When your spouse isn’t a spiritual hero
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?
1. Take inventory.
What’s my spouse doing right?
Have I expressed my gratitude? (Hint: None of us is the sum of our weaknesses.)
What does Scripture actually say about spiritual practices?
Many of these disciplines (like devotions) were created by people for the purpose of knowing God. They’re not the end itself.
When I’m honest, how much of this is my own image-management?
2. Understand your spouse’s whys.
Is there alienation or anger with spiritual issues? Does she associate rejection or shame with church? Could he be hauling a sense of spiritual failure or inadequacy?
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—to be emotionally naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25)—is critical. We walk through sickness and health of the soul, too.
Inward transformation begins when your spouse feels heard and validated because you are listening to understand. Not instructing.
Tip: Your spouse is 100% more likely to take ownership of “the solution” if they come to a conclusion for themselves.
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.
Click to listen to nag-free ways to create change.
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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