My husband converted to Islam. How should I treat him?
There is one passage in the Bible that speaks directly about this situation. You can find it in 1 Peter 3:1-6: “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewellery, or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.”
Accept your husband as head of the family
The Bible first of all calls on wives to accept their husband as head of the family. Whether or not the husband is a Christian, is not relevant. This is how God planned the family. In this passage Peter specifically addresses women who have unbelieving husbands. He tells them: let your husband see three things in your life: respect, purity, and a beautiful spirit.
Even though he is not a believer, there must be things in him that you can respect. You are called to respect him as a man. This is very important, because it is very hard for any man to show love to his wife if he does not feel respected. Men need respect like women need love. The second thing that you owe your husband, is purity. Even though he is an unbeliever, you should not be looking for another man. God has joined you together. If he is happy to stay with you, you should stay with him (see 1 Corinthians 7:13). Pray for him daily, that God will reveal his Son to him, so that he will become a Christian as well.
Show a beautiful spirit
Finally, Peter calls you to show a beautiful spirit. How do you get a beautiful spirit? Through living with Jesus; through prayer and the reading of God’s Word; through depending on God and not on yourself. That will give you ‘imperishable beauty’, and your husband cannot help but being attracted to that. Peter says that in that way, you may win him ‘without words’.
That is very clever of Peter – of course he was led by the Holy Spirit in writing this. For there is nothing that men hate as much as their wives telling them what to do. Actually, there is one thing they hate even more: when their wives keep telling them after they don’t listen the first time. It is called ‘nagging’, and it causes men to shut their ears and their hearts to their wives. Don’t do it, Peter warns you. Show your husband how beautiful your spirit is. In the end he’ll ask you: why are you so wonderful? Then you can say: it is through Jesus.
Do not fear
Lastly, Peter hints that there are limitations to the respect that a wife needs to pay to her husband. He ends the passage with ‘do not fear anything that is frightening’. A husband who is Muslim is certainly frightening. Yet Peter says ‘do not fear’. Do not let him decide what you believe. Do not let him decide how you serve God. Your loyalty to the Lord Jesus trumps the loyalty to your husband. So it is possible that there will be situation where you will have to say: “I respect you as my husband, but I am not going to sin against God.”
Respect your husband. Pray for him. Win him through your beautiful spirit. And stand strong in your faith.
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