Help, My Spouse Is Struggling In Their Faith
At some point, all Christians find themselves in a place of doubt or struggling in their faith. To me, those two words go together; doubt and struggle. They can be used in either sequence too. Doubt leads to struggle, or a battle in life leads us to doubt Christ. Faith struggles.
When you are sitting in this place, what do you do? Looking for all the biblical truths that you know is a significant first step. This helps to calm nerves and then think about what is causing the doubt. More often than not, it is feeling alone and not finding God where we feel He should be.
It is essential to evaluate what is happening in your life, what your free will choices had to do with where you have ended up, and what you are not pleased with. We have to take a step back, remind ourselves of God's truths and then self-evaluate.
What if we aren't the ones struggling? What if the one struggling with their faith is our spouse? How do we help them, and what role does God want us to play in that?
What is our role to play?
It is crucial not to react out of hurt, anger, or confusion. This is the quickest way to push someone away. We may not fully understand why our spouse is doubting or struggling, and we don't have to. The best thing that we can do is to pray. Pray for them, pray with them and ask others to pray for them (details don't have to be shared). When we come to the Lord, He hears our prayers. It is the longing in his heart to have his sons and daughters join together in unity and with him. He knows that an evenly yoked marriage is best. Invite him in to intercede. Pray together. We cannot strengthen our spouses' relationship with the Lord between them and God. We can, however, be a disciple to our spouses and keep encouraging them in their faith.
This is still hard for me
No matter how long you and your spouse have been together, it can be challenging to walk through a faith struggle with them. Satan loves to tempt us away from the situation with nerves and sweaty palms. It is well worth fighting through and standing by your spouse even if you don't feel like you are doing anything. If you can pray out loud with your spouse, it will allow them to hear your heart. When you pray for them, with them, you are entering into a love triangle with Christ. What could be more potent for a marriage or a Christ-filled relationship than to stand by your spouse while they find their way back to a strengthened relationship with the Lord?
The only thing I warn you is to be careful that you are praying for encouragement. It is helpful to also let your spouse hear you pray about your own concerns or struggles. It is so much easier to communicate when you don't feel alone. Let them know that we all have times of doubt. Don't make the whole prayer about your spouse's struggles. This will make them feel weak and judged. You don't even have to pray for their battle at all, but maybe pray that God would penetrate your marriage, family, and home. This way, you are praying for your spouse without calling them out. You don't want to discourage or make them feel less; you want to lift them up!
Words May Not Be Needed
Listen closely to what the Lord is asking you to do in the situation. Words may not even be what is needed. Your actions and how you live can attract or repel someone when talking about spiritual growth. Are you living out what you believe? Are you enjoying life, being joyful, encouraging, loving, forgiving? Do you live out all that God calls us to, or are you simply making life religious? There is a difference. Living for Christ and all that he has to offer us produces fruits of the spirit, and others can see the light in our lives, but being religious can look like many things, not Christ.
Patience Is A Virtue
Your spouse is a believer and has been accepted into the arms of Christ and a future in Heaven. Doubt doesn't erase that. Be patient. Don't nag, don't force, don't get angry. Love your spouse with a love that is so fierce that it has to be coming from Christ. Continue to pray, talk to one another, have fun, be intimate. Be everything that you are called to be as a biblical spouse. Show your spouse what they are missing in this time of struggle. Help them to physically see that Christ is still there loving them. He loves them through you and through your marriage.
Don't give up! God has got your spouse in his hands. He knows everything there is and ever was to know about them. He knows how to reach them and how to gain them back to his glory. Your spouse isn't the first to doubt or to struggle. God has dealt with this his entire existence. He even had prophets who were questioning, but he never left them. He always knew what they needed to believe and came to them when the time was right. Your spouse is loved by the King most high, and nothing can change that!