An Open Letter to the Unequally Yoked

The Lord impressed upon me to share a post I wrote for Focus on the Family -The Live Forum two weeks ago. I pray you are encouraged and hear God’s voice as He speaks to all of us, the Unequally Yoked.

Dear Spiritually Mismatched,

Sometimes people misunderstand our ministry by thinking we are in opposition to God’s Word as it commands in

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (NKJ)

As a woman who has been unequally yoked now for 20 years, I understand the truth behind God’s desire in this passage. The life of the spiritually mismatched is difficult. There were days I didn’t know if I would survive the spiritual warfare.

So let me be clear here. Dineen and I believe that the calling to all unmarried believers is to marry a believer. However, we also know that many arrive unequally yoked because of different paths. Such as my prodigal road or when someone becomes a believer after they marry.

Within these marriages, we want to honor our covenant to God for our marriage and we want to honor our husband. So, we determine that we love God more than we love ourselves and commit to pray the dangerous prayer, Lord do whatever it takes to save my spouse. We then set out to live a life that honors God even in the midst of two different world views. I can only simply say…it is hard. But,

BUT, we serve God Almighty and His Son, Jesus. All things are possible. I absolutely believe Scripture and what God tells me about His love, grace, power and provision. There have been many lessons I’ve had to learn on this crazy, mixed-up and bumpy road about surrender, expectations, love and forgiveness but every lesson has been my opportunity to grow closer to God.

For my husband’s unbelief has been the cradle to grow my faith and for that I am truly thankful.

We, the unequally yoked, may struggle, hurt deeply, but we will experience God in such profound and life-altering ways. Today, I wouldn’t trade my journey for any other road. God knows what He’s doing. He knew it would take a mismatched marriage to breakthrough all my stubborn pride.

I’m so glad He loves me that much. I have found freedom, built character, experienced profound and deep love and have laughed with absolute delight while watching the astonishing supernatural happen around me…because He loves me and I love Him.

I will forever praise the name of God and His Son, Jesus, my Redeemer.

I love Jesus and I love you my friends. Let the Lord of light overwhelm your heart this very hour. Be blessed, Lynn

Please Visit me this Friday at Spiritually Unequal Marriage when I discuss: The Unequally Yoked and the Atheist Blogs

 

Lynn Donovan

Lynn Donovan would likely hug your neck the first time you meet and skip the small talk to ask, “How are you today, down in your heart?” As a writer and speaker, she shares from her heart the myths women believe about love and marriage and then points them to the freedom that is theirs through living in the truth and relationship with Christ. It is her passion to encourage women to thrive in their marriage and discover their purpose. Married to her husband, Mike, for more than 18 years, they love, live and now thrive in a spiritually mismatched home. They reside in Temecula, California with their teen daughter, and neurotic but comical dog, Peanut. Lynn loves to laugh, enjoys a strong cup of coffee and Fantasy Football and not necessarily in that order. You can join her daily at her blog where she shares the zany yet meaningful stories of marriage challenges, truths, and triumphs in her life. She invites you to share her view from her front row seat to an amazing journey; life lived for Christ. To learn more about Lynn visit her blog at www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com or follow her on Twitter @LynnDonovan.

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28 Comments

  1. I sit here in tears. I was rebellious. Strike that. I am rebellious. I married a man who I knew for sure is an unbeliever. We have been together for 20 years, but married for 10. The Lord gave me 10 years of opportunity to sever ties with this man. I ignored them and even chased this man across the country just to be with him. Not one of my brightest moments of my life.
    Now this man and I are married with two precious, beautiful children. Our daughter is 8, our son is 5. My husband does not discourage our church attendance, even questions what is going on if the kids and I miss church 2 weeks in a row.
    However, he has no desire whatsoever to hear about Jesus, even when the kids come home excited from lessons learned during Children’s Church.
    My husband, who I have loved dearly has turned into a man who I barely can stand to be around anymore.
    I have been encouraged by many Christians to leave him, that it would be okay in God’s eyes, but I just don’t know that I believe that.
    When I get the feelings of hatred towards him, I have to confess to God and ask for forgiveness; sometimes I find myself having to do this several times a day.
    Let me be clear, my husband is not abusive, he is content to abuse himself through his drinking.
    I see Satan’s hands on my husband. I feel God’s arms around me and the children. I pray that I can see God’s arms around my husband.
    I have prayed the dangerous prayer, but then immediately took control of the situation, for fear of what would happen to the kids and me.
    Please pray for me to have the wisdom to stay out of God’s way.
    Please pray the dangerous prayer with me for my husband, and give me comfort that God’s promises of His plans for me a true.

    Thank you so very much.

    Reply
    • Michelle,

      Lynn is absolutely right. Do not give in to the temptation of the “easy way out.” That is, believing the Deceiver’s lie that leaving your husband is the only thing that can be done in what seems like an impossible situation. If you do, you’ve bought the lie, taken the bait, and Satan has won.

      The spirit of addiction is an insidious creature and it seeks to devour and destroy your husband, you, and your family. I know; I’ve lived with an alcoholic for 27 years. It was not until only very recently could I call it/him that, though. But, an alcoholic he is. He is chained and bound by a spirit of addiction so strong that he risks losing everything, everyday to feed it. My heart breaks for him every day. What gets me through the tougher days is praying, “Lord, let me see and love him the way You see and love him.” It is then that I believe God loves my husband THROUGH me, and it is only then that I find peace in what the world would call an impossible, hopeless situation.

      I have not yet found the courage to pray the dangerous prayer, because I am only now coming to grips with the fact that, this story may not turn out the way I hope it will. I want the fairy tale. I want my husband to wake up one morning and just turn away from that spirit and run into the arms of Jesus. I want a Godly family with a Godly husband leading it. I want us to go to church every week together. I want us to pray and worship together. See the common thread here — I???

      The truth is, my husband could very well die from his addiction. He is not sick yet, but alcoholism has stages as I’m sure you already know, and he is fast approaching, if not yet already in, it’s final stages. I want to cry when I see his hands shake every morning because his ravaged, addicted body is now physiologically dependent upon alcohol to function. As each day wears on, God has given me clarity of sight and mind to see this dark spirit change my husband as the alcohol takes over, like a thunder storm takes over a summer day. You watch it happen, and it can be terrifying if you aren’t standing in the Light of Jesus.

      Somehow, I have to surrender to God and pray the dangerous prayer, and hope that God will allow me to see His work in my husband here on Earth. I am so afraid to lose my husband to the addiction, but I think that, by maintaining this fear, I am somehow limiting God’s power in my life. It is the last thing I have to let go of. Fear creeps into every facet of my life when I think of my husband’s addiction: fear of his death, fear of him losing his job, his health, our savings, our children, our marriage. So, in a sense, I too, am bound. But, I work on it every day. You can too. I promise. You are NOT alone. And, you have a Great Warrior in your corner: Jesus, who has already fought the battle and won. God be with you, dear sister in Christ.

      Reply
      • Deb,

        I hope thousands of women stop in here to read your encouraging and truth filled words.

        You and your sweet family comes to my mind’s eye. I keep seeing you and your boys and I have been moved all day to prayer.

        Thank you for sharing the truth that you know. The pain and real struggles you live with.

        I am praying for complete healing and surrender of your husband to the power and love of Jesus. Love you so much, Lynn

        Praying with power and compassion. Hugs.

        Reply
        • Lynn:

          I have loved you like a sister from the moment we first connected which, by all measures, was no coincidence. I read almost every post you write, whether it is here, elsewhere, or at SUM. You are an amazing and inspirational woman of God, and it is because of your witness that I was — and continue to be – able to, solely by faith, put one foot in front of the other on this spiritually mismatched journey. As any one of us can equally attest, this can be an especially difficult thing to do, particularly in the darker moments of seemingly absolute dispair.

          God is faithful; this life is but a snippet of an eternity that we look forward to together with such great expectation and anticipation, notwithstanding these earthly circumstances. We shall run the race together here, sweet one, and together bring glory and honor to the One who sees all things, knows all things, holds in His hand every tear we’ve each cried, and yet works all these things together for the good of those who believe.

          I look forward to the day that we finally meet, whether it is here, or at the foot of our King’s throne. Blessings to you and your family, dear one. Hugs, Deb

          Reply
          • Deb,

            Thank you for serving the Kingdom. Your love and words may have well saved a young woman, man and marriage. I love you so much. SO MUCH… Keep walkin it my sister. I’m standing by your side all the way toward heaven. Lynn

    • Hello, i’m so happy to have found this sight. I have lived with my nonbelieving alcoholic husband for 22 yrs. He is not physically abusive but has been emotionally abusive. 5 yrs ago he quite his 50,000.00 a year job because he hated the place(he says) i believe it was because the alcohol was really taking over. since then i have not been able to even like him. i’m here because i made a commitment and thats it. I don’t want to be this way because he is a good person and he loves me but i cant stand to be around the drinking, which is at any time of the day and night. He is very lonely but will not admit or talk about the problem. I stand firmly in my love and trust in Jesus Christ and know i would not be able to stay if i didn’t have a strong faith that Jesus is by me at all times. most times i don’t talk about the problems because nothing ever changes. do i press him or just let it run its corse? my 2 daughters are both grown and living on there own so this is a very lonely time for me. I have wonderful friends and church family that know the situation and support me in love and prayers which im so thankful for, but no one knows exactly how hard it is. yes it is so sad to see a great person so dependent on alcohol and doesnt care. His depression and unmotivativeness makes me mad. I even think sometimes that he doesn’t deserve my forgiveness and love because of the hell he has put me through, iknow thats wrong but thats how i feel. I give it Jesus many times a day, I know God is working but my heart hurts so much.
      thank you for your comments they are very helpful.

      Reply
  2. Oh Michele,

    My sister, I see your heart and what truly lies beneath and your desire for your husband and marriage. I know the pain you have and your confusion about what to do. So much of what you have been through I have lived as well. God has brought me through so uch of it. If you can get your hands on our book, so many of your questions are discussed in it.

    As for the alcohol, you are not alone. So many, many wives are dealing with this in marriage. May I ask you to pray about attending an Alonon meeting. They will give you ideas on how to cope and it brings into sharp focus in your husband’s eyes that he truly has an addiction.

    Mostly, please know that I will pray for you. Please find others in our community that will also pray for you visit our main website http://www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com and join 1 Peter 3 Living. You are among brothers and sisters in Christ who will walk this journey with you.

    You CAN do this thing, the unequally yoked marriage and you can do it well in the power and love of Jesus. Blessings this day. Love you, Lynn

    Reply
  3. Very encouraging.

    Reply
    • Love you Denise. Continuing to hold you in my prayers. Hugs.

      Reply
  4. My Dear Sisters,
    Can I just say how humbling the outpouring of love has been.
    I have felt such a tenderness towards my husband that I cannot remember feeling, ever before.
    I have a friend who is looking into local Alanon meetings in my town and promised to go with me.
    Now I have made the choice to be real and stop making excuses for myself and my husband, I cannot stop.
    Thank you for your encouraging words and wisdom.
    Thank you all for your testimonies.
    Thank you for the website.

    In Christ,
    Miohele

    Reply
    • Oh Michele,

      God will walk this journey with you all the way. I sent your sweet words on to Deb. She is an amazing woman of God. I’m so thrilled that this is your day of deliverance. God is up to some big changes. They will be challenging but in a short time you are going to KNOW that the God of the Universe is present and deeply involved in your life and your marriage.

      Amazing. Keep us posted. Love you much, Lynn

      Reply
  5. Lynn: Thanks for reprinting this heart felt letter! I am a new blog follower and Have jumped right in and plan to be a part of this thriving ministry! I have been in this unequally yoked marriage for going on 14 years with 3 sweet children, 8 and twins boys are 6. I was a baby christian when I married, and had no idea about being unequally yoked and what the bible said about it. In any case, Here I am, in this painful circumstance. But GOD, has used my marriage to draw me in even closer to be the mature christian I am becoming. I have attended a strong ladies bible study for the last 14 years every Tues and teach a 8 & 9 year old girls bible study in our church’s explorer girls ministry. Father has used these ministries along with sunday school and church sermons to completely change me! When I heard the FOTF broadcasts, I jumped in saying ….”Here am I. Send me!” Our church needed a strong Female leader to start a prayer group for women like us and Father chose me! Our elders, nor deacons don’t know quite what to do with us or how to minister to us. It’s been hurtful to see just how unequipped my church is to work with us who are uneqally yoked. I attend church most Sundays with my 3 young children and a Deacon actually told me I could not sit in the back row as it was reserved for younger children. (This was when the boys were around 2 or 3) THere I was in church each week struggling just to get there, then stay for 3 to 4 hrs (including sunday school and a 30 min break inbetween) keeping 3 young ones fed, quiet and trying to soak in the message as a single in the sanctuary. One mom with her husband did come along us for about a year and sat with me, trying to teach me how to “church train” these young ones. My boys have become much better at listening to the deep sermon, but on most Sundays, it’s quite the struggle! (They aged out of children’s church @ 5 and I was told, no exceptions) So, I have presented to my elders, the prayer group I am hoping to start and they have agreed, there is a need. I am still awaiting my “Winning Him Without Words” to arrive, it’s been two weeks on Amazon (not sure what the hold up is). I have connected with Susan in Florida for help as recommended. I noticed the short list of small groups on the website and hope next time I check, The list will cover every state! We need you women to step up to pray and lead others! To bear down in prayer together is the only way to rebuke the spiritual warfare at work here! I am in Northern NJ and am honored Father chose me to start the first NJ SITS prayer group (Single In The Sanctuary). (Still working on a name, ha ha) I am doing my part to raise my children in a loving, biblical church with very strong & mature christians around me. I fully expect Father to do HIS part in raising my young ones to be Godly,loving and compassionate young peopoe who love the LORD and marry believers.. We’ll see how Father answers those prayers for me as time flows on. For today, We all need to bear down in prayer and ask Father if He wants us to Lead a small group in praying for and connecting with other spouses who struggle like we do. I love you all who read this and I am in prayer for you! Keep Watching, stay faithful and believe and expect the Best outcome From a Strong and Faithful Father who Loves us!! Romans 16:20 The GOD of Peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (this will be my prayer group’s verse) like it?? connect with me if you feel led! catwinter@comcast.net your sister in christ, cathleen

    Reply
    • Hi Cathleen,

      Oh my sister, please, yes, help. Let’s join hands and serve the Kingdom. I would love to encourage you and help you work with the women in your area. My friend, God has sent you to us at the exact right moment.

      Cathleen, as I read through your story, I was so inspired in that you make the difficult effort to get yourself and three young children to church. A feat in itself. Well done good and faithful servant.

      I will email you and let’s see what God has planned for you. Love and hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  6. Michelle,

    My dear sister, I felt compelled to respond here as well. I too, am in a mismatched marriage. I too, am married to an alcoholic. I too, crawled into Al-anon’s rooms looking for answers. I can honestly tell you that without a deep faith in Christ (first and foremost), and without the love and support of those who’ve gone before us in Al-anon, I don’t know where I would be today. In Christ I’ve learned to love my husband despite his flaws. In Al-anon I’ve learned to love myself enough to feed myself spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

    You’re in my prayers Michelle. I’ve been where you’ve been, love.

    Apryl

    Reply
    • Apryl,

      THANK YOU for adding your voice to this issue and for your courage to share your experience. Your willingness to reach out will help so many. Love you my sister. Lynn

      Reply
  7. I stand in faith my husband will come to have a relationship with God but the verbal abuse and depression have taken a tole on both of us. I pray for healing for both of us as we have those times of hurting each other. Your book is amazing.

    Reply
    • Praying with you Cici. Let the heavens rock as we storm the gates in petitions of salvation for our husband and marriages.

      So glad to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you.

      Love you much, Lynn

      Reply
    • CiCi,

      I want to leave one more thought with you. As I was writting down your prayer request, I was prompted by the Spirit to ask you to seek counseling. Can you call your church and meet with someone who can give you some thoughts on how to cope with the abuse and the depression. See a Christian counselor, I’m sure that is the first step toward change for you my friend. Love and hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  8. Sorry to have to begin a different topic but I love and respect the work you are doing here. I have seen you bless and give comfort and hope to many women. I have been reading your posts for a few months. Today I am asking for prayer and advice. I am unequally yoked but not to an unbeliever but to a man whose heart has grown cold toward me and His Savior. He is addicted to television, never opens the Word, yet fellowships with others and seems to fit in. We argue a lot because he has a short fuse, yells at me for petty things. He thinks I am a fanatic. I am passionate and serious about my faith and I am the one that initiates prayer and reading the Bible. There’s so much more I want to share, but I’ll save it for another time. Just knowing that you will help me pray for this man to find a right relationship with His Heavenly Father is a good start for now. Thank you!

    Reply
    • BJ,

      I would be so glad to pray for you. And I can tell you that you are not alone in what you face. In fact, recently I’ve received many emails that describe a similar situation.

      Also, I can relate to your as it comes to television. I would like to rip ours out of the house and toss it in the street. Ahem, I have strong feelings about it. My husband too, spends way to much time in front of one.

      This is likely a topic I will need to write about soon over at spirituallyunequalmarriage.com. I hope you found us there. Be encouraged. I will stand with you in prayer. Love you, Lynn

      Reply
    • I’m with you BJ! Prayers!

      Reply
  9. Beloved Sisters,

    There is also a Christian alternative to Al-Anon, for anyone who may be interested. It is called “Celebrate Recovery” (CR). CR is modeled after the 12-step program of AA, but it is Christ-centered. I believe CR is also nationwide.

    http://www.celebraterecovery.com/

    Reply
    • Deb,

      So glad you mentioned this because this is a great program and in fact, I feel a little silly in that our churhc just started a group. Thank you again. Love you girl. Lynn

      Reply
  10. Dear Cici,
    I too understand how the pangs of verbal abuse can drag us down even harder than physical abuse.
    My tongue has slashed my husband to shreds more than I care to even count. I look back to how I have tried to belittle my husband and am amazed he has stuck it out.
    I asked him for forgiveness today. I was sincere with my apology and praise God, he forgave.
    I have never asked him to forgive me, I always felt a sense of self-appointed righteousness for being the believer and non-alcoholic, that even though God’s voice was in my head telling me to be silent, I kept right on…
    The good news is we are forgiven first and foremost from our Abba Daddy.
    For all these years, I have done everything but make having a relationship with Christ look lovely. I was wretched.
    I will pray for you, Cici.
    You are loved.
    You are loving.

    Michele

    Reply
  11. Dear ladies,
    I just have to say how when I finally relented and gratefully gave God control yesterday, my husband has been different. No, I have been different and my husband has responded in kind. I know Satan will see the harmony that is taking place in our family and will try to dig his claws in again. I am going to be prepared. It is such a relief to know that besides pouring my heart to Abba, I can come here and ask for prayer.
    I cannot describe the lightness I feel.

    Reply
    • Michele,

      This is so amazing and my friend, you are on the right path. And to recognize that the enemy will now bee digging,keeps you one step ahead. I’m so thrilled and please know I will be praying protection over you and your family today. Hugs, Lynn

      Reply
  12. I am encouraged by this site. I too chose to take a path of my own. As a prodigal daughter I am now married just over a year with a second child on the way (we found out we were pregnant and than got married afterwards…not because of pregnancy). In first finding my husband I was rebellious. My heart was calloused and made of stone. I was tired of struggling in my faith and essentially gave up. When I met my husband I knew I wanted to be with him. Nothing in my mind or heart could change that…even ignored the several times that God used godly influences in my life (college friends) to caution me in this path. I am constantly plagued with guilt and feelings of regret. What did I do? How did I get to this point in my life? How am I going to raise 2 children to love and fear the Lord when I struggle with it myself? How am I supposed to go another day knowing that I will be a single parent in all things spiritual? I deeply desire a godly family with a godly male leader. I desire to have a husband who loves the Lord instead of fully believing that he doesn’t need God or to go to church. I am so tired of fighting and arguing about differences in beliefs. It is encouraging to know that God loves us even though we take our own scenic routes. I am anxious to read this book and by God’s grace I have found it. Thank you for your honesty and encouragement. I very recently have decided to no longer allow myself to throw any pity parties. Satan no longer will have a stronghold over me. My past decisions do not define me. His grace is sufficient for me because He is made strong in my weakness!

    Reply
  13. A friend just directed me to this site this morning. I asked her to pray with me for my marriage. We have been together for 11 years and married for 6 years. We have 4 kids ages are 12,10,8,&6:) Ive been saved for 5 years now and God has really changed me! I’m the encourager for church and bible reading, prayer .. My husband about two years ago went to church with me and we started reading and praying together:) then our Pastor died in front of him. He hasn’t returned to church since and has no desire to do so. Our marriage isn’t a marriage at all:( it breaks my heart. My kids see the separation between us. I don’t want our kids exposed to things that he doesn’t seem to think is bad.. I could go on and on about how unequally yoked we are. The fire of God has been falling on us as a church and in our own families! God has been molding and changing me into the wife, mother, and vessel He would have me be!!! I know my husband will be saved! It’s Gods desire to have him surrender to Him:) the waiting is harder on some days .. This blog has really encouraged me! The testimonies of you ladies helps me to see I’m not alone in this.. The struggles may be different but the outcome is the same!! And I hold fast to this scripture. Jeremiah 29:11 for I know the thoughts that I think towards you, sanity the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end! We as wives need to hold fast to the promises of God and expect the supernatural to happen!! God has called the church to work in the supernatural not the natural!!!
    God Bless you!

    Reply

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