Does your husband ever make decisions you don’t agree with?
- Maybe he goes to the bar regularly but you don’t think Christians should drink.
- Maybe he wants to take the kids Trick-or-Treating but you’re not sure if Christians should celebrate Halloween.
- Maybe he spends too much money, is super lazy, or spends his Sunday mornings in bed because he doesn’t think going to church is necessary.
How do you respond?
Do you say something? Or just let it be?
Recently, I received an email from a reader who was wondering the same thing:
Hello, I have a a question. My husband and I are both Christians but have very different beliefs in Biblical principles and practices.
For example we are a blended family and I don’t celebrate or participate in Halloween or let my children do but he does. I unequivocally believe in the Scripture that there is life and death in the power of the tongue but his views is different. I believe in the evidence of speaking in tongues as having the Holy Spirit but he doesn’t.
Should the beliefs, principles and practices matter or should it just be that we both believe that Jesus is Lord and that He came and died for our sins be my main focus?
This is such a great question, and it’s one that every married couple is going to have to wrestle with at some point.
The truth is EVERY couple is going to disagree about parenting, sex, money or religion (if not all four!) at some point. So – here’s how to get through it (while keeping your sanity and relationship in tact!)
1. Determine if the Issue is a Sin Issue or Just Personal Preference
First, I’d encourage you to ask yourself: Are the choices your husband is making actually sinful, or simply a matter of different opinions, beliefs or preferences? Because those are two VERY different issues. And determining which category each falls into isn’t as easy as you might think.
While some behaviors are pretty clearly spelled out in the Bible as sin (such as lying, stealing, pornography or drug abuse), others (such as drinking, Halloween and speaking in tongues) aren’t so black and white.
And in 1 Corinthians 8, Paul actually makes the case that it is entirely possible that one action (such as eating meat sacrificed to idols in this case) can be sinful for one person, but not for another. So that makes things a little tricky too.
Let me give you an example: In our house, we disagree over Harry Potter. I refuse to watch it myself, while my husband sees no problem with it. We disagree. And that’s okay.
We don’t fight about it or think less of the other person because of it. He doesn’t force me to watch it, and I don’t force him not to. We both respect the other’s right and ability to decide for themselves.
So to answer the Reader Question: If your husband doesn’t believe there is life and death in the power of the tongue or that speaking in tongues is evidence of having the Holy Spirit — that’s okay. Let him believe what he wants. Scripture is not abundantly clear on this, and if he disagrees… well… it’s not like these particular issues make a huge difference anyway.
The fact of the matter is — ALL of us are probably at least a little off in our beliefs somewhere. I’m not convinced ANY of us have it 100% all figured out. He doesn’t, you don’t, I certainly don’t. So… honestly, I don’t think it’s worth fighting over.
(If you’d like to have a very respectful talk so BOTH of you can share what you believe and why, that’s awesome. But if neither of you ever come around — totally fine.)
However — if the choices your husband is making are clearly sinful and it’s affecting you or your family, then that’s a different issue.
There are actually several Scriptures in the Bible that make it clear that when a fellow believer is caught in sin, we have a responsibility to help if we can.
Otherwise, if the issue isn’t a sin, just highly irritating or not what you think is best for your family… keep reading to see how to respond…
2. Determine If You Need to Say Anything
Can you even imagine if your husband was constantly walking behind you, “confronting” you every time you raised your voice at the children, overindulged in chocolate or wine, gossiped with friends after work, watched trashy television or spent too much money shopping?
Yeah, that’d be incredibly irritating, wouldn’t it?
The truth is — You are not your husband’s Holy Spirit. There IS a Holy Spirit — but you’re not him.
It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict your husband, to soften his heart, and to draw him closer to God — not yours. Yes, sometimes God can use you to help, but that’s not primarily your job. You can set a good example, you can discuss things with your husband, you can encourage him in his faith. But you can’t make him behave the way you want him to.
So, should you say something your husband? Yes, I think it’d be good to mention it and talk about it IF you think he’s likely to be receptive and if you have the self-control to say it in a positive, respectful way that’s likely to lead to real discussion – not just an argument.
(Continue reading to see how)
3. Approach Your Husband Respectfully
So if you do decide to talk to your husband about the issue, it’s incredibly important that you broach the topic in a way that is very respectful – not accusatory. The goal here shouldn’t be to make your husband agree with your or do things your way, but simply to see what he’s thinking or where he’s at.
- “So Halloween is coming up in a few weeks and the more I think about it, the more uneasy I feel about the whole thing. Do you ever wonder what kind of message we’re sending our children by participating in such a dark holiday?”
- “Hey, I have a question — and I’m just curious — did people ever speak in tongues in your church growing up? What do you think about speaking in tongues? Have you ever really thought about it?”
- “So, there’s something I wanted to talk to you about… It seems like you’ve been drinking a lot more than usual lately. Is something going on? Is there something I should know about?”
- “I don’t care what you think — Halloween is satan’s holiday and we are NOT participating.”
- “How can you think that?? The Bible CLEARLY states…”
- “What is wrong with you?”
- “How could you?”
- “I thought you…. I guess I was wrong.”
The truth is, whether your husband is right or wrong in his beliefs and decision-making, he is still a person created in God’s own image and capable of making his own decisions. You cannot force him to believe anything or behave any certain way, and you shouldn’t try.
You are his wife – not his mother – and your job is to respect him, love him and get to know him, not try to force him to change.
Related Video: Are You Too Controlling? (Here’s how to fix it)
4. Find a Biblical Solution You Can Both Agree to, If Possible
Hopefully, if you confront your husband very graciously and respectfully, he’ll be willing to listen to your concerns and care enough to find a solution you both can agree to – if possible.
For example, you may decide to use Halloween as a ministry opportunity, you may find a new church that meets both of your needs, or you may decide to participate in some traditions but not others.
Or you may simply agree to disagree. That’s okay.
(We’ve done our fair share of that since my husband is Catholic and I’m not)
5. Step Back and Give it to God
Can’t find a good solution? Well, not all hope is lost.
If you’ve confronted your husband about his sin or talked to him about your different beliefs and that hasn’t worked, it may be time to simply step back and give it to God.
After all, He’s way more talented at changing hearts and minds than we are. Why not let Him do it His way and on His timing?
Just because God doesn’t work on your timing doesn’t mean He’s not working at all. Sometimes, when God says “Wait,” it’s simply because He is hard at work behind the scenes and it simply isn’t time yet.
So be patient. And pray for your husband a lot! (These 5 Powerful Prayers Every Wife Should Pray Over Her Husband are a great place to start!)
He may just surprise you after all.
Does your husband make choices you don’t agree with? How do you deal with it in your family?
For Further Reading: