When Your Spouse Doubts God
By Heather Riggleman
So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” - John 20:25
It felt so fresh and new. I held my Bible in my hands as I gazed at my husband and daughter across the pond. It was a cool fall day, the perfect kind to explore the outdoors and breathe deep the fresh air.
Chris looked my way and I pretended not to notice and turned back to my Bible. Then silently, I prayed. I had given my life to Jesus less than two years before. Chris assumed it was a phase and was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Who could blame him after the years I spent in the bottom of a bottle? I was constantly making promises to stop drinking and using. But then the world would feel overwhelming, the pain of my past triggering such deep emotions, and I would disappear. I wouldn’t return his calls or texts, and the Sheriff would bring me home at 4 a.m.
No wonder Chris had his doubts. The day I gave my life to Jesus, my Savior healed me and made me whole. I no longer craved to dull the pain, because it was gone. The empty caverns in my soul which had threatened to overtake my life were filled with the presence of God. But how does one explain this to a spouse who has barely heard of this “Jesus guy”?
When your spouse doubts the power of Christ or even doubts who Jesus is, remember what Jesus did for the doubters. In the book of John, there is the story of “Doubting Thomas.” Besides Thomas, the rest of the disciples encountered Jesus after he had risen from the dead. Jesus appeared in the middle of a locked room where they had gathered. They got to see him with their eyes, they got to hear his voice as he spoke to them. They witnessed the wounds in his hands, feet and his side. They also were gifted with the Holy Spirit. Everyone except Thomas, until a week later:
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus' willingness to accommodate Thomas' unbelief is a reminder that God can handle doubt. Your Doubting Thomas may look different than mine. Your Doubting Thomas may not know who God really is. Your Doubting Thomas may be a believer in a faith crisis, or he may lack a relationship with God. He may doubt God is in control amidst all the bad things blaring on the news. Your doubting Thomas may have a past and may question whether or not he is forgiven.
The example of Thomas is for the stubborn skeptic who lies buried within each of us. It’s an invitation to grow closer to God as you pray for your spouse.
Two years after my own conversion, My Doubting Thomas came to know Jesus. Despite the mistakes, setbacks, and misunderstandings, Chris saw through it all how Jesus had changed my soul from the inside out. One evening at a church play, the Holy Spirit called on Chris and he responded by dragging me to the altar with him (despite being seven months pregnant!). He exchanged his doubt for Jesus.
If your spouse is a doubter, keep praying, keep leading by example, and keep trusting in the God who never stops loving and pursuing his beloved children.
Heather Riggleman calls Nebraska home (Hey, it’s not for everyone) with her three kids and husband of 20 years. She writes to bring bold truths to marriage, career, mental health, faith, relationships, celebration and heartache. Heather is an author and a former national award-winning journalist. Her work has also been featured on Proverbs 31 Ministries, MOPS, Today's Christian Woman and Focus On the Family. You can find her at heatherriggleman.com or connect with her on Instagram.
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