A reader asked me what you should do when you want to give more but your spouse is not a Christian. It’s especially difficult because she doesn’t want to go against her husband’s wishes. This issue can be hard for women who want to honor their husbands as God’s Word teaches but also want to honor God. However, I think a similar approach should be used for men married to non-Christian women as well.
I don’t have personal experience with this, so I don’t pretend to know all the answers. If any readers have dealt with this, please share your thoughts in the comments. I will, however, attempt to approach this from a Biblical and practical perspective in an effort to help people deal with this challenging problem.
As in all things, we must seek God’s will first. Prayer is one way we communicate with God. When you feel God’s Spirit leading you to give more but your spouse is not a Christian and does not want to give more, your first step must be prayer. Specifically, here are some matters you can pray about:
- Your Spouse’s Salvation – Not so your life will be made easier, but so they will receive eternal life.
- Wisdom – For how you should approach this situation with love and grace when discussing it with your spouse.
- Guidance – For what you should do if your spouse is not willing.
- Patience – To wait upon the Lord and to continue being a light to your spouse despite the difficult struggles you face.
God will give you His strength to handle this task. If He is calling you to give more, then He will provide you with a method to make it happen.
Talk with Your Spouse
Next, you should approach your spouse lovingly and graciously to share what God has placed on your heart. Focus on gracious speech – do not accuse your spouse or attack them. You may be surprised by their response. Try to share where God is leading you to give and why. Talk about ways you could give more by focusing on contentment and the generous blessings you already have.
If your spouse is completely opposed to the idea, do not press the issue and cause an argument. Doing so could damage your witness to them. Listen to their viewpoint and see if a compromise could be made. Here’s an example:
Let’s say your spouse doesn’t want to give up anything they’re used to so you can give more. The two of you have budgeted a weekly amount for you to buy lunches at work. Offer a compromise. You’ll pack your lunches and use the money you save to increase your giving. This way your spouse doesn’t give up anything and you still get to increase your giving. Or maybe you have a way you could earn some extra money on the side. You could offer to have some of it go to your joint budget while using the rest to increase your giving.
Give Your Time
If your spouse is completely opposed to increasing your monetary giving in any way, you could look at ways to donate some of your time. Again, this is probably something you should discuss with your spouse. You must also be careful that your volunteering will not cause you to neglect your relationship. But a couple hours a week can really help a mission or charity quite a bit without causing much stress on your marriage.
Continue to Pray
Finally, you must continue to pray about the situation. This is a difficult situation and can be extremely trying on your faith. Continue to seek strength from God and pray for your spouse’s salvation. Honor your spouse and live a life of generous, sacrificial love just as Jesus did. I am not saying your should sacrifice your relationship with God to keep your marriage intact, but you must do your best to be a light to your spouse in all situations. A mature Christian (of the same sex) can provide helpful counsel and encouragement during this trial in your life, so seek fellowship and support if needed.
What do you all think? Is this a Biblical approach to the situation? What are some other ideas that could help someone deal with this issue? How have you handled it in your own life? Please share your thoughts in the comments!