Leading With Love: 5 Tips for Improving Relationships with Unbelievers

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Broken Hearts

As some of you know, for a few months I was a Contributor Blogger over at UpsideDown Homeschooling. Because of recent life events, I have had to tone down my blogging responsibilities, and much to my dismay, this included not working with my friend Heather at UDH for now. I appreciate Heather so much, and she is guest writing on FFS today!

I pray that you would be encouraged and challenged as she shares her passion with us!


After losing our fourth child during the second trimester of pregnancy, I entered into a very dark period. It was only by the constant, gentle light of Christ that I emerged from the darkness. I was new to the Christian journey and desperate to learn all I could about my new friend, Jesus.

My husband however, was furious over our recent loss and gave up any shred of faith left within him. He wanted nothing to do with God and didn’t want me or our children having anything to do with Him either.

Nothing could quench my desire for a personal relationship with my Savior. Not the incessant arguments, not the constant tension in our home, nothing. It was a very difficult period in our marriage, and each day seemed to get worse. I just could not for the life of me figure out how my once fun, caring, sweet husband had turned into a person consumed with bitterness and anger.

I would be lying if I told you that the idea of divorce never crossed my mind. But, when things were at their absolute worst, I always heard that still small Voice telling me to just hold on.

It was about this time that I decided it was my personal mission to bring my husband to Christ. I prayed for his conversion. I pleaded with God to do whatever it took to bring him back, but when I didn’t see the results I wanted {as quickly as I wanted}, I took matters into my own hands. I had it all figured out. I could beat him over the head with the Bible and shove Jesus down his throat until he had no choice but to see the truth.

How do you think that worked for me?

You’re right. It didn’t. Not only did it not work, things got worse.

One night, I remember praying and suddenly God spoke to me. No, I didn’t audibly hear God’s voice, but there was no denying that the Holy Spirit was talking directly to my soul.

He shared a few key points with me that I want to share with you. So many of us have unbelievers in our lives. Maybe you also have an unbelieving spouse, or a child who has walked away from God, or a close relative or friend who denies Jesus. I want to share these five tips with you; they just might save your relationship as they ultimately did mine.

  1. Stop meddling in God’s business. The conversion of souls is ultimately the work of God. Let Him work. John 6:44 illustrates this for us, and God’s Word will not return void.
  2. Just love him/her. Love can move mountains.
  3. Let Christ be evident in your life and you will be a constant witness. I read 1 Peter 2:12 daily, especially on those frustrating days.
  4. Don’t be a stumbling block. Know when to step out of the way. Know when to speak up and ultimately when to shut up. Realize that when an unbeliever is attacking you, what they’re really trying to do is attack Jesus. He can fight for himself and He will fight for you. You only need to be still. Exodus 14:14
  5. Be patient. This is the hardest part. Some days it seemed like we were making progress and then the next day we would take huge steps back. But Isaiah 55:8 reminds us that our timing is not God’s timing and His ways are always perfect.

From that very day, the Holy Spirit convicted me of these truths, I gave my husband’s faith {like it was ever even mine to give} over to the One who created him. My husband was still God’s child and He had a plan for him.

I stepped back. I continued to pray for my husband, but I stopped praying for his conversion. I stopped trying to move God’s hand. I loved him for the man he was, the same wonderful man that I had fallen in love with. I stopped talking about my faith, and began living it. I wanted him to see the real power of the love of Christ through my actions, not through misplaced scripture verses shouted in the heat of an argument.

I’m not saying it was easy. Anyone who has a close relationship with an unbeliever knows that it can be absolutely heart-breaking at times. But our marriage steadily improved when I realized that my husband’s faith was between him and God and ultimately had nothing to do with me. I did just what the Holy Spirit prompted me to do. I let go. I trusted God. And I loved my husband.

One year later {almost exactly to do the day}, my husband returned to Christ and was baptized at our church this Easter.

God is good and His word is true. He calls His children according to His plan, not ours. And the sooner we realize this and get out of His way, the better our lives will be.

Throughout these past five years, God has taught me a lot about myself and His vision for me. He made it clear that the revelations He shared during the hard years of being married to an unbeliever were not just for me. They were meant to be shared and He created in me a passion to minister to others who are in relationships with unbelievers. I’ve walked with wives through the loneliness of being in a spiritually mismatched marriage. I’ve cried with women whose children have denounced Christ. I’ve received hundreds of emails from women all over the world who were struggling in these relationships. We’ve shared the battle and we’re constantly praying for one another. If you’re in a relationship with an unbeliever and need some encouragement, please email me at HeatherNBowen@gmail.com. I would love to pray with you.


HeatherHeather Bowen is a homeschooling mom from southeastern NC. She and her husband are the proud parents of four children, two in this world and two waiting in Heaven. Heather is a nurse by trade, but gave up her nursing scrubs in October 2012. Since then she has embraced the role of a professional blogger and is blessed to be able to work from home. Heather is the founder and owner of UpsideDownHomeschooling.com and FrugalHomeschoolFamily.com. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+.


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