In the past couple of years, I been pregnant twice and dealt with postpartum blues. For a long time, I was in a dark place. I felt like the words in the Bible were just bouncing off my brain. I would wake up to my toddler standing by my bed saying “Mama, I’m hungry,” roll out of bed, and start my day feeling irritated and wondering when I would be able to take a nap. Life felt so hard and it felt like I was on my own.
At the same time, I was questioning a lot of religious traditions I had grown up doing, like church going and other stuff. Even now, I’m trying to decide what aspects of my faith I want to hold on to, and which ones I want to let go of.
So I can definitely sympathize with anyone who feels this way. But what do you do when it’s your spouse going through it? What do you do when you feel like your spouse just isn’t in tune with God the way they used to be?
After all, the Bible does say, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Is it possible to still have a loving, Christ-centered marriage if your spouse is in a spritual funk?
I think it is.
But there are certain things to keep in mind in order to make sure that happens.
1. People change, and so will their relationship with God.
You’re not the same person you were when you first got married. Every year, you’re going through new experiences, learning new things, and developing. Traumatic things happen that shake our faith sometimes. So with all that going on, don’t expect your spouse to be the exact way they were when you first got together.
When we first got together, I was super disciplined and consistent in my devotional life. I was waking up every morning at 5am to pray and journal. I was super involved at my church and I was super strict with my diet too. But as I got older, had kids, and went through the ups and downs of life, the way I related to God started to change. Through it all, Jono never once looked at me differently. He didn’t try to guilt me into a better relationship with God. He was always encouraging me to learn on my own.
It’s so important to give them room to make mistakes and grow. Yes, you’re married to each other, but your walk with God is still an individual thing. So you may be on level of understanding and faith in your journey, and they might be on another. Give them time and space to grow at their own pace.
2. Focus on connecting, not religious rituals.
I remember that I used to try to be so militant about my devotional time with Jono. We had to read a passage of Scripture or other spiritual book, talk about it, pray, sing, etc. But as time went by, our devotional time together started to look different. Nowadays, we pray together a few times a week, but every day we listen to a podcast together in the car and talk about it, or have pillow talk at the end of the day to catch up and share what’s been going on that day with one another.
Be flexible about what your devotional time together looks like. If your spouse isn’t into reading the Bible right now, try doing something different together, like reading a personal development book, or listening to a podcast, or just going on a hike alone together and using part of that time to talk about your goals for the future. You can stay connected to each other in other ways besides praying together, trust me! Your marriage can stay healthy as long as you’re blocking off time to spend together doing something you both enjoy.
3. Become the middle man.
Whether your spouse is wrestling with trauma they’ve experienced, or doubts about their faith, you can make a difference! You can intercede for them by praying for them even if they aren’t praying for themselves. Over and over in the Bible we have so many examples that intercession works. Not only do your prayers give room for God to work on your spouse, but it also changes YOU! Praying for your spouse will help you become more compassionate and understanding of their situation. Instead of feeling like putting on a facade for your sake, your spouse will feel supported and encouraged.
Remember, the way you treat your spouse during this time can make your marriage stronger, or isolate you from each other even more.
4. Remember that God is in control.
God created your spouse, so He loves them even more than you do! He knows what He’s doing, so don’t feel like your spouse’s salvation is riding on your shoulders. Give God room to work that part out.
Hope this helps!