By Amy Guenther
Update: Since I wrote this, I have made some videos on this topic that you can find on the playlist here, https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoN358kZpvEY7aoOVZ2xOuU3DiA-L-vnB
Dear Sisters, this blog post is for some of you living in a marriage with a husband who doesn’t keep Torah. Several people have written and made videos on this topic, but I felt like throwing in my take on it, too, even if it’s the same message you’ve heard before, because I know it’s a hurting time for you, and you’re probably looking for advice and hope anywhere you can find it. At least, that’s how I was.
When it comes to this topic, there is so much to say! I could never cover it all in one blog post, so I’ve decided to focus on your emotions, feelings and reactions. I’m not going to write about strategies or ideas to bring him to Torah. I’m not going to write about how to submit to your husband or how to raise your kids. Those are important issues, but too much for one article. (Maybe someday I’ll write on those, too.)
You may feel alone, tired, and desperate.
So many of you ladies have come out of mainstream Christianity, found the whole Truth of Scripture and have started keeping Torah, but your husbands have not. The pain, heartache and discord in the home can be profound in these circumstances. I imagine you’re crying out to YHVH to change your husband’s heart. You are likely trying to show him the Scriptures and convince him of what they mean. You may feel alone, tired, and desperate. Sometimes you may even question YHVH as to why He would call you and not your husband? You fear for your children being raised in a home with two different ways of practicing the faith. You are unsure how to submit when you believe it’s sin.
I understand your feelings. I really do. I have experienced all of them. My heart hurts for all of you, because I know how hard it is. I know how much you love your husbands and want them to experience the wonderful things you are experiencing. I know how much you desire to be in agreement and how much you hate the tension of disagreement. I know you sometimes cry at night as you silently beg YHVH to open his eyes. And I know that sometimes your thoughts go to “If only my husband would keep Torah with me, THEN everything will be okay and I’ll be content.”
But whoa right there, Sister! Those last feelings are what I want to focus on. When your feelings turn to, “If only my husband would keep Torah with me, THEN everything will be okay and I’ll be content,” that’s when you need to pause. This article is for those of you who experience feelings like that.
Now, I may seem harsh in what I’m going to say, but it’s a lesson I had to learn myself, and my desire is to help you, so please read this whole article even if at first you don’t like what I am about to say. When you find yourself thinking, “If only my husband would keep Torah with me, THEN everything will be okay and I’ll be content,” you must stop and recognize this as a wrong feeling. It’s also not Biblical and maybe even sinful. I just have to say that straight up to you, even if it stings a little. Please keep reading and let me explain.
First of all, I know that your feelings are real. But that doesn’t mean your feelings are right. Many of our feelings come from our flesh, and we know our flesh can be sinful. It’s right and good to have a deep desire for your husband to come to Torah. But if that desire has become so strong that your contentment depends on it, then it’s an idol of your heart. Yes, even an idol such as this is wrong. My deepest desire is for you to have contentment, friend. Not just contentment, either, but joy! (Joy, by the way, is one of the best ways to get your husband to look into Torah.) So please read on. I’m going to make points about why you need to find contentment and how to achieve it and knock down this idol of needing your husband to come to Torah.
Idols put up walls between you and YHVH.
I want you to have a meaningful, personal relationship with Yeshua, and a deep trust in YHVH. But a lack of contentment will get in the way. An idol of your heart will put up a wall (small or big) between you and the Father. He’s always there, but He wants you to trust in Him completely. If you’re putting demands on YHVH like, “I deserve to have a Torah keeping husband,” “If my husband comes to Torah, then I’ll be content,” or questioning God, such as, “Why would you do this?!,” you’re putting up a wall of distrust.
You know YHVH will provide everything you need. So, believe it. Live and breathe like you believe it. If you NEED for your husband to keep Torah, then YHVH will make that happen. If it’s not happening, then you don’t truly need it. Recognize the difference between a need and a desire. Remember that the Father knows the desires of your heart, and cares about them very much, but what we think we need is often not what He knows we need. When a desire becomes a need, it has been elevated to a demand on the Creator, and who are we to make demands? Your contentment cannot and does not depend on your husband keeping Torah. You must knock down this idol. It can be done, friend! I promise you, you will be okay! I just want you to recognize it for what it is. I know it isn’t like this for everyone, and in fact, the status of idol can come and go. One day you may be content, and the next day you’re not. This is an ongoing battle.
Please see your feelings clearly. See your feelings for what they are. Which do you desire more? A trusting, contented, close relationship with YHVH? Or for your husband to come to Torah? Of course, you want both, but what if YHVH says no? What if you really have to choose? Well, if your husband isn’t keeping Torah today, then today you have to choose. So choose to fully trust and be content with what YHVH has given you. The blessings and rewards of a close relationship with the Father far outweigh anything else. You know that, so believe it deep in your soul and let it change you. Take your thoughts captive. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Idols steal joy.
Now that you’ve recognized your feelings for what they are, I want to remind you that idols steal joy. If your happiness is dependent on your husband keeping Torah, then you’re not happy today. And to be happy and have joy today is a command. (Psalm 118:24 and Philippians 4:4) I know don’t how to say it any plainer. I had to be told this truth plainly, as well. I had to really look at my attitude. I was letting my desire steal my joy. When we are not content in the circumstances God has given us, we cannot be joyful. If we are not joyful, we are not light and salt. Again, I want to remind you that one big way to attract your husband to Torah is to let him see your joy. That goes for others, too. You want people around you to keep Torah, but if all they see is you moping about the hardship of your husband not doing it with you, that’s not very attractive. So don’t let it be your focus. Let others see that even though your situation is a hardship and a trial, it’s not your focus. You don’t dwell on it. You have joy in your walk with Yeshua! When you elevate a desire to a need, it will always steal your joy. Don’t let it. Again, take your thoughts captive.
Don’t think that I mean you should be happy your husband doesn’t keep Torah. There is a difference between happiness and the supernatural joy and peace that comes from above. Paul wasn’t happy to be in prison, but he had peace and joy. Find that kind of joy and contentment.
Do not worry about what you cannot change.
For me, my need to have my husband keep Torah often turned into worry. The two go hand in hand, don’t they? While I “needed” this, I worried, “What if he never comes to Torah? What would I do? How could I live? What about this? What about that? Oh, no! What could happen?!” Worry, worry, worry. It was stuck to my “need” like glue. I had to bring down the worry and the idol together with a giant sledge hammer of Truth. You’ve heard this before, but really dwell on this statement: do not worry about what you cannot change. It’s futile, isn’t it? And again, it will steal your joy, lead to an idol of your heart, and demonstrates a distrust of a Holy, perfect, all-knowing God who loves you and cares deeply for you.
As believers, we should not worry about anything! Let me say that again. As believers, we should not worry about anything. So stop it. If you need to work out some worst case scenarios in your head, fine, go ahead. But do it once and be done. And be sure those scenarios always end with joy and contentment, despite whatever worse trial you imagine. Because no matter what happens, you will be okay. You just will. He know what you need.
Trust Him with your trials, both real and imaginary. And really, when you worry about things that might happen, or you worry over fears, you are imagining things that are not yet even real. Recognize fear. It goes right along with your worry. Squish your fears. Live in what is real, and let Yeshua carry your real burden today. He will do it! (I Peter 5:6,7)
See it as an attack of Satan.
When your desire turns into a need, and your concern turns into worry, and your worry turns into fear, you may be under attack from Satan. At the very least, we know these emotions are not of YHVH. Recognize what is happening. The enemy wants to wear you down. He wants to steal your joy. He wants to paralyze you with fear so you become useless and stop doing Kingdom work. The spiritual battle is real, Sister! So gear up and fight! Tell Satan and his lies that you have all you need to be a mighty warrior Princess for the Kingdom. Tell him that you are loved even if your circumstances are hard. Tell him you will have joy in the midst of this trial. Tell him Scripture speaks Truth to you when your fleshly feelings speak lies. Get armed with Scripture, and tell the Enemy and his lies to take a hike!
Having a pity party is a form of pride.
I may seem harsh again, but I really want you to heal from your heartache, so I’m going to tell you something that I heard Cole Davis say on one of his podcasts, and it was profoundly eye opening for me. I was throwing myself a giant pity party. I was distraught, and my desire to be like minded with my husband was definitely an idol of my heart and a requirement for my happiness as well as a demand on God. Boy, could I throw a pity party! But I heard Cole say that self pity is really pride because it’s all about self. When you focus only on how sad and hard your life is, you’re focusing your attention wrongly. Our lives and attitudes should be a reflection of the Gospel, not a reflection of self pity. When you throw yourself a pity party, you are putting yourself first. Believers are not called to that. You must stop pitying yourself.
Your kids pick up on your discontentment.
If your heartache is so deep that nothing else I’ve said so far has affected you much, perhaps this one will. When you are not content, you’re not showing your kids fully how to trust YHVH. I don’t mean that you’re a bad mom. But could you be a better mom if you were content? I suspect that if you let your heart idols go, you’ll be a better mom. For starters, you’ll have more joy. Our kids sense our joy and contentment. Their emotions feed off of our emotions. When we think we are hiding our sadness, worry and discontentment from them, we are probably kidding ourselves. Our kids are picking up on it. They need to really see and believe that you trust YHVH for all of your needs, even if Daddy never keeps Torah, everything will be okay. They need to see that keeping Torah is a joyful, wonderful thing, even in hard circumstances. They need to see you love their Daddy, and not sense a hint of resentment from you about the situation. For them to glean these things from you, you have to really believe it, too! When we are truly content, we can most fully be there for our kids and teach best by our example.
Live the Gospel and get busy.
Sister, you have all you need. Truly. You do not need your husband to come to Torah. If you are in covenant with YHVH through the blood of Yeshua, then you have all you need. The grace you have been given is the most precious gift you can never deserve. This is a simple truth, but it cannot go unsaid or understated. It is the most important truth of your life and purpose here on Earth and in the Kingdom. You are loved, Sister. Even if God has given you an unbelieving husband, you are are loved. You are loved so much, Yeshua died for you. And the empty tomb gives you power and authority as a daughter of the King Most High.
He created you with a purpose. He knew you before you were born and chose to redeem you, to call you to Himself and to give you a place and a role in His Kingdom. You are not less important because your husband doesn’t keep Torah. You are not half a person. You are not half a couple. You are not half useless because your husband doesn’t keep Torah. Your a wholly an important member of your local fellowship. You are fully and wholly a wife and mother. You are fully and wholly useful and have important Kingdom work to do every day. Whatever YHVH has called you to do, you don’t need your husband keeping Torah in order to do it.
So get busy doing Kingdom work! Love and serve others, plant seeds and love your husband happily and with no demands. There is so much to do and you are fully capable! God chose you for a reason, and His call on your life is now, not later when and if your husband keeps Torah. Walk out your faith in regards to your husband in meekness, humility and submission, but within those parameters YHVH can and will use you!
Solution #1: Get in the Word.
I don’t want to leave you without giving you solutions and help for knocking down the worry, fear, and idols you are experiencing. I have nothing profound to say here because the four best solutions are things you already know. This is nothing new, but I will restate it for the purpose of repetition because when your feelings are strong, sometimes you have to hear things more than once.
So, let’s start with the obvious and most important way to find contentment: read your Bible. Read it lots and lots and lots! I don’t even think it matters what you read. How could it? Everywhere throughout the Bible you are reminded that God is BIG, all knowing, all loving, full of grace and mercy and compassion and that He can be trusted. What more could we ask for? When all that really sinks in, you will find your contentment grow. It’s not enough to merely know that God loves you so much, He sent his one and only Son to die for you, but you have to believe it. The more you read the Bible, the more you’ll believe it. And yes, while that Truth alone seems so simple, it goes hand it hand with contentment. I could go on and on, but there are many posts out there about how reading Scripture combats wrong feelings. So I’ll leave you with this simple reminder that you must just do it. There’s no one perfect passage or verse. Just read. Read the Bible to find contentment and stop worry as if your life depends on it.
Solution #2: Pray.
Again, I know this is so obvious, but just hear me say it again. Pray. But pray for more than for your husband to come to Torah. Pray for contentment in your circumstances. In fact, maybe you need to spend more time praying for contentment than for you husband for a while. Pray that the Father will knock down the idols of your heart and that you’ll stop “needing” for your husband to come to Torah. Ask Him to fill your every need, even if your husband never comes to Torah. Ask him to keep Satan’s lies out of your head and for you to not throw pity parties and to stop worrying about worst case scenarios. He will do this for you! Surrender to Him fully and to your circumstances and ask Him for peace in all trials and He will give it! I promise you!
Solution #3: Talk to others.
Here’s another obvious, but simple and effective way to learn contentment: talk to others. Surround yourself with other ladies who are contentedly living with husbands who don’t keep Torah.
Now, notice something important I said: surround yourself with ladies who are content. Please stay away from ladies who express their own fear, worry and discontentment about their husbands. I understand you want to help them, but it may not be healthy for either one you to listen to how unhappy you both are. After you find your own contentment, then you can listen to other ladies and actually help them. But having a “gripe session” about your husbands and situations isn’t really productive, is it? And it really just serves to fuel your own wrong feelings. If that means you need to tell a friend that you can’t discuss this topic for a while, then say so. If it means you need to take a break from a Facebook group for a while, then leave it.
Surround yourself with people who help you. Talk to loving ladies who can listen and pray with you. Find a woman in your local fellowship who has experienced this and is content. Deliberately pursue a relationship with her to help you through this hard time. Tell her you’re trying to be content and ask her for advice. It’s okay to admit this weakness! You will be loved, Sister! I don’t judge you, either! I was right there where you are.
Solution #4: Have joy today.
Let me ask you a question. Can you be content and have joy today? Can you go through this one day without wishing your husband would keep Torah? Can you just this one day, trust God that everything is good in your life and you have all that you need, even though your husband doesn’t keep Torah? Can you be joyful today? Yes, you can! Don’t ask God to change all of your feelings forever. Ask Him to give you contentment just for today. Literally, take it one day at a time. Decide that today you will have overflowing joy. Let your family see it radiate from you. Set your fears and worries aside for just today. From whatever time it is now until you go to sleep, be happy. Even if you have to sort of fake it, just do it. Then tomorrow, do it again. But just look at today. Repeat along with the other solutions and see if your heart is changed and your find contentment.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Phillippians 4:11