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Married to an Unbeliever/Disobedient Husband – Pull Up A Chair

by Kate Plourde

When I study, I use my King James Bible and a Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. Both are quoted in this study. Before I start, I want to share a little something with you. I was saved on April 1, 1980. John and I had been married for 6 years already. I was no longer in love with my husband and I wanted “out” of my marriage. I no longer loved my husband and, in fact, hated him! I was married to an unbeliever for six years before he got saved. During these six years, God taught me how to be a submissive wife and what His Word said about being the wife of an unbeliever. God not only taught me in these areas but he healed my marriage and restored my love for my husband. Praise His Holy Name that He not only saved me, but He drew my husband to salvation six years later. I speak to you today because I have been through this. I speak from experience of the wonderful things God can do in your marriage if YOU allow Him to do it. That’s the key. ย Allowing God to work in our lives is a CHOICE. ย  We must allow God to work in our hearts, our husband’s heart, and our marriage. God desires for you to have a great marriage. God desires for your marriage to be equally yoked.For you ladies who are married to a saved husband, please read the study anyway as it involves submission … and we can ALL stand to have refresher courses in this very important area in our lives. ๐Ÿ™‚ Are you ready to commit to that? Are you tired of your marriage being rocky and miserable and unequally yoked? Are you desiring a husband who will serve God and love Him? These wonderful things CAN be achieved if you do your part with your heart and leave your husband to the Lord.

Let’s get on with the study then ๐Ÿ™‚

Heavenly Father, I know that all things work together for good for those who love You. I pray, Father, that You would use this study to Your glory and that You would heal the heart of the lady who is desperately trying to draw nigh to You. I lift up each marraige represented here and pray God that Your Holy Spirit would work in the hearts of the women to be the help meet You want her to be. I ask all these things in Jesus’ Precious, Precious Name. Amen.

Definition of a Wife:

What does the Word define a wife as? A wife is a helpmeet according to Genesis 2:18 “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him..”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what help meet means. She will help her husband and she will meet his needs. ๐Ÿ™‚ Simple, isn’t it? Does it say that she is a help meet only if the husband is saved? Not in my Bible ๐Ÿ™‚ ย Does it say that she is a help meet only if her husband is doing right? ย There are saved husbands out there who are not following God’s will for their lives. ย So where does God draw the line on being a help meet? ย He does not make any prerequisites.

When Does a Wife Submit:

Therefore, we are to be help meets regardless of where he is spiritually. Before I begin, I need to stress that God’s Word for wives does not only apply when we are married to a wonderful Christian man. It would be very easy to be a wife of such a man. God’s Word applies when we are married to an unbeliever, a back-slidden believer, drunkard, gambler, drug addict, etc. It applies to the woman who has been married for many years and is no longer in love with her husband (and vice versa). Well, Kate you might say, just how in the world can I be a help meet to a man such as my husband? He’s simply awful! The answer is quite simple. Let God work in you to be the kind of wife He wants YOU to be and HE will take care of your husband. ๐Ÿ™‚ This is not an easy thing to do… I know that. However, I’ve been there and I know what worked in my heart and for my marriage. ย We need to stop trying to change our husbands and let the Holy Spirit do the changing in him. ย If we concentrate on our OWN spiritual growth, we won’t have time to worry about our husband’s spiritual growth – or lack of it.

The best place to find information on what is expected of you as a wife is to go to the Source where the information is perfect and absolutely correct ๐Ÿ™‚ … and that, my friend, is your beautiful Bible. Let’s look at probably one of the most important passages of Scriptures for married women.

~1 Peter 3:1-6 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

1 Peter 3:1 God starts the verse with Likewise. Likewise means: In like manner; also; moreover; too. ….

Hmmmm, likewise to what? To see what Peter was referring to, you must go to chapter 2 and read the latter part of it. When these letters were written, they weren’t divided by chapters and verses as they are now so we lose that continuity. As you see, Peter is referring to Christ’s work on the cross and how we are now returned to the Bishop and Shephard of our souls ๐Ÿ™‚ Isn’t that beautiful? As Peter lays the groundwork here, he then moves on to chapter 3 verse 1. SOOOO, now that we are saved we have some instructions to follow.

Submission to Whom?

Next, the instruction is to “ye wives” … it does not say husband here. This is a definite instruction to US. Furthermore, that verse goes on to say that you are to be in subjection to your OWN husbands. ย Why do you think Peter would need to tell the wives this? Could it be that they were listening to other men but not listening to their own husbands? I use to be that way. My husband could tell me that the sky was blue but I wouldn’t listen to him. But let another man (especially a saved one) tell me that the sky was blue, I listened to him. Isn’t that sad? I’m ashamed to even say that I did that, but I did. ๐Ÿ™ (Thank You Lord for Your patience with me.) In fact, Peter thought this SO important that he says it again in verse 5.

I believe Peter had a tender heart for wives … he had a wife of his own. He knew exactly what we needed to hear and God spoke through Peter as he wrote these instructions for us. Verse 1 continues to say “that if any of your husbands don’t obey the word” … let’s park there for a moment. Does it say that if any of your husbands are not saved? No, it does not. Therefore, this could also apply to women with husbands who ARE saved but are backslidden. Both the unsaved and backslidden husbands are disobedient to the Word.

So what does Peter tell us to do if we are married to a man who is disobedient to the Word? He says that they “may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;”! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Do you see that wives? When I first read this verse, the words WITHOUT THE WORD jumped off the page at me and convicted my heart! ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

This can mean several things: no preaching to hubby, no correcting him, no nagging him because he’s not going to church, no nagging PERIOD, no belittling him, and all those other nasties that tend to come out of our mouths when we are not happy with him. Why? The answer is in the latter part of that verse … so that they may be WON by the conversation of the wives. Well, if we’re not allowed to speak, what conversation is Peter referring to? God’s not saying that we cannot speak at all. He’s telling us that He doesn’t want us “speaking” THE WORD to our unsaved husbands. Our behavior doesn’t stop with our mouths. Our behavior continues in our attitude – sulking, rolling eyes, etc. Why do you think God doesn’t want you to quote the Scriptures to your hubby when he’s sinning? Aren’t we suppose to correct our brother in Christ like Matthew 18 says?

Not your husband! Let the Holy Spirit deal with your husband. You must remember that the Holy Spirit IS God! His way is perfect and His way will bring peace and reconciliation in your marriage … not YOUR preaching. You are not your husband’s personal little ‘holy spirit’! We have many opportunities to speak the Word – we can speak it to our children. ย Sometimes your husband will even overhear you from the other room. ย I truly believe that when we “preach” to our unsaved or disobedient husbands, it comes across to them as “fingernails on a blackboard.” I believe this because this is what my husband told me he felt.

What CAN I Share With My Husband?

Now let me stop here a moment to clarify that I am not saying that you cannot tell your husband that he has hurt you or share with him something that you would like him to do. For example, if your husband is constantly using the Lord’s name in vain, it is OK for you to ask him to please restrain himself from doing this because it hurts you. BUT, you don’t have to quote him the Scriptures that deal with using the Lord’s name in vain. Does this make sense? The Word says that you are not to preach to him… example: Hubby doesn’t want to go to church but yet you remind him that Hebrews 10:25 says that he should go to church. THIS is what God is referring to. Let the Holy Spirit convict your husband’s heart. He will accept it a whole lot better coming from God than coming from you. In fact, when we preach to our husbands about their sin, we distance ourselves from them. They will resent us for “being more spiritually minded” than they are. God knew what He was saying in this verse. ย Just go to church and let God deal with your husband.

It’s All In The Attitude

Let’s move on to verse 2. Our husbands need to observe our chaste conversation coupled with fear. What is God talking about here? Chaste means pure … pure conversation … I’m thinking sweet, clean, holy and uplifting conversation, aren’t you? But not just that alone … God says “coupled with fear” … what do you think He means here? God is saying that your husband should hear pure conversation from your mouth to the point where he actually can tell that you fear God (respect Him, reverence Him, obey Him). Do you suppose your husband thinks that you fear God when you’re snapping at him? I don’t think so. Verse 3-5 go on to describe the chaste conversation of the wife and how it does not mean “how she looks, fixes her hair” but how her HEART is. God is saying that the wife is to have a meek and quiet spirit … a mild and peaceable spirit. Can she truly have this type of spirit if she is preaching to her husband or correcting him spiritually? Of course not. Well, Kate, this is easier said than done. You know what? You’re right! It is. However, my Bible says that ALL things are possible with Christ. My Bible says that ALL things work together for good. Therefore, I must allow God to do the changing in MY heart. Forget my husband’s sins because I have enough of my own to deal with! :-S

Forget my husband’s faults. Forget my husband’s disobedience. Holy Spirit, work within ME to change ME and I will leave my husband to Your care, Lord. We’ve all heard the Scriptures that God is the Potter and we are the clay. God needs to mold you to be the wife He wants you to be for your husband. As He is working on you, He is working on your husband so give God a chance to work! He’s YOUR husband, not someone else’s. You cannot trade him in for another model, ladies. I hate to put it in these terms, but you are stuck with him. You chose him to be your life-long partner. You would be out of God’s will if you divorced him so the only alternative is to “” to the Holy Spirit and let Him work a miracle in your life by healing your heart of the sin of being an unsubmissive wife … yes, I said sin! It is sin because it is rebellion against God’s will for you as a wife.

The Extent of Submission

It IS sin to be unsubmissive. We’ve been commanded in several Scriptures to submit to our own husband, amen? Confess this sin and forsake it. Let God work in your heart. Don’t worry about your husband. God will take care of him. I’m speaking from experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

Lastly, verse 6 gives Sarah as our example. She called Abraham “lord” (little “l” not L). Webster defines lord as (1) master (2) husband (3) a title of respect, as applied to kings, or as to a respectable person. God is not saying that we should call our husbands lord with our lips but He IS saying we should call our husbands lord with our hearts. He is saying that we should recognize our husband’s position as master of our home and to give him the respect due him, just as you show respect to the President of the U.S. One of the definitions of master is “husband”! Does that make an impression on your heart? Your husband is given this position as lord of your home by God Himself.

So if any of you ladies believe that you just HAVE to rule your home because hubby’s doing a horrible job, you need to ask the Holy Spirit to change your heart! ย It is not your job to rule your home. It is your job to “help” your husband fulfill his role as master and ruler of your home. Your unbelieving or disobedient (to the Word) husband has the rule over you, your children and your home. Your husband has direct authority from God to be master of your home. Just because he is not saved doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the God-given responsibility as your head and head of your house. Ephesians 5:23 “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” Why would Paul have to tell the Ephesians that the husband was the head of the wife? If husbands ruling over the wife WAS being practiced, do you think Paul would have to tell them this? Good question, huh? It is your natural fleshly desire to have the rule over your husband. We think we know better than our husbands at times. We think we just have to get our way or his way will lead us to ruin! Sound familiar? God says that your husband shall rule over you. Maybe youย are better at doing some things but that does not take away the fact that your husband is still head of your home.

If you think of a master of a house (either during the time of slavery or even an employer of a company), you think of someone who makes the decisions and runs the show. No employee would tell his boss what to do and get away with it. No slave would tell his master what to do without being chastised for it. Although we are not slaves or employees to our husbands, the concept is pretty much the same. Someone has to make the final decision if there is a split-decision. For example, your husband wants a Pontiac and you want a Chevrolet. Your husband has to make the final decision since the two of you are not agreeing in this matter … and guess what, ladies, YOU HAVE TO LIKE IT! Not just “like it” in your head but “like it” in your heart.ย  :slim: This is where submission comes in.

Attitude of Submission

You have to submit to the point where it shows on your face. You can say “All right, get the Pontiac, but I don’t have to like it!” … and your face looks as though you’ve been sucking on lemons! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ That is not submitting. Submitting is leaving the decision (whether it’s the right one or the wrong one) with your husband and trusting God to take care of this decision. God is still God and He can work through the wrong decision just as much as He can through the right decision. Let me take it one step further. Submitting also means not “throwing it in his face” when his decision ends up being the wrong one.ย  :-S

***ouch*** If you want to be in God’s will in your marriage, then you must desire to have your unsaved husband be the head of your home and ruler over your home. What does that mean? It doesn’t mean that you must get permission from him on what time you should eat lunch. It means that you SHOULD ask him if it’s OK with him if you spend money on a new dress… these are just examples but I think you get my meaning here. ๐Ÿ™‚ Even if your husband is not saved, he is still the head of your house. The sooner you accept this fact in your heart, the quicker you will be able to learn the meaning of submission. You cannot submit to someone you don’t WANT in authority over you… does that make sense? I clung to 1 Peter 3:1-6 in the first few months of God’s dealing with me on submission.

I read them daily and asked God to change my heart. I memorized Psalms 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” What is a right spirit in this study? It is the spirit of accepting what God has planned for your life as a wife to an unsaved husband… Accepting that God’s will is that you submit to your husband whether he is saved or not. Accepting that you are not your husband’s personal little holy spirit in charge of making him spiritual or godly. This is God’s job … and, after all, once God does the changing in your husband, it will be perfect and permanent. ๐Ÿ™‚

Submission applies to all wives … not just to those whose husbands are not saved. It is the will of God. It is harder for women whose husbands are not saved because she is unequally yoked. The wife of an unsaved husband goes through a spiritual battle every single day. She is placed in situations that an equally-yoked marriage does not experience. Does this mean that she should sin if her husband asks her to? Of course not. This is when the wife must obey God rather than men. Acts 5:29 we see that Peter was told that he could not preach the gospel and his response was just that…. I will obey God rather than men.

I like what Paul wrote in Colossians 3:18 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” …. as it is fit in the Lord … this is what is called a qualifying statement. Paul didn’t end his sentence after the word husbands. He continued with “as it is fit in the Lord” for a reason. So Paul is telling us that in our submission, we must obey the Lord’s commands and not go against His will. The husband abuses his authority if he commands his wife to sin. She must obey God. She can sweetly say to her husband that she fears God’s chastisement on her life if she disobeys HIM. God will take care of the wife if that husband gets upset with her. She is being obedient to God in this instance. However, in all other instances (where sin is not involved), the wife must obey what her unsaved husband asks of her. Her obedience and subjection is service done to Christ. When a woman submits to her unsaved husband, she is submitting to Christ. She is fulfilling God’s desire for her life. This brings much comfort and peace in a woman’s heart. It brought great comfort to me. I had such child-like faith when I was first saved. I just KNEW in my heart that God would take care of me when it came to submitting to my unsaved husband. I just knew that God would not allow me to go through certain things that would place me in a situation I could not handle.

Our Life

The wife of an unsaved husband experiences things that no other wife experiences. There are times that her husband verbally abuses her because of her faith. There are times when her husband mocks her because of her faith. There are times when her husband tries to provoke her to anger and sin so that he can appease his own guilty conscience. These times are extremely difficult for this poor wife. We women are created by God as emotional beings, therefore, we get emotional during these trials and tests. I have three verses that will help you during these moments. I encourage you to memorize these two verses and they will bring you much comfort. Psalms 119:165 “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Have peace in your heart because you love the Lord and don’t let anything your unsaved husband says offend you or upset you. Tell the Lord about your hurt feelings. Tell Him how much you’re hurting inside. Tell Him how you can’t bear it any more. He WILL comfort you. He WILL give you that peace. He WILL take care of your problem. I promise this! God is not an oger. God is not insensitive. God is not heartless! God IS LOVE! He loves you! He doesn’t want to see you hurting!

The Difficulties

How many of you enjoy seeing your child hurting? None of you. God doesn’t either. He comes running when He hears us crying to Him. What a lovely and comforting thought, huh? God will NEVER give you more than you can handle. The trials we experience will also have a temptation to go with it. A temptation of possibly giving up and leaving the marriage, giving in and try to take the rule of your house away from your husband, giving in to the desire of yelling back and saying unkind words, etc. However, the Word says that God won’t give you more than you can handle and WILL provide you with a way to escape this desire to yield to temptation. 1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” This is the second verse you should memorize. Turn to Him and share with Him your deep hurts. He WILL listen. He WILL not allow you to be tested beyond what you are able to handle! That would be cruel if He did and we know that God is love … He is not cruel.

The Solution

If you are experiencing a difficult trial with your husband (whether disobedient to the Word or unsaved) today, take shelter in the shadow of His wings. Psalms 57:1-2 “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.” Take refuge in God until your calamities (trials) are past. A dear friend of mine shared these verses with me when I was going through a trial recently, and I felt that it would apply beautifully in this study. God will perform His will in your life for your benefit … you have to want it and you have to allow it.

God bless you as you grow in Christ in this area of being married to an unsaved man or a disobedient man.

Heavenly Father, again I lift the dear lady here who is in this situation. Help her, Lord, to have a teachable heart and a willing heart to be the submissive wife she needs to be to her unsaved husband. Bless her, Lord, in Jesus’ Name I pray.


  1. I’m so glad that you were blessed!!! Please feel free to email me privately with any prayer requests you may have or if you have the need to fellowship ๐Ÿ™‚ My email is k8plord @ (no spaces)

  2. Hi,

    I came across your arcticle and it opened my eyes to what a wife really needs to be for her husband. When I got married my husband was trying to be better with the Lord and was attending church every Sunday. We would go together as a couple when we were dating as well as we both sinned before God. I felt God was giving us another chance and put it in my husband’s heart to propose to me, which never crossed my mind when we were dating. However, in the beginning of our courting we would get into many arguments and fights about the smallest things. I always wanted to (and still do) get my points across as to how I was feeling and what he did was wrong. He rarely went to church and I’ve been in church since I was a child. I know the Word and am trying to have a better relationship with God. When we got married within a week we had an argument about something ridiculous and it scared me.
    We continued to argue and fight over most things. Recently the arguments have been about the Word of God. He stopped going to church on our first wedding anniversary and said church is not of God that the body is the church. He would mention small things here and there realting to the Bible that were totally read out of context. Turns out he has been listening to a group called the Hebrew Israelites. The group that believes the Bible but in extremes and being misiterpreted. Examples, women should not wear pants, they should wear head coverings, do not go to church, Saturdays are the Sabath and so forth. He recently has been going to their “bible studies” for hours and hours and went as far as going to NY(without telling me) to inform people of their “sins”. I barely see him as he works at night on weekdays and I have a 9-5 job and he has weekends off. So him spending his time with that group on the weekends really breaks my heart not only for his salvation but for our marriage.
    We are unequally yoked and after he told me he went to NY he said he was sorry for not telling me and he will be better at communicating with me and not keep things from me. I don’t think he understands the big picture. I am concerned for his soul and our marriage. He says I give him an ultimatum when I told him I do not approve of him going to Ny or any other outing. And he said he will choose to continue what he is doing and I just have to accept it. My mom thinks I should say if you continue I am going to leave and not come back. But I don;t know if I can.
    When he goes with that group That takes time away from us and I do not know those people, I do not trust them. He has only known them for a month as well , so his safety and well being is very concerning to me. All I am doing is praying daily for God to save him and reveal the truth of the Word and not what that group thinks the Bible is teaching. Any advice? Thank you

  3. Kimberly Shimauchi

    This was very helpful. Thank you for sharing your testimony as well as reminding others of how God intended us to be as wives, whether or not our spouse is saved. I recently re committed my life to Christ after 10 years of neglecting him. I am now married to an unbeliever and it has been a struggle. I will apply these lessons in my life now and have a whole new perspective on what I should and should not be doing.
    Thank you again

  4. Hi Paula, thank you for visiting!! I sent you a private email so be on the lookout ๐Ÿ™‚



  5. This has really blessed my soul, and it is really what I have been seeking God about, I just didn’t know how to pray or go about it. I have been that “nagging” wife, that “preaching” wife, even though I am reading my bible everyday, doing devotions, nothing has stood out like this devotional study. My husband grew up in the church, and he is what you would call a disobedient husband, and I really love how you phrased that. I have always been so afraid to let go, because my husband is so financially irresponsible, and I have always felt like he was going to take us to the poor house, and yes, I am always yelling and saying how he needs to do this and that with the money, and I am always afraid every month that we will get evicted, but I am going to trust that God will not let that happen to my family, thank you so much for this devotion, I am on a new road to submission!!

  6. Amen and amen! Stay in touch and let me know how you’re doing ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Thank you for this! My husband is an unbeliever committing adultery. I hate divorce! I am also reading a book called THE POWER OF A PRAYING WIFE by Stormie Omartian. I pray for renewed strength daily. I pray endlessly. God help all the wives struggling with unbelieving husbands.

  8. Praying with you for your husband’s salvation!!

  9. Many thanks Kate – what you do is truly a blessing. God is truly good. I could never get through each day without feeling the presence of the Lord. I pray for all the wives who have been touched by this blog.

  10. My daughter asked for links regarding being married to an unbeliever. I came across this and sent it to her – I think it will be helpful, thanks for your posting. I thought I ought to mention that the word ‘conversation’ in the passage you quoted is the Old English usage which is better translated as ‘behaviour’

  11. Thank you so much for passing my blog on to your daughter!!

  12. Thank you so much for this study. it has really helped. my husband has just recently backslidden, it has been such a bewildering time of confusion, frustration. your study helped me realise that its not my place to preach or go on about returning to the Lord. My actions in being a submissive wife will speak louder than words. i always had to have the last word but from this day forth i will pray daily that the Lord helps me to be submissive and that Lord will bring him back. thank you dear sister in Christ x

  13. Hi Julie, I’m so glad you received a blessing!! I’ll be praying for your husband’s walk with the Lord!!! Stay in touch ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Three years ago God spoke to me and gave me the scripture, “…won without a word.” I began studying and praying and was lead to the truth of submission and just how important it is. After reading several books on the subject and much prayer, I began to apply the principals of submission. It only took about 4 weeks before I saw a complete turn around in my husband and my marriage of thirty years. Understand, I began with the knowledge that I was the one who needed to change. You must not be trying to manipulate in the submission. Today, my husband is truly lord of our home. I wrestle with submission at times, but I know following this command has made our marriage so awesome.

  15. Praise the Lord, Dee! So glad to read that the Lord has worked in your marriage! Having a teachable spirit is the first step ๐Ÿ™‚ Stay in touch!

  16. Thank you for this lesson. I have been struggling on what to do in my marriage. My husband has been in a disobedient state for many years yet he continues to preach on Sundays. It makes me angry that he can preach and still continue his hypocrisy. We have 4 small children and I have thought about separation, but I know it will be difficult for me and hard on my children. I admit that I haven’t been praying for my husband or my marriage because a part of me has given up and I simply do not trust him. Thank you for reminding me of my duties as a wife and how I’ve played a part in the way my marriage is right now.

  17. This is basically good advice, but how does a wife react to a backslidden husband who yells at her always and puts her and his own kids down, verbally and emotionally abusing them?

  18. Hi Jan,

    This is such a great question and one that I asked many times early in my salvation. First, I must ask if you were saved after your marriage or did you marry an unbeliever? I was saved after I married my husband. I was no longer in love with him but inwardly knew that God wanted me to stay with him. God healed my marriage because I allowed Him to heal it. If you were saved prior to your marriage to an unbeliever, then you need to repent for your disobedience. In essence, you made your bed now you have to lay in it. However, God CAN still use you after you repent – He awaits for you to seek forgiveness (1 John 1:9) and to move on. He will not use an unrepentant heart, however.

    When our eyes are on our own circumstances and not on the Lord, we find it difficult to deal with our situation. We blame our unsaved husband for our “state of affairs” in our life. However, let’s look at 1 Peter 3:1-6, which is probably THE most famous verses to women like us:

    1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

    2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

    3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

    4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

    5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:

    6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

    Your submission to your husband is not a request – it’s not something you do only when it suits you – it is commanded of us. Submission does not mean that we must be treated like a slave. But submission is a yielding of ourselves to our husband’s authority in the family as the head of our household – our head. Yes, your husband is unsaved but he is still the head of your household.

    Do you know that when you accept submission to your husband’s place in the home, you are glorifying the Lord God of your salvation? It is His will for your life and in so doing, you fulfill His will. You don’t submit FOR your husband’s sake or yours but you submit FOR Christ – the One who died for you. In so doing, you die to “self” and you learn to live holy in His sight. You yield yourself to the Holy Spirit so He can change you. Picture yourself sitting on a throne “in your heart.” As long as YOU are on that throne, the Holy Spirit won’t be able to help you or change you. But when you stand up and give Him the seat to your heart’s throne, He can begin to mold you more into the image of Christ.

    Your submission has to be motivated by your love for Christ. If you are not walking closely with the Lord, you will fail in this area. It requires faith in Him that He will take care of your husband and his salvation. It requires faith in Him to meet your needs as a wife with an unsaved husband. Submission isn’t just a command from the Lord but it is an opportunity for you and I to show our devotion to Christ, amen? When our husband is mean and says mean things, we don’t retaliate. When our husband speaks mean things to our children, we take that opportunity to lead and teach our children by OUR actions. You can talk to your children when your husband isn’t around and tell them to pray for their Daddy. If your children are saved, this is a perfect opportunity to teach them forgiveness. Never degrade their father in front of them but only build up their father in their eyes. A child cannot fulfill Col. 3:20 and Eph. 6:1 if they constantly hear bad things about their father. They will think it’s a contradiction and we both know the Word of God has no contradictions.

    When your heart is right, you begin to look at your husband as the unsaved man that he is. He cannot help being the way he is as he is serving his father the devil. 1 Peter 3:1-6 doesn’t give us the open door to preach to our husbands. We are to preach with our attitude – with the unspoken word – with our love shown through words and deeds. Granted, we are able to talk about the Lord when the opportunity presents itself but we are not be our husband’s personal little “holy spirit” – let the Holy Spirit do His work in your husband’s life. You are only responsible for YOUR personal walk with the Lord – you can only change yourself with the Holy Spirit’s guidance – but you cannot change your husband. Just as the Holy Spirit drew you to Him, He will draw your husband also.

    I hope this was helpful ๐Ÿ™‚ Feel free to email me at k8plord @


  19. Thanks again for this article as I had to refer to it again as I am still married to a backslidden husband. I had to repent to God because I am not perfect and I am not without sin nor are my sins on a different level than my husband’s. My sins of nagging and unwillingness to submit and for neglecting my husband because of my anger towards him. I also had to repent for wanting to give up on my marriage and my husband. I have to resist this temptation and pray for my husband without ceasing that God’s will may be done in our lives. It has been a trying time and if it wasn’t for the Holy Spirit encouraging me to endure till the end that I may see the promise of God in our lives and the answer to my prayers for my marriage and my husband, then I don’t know where I might be right now. My desire is a healthy and whole marriage and a husband who is whole and an unbroken family. Thank you again for speaking the truth in love and for your encouragement. God bless you and your marriage.

  20. Praise the Lord for your willingness to yield yourself to the Holy Spirit!!! \o/ God is good!!! Keep in touch and let me know how you’re doing, OK?

  21. Yes I was saved after I got married so I never realised what the cost would be until after. I thank you Kate for this testimony as I choose to keep going back to your testimony just to keep strengthened. I have been using the stormie o Martin book for years on praying for your unsaved husband but got revelation on that I have to change but the hardest thing I find is my husbands words that wound. I find that I want to bite back but I know that is not going to do me any good I have to hold my tongue. Is this how we have to be as it is so difficult you almost feel you can’t carry on. I hope then this is going to be a great witness if I don’t say anything then.

    Thanks once again
    Bless you and your marriage

  22. You’re right, Tracey, it ISN’T easy when our husband’s words are hurtful. That is what draws us to the Lord’s side and rest in HIS love and care. Psalm 121:1-2 encouraged me to look to Him for my help! Bit by bit, He would encourage my heart and I would hang on to those moments and pull my strength from them. I’m always here to “talk” to – I can always email you ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Thanks you so much for posting! God is faithful!

  24. I’m so happy you were blessed!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Thank you. Your words/preach/use of Gods word is so encouraging to me this morning. I have been /am in a very difficult (seemingly impossible) situation. I was brought up in a christian home, been Christian for many years, became friendly with a young man at university (got into conversations and took him to church…..miraculously came to Christ…….after that we dated (stopped seeing each other because his mother disapproved and there seemed to be no future) and then married many (7) years later after getting back together (with his parents particularly his dying fathers approval). God further blessed me with 3 sons (teens and following the Lord ๐Ÿ™‚ ). A few years ago my husband became miserable, very negative and extremely moody with periods of high and low energy levels and very uncontrolled impulsive behaviour. How he felt led him to go to the Gp and then insist on the Gp referring him to a psychiatrist who has labelled him with a bipolar type mood disorder. He took medication which he felt was not agreeing with him (side effects and not helping) in lower doses than prescribed. So he came off the medication and is back at work in a very responsible skilled job after several months of sick leave. He chooses to blame me for any low moods or irritability. ( he is generally angry). He had had some difficulties with relationships at work (they had reduced his hours and pay and don’t have the respect they did. There are also some disagreements with colleagues he works with etc.etc. At our church he is disgruntled with the elders as he feels he deserves more respect than he is given . Would like to be consulted on issues more. He has started going to house groups/bible study at three different churches in different areas though not all regularly. Welcomed at all.
    I have been praying for him and myself to use the spirit of love and power and self control that God gives us.
    Life has been such a struggle for so long.
    Everyday he speaks negativity and lies to me . Often putting me down. He has more recently taken to sleeping in the guest room saying that it is because he is getting acid reflux and needs the bed raised. The bed he is sleeping on is not raised and he recently went travelling and stayed with people on flat beds with no problem. (I apparently cause the acid reflux as well).
    Anyway this is sounding like a moan which was not my intention and there is lots more including putting me down to my kids .
    Really so difficult and feels hopeless but in God there is always hope. Love never fails. My struggle is to keep loving him (not difficult), to keep trusting that this is all for our good (I do but that’s more difficult) and not to get angry nor frustrated nor hurt so very often. I am hanging on to the scriptures you had given and also the one about my Lord restoring the years the locusts have devoured. The hardship and horribleness seems so unnecessary as in many ways there is no real issue. I can’t stop my husband from making everything he does not like an issue That I am the solution/cause of but I need to pray for my own heart. Also reading the power of a praying wife by Stomie omatian mentioned above. So far not much scripture (I love Gods word) but also the same attitude as your article about submitting and loving. I am trying (and also failing and succeeding). Would love to have your support in prayer. My husband, myself and our children are all Christians who love God. My husbands mother is a very complicated and bitter and given to bad language and nasty words to my husband. (She has cursed him and my kids in Gods name. (some mental illness in that side of the family too. With his brother being schizophrenic). I am believing that has no power and the power of the holy spirit is stronger.:).
    Please do pray. The battle is not with flesh and blood etc.
    Thanks so much for this article . Will read and meditate on the scripture within it again and again. I will be the submissive loving wife my husband needs. (Did read this as he has lied and deceived and is sinning though also going to church etc. ). Yours hopefully . As for me and my household we will follow the Lord.

  26. Dear Manju, I am so sorry that you are struggling so! I will be praying for your situation. I do so remember the days when I was going through similar mistreatment. It wasn’t easy but the Holy Spirit used it to draw me closer to the Lord! Psalm 121 is a beautiful Psalm and I turned to it many, many times. God bless you as you strive to be the helpmeet God wants you to be!

  27. Wow Kate this is lovely but sadly my unbelieving husband divorced me 2 months ago but im still praying and standing for my marriage and asking God for a miraculous restoration. Please pray in agreement with me.Thank you

  28. I’ll be praying for restoration!!! Write anytime you need encouragement ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Thank you so much for these words!! I am currently fighting for the restoration & complete healing of my marriage. For 5 years I have battled with my husband not wanting to pray with me or go to church. He’s been abusive at times & disrespectful the entire marriage. We have good days, but bad days are inexplicable.. There’s days of tension.. And it hurts more than he knows. All I’ve ever wanted was to make my marriage pleasing in Gods eyes. I hope & pray that what I’ve taken from this will help fix my marriage once & for all.. Even tho he has left home again. I ask that you please help me to pray for my marriage and husband, Ryan.

  30. I’ll be praying for Ryan AND for you!

  31. Great points but you don’t address done of the major concerns in modern day marriage. How does a wife deal with an unbeliever who is a sex addict and very ungodly in sexual submission? You don’t address sex at all

  32. I don’t address those points because they did not happen to me, Ani. I try to help by sharing what God helped me through so that other women with basically the same problems will be encouraged. Although you have different trials, the foundation of Godly submission to our husbands is still there and that is the basics of what God wants from us. Leaning on the Lord and trusting Him with every part of our marriage is a learning experience. Allowing Him to teach us not to be bitter towards our husbands takes work and we need to be deep in the Word in order to keep that bitterness away. Feel free to write to me at k8plord @ and we can encourage each other ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. This is lovely . The problem in my situation is that I have not been to church in 7 years and I have got children with an unbeliever and we are not married. He wants to get married but not until we can afford it. Any advice on this ? K

  34. When we become a Christian, 2 Cor. 5:17 says we become new creatures. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

    You don’t say how long ago it was since you accepted Christ as your Saviour. But you do say that it’s been 7 years since you’ve gone to church. Living with someone outside of marriage is fornication and it is sin. Whether you have children or not. The children do not make the relationship sinless. Paul instructs us in Ephesians that we should be putting away such sins.

    Eph. 5:1-5 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

    The Holy Spirit guides Christians in all things righteous. If you are not changing and moving toward righteousness, then you need to question why. Are you truly born again or are those merely words? We are to search our hearts and examine ourselves.

    2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

    If I were in your shoes and truly a born-again child of the King, I would repent of my sin before a holy God. I would ask the unbeliever to leave. If it is his house, I would leave with my children. I would tell him that you have decided to be obedient to the Lord and cannot live with him outside of marriage. I would not marry the unbeliever. If he wants to be married, he will seek the Lord as well. I would ask him to seek biblical counseling with a godly Pastor. Once he is saved, I would marry him. If he chooses not to follow Christ, then I would move on with my life.

    I will be praying for you!

  35. Thank you Kate I have felt really encouraged with your testimony on married to an unbelieving husband and have at times looked at the testimony again which has helped when not every day is or has been a picnic as their are sometimes trials in this situation when you are living with an unbelieving husband but I can say this really does work as I am applying the obedience of submission to my husband, holding my tongue when I have wanted to answer back, and using the prayer book on the power of a praying wife in my own marriage using those prayers every day or as much as I am able to . I can honestly say this is making a difference and even if Ian is not there yet. I know I am making progress so thank you so much for what you have shared. I am still praying and trying to follow what Jesus wants me to do as best as I can even if I get it wrong at times. I started praying since the year 2000 but still continuing thank you

  36. My husband and inlaws go to religious church…they fooled me into marriage saying heโ€™s born again and baptised but after marriage I realised that my husband is unsaved and has least interest in God…my husband and inlaws are very money minded and lead a carnal lifestyle…they fully believe that they are right…I have a two year old daughter..Iโ€™m at the end of myself and donโ€™t know what to do…my husband resents any talk about God and gets extremely angry…what should I do..should I just zip my lips and pray for his salvation?? I feel extremely hard and difficult to just shut up and see him and his parents take worldly decisions..itโ€™s so hard… and Iโ€™m also worried about my daughter to raise her in God with out conflicts with my husband..please advise me

  37. Thank you for reaching out to me about your situation. If you read the posts on being married to an unbeliever, you will see countless verses that show what God expects from women who are married to unbelievers… so I won’t repeat them in my answer. Unless you are in a dangerous situation – he’s beating you and/or your children, it is God’s will that you remain with your husband. Win him over by your sweet and holy mannerisms. If he asks you to sin (example, lie to someone on the phone and say he’s not there when he is), you take your stand and tell him you will not sin for him. Pray over your children and pray for your husband’s salvation. It took many years for me and faithfulness is the key. If you have been a rebellious wife and have not honored your husband, ask his forgiveness. If he laughs at you, forgive him in your heart. Live your Christianity. That’s the biggest key. Ask the Lord to heal your marriage, fall back in love with the man you married and do what you need to do as a wife. This may not be what you want to hear but it is God’s will for us to stay married and let Him heal our marriages. He did mine ๐Ÿ™‚

  38. Blessed!
    Thanks for sharing.

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