My Husband Doesn’t Share My Faith

Written by Nancy Kennedy

doesntsharefaithI’ve rehearsed this scene in my mind 10,000 times: My husband, Barry, walks through the front door and says he has a surprise for me. He asks, “What’s the one thing you want most in the world?” At first I’m confused, but when I look into his eyes, I know. He doesn’t have to say it, but he does anyway: “I’ve given my life to Christ.”

But after years of praying, waiting, and hoping, so far that’s still a daydream.

Barry and I met and married 28 years ago. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing: He liked my then-red hair and green eyes; I liked his broad shoulders and sense of humor. Plus, he was easy to talk to. As unbelievers, neither of us had a clue what our future would be. We just thought a life together would be a kick. A relationship with Christ was the last thing on our minds!

Our first three years of marriage were filled with partying, softball, and the birth of our first daughter. Then, almost without warning, God drew me into a relationship with himself. After overhearing some Christians in the office where I worked talk about heaven, I began asking questions. Although I’d attended church as a child, I knew nothing about the Bible and salvation. Then one day after a long talk with Rita, one of my coworkers, I prayed a simple prayer: “Jesus save me!” That prayer forever changed my life—and my marriage as I knew it.

I wrote the handbook on how not to win your spouse to Christ

Unfortunately for Barry, right from the start I was one of those obnoxious “Jesus freaks.” I didn’t share my new faith with my husband; I pushed, forced, and shoved. Believe me, I wrote the handbook on how not to win your spouse to Christ. I didn’t speak, I preached. I didn’t live out my faith quietly; I trumpeted my every minute change. I’d say, “See what God’s done in my life? See how loving and humble I now am?” I prayed loudly in Barry’s presence and made sure he knew he was a sinner destined for hell. I even packed gospel tracts in his lunch and added a Bible verse at the end of all my love notes to him.

To Barry’s credit, he remained incredibly patient. (Maybe he was just tuning me out.) Most of the time he avoided my religious rampages by tinkering with our car. Sometimes, though, he’d get angry and yell, “Stop with all the Jesus stuff!” Barry told me he threw the gospel tracts away because they embarrassed him in front of his friends. Once in a while he’d get a pained look on his face and say he wanted his “old wife” back—Jesus-free.

Soon we were at odds with each other. I blamed any and all our marital problems on his unsaved status. After all, if we were both Christians, life would be “happy-ever-after.” Or so I imagined. I tried even harder: blasting my Christian music and scattering opened Bibles around the house; crying and pleading with him to go to church with me. Sometimes, Barry would go. But instead of enjoying him next to me in church, I’d sit there chewing nervously on the end of my pen, praying madly that this would be The Day. Afterwards, I’d quiz him in the car, “What did you think of the sermon? Did you like the music?”

“It was okay,” he’d say. “Do we have any turkey at home for a sandwich?”

The rest of the ride home, I’d sit and fight back either tears or angry words. Why couldn’t he see his need for Christ? I’d fume. Then Barry, sensing my disappointment, would pat my shoulder and say, “Look, I believe in God, but not in the same way you do.” That was not the answer I wanted to hear.

Intercessory prayer — the right way

Then something unexpected happened. I’d been reading a book about intercessory prayer when I had a sudden flash of insight. I told myself, That’s it! I’m going to pray for Barry for the next 80 years, if that’s what it takes. And I’m going to love him. Period.

That was 25 years ago—and I’m still praying and loving. But I’m no longer pining away in self-absorbed isolation waiting desperately for my husband’s salvation to bring marital fulfillment. Instead, I’ve decided that if it takes 80 years, then I want those years to be as enjoyable as possible for the both of us, despite our spiritual differences.

When I first came to faith in Christ and Barry hadn’t, I thought God had made a huge mistake. After all, two following God together made more sense than one. But I now know God never makes mistakes. Since I’d been an unbeliever when we married, I hadn’t willfully disobeyed God by marrying Barry. My situation is by God’s sovereign design. Reminding myself of that enables me to relax my spiritual chokehold on Barry.

The way I see it, God has a plan for each life. And no matter how hard I try, I cannot transform someone else’s heart. I can’t coerce, sweet-talk, or plead my husband into being a Christian. In fact, when I do try, it only drives him away—sometimes literally. If I start nagging him, he’ll get in his truck and drive for hours.

I decided long ago to accept that it’s God’s job to change hearts. That decision frees me to pursue my relationship with God without the added burden of having to bring my husband to faith. All I have to do is love and enjoy him. That’s God’s plan for me, and he gives me all the grace I need to accomplish it.

That doesn’t mean I’m not lonely at times or that I do everything right. The other day I grabbed Barry by the shirt and yelled, “Don’t you see Christ in me?” Struck by the irony of the question, he laughed—and to my surprise, said yes. It helps to remember that Barry’s not my enemy; he’s my husband. I’m just as much a sinner as he is—maybe more so because I have the power to say no to sin and often don’t.

When your loved one doesn’t love God

Here are a few things I’ve learned over these 20-plus years

  1. Live in the now. I don’t pine for a “happy-ever-after someday.” Instead, I accept things as they are, building on what’s good (such as enjoying each other’s company and planning for our future together), and praying about what’s not so good. Sometimes that means going into a bar with Barry and having a good time drinking a soda—and letting him know I love him just as he is. It’s what Jesus would do.
  2. Live honestly. In living out my faith, I let my husband see me stumble and struggle. He knows I struggle with fear, that I can’t pass a basket in a store without buying it, and that I sin regularly and often, yet desire not to. That way, he sees that a Christian’s life is one of grace alone, rather than living by a set of rigid rules. Any changes in me aren’t by my effort, but by Christ living in me.
  3. Honor your marriage. I’m careful not to talk negatively about Barry to anyone, and when he’s home, he’s my priority. This often means passing up social events I dearly want to attend. I seek opportunities to enjoy my husband and build him up, convinced he’s God’s gift to me.
  4. Pray, pray, pray. Prayer is my link to God’s presence, power, wisdom, and comfort. My favorite Scripture to pray is Ezekiel 36:26, that God will take Barry’s heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. Another favorite is Isaiah 30:21: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'” Although it’s hard to pinpoint specific answers to prayer for Barry, I’ve seen his attitude toward spiritual things change drastically over the years. We often talk openly and freely about God.
  5. Find a support system. Surround yourself with other women who’ll pray with and for you. Also, study the Bible with a friend or small group. Attend church as often as you are able.
  6. Never give up hope. God offers everyone the same gift of salvation and eternal life. Some choose to accept it, and others don’t. But all who accept the gift do so in God’s timing, not ours. God knows what he’s doing.

I don’t understand why God does what he does. We have two daughters who don’t have the role model of a Christian husband and father. I used to worry about that. As it’s turned out, each daughter gave her life to Christ as a preschooler. Alison, now married, lives out her faith with a believing husband, while Laura’s going through a time of teenage rebellion—but even that’s in God’s hands. As evidenced throughout the Bible, God is in the habit of saving families. That gives me great hope.

Trusting God while you wait

Even so, sometimes I get discouraged. Sometimes I sit in my brown armchair and question whether God even hears my prayers. Or I sit in church and count the couples and ache because few know what my husband even looks like. Or I’ll hear yet another testimony about someone else’s husband coming to faith, and wonder why mine still seems oblivious to his need. But then there are times when Barry exhibits greater faith than I do. In fact, that’s a joke we share. I’m the one who says I have faith, while he’s the one who seems to live it.

He’s always telling me, “Why do you worry about things? God always takes care of us.” Barry almost always knows the right thing to do when it comes to leading our family. I believe that because God sees us as one flesh, my husband shares in my blessings. Because God’s promised to lead me, he leads my husband as well. I don’t have to fret. God’s in control.

The truth is, I might not ever see Barry walk a church aisle, but that’s okay. I have hope that I’ll see him walk through heaven. In the meantime, I live my life as a gift—one I never would have chosen, but one I’ve come to accept with gratitude. I know it comes from the hand of a loving God who only gives his children the best.

Related reading:
The Spirit-Filled Life: The first step to living a full Christian life is to let God’s Spirit work in you.
Talk to a mentor: If you need someone to talk to, contact us anytime. It’s free and confidential.

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460 Responses to “My Husband Doesn’t Share My Faith”

  • Harvey says:

    Hi Alfred, Thanks for your reply. I’m not sure I understand why enlisting the aid of a hypnotist is a mistake. Isn’t there something to: whatever it takes to believe, as long as one doesn’t purposely commit a sin to do so (though not believing is a sin, but that’s not what I mean)? The way I see it is that the hypnotist helped to significantly jump start what I had been trying to do for years. I still have to do everything else to strengthen and further cement my faith.
    Thanks, though, for clearing up the afterlife definition. My girlfriend, Mary, stated that the afterlife promises a way to see one’s dead relatives again and, so, it seems logical that Mary and I would be able to continue our love for each other in the afterlife, if not as wife and husband, then as friends, yes?

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you Alfred. MAy God bless you always.

  • Alfred says:

    Hi Des, It greaves me that your fiancé is not interested in church attendance. My first thought is that “if he cannot come to church with you than you area not to get married, for a divided house cannot stand.” No one will go when there seems no reason or desire to go. But,hopefully prayer will bring him in. Only God can bring some situation to this man of yours that will make him desperate enough to seek help from above!. Hoping he has a traumatic experience, for your mutual benefit, Alfred.

  • Alfred says:

    Hi Harvey, You are indeed blessed to have found such a beautiful Christian woman! I am a little concerned that you enlisted a hypnotist to help you, but it seems you’ve been forgiven for this mistake. Let me caution you to become a Christian because you “want to know Jesus and experience the Salvation He offers” as the main reason; for being of the same faith as your future wife will only be a fringe benefit.
    It is great that you are now praying by yourself. May I suggest that when you start reading the Bible, you begin with the New Testament, and also read Psalms & Proverbs. After that you’ll be more ready to start from the beginning to read the whole Book. I use a Study Bible as the commentary is very helpful. May you have much joy in your new-found faith. Life will hit you with many problems and difficulties, for which only God can supply the answers.
    I’m wondering what you mean when you say “…our after-life with my beautiful wife”. In the Bible, in Matthew 22:30-31 we read: “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.” NKJV. So, as I understand it, you will know her as a beautiful soul and a friend, but not as a wife.
    Hi Brooklyn, I’m glad you found the courage to write. Wanting to take your children to church is a God-inspired and natural desire. The “fear of man” is a tactic that has kept many Christians from obeying the leading of the Spirit! May I suggest that you again seek God to give you the determination and strength to tell your husband that the children are coming with you to church. I am believing with you that God will soften his heart to allow you to take them. This is an opportunity for us to think positively and even to thank God in advance for making a way to have this happen. Praying for your family, Alfred.
    Dear Anonymous, You are not forgotten. What a strong testimony you have given! I believe with you that your prayers are bringing in that idolatrous family of yours. May God continue to give you the wisdom, strength, courage and joy to live the Christian faith! Praying for you and your family, Alfred.

  • Des says:

    Hello, well I am a christian I have been my whole life. I had my first child 11 months ago with my fiance of a year and a half we were planning to get married but it has kinda be on a stand still. I Love God soo much I pray and repent everyday attend church as much as possible. He on the other hand believes in God but has decited he does not want to go to church anymore. Im not use to being around someone who doesn’t have as much faith as me. But Im praying God changes his heart and give his mind a spiritual healing in Jesus name. I speak that we will both receive deliverance, and healing this year also get married, and also him coming to church with me and our daughter again Jesus take the wheel.pray for us God bless

  • Harvey says:

    I’ve been an atheist for decades. I fell in love with a devout Catholic woman who asked me to go to Church with her and, being the curious person I am, went. I was fascinated with all the beauty and ritual, songs. So, over time, I’ve found myself wanting to go with her more and more.
    I admire how her faith allows her to deal with all the struggles in her life and wished that I could have that same ability, and told her. She told me that I could, that all it took was faith in God and Jesus. She would pray for me and, finally, I started praying. I even enlisted the aid of a hypnotist to help me overcome my intellectually based doubts, to infuse a feeling of joy, excitement, love and more with the idea of God and Jesus. Now, I realize this isn’t a recommended way to find God but, coupled with all the other things I was finally able to open up more than ever to having faith.
    I’m joining an RCIA class and, added to the fact that I attend Mass, pray, will soon be studying the Bible, sharing a life in marriage (once I convert) with my beautiful Catholic girlfriend, and more, I am very excited about my new life, to be shared in our after-life with my beautiful wife.

  • Brooklyn says:

    I needed this testimony. We have two small children and I desperately want to take them to church, but my husband is not a believer and it means I will be going at this alone. I truly do not mind going to church alone; however, I cannot bring myself to take the first step, which is talking to my husband about wanting our kids to have a church. I do not want this to come between us. I am fine with going alone and living my life as Christ like as possible, I just need to get over the first hurdle. I do not know how to hear what he has to say, hear what I know is so opposite of how I feel and not feel frustration or anger towards him.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Guys

    Please keep me in your prayers for my husband and kids to draw closer to Jesus and remove idolatry from my home. I married a non believer but I have faith and I know that if one person believes the entire house will be saved if they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. I have faith that my God walks and water and nothing is impossible. I know only God can change them. I am unable to talk to them about Jesus so I always live as God wants me too. Its not easy to see my family belive in inanimate things. But I trust in Jesus completely because he holds all of us in the palms of his hands. Although I cannot go to church right now but i am able to go down on my knees anywhere and trust in God for everything. I know that one day my family and I will be in church together. Please keep my family and I in your prayers as I will for each and every one of the posts that i read and that touches my heart. Many thanks

  • Aldo says:

    ShannonHope, God bless you. Continue to hang in there and trust the Lord. He knows exactly where you are, what you are going through, what your husband needs, and how to bring it all about for both your good.

    Father God, continue to lead, guide, and inspire, ShannonHope, and bring her husband to a place of agreement. I pray that both of them will place You smack in the middle of their lives so that as they draw closer to You they will draw closer to each other, in Jesus Name I pray, amen.

  • ShannonHope says:

    This is exactly what I am going through with my husband. From the beginning to the end. I found a relationship with God first. I once heard a member at church who is in her 80’s who lost her husband. The night before he passed he finally accepted Jesus in his heart. The news was sad, but I couldn’t help and think, “oh dear God, please don’t make me wait this long!” I totally agree on being an intercessor for my husband. I pray for him and his heart. The Lord told me, “I have him, you just love him and keep moving forward towards my kingdom.” Not always easy by any means. I want God to slap him on his forehead and BOOM, he is on fire for God! But its not in my control, He is in control and has put us together for His purpose. My husband is so loving to my needs and so kind to others. He actually brings those that are lost and have questions about God to me. He is more of a talker to strangers than I could ever be and I am a sharer and compassionate person for the hurting. The two of us together actually work. Funny how God works. So I’m okay if my husband doesn’t want to go to church every Sunday. I always tell him we have each others back. There is a title of a book by Gary Thomas called, “Sacred Marriage. What if God designed marriage to make us holy rather than to make us happy” The title alone is so powerful! I just keep pressing in, in prayer and trusting God. Oh and I always pray for patience!

  • ShannonHope says:

    This is exactly what I am going through with my husband. From the beginning to the end. I found a relationship with God first. I once heard a member at church who is in her 80’s who lost her husband. The night before he passed he finally accepted Jesus in his heart. The news was sad, but I couldn’t help and think, “oh dear God, please don’t make me wait this long!” I totally agree on being an intercessor for my husband. I pray for him and his heart. The Lord told me, “I have him, you just love him and keep moving forward towards my kingdom.” Not always easy by any means. I want God to slap him on his forehead and BOOM, he is on fire for God! But its not in my control, He is in control and has put us together for His purpose. My husband is so loving to my needs and so kind to others. He actually brings those that are lost and have questions about God to me. He is more of a talker to strangers than I could ever be and I am a sharer and compassionate person for the hurting. The two of us together actually work! Funny how God works. So I’m okay if my husband doesn’t want to go to church every Sunday. I always tell him we have each others back. There is a title of a book by Gary Thomas called, “Sacred Marriage. What if God designed marriage to make us holy rather than to make us happy” The title alone is so powerful! I just keep pressing in, in prayer and trusting God. Oh and I always pray for patience?

  • Elkay says:

    Callie, yours is a very, very sad situation and paraphrasing another’s post, I wish I could give you a word from God that would ease your pain and sorrow and bring comfort and joy to your heart. I do know that God is all-powerful and is unlimited in accomplishing His plans and purposes, that He is good and perfect in all He does, and there are no limits to His love for you.

    As the article reminds us, prayer is our link to God’s presence, power, wisdom, and comfort. Jesus tells us that “With God all things are possible” and so you might try to surround yourself with other women who’ll pray with and for you; also study the Bible with a friend or small group and continue to attend church as often as you are able.

    Simeon referred to Jesus as “the Consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25), our ultimate Consoler, so we pray “Lord Jesus, Callie needs consolation so we bring You her injuries—the ones she knows about as well as any hidden from her awareness. Like Simeon, we are crying out to You for help. You alone are the One who can heal her inner hurts. You alone can sort out the confusion and disappointment swirling around in her because of the wounds life has inflicted upon her. We come to You now, Lord Jesus, as her Consoler and place her heart in Your hands for the comfort, healing and consolation she needs. Amen.

  • Callie says:

    My husband and I were married 33 years ago in the chaple of the centurian on Ft Monro VA my husband is knowlegable was in the mid east for several years after the 1973 war in a lot of the bible he could quote chapter and verse from memory then thanks to his father he was gone before. If his father had kept quiet sunset on our wedding night, My husband and I would have started our marriage right. He would not have disappeared the next three and a half years with those other wives he had. they were technology, nuclear powered and lived under the waves waiting to rain death on enemies of the united states I was so unhappy that his father would tell the Shore patrol chief where he could find my husband to be one of the replacements for a weapons division that was busted for pot usage, I saw him three years latter after a briefing all the way down to kings bay on the bus of what I was allowed to talk with him about in the ward room, the discussion was all reenlistuing lasted all of five minutes. Basically it was no I am not reuping. I received the letter when my brother came back from off crew, Iv already set it back that was going to rerun and reinstate on the civilian job he took a military leave from. He told me he was so sick of never ge4tting leave or off crews that since he had only six months his request for a special admirals mast was swept under the rug, They were going to make him finish his hitch underwater, When he went back on nuclear weapons securuity his XO said it was just my husbands qualifications and knowledge were the highest in the navy He kept slipping through the cracks when he was needed, His father was extremely angry he was going back and not staying in. the next six months for me was people coming over to his fathers and telling me of the first two times my husband came home from military service, how badly he disrupted lives in his senior year. Then again when he came back in 1976. How he had no respect for the social and political heirarchy of the area.How he cared less if somebody had needs in these areas.

    I was diagnosed as Bi Polar, one of the items I was not allowed to tell him and his fist hour home him and his father were screaming at each other and his mother was saying there is always tommorrow to see me just please for gods sake do as his father wanted and not commit murder his first day home That was shortly after 5:30 AM On June the first 1985. His fathers intent was I keep out of sight the first week he was home Did not go according to plan. My husband like his father planed had him put straight to the floor on the shift my husband despised. Second shift 12 hours a day. He arrived home really tired and just went straight back to the sofa. Then a commotion again an hour latter when his father said He was the one that did not want to reup because he was a big baby. He could still go back was the suggestion. but he said since he was back he could hit the bricks and find a place to live. He did not need me to do so. That’s the day everything started going very bad, I heard him tell his father he was going to talk to me if he had to tear the bulkhead out to do so. His father said shut his face and get out The next thing I know is his very scared mother is begging me to help stop my husband from killing his father. The first sight I had of my husband was a very tired , angry man pinning his father to his living room ceiling. He was not nice about the way he dropped him when I appeared. Until he was depressed enough in 2009 My husband never had a day off vacation, holiday or weekend off. Initially I said our marriage was on hold for two years, just to keep him from disrupting lives. then it came to him stepping on social toes with what he wanted I was called a mercenary b**** his third day home when he was going to bump a girl with six months to his nine years onto second shift ruining her social life Two years latter was angry because we had to pull my promise of two years before to get him to back off The trip to Rome and work That got me sent to my mothers for two years. I always thought after the state would not allow a divorce. That one day there could be some way to get things some way he wanted and not step on toes doing it. I was in church one day when one of his fathers and mothers friends found something on the Pew they were sitting at, The mans wife stood up and said You cheat and stormed out of the church. One of his fathers friends was in the pew crying as to how that picture of him in an embrace in the parking lot where my husband worked, The embrace was a dancer at a local club, that friend transferred to Detriot the next month it was thought my husband had something to do with it since he was required to work for the man every Sunday because of religous freedom. it was not that my husband was an Athiest he was not for as he put it. any particular cult! Then the MRSA in his spine. Him and several clergy had long conversations about forgiving me for the blackmail of three decades. I heard one catholic priest say that Christ even took a horrible beating for our sins, Me and his mother just found out what was confessed that day this year I had seen the scars on my husbands back, the only thing he ever said about them was it happened when he was in the army.
    This year the anaylist bought out a very old sample bottle, he asked my husband how was it the MRSA formed around copper strands near his spine. Then he pulled out older polariod’s taken by a military doctor in September 1972. They were of my husbands back. He had been cut to pieces with an extension cord Weilded by his father and four of his friends while they had tied him to a tree for a lesson in respect.
    It took, according to the report, 153 stiches to seal those cuts and three units of blood, The reason why his father tried to keep him from ever touching me was what happened the next summer when he was going to marry a half native Hawiian half Japanese woman, his father always felt he had made himself to dirty to touch a white woman, I don’t know what to do. My husband has made it clear the next person that even looks cross eyed at him to interfere with him he wont think twice before he kills them. Me three years ago he did not stand for another no about our sex life. He forced me on a night I had promised to go to a social dinner he came home from rehab and a stress center the same day. First he was sarcastic about where was his invitation because the only arm I was going to be on was his that day He wont stand for it now. I tried offering a negotiation to see what we could allow in four hours after the event, and when he listed off what he had given up, worked for and had any return on the last 31 years was I got everything I wanted He ask when did he get what he wanted in the marriage I did not get to the event and neither did his father mother or best friend after he was thrown of the porch face first into the drive. I chose a side in 1985 thinking I was doing gods will in controlling my husband and helping society. Now he compares himself to Lucifer, Would rather rule in the hell we sent him to rather than serve in our idea of heaven. This time Lucifer is winning. and nobody can now figure a way to stop him.

  • Sharon says:

    to joy– prayer– father God I do pray for his mans salvation and see you as the only person to save him nothing is impossible with you open his eyes to your truth also God give Joy wisdom and guidance on what to do about whether to marry this man I pray that you will Joy dreams and visions on what to do so she will really know on what to do I pray all of this in JESUS name amen I am praying for you for Gods wisdom and guidance tough one for you I am sure maybe take it slowly for now let him come to church with you and let him see your 6 month baby and you maybe go on dates. this is just a suggestion I am praying for you that you will receive from God on what to do– sharon

  • Joy says:

    I am a Christian and have been a single mom to my 20 month old daughter. Several months ago, her birth father contacted me, apologized and asked for a chance to be in her life and mine.

    He has “Christian values” but he would not call himself a Christian. He says that he wants to get married and have a family. While I never dreamed I would marry a non-believer, I’m not sure what to do because we have a child together already. I really love him and I know there are scriptures to support marrying and not marrying him… I’m just not sure what to do.

    He is open to Christianity. He comes to church with us and is always respectful when I talk about God. Please pray that God would save him. I know that is a work that God must do – not me and not him.

  • Sharon says:

    to Dave– I am sorry you don’t believe any more my brother is an atheist he left the faith even though he grew up Christian we are all praying for him my husbands parents have passes away we don’t know on where they are we hope heaven but they didn’t believe when they were alive but we hope at the last minute they believed. your wife should be worried for you as much as her relatives I know some families who children have left the faith even the parents are Christian. I believe in hell but I pray that not many people will go there the last day JESUS will ask people if they believed or not I am praying for you maybe you don’t believe in people praying for you I pray that when JESUS calls the prodigals home with you included– sharon

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Dave, Thanks for adding your perspective to the conversation. I understand your internal discomfort with people suffering for all of eternity in Hell. That is a unimaginable fate and a tragic consequence for someone you love. Even God does not want any of His creation to end up in that reality; Peter wrote, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” (2Peter 3:9) Yet even Jesus talks about sending people to Hell; when told His disciples about the final judgement He explained, “Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons…And they will go away into eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:41,46) So the question is, if God does not want anyone to experience that place of eternal punishment, why does He say that people will? Part of that answer comes from a clear understanding of what Hell is: it is a place that is separated from God and all of His goodness. God said through the prophet Isaiah that, “Your sins have made a separation between you and God” (Isaiah 59:2) and Paul wrote that those who don’t accept Jesus gift of new life, “will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2Thessalonians 1:9) Since God is the “giver of EVERY good and perfect gift” (James 1:17) to be separated from God means to be separated from everything that is good. So that means Hell is the absence of anything that is good.

    Another important piece in understanding how people end up in Hell is to understand what sin is. Sin is a rejection of God. Paul describes it as “exchanging the truth of God for a lie.” (Romans 1:25) The lie is that God is not good, and that we don’t need Him to lead and guide our lives. That lie was told to Adam and Eve at the beginning of the human race, “God knows that when you eat the fruit your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5) And so in order to be ‘free’ from God, Adam and Eve ate the fruit, and their eyes were opened revealing their shame and they hid from God. Adam said to God, “I heard the sound of You, and I was afraid, and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:10) Since that time all of humanity has been trying to hide/separate themselves from God.

    So Hell is the end result of what humanity has been striving for since Adam and Eve first sinned in the Garden of Eden: complete separation from God. All the rest of the Bible describes God’s work at revealing the foolishness of separating ourselves from Him because it means the absence of everything good, and providing a rescue for us from our choice. God does not want that for us, but here is where the final key element in understanding Hell comes into play: God will not force Himself on anyone! If someone is determined to be separate from God, He will not compel them against their will to be with Him. The rest of the Bible is a description of God revealing the eternal consequences of our choice and providing a rescue so that we don’t have to experience the logical conclusion of our choice to be separated from God, the source of everything good. Look at the lengths that God has gone to make that rescue possible: sacrificing Himself to pay the penalty for our rejection of Him. That is the ultimate in love, wouldn’t you say?

    Isn’t it ironic that so many people reject the idea of Hell, suggesting that it is evidence of a cruel God, when in actual fact it is the very thing that they want, which is to be separated from God. The lie that we have clung to goes so deep into our psyche!

    So is that the understanding of Hell that you have rejected? Do you think that my description reflects how the Bible presents Hell?

  • Dave says:

    Hey everyone. My wife and i got married as die hard christians. But 7 years into it i found my self not believing in the biblical god anymore. Im agnostic now. My big reason for leaving was an internal uncomfort with a god who allows hell. i noticed that if hell didnt exist there would be no reason to worry about spouse unbelief. This is the main problem. Also if hell didnt exist christians would not be as devout as they are. If hell didnt exist no one would care about christianity. All believers build there faith off fear of hell. What is troubleing to me is that my wife thinks its all for nothing if im going to hell. Yet she has relatives who are not christians and doesnt seem as concerned for them as me. Strange thinking. We have 3 kids and im sure she is most concerned for them but everyone knows that some kids raised in christian homes do not remain believers. So there is no sense in worrying for your kids because even if i was a christian my kids could still leave the faith. Most do. It is crazy to me that you believers remain christian if your faith causes you this much pain. Why cant you think you may be wrong and not spouse? Have you thought of universalism biblically? If all go to heaven then dont worry. But you chose to not explore possibilities and remain in pain. Who wants christianity to be true ? If you have unbelieving relatives how can you believe this darkness that they are going to hell ? I urge all of you to recognize a god who sends your loved ones to hell insults you as loved ones are apart of you. I have found many scholorly works that prove chrustianity wrong. And if so you should educate yourself and leave christianity. That way you can stop believing your unbeliving spouse is going to hell and bith of you, your children and loved ones have no choice but to be together in the afterlife. Any god who breaks up family is discusting. Free yourselves.

  • Chris says:

    anna…i regret to hear you are struggling in your marriage situation….from what you have said, i would encourage you with acts 16.31, 1 corinthians 7.14 and 1 peter 3. in those verses you will find that God will use your faith towards your husband and bring him into his kingdom in his time. you need not fret about what he says or doesnt say about God and his faith. Jesús always has the last Word and your case will be no different!!

  • Anna says:

    I have been married for 2.5 years. I grew up Christian Reformed, my husband grew up with absolutely no faith. When we met I was in a bad place in my life and was living sinfully with him and in our relationship. We got pregnant had a daughter got married and had another child. We also have a step daughter. I have been working towards a better faith life, stronger relationship with God and seeking Him. My husband has been going to church, even tried to go to a preconfession class for a while before quitting. Tonight I asked him if he believed in God. He said he was 50/50 and said he felt if he said he doesn’t believe in it then our marriage would be a lie because we were married through our church. I’m so lost. I feel heartbroken. I have been praying and searching the web for articles like this one. I need guidance and I don’t know where to go to besides the Bible and to Him. I don’t want to push my husband but I feel so lost as to how to help him. Thank you for your article and I hope to be in someone’s prayers and find some guidance to any other articles or groups relating to this. God bless and keep.

  • Chris says:

    anonymous….i am praying now that the power of these false idols be broken off of your husbands mind and heart, that he would truly see the truth of jesus christ dying for his sins on the cross and that he would cast away all false trust in inanimate things. Jesús bring this husband to you and unite this family in the one true faith according to ephesians 4 amen!

  • Anonymous says:

    I AM A CHRISTIAN LADY MARRIED TO A TAMIL. MY HUSBAND IS WONDERFUL, GOOD QUALITIES CARING AND A GOOD HUSBAND AND FATHER. THE ONLY THING THAT WE DISAGREE ON IS HIS RELIGION , HE BELIEVES IN FALSE GODS. I FEEL ENCOURAGED THAT THE GOD WE SERVE IS ALL POWERFUL AND HAS THE POWER TO CHANGE HIM. I AM VERY HUMBLE AND ALTHOUGH HE DOES NOT LIKE ME TO CONFUSE MY CHILDREN AS HE IS AN ONLY SON TO HIS PARENTS AND DOES NOT WANT THEM TO FOLLOW CHISTIANITY , WHICH BREAKS MY HEART. I AM UNABLE TO PRACTICE MY FAITH SO I PRAY IN SECRET KNOWING THAT GOD IS THE ONLY ONE THAT IS LIVING AND ANSWERS PRAYERS. I CONTANTLY READ PSALMS 91 AND 51 BECUASE I SIN AGAINST GOD AND I ACKNOWLEDGE MY WRONG AND I NEED JESUS WITHIN ME AND MY FAMILY , MY CHILDREN ARE INNOCENT SO I SHOW THEM GOD IN ME THAN SPEAKING ABOUT GOD. MY KIDS DO CHOIR IN SCHOOL AND GET THE CHANCE TO READ THE BIBLE. ALWAYS PRAYING FOR GOD TO CHANGE MY HUSBAND BELIEF , ONLY GOD CAN , AS I AM TRULY NOT MORE POWERFUL THAN HIM.TRUSTING IN GOD FOR A MIRACLE . BECAUSE HIS WORD SAYS THAT IF YOU BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST THEN THOU AND THOU HOUSEHOLD SHALL BE SAVED. I HAVE TO STAY IN FAITH ELSE I AM GOING TO GO INSANE.

  • marisol says:

    Hi Edward,
    I myself encountered an experienced just like yours only thing was I just got Baptist at church that day it happened to me before I continue let me start by sayinh all my life since I was a little girl I got paralyzed in my sleep could not moved and felt an evil presence always when it happened I always wonder why was that happening to me well like I was saying on the day I got Baptist with my husband the day went on and finally the night came. I went to sleep and then I was up but asleep at the same time in my room two giant butterfly were flying above me and directing me to stay focused on them but then I got distracted and when I look there was a demon on me scratchING my face but I couldn’t feel it and it was screaming at me with an evil voice and mad at me for I don’t know what reason then Jesus appear and the demon was told he had to say the name of Jesus christ and he said no and he was being pull away off if me screaming the name Jesus Christ as soon as it was over the Bible was next to me and all I heard was look up vision in the back of the book so here’s the definition of vision-
    an experience of seeing someone or something in a dream or trance, or as a supernatural apparition.
    I was like wow God is so real and powerful the demon are afraid of him that was a good thing I knew life wasn’t going to be easy but I also knew I had Jesus on my side to help me especially with my marriage the trust issues is a mess with me knowing that he already committed adultery once I been faithful because I love Jesus but I want to run away from this life it is fustrating and he doesn’t even know or act like he doesn’t I’m all alone on this walk with christ while my husband pleases to do as he wish speaks as he wish more like verbal abuse I been praying forever I want him to take over and be the leader to this family the head of the house but I’m just tired I know the Lord is with me and he will answer my prayer but I feel so drained out I don’t want to be disobedience to the Lord but Im also tired of the verbal abuse and I have trust issues even if I don’t show it I do.If I speak to try to communicate I’m always being shut up sometimes I just walk away and think to myself I only here cause of you Lord strengthen me sometimes life is so unfair I don’t understand it and I know I should not lean on my own understanding but I just wonder sometimes what if…..

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Sue,
    I don’t have the name of a book offhand but check out the marriage section of your christian bookstore and they will have several books I’m sure.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    T,
    You can model for him how to turn to God in prayer, how to trust Him and claim His promises. And continue to pray for your husband, that he will begin to understand about having a relationship with God and also the importance of that in his daily life.

  • Sue says:

    Can you recommend a book to read on this stuff. It is so common today… Also, pray for those involved in masonic (occult) They use the bible and religion only as a tool to get what they want, or get rid of who they do not want anymore in marriages etc. This is very common today…. Long as they don’t get caught, image must be all.

  • T. says:

    What if your spouse faith level isn’t the same. Your first reaction is to turn to God in prayer, his reaction is to give up on life. He is a believer, but don’t understand we need a relationship with Jesus.

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Jessica,
    I cannot even imagine how difficult this is for you but even in the darkest times we have to trust that God is still at work. Pray, pray, pray for your husband, that God will reveal Himself to Him and that he will see Jesus in you and in your daughters. At this point don’t argue with him, or try to convince him otherwise as that will only drive a wedge between you. Instead, love him(you may want to read the Love Dare for some practical ideas of how to do this) and pray! God is still a God of miracles.

    Let me pray for you as well:

    Dear Heavenly Father,
    I thank you for Jessica and her family. You see the situation and you know exactly what has led her husband to come to this conclusion. But Lord, we also know that You are still the God of miracles and You desire that everyone come to know you. So I pray for her husband, that he would see Jesus in her, and that You by Your Holy Spirit will call him back to yourself. Amen

  • Jessica says:

    My husband and I have been married for 11years and he has recently informed me that he no longer believes in God. That there is just not enough proof. I am completely heart broken and quite frankly in shock. We have been faithful to church and have been raising our daughters to believe God. Now I am so worried for my family. My only hope is that he promises to still attend church as a family.

  • Chris says:

    kate…i pray now that jesus changes your husbands heart and turns this hardness into softness for christ. based on John 6.37 to 44, jesus tells us he alone draws someone to the father and vise versa. so i pray that the fathers and jesus drawing power be made manifest in your husband so he comes and kneels at jesus feet amen!

  • Kate says:

    I am in a similar situation and I go to church every Sunday with our 8yr old daughter while my husband stays home. I never try to “change him”, i have just been a praying wife for God to change his heart. I gave up asking him to come with us. He grew up in a church family although his Dad was a devout Catholic and mom a Lutheren. His parents never went to church together. Their 3 children were able to make a choice growing up and my husband became a Catholic at an early age. He is in the military and after many many deployments to the middle east, he has seen what he says only death and destruction over religion and it has shifted his belief overtime. At first he didn’t mind that I went to church but now he says he has started questioning me, challenging me, telling me the bible is garbage and he may forbid our daughter to go and be brainwashed. He says he is surprised because I am an intelligent person and how could I be so stupid to not see this “church thing is all a business and cult”. I am in tears feeling this situation is getting worse and it’s putting so much strain on our marriage. I have not told anyone or seeked counsel from my church yet but I plan to because I don’t know who else to talk to. I don’t want any family or friends knowing because they would think so poorly of him as a husband and father which puts more stress on me. Thank you for writing this article and for all of the comments because I know I am not alone in this

  • Edward says:

    Hi my name is Edward. My wife and I have been together for 14 years. I grew up in a Methodist Christian home. Since I was 8 or 9 years old my step father was a diehard. He wild force me to read a bible chapter and if I didn’t understand what it was about he would hit me with the belt. I had 2 older step sisters and he would beat them like grown men. And come Sunday he would be yelling at the whole house that we were late for church. But it this way. When I turned 18 I moved out of the house and turned my back on God and church forever. Here I am 20 plus years later. I’m laying down on my bed in the daytime I look up and I see 11 foot muscle bound bearded red burnt skin man jump on the bed and started choking me cussing me out ina deep evil voice calling me every four letter word in the book the whole time he was choking me I looked in is eyes and they were black. I was no longer in my room just in darkness with the devil choking me and cursing me to eternal darkness with him. So as he was choking me I called out to Jesus and told Satan I rebuke you I believe in Jesus Christ. Get off me Satan in Jesus name get off me. Physically I could not move him he was so big like 12 feet muscle bound animal. So I kept calling Jesus. Behold I saw a bright light on the right side in the darknes . While Satan was still had his hands on my neck. U saw the bright light and Jesus appeared. Wearing a white and blue rob with his hands and arms crossed. Smiling and grining at what was going on in this situation. At that moment the devil dissapear and I was not in the dark anymore. It turned back into my room. Wow Jesus appears to a sinner like me. To a man who hasn’t prayed to him in 20 plus years. Amazing from that day I received many miracles and blessings. I shared my story to every person I know. Non believers and all. To my Wife. She refuses to give her life to Christ. We fight constantly. I tell her I share the word. I pray to God to open her eyes show her a sign that Jesus is the truth and the light. I tell her can’t you see I’m a changed Man through Jesus Love. This us coming from a man I’m a tuff macho man and I choose to follow Christ why can’t she. Not even 4 months ago the doctors found a lump in her breast. We as a family thought the worst. We had a good family prayer in a public restaurant. And asked God to bless her and give her another chance. We get the MRI and breast exam.God heals her. Its not cance . Wow I prayed to the Lord thank you this will change her heart of stone and she will come to Jesus. Wow I was wrong. Nothing still as tuff as nails. I pray to God set me free should I leave the family. How can I grow in Jesus when my Wife is a lost soul. I pray to the Lord that I’m only a Man. And I can’t change her only Jesus can. I will try to wait 80 years. But we have a 8 year old daughter and a 13 year old son. How can we lead by example if only one of us is saved…I’m praying to God that u don’t go a stray and get lost again and lose all my faith. I saw Jesus and I’m lost sometime . Blessed are those who believe without seeing Jesus. Pray for my family and to keep the enemy away from us Edward

  • Meg says:

    Thank you so much for this. I 23 and very recently came to know Christ. I have been married three years and also have 2 daughters. My husband has not found Christ, and although I don’t generally push anything on him he does give me trouble about my “god”. I have been very concerned for my daughter’s. But this gives me hope, as well as hope that even without his support I can live the life and m called to. Thank you so much for this!

  • Chris says:

    Jocelyn….i regret to hear you are struggling…obviously only jesus can show you how to handle your situation personally but 1 corinthians 7.14, acts 16.31 and 1 peter 3 can encourage you in knowing that the fact your husband isnt showing he has faith, doesnt mean God cant bring him faith according to romans 12.3 since faith to believe is even a gift of God as well. ephesians 2.8 to 9, John 6.37 to 44. our mates are always changing. sometimes they change for the better, sometimes they change for the worse but we can stay by jesus limitations on divorce as prescribed in Matthew 19 to adultery. otherwise we are could be looking for any old reason to get out of a marriage when we arent comfortable in it. my wife has also changed quite a bit since we had married 15 years ago but i have learned to not let my love waver for her just because she is spiritually less off than she was when i married her. i pray jesus lead you in your marriage and let the holy spirit apply the principles you need to please God above all and know he has the keys to your husbands heart and salvation. be encourged in the lord today!

  • Jocelyn says:

    Hello,

    I’m in a kind of Dark place. My husband grew up in a Christian home and I believe he was a Christian when I married him. We have been married for 3 years at the end of the Month and now he says he believes that you are born, you live, an you die and that is all. How can he go from believing too saying he has no proof God even exists? I struggle with believing a relationship can survive if nth people aren’t committed to God. What should I do??

  • Sam1 says:

    Hi.. If we are not to be unequally yoked please explain 1 corinthians 7:14 . Thank you

  • Doris Beck Doris Beck says:

    Amy,
    Stop worrying about what excuse to give people, or even asking him to come to church and just pray….I know that probably sounds very simplistic, but no one has been ‘argued’ or ‘nagged’ into the kingdom. A great resource for that would be “The Praying Wife” by Stormie Omartian. Love him and concentrate on the things that drew you to him in the first place and ask God to change his heart….God still changes lives and we can trust Him to work in his life. And as the author of this article says, trust Him while you wait!

    Let me pray for you:

    Dear Heavenly Father,
    I lift up Amy to you right now and thank you for You work in her life. She is discouraged right now and hurting because of the decision her husband has made regarding his commitment to you, but Lord, we know that Your Holy Spirit still calls men and women to Himself and so we ask that You would do that….work in His heart and change it oh Lord! Amen

  • Amy says:

    My husband and I dated each other off and on for 10 years we would laugh joke and have fun. We would sit on the phone and have bible study talking about God. When in long distance mode he’d write me letters about God bringing us together. Well we got married. And a little while later he realized he was no longer a believer. I was devastated. I go to church every Sunday and even a director of one of the choirs. We have two little children one that’s 17 months the other whom is a newborn. I feel horrible lugging around two children at church and my husband now stays home. I attend my family church so all of my family attends. It’s such a burden to hold this weight on my shoulder. I cry so much now because I feel I have lost my husband. How could I the lead pastors daughter have a husband that does not believe. He doesn’t pray for our children doesn’t say Grace wants our children to stay home since they can’t understand yet what is going on in church. He is always challenging me of how God can be God and allow so much bad… Or he wants to argue contradictions in the bible or how the bible is a fairy tale. I honestly don’t know what to do… I feel so heavy burdened. I love him he loves me we are just at odds about our faith and beliefs. I ask God why me? I’m just hurt when I see couples at church happy together basking in the word. Or how they can speak over there family…. When it’s not a chore for Sunday to come to see if he will try to go today or what excuse to give to people this time.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Arleen, that must be really difficult feeling convicted that you need to act on your faith but seeing how that is driving a wedge between you and your husband. What brought you to the place where you felt you should be baptized? How did your conversations go with your husband as you were making that decision? What history does your husband have with ‘church’? What does he think makes your faith a ‘cult’ and what are his concerns about you being involved in that?

  • arleen says:

    I have been married for over 30 years and I have always been Christian minded, over a year ago I got baptized in the seven-day Adventist church and my husband is totally against it. Now I know he was never really a church going person but I just never knew he would behave the way he is acting now. He thinks the church is a cult and he does think a church should tell you want to do I have tried to tell him it’s not the church, but now I know it’s not the church because I have asked him to come and go to another church with me but he does want to be seen going to church I feel and this is causing a lot of problems, along with be unemployed life is very hard. I am not sure want to do.

  • Elkay says:

    Jen, it is wonderful that you are choosing God’s way!!

    A word of caution: sometimes, when a relationship is broken off, the other party may feel rejected and resort to using guilt and/or manipulation to get what they want. So as you go forward, pray for God’s peace and strength to succeed in this.

    Also, it is probably a good idea to develop private communications with one of the PTC mentors that are freely available for support and advice. Just hit the “Talk to a Mentor” button at the top right of this web-page, briefly explain what is going on and they will get back to you. Jen, I pray that God will bless you in this endeavor as you go forward.

  • Jen says:

    Elkay,

    I was hoping otherwise, yet knew that your advice is indeed inevitable and true. I just wanted to thank you, and as I stay in prayer I will choose God.

  • Elkay says:

    Jen, I don’t want to sound like I know everything but your heart tells you he’s not the “right one” AND SO DOES GOD! There are a million reasons that 2 Cor 6:12 admonishes us, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?”

    Break it off asap . . . . at the highest level, marriage is a spiritual connection between and woman and a man that in some manner emulates the Trinity. This is what is mean by “become one flesh” in Gen 2:27 and is also why marriage is a sacred institution created by God to honor Himself. So it does not make sense to deliberately enter into a marriage with an unbeliever who is “dragging you into sin.”

    Beyond this “spiritual” union, there is a vast “real life” connection that involves affection, respect, expectations, duties, emotions, physical needs, money-management, conflict-resolution, communication differences, etc., etc. And so a successful marriage requires a life-long commitment to all aspects of the other person’s well-being. Basically, it is a deliberate decision (not an emotion) to take the love God has for you and let it flow from Him through you to the other person, regardless of whether they respond appreciatively or respond in kind. If your boyfriend does not love and trust God, this cannot happen and you do not want to be married to him.

    Sorry for the “harsh words” but you are in a precarious situation and do not want to make a big mistake.

  • Jen says:

    My heart is breaking. I’ve been searching on websites for an answer and came across your site. Thank you. My boyfriend doesn’t believe there is a Hell. When I ask, “do you believe in Heaven”. He replies, what is my definition of heaven. Nor does he believe everything in the bible. My heart tells me he is not the one; he is going to keep dragging me into sin. I don’t want to fornicate or hear profanity or have a child with him struggling with his disbelief. I’m 35; he’s 50 and I’m desperate to get married to live right. That’s a sin conscious mindset I have to pray about. Tonight I asked what his goals are and he didn’t have any; he remains positive minded. I feel like I’m in a dead zone with a dead soul. I need a God-fearing husband to lead and walk with me. I want to worship God with my husband. I want to have a home and household that puts God first. It’s time maybe to let go and let God.

  • pipi says:

    Nice read. Asking God to come into our lives and save my marriage. Before I met my husband we had talks about starting a family. He was not into having children initially but had mentioned that if the right woman came along he would consider. Year 1-2 into our marriage came and just like other marriages we had our ups and downs.. within the years i kept reminding him of starting a family but he interpreted it as nagging and being the sole agenda of getting married, to the extent of not wanting children anyways. I have refrained from talking about it, and i doubt it crosses his mind. I’m sad every month when Auntie flo visits way beyond words can explain. I love my husband very much but i do want to have children. I made vows on my wedding day and now finding it really had to start searching other alternative i.e someone else. I’m now calling upon my God to answer my prayers and save my marriage before things take a toll on my marriage. Please God answer my hearts desires, intercede in my marriage so my husband and I can be on the same page and live happily for the rest of our remaining life on earth. Amen Anyone else in such predicament and how did you handle it?

  • Anonymous says:

    what an inspirational testimony just when i needed it. I have been praying for my girlfriend who is a believer but i feel is not able to have as much love and affection for the Lord as I have. Praying or reading the bible along with her gives me so much joy, but somehow she thinks I am preachy/pushy and she wants to take things slow as shes “New to this”. Sometimes I end up doubting if she’s really saved. Three years ago this same night, i was tossing and turning on my bed praying for guidance to make the second biggest decision of my life whether or not to tell her im in love with her. Well Im glad i did and today after three years, once again my heart is heavy and im praying that the lord would make us a wonderful godly couple, like aquilla and priscilla and have home filled with laughter, joy, peace and righteousness. Proverbs 18:22 ” whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing and obtaineth favour of the Lord ” Thanks for the post Nancy God bless you and I really pray that very very soon Barry will give you that surprise you always wanted. –greetings from India

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