Dear wife wishing her husband followed Christ more closely, you are not alone. But the answer to the questions you are asking may look quite a bit different than you think.
It was a podcast discussing Minimalism that got my attention.
I have a weakness for these sort of things. I love fresh ideas and challenges, trying new things. Have a new paleo eating plan? I’m game. Want to train for a half-marathon? Why not. Want to talk about getting rid of half your stuff and simplify? I’m listening.
There is something about trying out new methods, strategies and challenges that I find invigorating. I might not adopt them all for the long term if they don’t fit my priorities, but I’m certainly willing to listen and often game to give it a try, because new things are the spice of life to me.
So I was listening to this podcast on Minimalism and after the guest articulated her perspective, the host asked a question I’m sure many of the listeners were wondering – how do we get our husbands on board?
And the woman’s answer caught me by surprise. In so many words she said – you don’t.
Kind of a shocking thought, no? You simply don’t.
She didn’t leave the listeners there tough. She told of how when she got started with minimalism she didn’t expect her husband to jump on the bandwagon, she just did the best she could with the things in her control. Together she and her husband agreed on a couple spaces in the house that were super important to him – the garage and the master closet. When she began organizing and downsizing he would keep all the things that he wasn’t willing to get rid of in those areas.
He kept his spaces as disorganized as he wanted and she determined to never nag or complain about them (this is key!) as she was free to organize/simplify everything else.
After a couple years her husband began to notice the fruit of her minimalist organization strategies. He noticed the freedom and joy she found in simplicity, how that spilled into the rest of her life as a wife and mom and, over time, he chose to adopt a more minimalist way of life as well.
Not because of her nagging, but because of her joy.
Over the past few years I have received many questions from readers that boil down to the same thing – a wife very much wishing her husband followed Christ more…better…or at all. It is a beautiful and heartfelt concern many Christian women have. The wisdom shared on the podcast is actually a biblical model and practical answer to that very concern.
In 1 Peter 3:1 we read, “In the same way, wives, submit yourself to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by the way their wives live.”
Won over without a word, simply by the way we live. Wow.
The opening of Peter 3 is referring back to chapter 2 in which he reminds us that we were once sheep led astray but have found righteousness only by His sacrifice. He opens chapter 3, with this simple idea of pointing our husbands toward Christ with our very lives by saying, “In the same way…”
In the same way Christ did.
This is the gospel.
What a holy calling. What a huge responsibility.
So often we are convinced that we can push, pull and coerce our husbands into a closer relationship with Christ. We somehow believe we can manipulate or guilt them there. And it doesn’t work. In the long term it is incredibly destructive to our marriages.
John 13:35 tells us the world will know we are His by our love. Why would this not begin with the person standing right beside us, our husbands?
Your husband will not move closer to Christ because of your criticism or your cynicism. He will see Christ in you, by your love.
This is not always an easy task, I realize. But loving well in difficult times, in moments when we wish our husbands led better or prayed more, read devotions to our family, whatever we have been wishing for, will speak louder than any words we can ever say.
Be committed to your own relationship with Christ. Let your joy and hope, your obedience and repentance, leak out into the rest of your life. Love your husband well right where he is, and trust God to do the rest.
It is our beautiful and brave responsibility, friend, and by His grace we get to keep doing it.
May our husbands, and the world, know Him by our love today.