3 Ways to Connect Spiritually When Your Beliefs Clash

By July 13, 2016February 1st, 2018Communication, Conflict, Scripture

We’ve met many couples who have built successful marriages and relationships despite having different faiths, religions, and beliefs. Without exception, every single one of them sees their difference of beliefs as a challenge.

When things of the spirit aren’t shared, that presents a lot of challenges to your marriage, as well as your children and your extended family. Navigating these challenges requires a great deal of grace and wisdom.

In today’s post, we’re sharing three ways to connect spiritually with your spouse–even though your beliefs clash.

  1. Find your common ground.

Intimacy is based on sharing. When you and your spouse don’t share fundamental spiritual or religious beliefs–beliefs that, essentially, make up who you are at your very core–this can significantly threaten intimacy.

Are you a Christian married to a Jewish person? You both worship Yahweh. Are you Protestant, while your spouse is Catholic? You believe in the same God, and that Jesus is the Messiah. Does each of you align with a different denomination? Instead of focusing on the things you disagree on, find your common ground and put your emphasis there instead.

What if your spouse is part of a completely different religion altogether? You can still find common things to appreciate. If you share the belief that you aren’t in control and a power greater than you created the universe, that’s a good place to start. It’s not ideal to experience such a deep divide with your spouse, but trying to force your beliefs onto him or her may do more harm than good.

  1. Reach out to others–together.

Doing charitable or benevolent work is deeply spiritual, and deeply rewarding. Engaging together in work for the greater good will not only bring the two of you closer together; it will aid in your spiritual growth, both as a couple and as individuals.

To avoid any potential conflict, it may be easier for you to choose to support or align with charities or causes that aren’t closely tied to religious organizations–depending on the difference of beliefs between the two of you.

Reaching outside of yourself to help others in need will bring you closer to God, and closer to your spouse. It will also help the two of you to focus on the good you can do in the world if you work together.

  1. Focus on hope, love, and goodness.

Hope, love, and goodness are universally spiritual things, valued in most major religions. Focusing on them together could help foster the sense of spiritual closeness that you may be lacking.

No matter how deep your differences of belief are, you can always circle back to these tenets. If the two of you are committed to one another and to having a successful, peaceful, and fruitful marriage, you’ll find comfort in grounding yourselves here.

Do you and your spouse have different beliefs–or completely different religions? How do you navigate that together? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.


  • Kelly says:

    Moya, please know that your are not alone in this. Many Christian wives experience what you are going through, as do Christian husbands. But please, also know, that God LOVES you and He hears your cries for help. He is with you and is watching over you. Seek Him for your strength that His joy would be your strength. Reach out to Him early in the morning and put on the armour of God. He desires His best for you but wants you to follow Him and leave your husband and children to Him. Pray for them fervently. Don’t under-estimate the power in your prayers. But leave them in God’s hands and watch expectantly for GREAT things. Let your requests be made known unto God regarding your husband and children but also humble yourself before the Almighty King and be willing to set the example in your words and deeds. May God be the door to your mouth to prevent any unloving words from leaving your tongue and may the God of hope fill you with His joy and peace as you trust in Him that His joy may be overflowing through the power of His Holy Spirit. Blessings.

  • Alex says:

    I have loved reading these posts, but I can no longer be a fan of Christians who support marriage to those outside of the Christian faith. What about being equally yoked? What about being married to someone who loves and serves the exact same God – someone you can go to the same church with? Different denominations is one thing that many couples have worked through… Completely different faiths is quite another!!!

    • Jenn says:

      Alex, I married my husband 6 years ago. We went to church together and he claimed to have had a conversion experience 15 years ago. After 4 children, he now claims to be an atheist: out of the blue. I am in shock. I continue to pray for him. I don’t believe we were unequally yoked: we discussed spiritual matters and prayed together prior and during marriage. Then he became an atheist. It has been extremely hard raising a family in church alone. I don’t think you should put blame on everyone. There are circumstances that are not under the other spouses’s control.

    • T. Elizabeth says:

      Scripture does say believers should be equally yoked. That is for our own good. However, many many people do not come to faith before they are married. This could mean one spouse accepts the Lord after a decade of marriage. They have a new reality. They are married to a non-believer. The same person they love and made a vow to before they accepted Christ. I do not envy the challenge before them, but they also would be going against scripture if they left their spouse for this reason. I think loving them and demonstrating God’s grace day in and day out is what they are called to do at this point.

    • Andy Atencio says:

      That is unfortunate… If not for similar efforts to those described here, I would never have married my wife of 24 years and found my way to Christ. I was married 24 years ago as an Atheist, to a wonderful faith-base Christian woman. For the first 10 years of our marriage I never set foot in a church, nor engaged in a conversation with my wife about her faith. Yet she loved me. Without, as Les and Leslie say, her “grace and wisdom” I have no doubt in my mind that I would still be without a relationship with God. My wife was able to see in me the man I would become and loved not only that man God would make me, but also loved the man I was at the time. Christians are not called to take the light that is their faith and lock it away for no one to see, but rather are called to shine that light into the darkness and to sow the seeds that allows the Spirit to grown in others. It doesn’t get any darker than where my wife chose to shine her light into my life. I understand that loving someone that is not of a like mind to you is not your calling. However, just like some are called to sell everything they have and move to a “third-world” country to live as a missionary and others are not, some are called to love a person that isn’t a Christian yet, but whom God has great plans for. Condemning someone for helping provide those who are called in this manner the tools they might need to help navigate that relationship is not unlike saying your can’t possibly support Christians that are not gifted to be leaders or missionaries. Not everyone gets the same spiritual gifts, but I am extremely thankful to God that my wife’s spiritual gifts included the gifts of Mercy and Faith, because without them I would surely still be lost… God Bless!

      • Cristina says:

        Andy, what a beautiful testimony!! I was going to reply to Alex, but I think your words were so beautiful and a perfect example, there’s nothing left to say. I have dear friends who were married as Christians, were abused in a church and now the husband is agnostic. We love them the same and pray for them. So many Christians harm other Christians in the name of God so their view can be so changed because of that.

        We need more love and grace with all!!!!. And churches need to hold those that harm others accountable for their actions!!!

        • Josh says:

          The Bible story of the prodigal son is a familiar one in christian circles where God the father runs to the son who was lost but came home after a riotous living. As much as Gods grace is always available and we as Christians also need to extend such grace to all, especially our spouse, Lets not forget the son who was home with the father all the time. He was obedient to the father and had everything that the father had. He saved himself the trouble of wasted years of living, a life disobedient to the father and didn’t have to experience a life of struggle, need and despair that his brother experienced as a result of disobedience.
          My point here is you could marry an unbeliever or someone of a different faith. There will always be Grace and Mercy shown but we could save ourselves the heartache and troubles that come with that disobedience of been unequally yoked.
          It may be true that some christian men may have abused their wives but that does not change the word of God that says we should be unequally yoked.
          Andy’s case is an exceptional case of Love, Mercy and Grace shown by his wife and we pray for more Godly women who exemplify Christ in our world today.

        • Andy says:

          Thank you for your kind words… There is a great deal of truth in what you have said.

      • Michelle K says:

        Thank you for sharing

      • Angie says:

        Thank you so much for your response Andy. My husband isn’t a believer but as your wife I choose to live out the Gospel in front of him (which as we all know isn’t easy). You have given me hope to continue and not give up. Bless you and welcome to the family ?

        • Andy says:

          First off thank you for your kind words and for the work you are doing to live your relationship with God, even though it isn’t easy. That is really all you or anyone can do… All you can do is sow the seed, it is up to God to grow the seed. Too often, especially in marriage, one spouse or the other thinks it is their job to “save” or move the other partner in the relationship to the same place they are at in their journey with God. But that isn’t how our journeys with God work. As individuals we are all not only in different places in our journey with God, but often on completely different paths with God, and trying to force another on to your path not only doesn’t work, but also is not your or my role. The role is to live your path, shine your light in the way God has called you to do so, and pray that those around you (your spouse included) will eventually find their own path with God. We all have our own journey to live, and not everyone’s journey is mine. As Christians I think at times we loose site of the fact that it is okay for others, especially those that are currently not on God’s path, to be on their journey. I have come to understand that my journey, which included over 25 years of Atheism is responsible for providing me with the tools I need to be the voice God needs me to be. Had my journey not included a quarter century of those experiences I would not be able to have some of the very hard conversations I have had with others that are on that currently on that same path. When I say something like I said here, and someone like you hears it they hear that their efforts are valuable and I can only provided that message because of my journey. That message is only valid to you because my journey is real. When I talk to an Atheist I do so with years of experience being on their path. When you talk to other wives about the difficulties of living in a household like you do it comes from experience, and that is meaningful. I pray for your strength and for your husband’s path… God bless you.

    • Michelle D says:

      Hi Alex,
      I would advise anyone that is not married to not be unequally yoked. But some have started out as two believers walking the same path and one or both falls by the way side, or you are not aware of that nugget of wisdom until after you have married, or you just did it anyway. First Corinthians, chapter 7 gives hope for peace despite the difference. I would not want to throw the baby out with the bath water, especially a healthy baby. It isn’t that a baby will never become ill, but the healing process may present the challenge. You do not stop loving a baby they have colic. You love the baby anyway unto death. In the case of abuse in a marriage that is a whole other conversation and that is not what I am speaking on. However, I have been there and done that and through God’s grace things were turned around. Definitely not something I would do again and am not recommending that someone else did what I did. The warfare that took place is not for the faint of heart. However, I can say God showed Himself greater

    • Melissa Kay Jaster says:

      I have married for 12 years to my wonderful agnostic husband and even though it’s been hard at times because our beliefs are different, I would never want to be married to anyone else. I feel isolated by Christian’s that believe as you do and it’s hurtful. God is in complete control here. He has given me hope that my husband and now our son will know Him intimately one day and that is the hope I will cling to until that beautiful day comes. That is the hope that keeps me moving and breathing in Him.

    • Jo says:

      Hi Alex. Your quickly finding out that what is set down for us in Scripture is not always popular in culture. We are not to be unequally yoked in all partnerships
      ESPECIALLY marriage. What does the light have to do with darkness. What is now.good nature have to do with what it is still the old.evil nature. Many many scriptures.and biblical presedenses for a Christian not to marry non Christian. I am glad to hear of the man who came to faith in christ through God using his wife. That is great but doesn’t change that she was going against God’s word when she married him. God brings good out of wrong things all the time. Praise and thanks be unto him. Let us not try to change His word to better suit our own situation. Let us rather seek Him for the courage. Strength. Love. To follow it.

  • Andy Atencio says:

    Les and Leslie,
    I just wanted to say thank you so very much for your blog and inspiration. I have been following you and reading your material for many years now. I wanted to say that I hope everything for you both is going okay. The blog entries that last few months have seemed to take a more negative tone, not in so far as your writing, but rather the subjects you are writing about. I am sure this is indicative of the feedback, questions and discussions you receive. One of the reasons my wife and I have always enjoyed your materials and your presentations is because the focus is not always on the brokenness of marriage. My wife and I have been very very very blessed to be happy together even after almost 24 years of marriage. We don’t fight, we don’t argue, we love and support each other, we still enjoy being with each other in all facets of married life, and we are still each other’s best friends. When we look across the landscape of faith-based literature with regards to marriage so much of it seems to be focused on fixing broken marriages rather than supporting successful ones. I know part of that is because today we (my wife and I) are a statistical anomaly in that our marriage has been a long-term success. But we have always liked that although you both do some great work with preparing couples for successful marriages and giving them tools when things are not perfect, you also spend a great deal of your time helping those that are successful be MORE successful. That is why I follow your blog and your social media. I know those that are not in the situation my wife and I are in need support as well, but I am hopeful there will continue to be support for those anomalies like us to make great marriages even better each and every year.

    Thank you both so much for all that you have given, you can’t even imagine the impact it has had on our marriage.

    Bless you both!

  • Michelle D says:

    My husband and I are of two different religions. What I have found to be true is you do have to find common ground and you do have to do what the word of God says. You must trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path. No one can truly know the heart of any man, except for God the Father. There were times I would get offended, or try to take a “stand for Jesus” against some of the rhetoric my husband was trying to hammer into me according to what his religion believes. That is utter foolishness. The word says can to walk together, except they be agreed (Amos 3:3), dah! A house divided can not stand (Matthew 12:25, Luke 11:17). It is a spiritual warfare that we wives do not have to fight. The battle is not ours, its the Lords (2 Chronicles 20:15). It may seem that this difference in religions is so great, but it is not greater than He that is within you (1 John 4:4). So what I do now is seek the Holy Spirit for wisdom. I ask the Holy Spirit to show me areas within myself (be it a way of thinking, or my ways) that are errant in that they will not produce life within my marriage. Then I obey the Holy Spirit, obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). This is how I obey the Holy Spirit, I do what the Holy Spirit says do, I do not do what the Holy Spirit tells me not to do, and if I do not know what to do I do not do anything. When the Holy Spirit revealed that simple concept to me I felt such a relief. It is not about me and God’s got this. It is easy to argue, but it can be a challenge to love; especially since we women are prone to get our feelings hurt by a look, an innocent comment made at the wrong time, etcetera. We must simply Have Faith In God! He is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should have to repent (Numbers 23:19). Wives, meditate or consider the things that made you fall in love with your husband in the first place. More likely than not you both were of different religions when you met, and his convictions to what he believed attracted you. Meditate on whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (Philippians 4:8) regarding your husband and do loving things for him. Sometimes that is just simply being quiet and holding your peace. Jesus presence caused unclean spirits to cry out what have we to do with you (Matthew 8:29). Let the presence of Jesus in you bring that enemy of division and confusion under your feet. I refuse to let the devil have anything that belongs to me and that certainly includes my husband.

    • Mariah says:

      Wow! What a beautiful reminder of how to remain loyal to God and loyal to the husband that you are vowed to! Thank you for sharing! May God continue to bless your marriage and give you strength to be a light and love in your husband’s life!

    • Lil says:

      This was very helpful. Thank you!

  • Mike says:

    My mother was a Christian but away from the Lord when she married my Catholic father. He went into the army and when he came back she was going to a Pentecostal church. He called her a holy roller and refused her to go to church or read the Bible. She said she would not go to church if her 4 children could be raised in church. We went to a little Baptist church and all became Christians. Three of us were in full time Christian ministry. Most of the grandchildren and great grands are Christian and my father became a Christian before he died. You never know what the Lord will do with a wife who fulfills her vows to her husband…

  • Thank you for this practical steps. God bless you.

  • E. George says:

    We’ve been married 3 decades and it’s been rough raised in an Orthodox Church and married to a Protestant Christian Reform and her strong will. I
    accepted Christ In the 90’s because I couldn’t do it on my own. She became Orthodox or I would not have married her. But it wasn’t a committed
    change and so without taking time for my long testimony – GOD did a 180 on me why? I went before Him because I couldn’t do it on my own anymore
    with fights (over many issues) and a young son at the time. So I implore on anyone of Christian belief to meet a pre-marriage counselor, best a pastor or
    a priest and hear about differences before the sacrament of marriage. I’ve survived much threw this life on earth and still do in this marriage but I know Christ endured much more than I ever will or endure. For that I take this life and commitment to this marriage and our children very important and will stay in it for life. My prayer is that this would be helpful in the Sacrament you soon will take.

  • diana says:


    Estar casado con una persona que no es cristiana, es mas difícil de llevar la relación porque el orgullo, la falta de fe, el negativismo, la falta de perdón, el juzgar puede ser parte de su vida, hasta no conocer el perdón de Cristo, no entenderá mucho… pero… el cristiano definitivamente se pone a prueba en esto mismo, alli es donde puedes ver los frutos de ser cristiano, cuando tu pareja se pone de orgulloso, tu debes perdonar y amar… hay salvación en el hogar cuando alguien quiere amar a Dios y obedecer su palabra, mientras exista esto, junto con la gracia y amor.. es posible que nuestro hogar sea fuerte

  • Angela Guzman says:

    I appreciate this topic as I am a Christian woman married to a man who believes but is not yet comfortable with “organized religion”. In responce to many comments left here quoting 1 Corinthians in regards to “being yoked” to a non believer, I also turn to 1 Corinthian quite often. In which God tells me in chapter 7 verse 12: … If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13: and if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14: For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband.
    Let us not forget… not everyone was one with Christ when they were first married and Jesus loves us all and forgives us and sanctifies us the very moment we proclaim Him as Lord.
    I continue to pray for my husband daily and may he soon open his heart wholly to the Lord God Almighty!

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