But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound . . .; God has called us to live in peace. (1 Cor. 7:15)
Expanded Passage: 1 Corinthians 7:14–17
All four of my children played, or currently play, competitive sports. We’ve been to tennis matches, swim meets, soccer, lacrosse, and football games. Because Kelly and I competed in high school, we have input for how our kids can thrive in their athletic pursuits. We’ll say, “Think about training in the offseason.” “Think about registering for this camp or workshop.” “Think about talking to your coach about how to improve.” Often, our kids will respond, “I know what I’m doing. Let me do it my way!” Finally, a friend of ours told us, “If your kids want to compete at a high level, they’ll be self-motivated. If not, let it go. You can’t want it for them more than they want it for themselves.”
There are times when one person in a relationship comes to faith in Christ and their spouse does not follow them. Over time, this can lead to strain on a relationship. The couple is trying to build their lives together using two different sets of blueprints.
Paul says, “God has called us to live in peace.” Sometimes it’s possible to live in peace in this arrangement; sometimes not. If your unbelieving spouse decides to walk away because of your faith, don’t fight it. While it’s certainly not what you would have chosen, letting them walk away honors them and lets you live your faith with integrity.
If an unbelieving spouse chooses to leave, trust God for courage.
Steve Norman is a Wesleyan pastor, speaker, and author. He lives in West Michigan and serves the Great Lakes Region of The Wesleyan Church.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.