Three suggestions for coping when his spiritual life seems at a standstill.
By Dennis and Barbara Rainey
Even though my husband goes to church every Sunday, his spiritual walk seems to be at a standstill. He doesn’t seem truly interested in God, family, or me. What should I do?
Barbara: A good Scripture to start with is 1 Peter 3:1-2, which tells us that husbands “may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” Make sure that you are growing spiritually while continuing to pray for him. A wife must not focus on her husband’s lack of spiritual qualities but on the bigger picture–that God desires to use her in his life to challenge him spiritually. The prayer and hope would be that her godly life would challenge him and make him seek to grow.
Dennis: I have three suggestions.
First, be aware you are not alone. There are many other spouses in this situation.
Second, realize that you are responsible to grow in your relationship with Christ regardless of your circumstances. Find a support group that encourages you to respond to God regardless of the suffering you are going through. Keep your Christian walk strong and avoid becoming lukewarm.
Third, pray for God to do whatever it takes to change your husband’s lifestyle. God doesn’t have a pleasant reaction to lukewarm Christianity. In Revelation 3:16 he tells the Laodicean church, “so because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Ask God to bring godly men into your husband’s life.
Barbara: Make sure that you don’t think of yourself as superior to your husband because he is struggling. This is, unfortunately, a common scenario for a woman who is more mature spiritually than her husband. The temptation to think this way is from the Enemy. The devil wants a wife to push her husband away.
If she is really loving her husband the way God has designed her to love him, according to all the biblical teachings, then God can use that to draw the husband to Himself. But it is so easy to slip into being critical. If he feels like you are being critical at all, he doesn’t have any reason to turn around and become a godly man.
Dennis: I would encourage you to do a quick study of your husband and ask yourself the question, “What would communicate to my husband that I love him?” Maybe it’s sacrificial acts, like gifts of love, notes, praise, appreciation. Ultimately, it takes love to soften a heart.
Barbara: Pray that the Lord would help you understand why he is not responsive to spiritual things. Why is he not drawn to the church? Is it that he is afraid of what God might do in his life? What he might become? Are there certain things he would not want to give up?
Dennis: Consider also evaluating your church. Is it relevant and meeting his needs? Does it offer ways to promote growth for not only you, but for him also? Is the church equipping him to be a servant of God? If it is the church, you may want to consider moving even if it means disrupting friendships for the sake of your husband’s spiritual life, your marriage, and your family.
Another suggestion I would add would be to, without nagging him, invite him to go to a Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway. There have been a lot of lukewarm men who have attended that conference thinking it would simply be a romantic getaway with their wives. They have come for the romance, and they have heard the truth. There’s no guarantee that he will respond to the truth, but it might be a wake-up call for him. I’ve met hundreds of men whose lives were spiritually changed at the conference.
Barbara: It could be that he would be exposed to it in a way he had not before that might make it more attractive to him.