Question: As a result of your magazine and booklets, I am grasping a deeper understanding of God’s word. However, my mate wants nothing to do with it. My zeal for Bible study and sharing nuggets of truth with him have been met with rejection and resentment. Therefore, what can I do to encourage my mate?
Answer: Disbelief, hatred and alienation from relatives are trials Jesus prophesied all true Christians would experience (Luke 12:51–53). Since human nature resists change, the very mention of truth can upset a non-believing mate (Romans 8:7). Out of misguided zeal, some people have attempted to force their mates into believing as they do, by "beating them over the head" with newly found understanding. Jesus Christ never forced anyone to believe and neither did He "brow-beat" people into submission. He simple lived God’s way and willingly sacrificed Himself as the perfect example for all of us to follow. Likewise, you can be a positive tool in God’s hands to encourage and perhaps win your mate over.
First, reassure your mate that a commitment to God’s word will also mean a commitment to loving him or her. A believing husband’s love will be demonstrated by a willingness to sacrifice himself for his wife "just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it" (Ephesians 5:25–29). Would a nonbelieving wife disagree with such profound attention and care for her? Absolutely not!
A believing wife will be striving to deeply respect and love her husband (Ephesians 5:21–24). God says that the real beauty of a woman is on the inside—"the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God" (1 Peter 3:3–4). Who would be upset with an attentive, loving, and faithful wife—possessing a priceless attitude? Therefore, believing husbands and wives should encourage their mates that God’s way of life will be good for their marriage.
Secondly, become a bright shining example of what your are learning. Your acts of kindness, and consideration toward your mate will confirm your words of sincerity. For example, some mates may object to their spouses studying their Bibles or reading Bible literature in front of them. Try to be sensitive to their perception. Why are they sensitive? Do they feel you are neglecting them? Truly, Jesus stated we should seek the Kingdom of God first and His righteousness. However, some things should be done in private, such as prayer and fasting (Matthew 6:1–6, 16–18).
What, therefore, should your mate see? Jesus said, "You are the light of the world... Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven" (Matthew 5:13–16). So powerful is this "spiritual light" that a non-believing husband can be "won" by the wife’s conduct (1 Peter 3:1–2). In other words, it is possible that God may use your example to open your mate’s eyes to the truth!
Thirdly, pray fervently for your wife or husband that God would move your mate to seek Him. The exciting good news is that God desires that all humanity have the opportunity to be saved (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:4). Every human being will be given the chance to repent of resentment and rebellion toward God. Only upon true repentance, baptism and the receiving of God’s Holy Spirit, can deep-seated resentments be overcome.
While you wait for God to answer this prayer, continue to ask the Father for wisdom. It takes godly wisdom to love your mate, to salve over misunderstandings, and make peace. Indeed, the qualities of Christianity will endear you to your mate, and at the same time you will be an encouraging reflection of the Kingdom of God.