What are things we can do as wife (friend, relative, etc.) when we have a husband (friend, relative, etc) who does not know the Lord?
I thought immediately of 1 Peter 3:1-6, "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear."
This shows that she is not to leave him, not to preach at him, and not to demand her own rights. She is to be submissive, faithful and modest. She is not to constantly bother and nag him with the gospel. Peter said he "may be won without a word" from her godly behavior. To quote something I read from MacArthur, "That means she is not to put Bible verses on his beer cans, stick evangelistic tracts under his pillow, or call the pastor to the house to unload the gospel gun!" She is to be respectful (which is a good one for all of us with saved husbands too)...because it is key to her example of Christ for him. She's to be working on her inner beauty...being gentle and quiet in her dealings with him.
What are things we can do as wives when are husbands once had a growing relationship with the Lord that now seems to be stagnant? (Remember feel free to substitute the wife/husband relationship if you are not married).
Funny, I thought I'd just start out with the 1 Peter passage but it worked this whole way through. Life can get crazy and I think that when we see our husband's relationship seemingly grow stagnant we need to cut the guy a break. The same rules of conduct apply as mentioned above...we should be respectful, gentle and quiet...and talk lovingly to him about our concerns. Condemning him isn't going to encourage him to get things right. I think women can forget to "do unto others" with their spouse. I realized that I went to women's Bible study, etc. but wasn't always receptive to him taking time "away from our family" to meet with Godly men. It is important to encourage your husband to be involved...even if it means some compromise on your part. After all, let's prioritize here...what's really important! If I pray for my husband's spiritual growth and development but don't help him work to that end...that's ridiculous! I'm getting in the way...shame on selfish me!
Last, what are things wives can do to help our husbands grow deeper in their walk with Christ?
Praying for my husband has been a huge influence in my life. I know it sounds like I'm a popular book title (The Power of a Praying...) but it makes me so much more aware of what I should be doing. Isn't it funny how prayer corrects our perspective. It doesn't change who we're praying for necessarily...but it changes our hearts about the issues. I've had to examine my motives and heart as to why I pray these things for him. I've had to question whether I'm being a help meet to his relationship with Christ. It might also help to consider a love dare...Family Life has a good one here. Revive our Hearts has neat prayer guides (for children, husbands, pastors) and an encouraging your husband challenge guide here.
If a man is going to lead his family, he must humble himself and follow God. There are two challenges in this: to lead and to follow. Both are tough. If your husband is going to stand strong in his faith and fulfill God’s plan for his life as husband and father, he needs you to be a Christ like help meet. He wasn’t designed to do this alone. You are a major part of the equation in keeping your marriage spiritually on track. While you’re not really responsible for your husband's growth, you can help or hinder growth in significant ways. Encourage each other into settings where you can grow in your relationship with Christ: Bible studies, prayer groups, accountability groups, conferences. And then do what you can – such as providing child care – to allow your spouse to take advantage of these opportunities. We've made a point of asking each other..."So, how are things between you and God?"
Philippians 1:6, "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."
He Who Began A Good Work In You (Find Us Faithful Album Version) - Steve Green