Ask a questionQ & A
My wife has backslidden from Christ and we are arguing. What should I do?
Thank you for sharing your family situation and asking for help. In regard to your question, we ask that you pray into your situation and seek God, who can help you in all things, including your marriage. I am sorry to hear that things between you and your wife are difficult and that, as you have said, she has backslidden from Christ. It is a sad fact that marriages don't always bring us the happiness we hoped for. Even some of the great leaders in the Bible faced unhappy marriages. King David's wife, for example, came to despise his spiritual zeal (2 Sam 6:16) and the breakdown in their relationship made their marriage a mockery (2 Sam 6:23). I hope the following information will encourage and inform you, nevertheless.
Firstly the Bible does comment on a similar situation to what you have described:
To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? (1 Corinthians 7:12-16)
I am not suggesting that your wife is an unbeliever, but if someone is not walking closely with Christ, or is a 'backslider', I believe it is better to love them as a possible unbeliever than to just hope everything is okay. So from the passage above we learn that you should not separate from her but continue to live with her as long as this is also what she wants. This is because we must continue to honour the vows of marriage for as long as our spouse will accept it, and meanwhile you can be a great witness to your spouse.
You mention that you are arguing with her. This is something I would try completely to stop. Tensions only escalate when we return hostility for hostility and it will undermine your claim that you are following the Lord because your wife will almost certainly think you are no better than she is if you argue back with her. Especially, I recommend not arguing about her spiritual condition. No one has been won anyone back to Christ through negative arguments. It says in the above passage that 'God has called you to peace'.
Then I think that, when the opportunity arises, you will be able to remind her of her past faith in who Jesus is and what he has done for her. Jesus died to give her forgiveness and new life. Remind her of the wedding vows that you and she took before God and show her your honest repentance for anything you have done that contradicts them. If she sees that you are honest and humble about that, it will help her to be less defensive about her own life. This may take a long time because at first she will doubt that you are sincere, but your consistency will be a definite witness. Even then, of course, we cannot guarantee 'success' but we can only commit our ways to God and seek his blessing and strength to persevere with what is right.
Pray at all times for your wife and ask your Church to pray too. Are there people in the Church who can get alongside her during this time?
Try and identify the reasons why she has backslidden and try to answer them from the truth of the Bible. There may be a lie she is believing about God. Why not encourage her to ask us a question she may be struggling with, or even better to discuss it with your Church leader?
I believe that our God of justice will save all of his people. If he had begun a good work in her life then it will be carried out to fullness: And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6)
I do hope this general answer to your question goes some way to helping you find peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: www.lookingforGod.com
In closing, I want to encourage you to get more involved with your local church. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another trusted church individual regarding your question. I know they would be delighted to further answer you as well as offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey:
Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.
*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline
Find more answers in...
If you can't find an answer to your question, please ask us instead.