Being in an unequally yoked marriage can make you feel like you’re getting knocked down day after day. But in today’s Monday Minute, Rachelle shares some encouraging truths and powerful prayers.
When You’re Unequally Yoked
by Rachelle Whitfield
If you have been around the church very long you have surely heard the phrase, “unequally yoked”.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul warns the Corinthians about being unequally yoked with unbelievers (Ch 6, vs 14). I will say this warning is not specifically about marriage although most sermons we hear associate it with marriage. It warns against any binding relationship, which includes marriage. There are many other scriptures throughout the Bible that specifically warn us against marrying unbelievers (Deuteronomy 7:3, Joshua 23:12, Ezra 9:2, Nehemiah 13:25, 1 Corinthians 7:39).
So, what does “unequally yoked” really mean, and why should we avoid entering into that kind of relationship?
The Greek term Paul used in 2 Corinthians 6:14 is ἑτεροζυγέω, heterozugéō, yoking together two animals of different kind. When animals are properly yoked (attached together with a bridle or harness), they are equal in strength, height, and type. When unequally yoked, they injure one another. They move at a different pace, sway differently, and the bridle joining them begins to rub them raw. Even when they are aware of the differences and compensate for them, their nature always draws them back into their injurious behavior.
If you have heard my marriage story you know it started with doubt and fear of failure (whose doesn’t?).
Our premarital counselor, a friend, a mentor, and a godly father figure of mine mentioned after a couple of sessions that we would never have a “maximum” marriage. If I am being transparent and honest, I will tell you this is the absolute truth. At the time it hurt and instead of heeding his wise counsel, we found a new church and someone else to marry us.
If you are close friends you know we have a good marriage and at times it is great.
He IS my best friend but…17 years later we are still unequally yoked. What does that look like? Many Sundays I walk between the post chapel pews alone while other husbands and wives pour in together clinging hands, arms around each other’s shoulder and sometimes a shared giggle and grin when the pastor was talking directly to them. A prayer whispered as service wraps up that no one asks where Chris is.
But I also have concerns bigger than what others will think. We struggle with questions like: How do we make family decisions and solve problems? How and who disciplines the children? Do we tithe or don’t we tithe? This list of questions could number into the hundreds, if not thousands. What it meant for us when we weren’t on the same page was I prayed for wisdom and searched the Scriptures for guidance and he pulled from how he was raised and previous examples that may have not been healthy or biblical.
I have spent many seasons studying and learning about building strong, Christian, military marriages and although we continue to be unequally yoked we have found a balance.
I found there are a few types of people–believers, unbelievers, atheists, and followers of Jesus Christ who seek a personal relationship with our Savior. In my heart, I am the latter. My husband says he believes that Jesus is the son of God who created the heavens and earth and that he died on a cross for each of us. The rest is between him and God. What I know is when he falls head over heels in love with our Father and desires that personal relationship, I am going to have the most amazing husband, because he is already pretty hot and awesome.
For my single sisters, I encourage you to wait on the Lord. Lean into the promise in Psalm 46:10. He is God and he has a plan for you; don’t rush it.
For my married sisters, know he is God and he has a plan for you, your husband, your marriage, and your family. For every scripture about not marrying an unbeliever there are multiple verses ordaining your union to last until death do you apart. If your spouse is a believer, I join you in prayer that he will fall head over heels in love with our Father. If your spouse is an unbeliever, I join you in prayer that he comes to know the Lord as his personal savior. And if he is an atheist, sweet friend I cannot imagine your struggle, but I join you in prayer for his salvation and that you continue to cling to our Father for comfort, wisdom, and discernment.
Pray every day for your marriage. Grab a marriage prayer card here.
Connect with other Godly couples. Although my husband does not attend church with me every week he has joined me throughout the years in small couples growth groups and he is always up for a cookout with other couples who just happen to be Christians praying for him and our marriage. (I wish I could insert the wink emoji here.)
GO to church without him, find a group of women to be in the Word with who will be on their knees praying for the success of your marriage and the salvation of your husband.
Heavenly Father, You know my heart’s desire is to have a marriage with you smack dab in the middle. Thank you for the many blessings you have covered my marriage with. Please continue to bless us. I ask you to be the thread that attaches my husband and I so that nothing this side of heaven will ever pull it apart. I ask for your forgiveness and patience with me as I continue to become the wife you created me to be. And as always, I ask that you allow me to show my husband just a little bit of you through the way I love him and serve him each and every day. Amen.
Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerich (I would say if you read no other marriage book this would be my top recommendation.)
How to Act right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong by Leslie Vernick
Women Making a Difference in Marriage by Lana Packer
There are so many. I encourage you to take a peak at a few here: (https://blog.feedspot.com/christian_marriage_blogs/) and find an author that speaks your language.
The Lifegiver Podcast with host Corie Weathers (One of my favorites.)
Take a peak at this list and find a couple that grab your attention. https://blog.feedspot.com/christian_marriage_podcasts/