowledge your heart’s questions, losses, and desires in the midst of your spouse’s weakness. Ask God for wisdom to love him or her well, and to be a source of healing for your spouse’s deep spiritual wounds.
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