If we are honest with ourselves and we do not make life any more difficult than it has to be, most of us already intuitively know what the right relationship between husbands and wives is. A husband’s job is to love his wife and to provide for her no matter what, and also to do so in such a way as he brings his whole family into correct alignment with Yeshua’s ordered kingdom. So that together they can make their best contribution to Yeshua’s ordered kingdom, because Yeshua is a very great King, and He likes that. And then a wife’s job therefore is to help and support her husband in that sacred mission, and also to respect him in the process, even though he’s not going to be perfect. And when all goes well in a marriage, and everyone follows their correct roles then everything goes well, and everyone can be happy and pleased.
But sometimes things go wrong and there are many different ways that a relationship can go off course. But one of the most difficult of all of these is when our spouse does not believe.
Qorintim Bet (2 Corinthians) 6:14-15
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
And what accord has Messiah with belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?
But sometimes it can happen that two unbelievers will get married and then one of them gets saved, Or it can happen that you get two Christians or two Jews, or even a Christian and a Jew that are married together, and then one of them gets called to more truth. This brings us back to an unequal yoking situation. What do we do in these unequal yoking situations?
Well, men are strongly affected when their wives do not believe. A man’s wife is effectively his other half. And if half of you does not believe then the whole of you is powerfully affected. Yet wives are even much more powerfully affected if their husbands do not believe. That is because a wife is to submit to her husband. So, if her husband is not leading his family to make their best contribution to Yeshua’s ordered kingdom, then everything else about the relationship is going to be thrown off as well. The good news here is that there are studies where spouses can be won around and can be brought into the Kingdom. That does not always happen, and it is definitely not easy or quick, but this needs to be our goal.
More good news is the way we win our spouses around is simply to do the things that we are supposed to do and the things we are not supposed to do, and to let our light shine forth. Let us talk about certain passages that show us what are the things that we should do and not do when our spouses do not believe.
The basic relationship between husbands and wives is one of the husband providing and giving love, and the wife supporting and giving respect. Men typically want respect; women typically want love. So, there is a mutual provision that goes on in the marriage relationship. That is why a man’s job is to love his wife and to provide for her no matter what, because the husband serves as the covering (or the head) over the wife. And it is every cover’s job to provide all the needs of those below him that he covers for. You do not get to not love or not provide for those under your covering, it just simply is not done. Conversely, the wife’s job is to respect her husband and to submit to his leadership, to help him in his divine mission. This can be a real challenge because most men are far from perfect, and they have very many flaws. There is an old saying that “familiarity breeds contempt and no one is more familiar with their husband’s failings and flaws than his wife”. But there are many passages that tell us that both the husbands and the wives need to work together with this mutual basic relationship of providing love and providing respect.
Qolossim (Colossians) 3:18
“Wives, submit to your own husbands [not to every man as some teach, but to submit to your own husbands], as is fitting in Yahweh. [We will talk later in this presentation about what this phrase means “as is fitting in Yahweh”. Because some things are fitting in Yahweh, some things are not fitting in Yahweh].
Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.”
Women have a lot of needs that need to be provided for. They have physical needs, needs in raising the children, they also have emotional needs and communication needs, security needs. All of these things are a man’s job to provide for as her cover, even if he does not feel these same needs himself. So, do not be bitter toward that relationship. We see the same basic relationship of providing love and providing respect show up in other places.
Ephesim (Ephesians) 5:22-27
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to Yahweh. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Messiah is the head of the assembly; and He is the Savior of the body.
Therefore, just as the assembly is subject to Messiah, so let the wives be [subject] to their own husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Messiah also loved the assembly and gave Himself for her,
that He might set her apart, and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
that He might present her to Himself a glorious assembly, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be set-apart and without blemish.”
If we consider marriage to be a shadow picture of the coming real marriage, this lets us know how we should treat our wives.
Ephesim (Ephesians) 5:28-33
“So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Yahweh does the assembly. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Messiah and the assembly.
Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
So, now before we can understand what goes wrong in a marriage and how to fix it, first we need to understand what a marriage is. In scriptural legal terms we should say, a marriage is a type of a covenant, and a covenant is a special type of a contract. And what is special about it is that the husband and wife do not just make an agreement with each other, but they also make an agreement with Elohim. And that is why we cannot end the marriage simply with the husband and wife agreeing to end it. Because the marriage was also made with Elohim. And Elohim is not in the business of breaking up relationships, Elohim is in the business of strengthening relationships and bringing them into alignment with His Kingdom. That is why even if the other party is not doing their part we do not get to terminate the relationship. Because we made a deal with Elohim.
On a special note, we are going to need to understand that we are presently under the Melchizedekian order. When we go back to the land of Israel we will be again under the Levitical order. As Isaiah 66 says, the Melchizedekian and the Levitical orders are going to be merged. So, when we come back to the land of Israel (after Armageddon) we will set the Torah as our Constitution. At that time, it will be as in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah and the non-believing spouses and children will not be able to come with us, they will not be able to be there. However, right now we are under the Melchizedekian order, and we are also in the Dispersion. So, the purpose is evangelical and that is why we are not supposed to separate from a non-believing spouse. We explain this in more detail in Yahweh’s Heart in Marriage which is part of the Covenant Relationships Collection. We have got several different studies on marriage in there, if you want to understand marriage clearly and in detail, I recommend that study very much.
So, the apostle is going to talk to us a lot about the rules for marriage in the Dispersion. He mixes the Torah precepts also with advice for what we do under the Melchizedek in order in the Dispersion.
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 7:10-16
“Now to the married I command, yet not I but Yahweh: [Yahweh precept] A wife is not to depart from her husband.
But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband [Again, we explain this in Yahweh’s Heart in Marriage]. And the husband is not to divorce his wife [Yahweh’s precept; Yahweh is not in the business of breaking up relationships, Yahweh is in the business of strengthening relationships and bringing them into alignment with His Kingdom].
But to the rest I, not Yahweh, say [Shaul gives his advice for what to do in the Dispersion under the Melchizedekian order because it is not covered in the first five books of the Torah]: if any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her.
And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him.
For the unbelieving husband is set apart by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is set apart by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are set apart. [If your marriage is not in order, you should do this as your first priority, to have a personal ministry to help bring your family together in Elohim, so that you can find your place in His ordered Kingdom].
But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases. But Elohim has called us to peace. [If the unbeliever departs, let him depart, but we are not to depart or to break the relationship. We are to do our best to help align relationships].
For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know O husband, whether you will save your wife?”
Again, the point is to help them come into alignment, and this is successful more often than not. Again, it is not easy, and it is not quick usually, but it is something that can be done. So, that needs to be our top priority. So now we want to look again at Colossians chapter 3:18
Qolossim (Colossians) 3:18-19
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in Yahweh.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.”
We want to see, what does it mean for wives to submit to your own husbands “as is fitting in Yahweh”? We are going to see there are certain things that are fitting in Yahweh and certain things that are not fitting in Yahweh. In order to understand that, first we need to understand what the function (role) of a wife is, vis-à-vis, the husband.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 2:18 [Yahweh Elohim said]
“It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper comparable to him [or corresponding to him].”
The word in Hebrew is kenegdo. The base of that is neged.
Strong’s H5046: negan (neh’-ghed); a front, that is, part opposite; specifically, a counterpart, or mate [complement or that which completes the other one]; usually (adverbially, especially with preposition) over against or before: – about, (over) against, Xaloof, X far (off), X from, over, presence, X other side, sight, X to view.
So, in ordinary circumstances husbands and wives should get along in a very harmonious relationship because they are going to be the compliments of one another. But there are times when the husband will do something that perhaps is not the best. And it is the wife’s job to help him understand what his role is, so that he can then bring the family together as one, in alignment in Elohim’s Kingdom. These are times (you might imagine) there will be an argument, or you might call some heated fellowship, or these kinds of things. But we get into certain what-if scenarios times when the wife has concerns about “What did the husband say?” and “Why did he say it?” and “Can we really do things this way?”
So, I do not want to give any specifics, I do not want to name any names, but just to mention some general what if type scenarios that we run across from time to time. One what-if question we get is “What if my spouse tells me to break Scripture?”
Well, obviously we cannot do that. Let us look at Acts 4 where the priests in the first century had been telling Kepha (Peter) and Yohanan (John) not to preach in Yeshua’s name. Kepha and Yohanan answered, nope, cannot do that!
Ma’asei (Acts) 4:19-20
“But Kepha and Yohanan answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of Elohim to listen to you more than to Elohim, you judge”.
For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
In other words, judge whether we should listen to man or whether we should listen to Elohim. Well, this is a no-brainer for us. So again, if your spouse tempts you to do something that is against Scripture you cannot do it. Because we do not want to be breaking Scripture, that is not our purpose, that is not our point.
Another what-if scenario we come across is “What if my spouse tells me to do something illegal?”
Well, in Exodus 1 Pharaoh commanded the Hebrew midwives (Shiphrah and Puah) to put the male children to death as soon as they were delivered.
Shemote (Exodus) 1:17
“But the midwives feared Elohim, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive.”
We are coming into the end times, these are very difficult, very dangerous times. Anything that we do that is civilly disobedient or contrary to law, we have to understand what the principles behind these things are. Because in general we want to be good law-abiding citizens. We want to be upright people, we want to be honest, we want to be generous, we want to be kind, these kinds of things. But there are certain circumstances where we need to disobey authority. We are trying for this instance to understand when those times are that we need to disobey structure, that we need to disobey authority.
For another example, with the same what-if question “What if my spouse tells me to do something illegal?”, we take a look at Judges 6.
Shophetim (Judges) 6:11
“Now the Messenger of Yahweh came and sat under the terebinth tree which was an Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites.
We have to ask ourselves the question, Why did Gideon thresh wheat in the wine press in order to hide it from the Midianites? The answer quite simply is that Elohim has His Kingdom that He wants, and the Midianites had a different kingdom. Gideon did not feel any particular loyalty to the Midianite kingdom, Gideon’s loyalty rather was to help establish Elohim’s ordered Kingdom and getting it set up correctly. That is the reason for that.
Now, for those that want to understand this clearly, we have a very important study, it is going to be more and more important as we move into the end times. I want to be very careful how I say this, I do not want to say anything wrong. But in the study Obedience to Government found in Nazarene Scripture Studies Volume 1, we explain that ordinarily we need to obey the governments which are appointed over us (As Scripture also says). In general, we want to be good, peaceful, law-abiding citizens. However, when we run into a crunch or a conflict situation, we need to remember the purpose we are called to is to establish Elohim’s Kingdom. That is what the Great Commission is really all about. The Midianites were about subjugating Elohim’s Kingdom and subjugating Elohim’s people, to set up their own kingdom. Again, we are coming into the end times, so this calls for a lot of wisdom. I recommend that you read that study if you have any questions in this regard.
Another what-if scenarios we run into is “What if my spouse makes terrible decisions and these are going to negatively impact the family?”
The principle is this. We can disobey our covering in order to save life, limb, or liberty (meaning we can stop someone from being sold into slavery). However, we are not allowed to disobey our covering in order to save property. The reason why is because, with Elohim, the covenant and the relationship with others is the most important thing. Goods, things, those can come and go. We are told as long as we have food and clothing, we shall be satisfied with these. Because that is all we really need in order to have a relationship with Elohim, that is all we really need in order to praise Him.
Consider all of the great men and women in Scripture who had trials, tribulations, problems, situations, which they had to overcome with Elohim’s help. For example, Iyov (Job). Job did not think he had anything to learn, but Job did have things he needed to learn. Yahweh took away everything that Job had, Job was left with nothing. He even took away the relationships. But after Job had learned what he was supposed to learn, that is when Yahweh restored (even double) what Job had before. This is the thing we need to remember; we need to understand just how completely in charge Yahweh is. So, when we fall into a trial or when we fall into a difficult situation, we need to remember the principle. We are allowed to violate covering to save life, limb, or liberty, but we are never allowed to violate cover in order to save money or property. Those are things we just do not want to do.
Then we see a special situation in 1 Samuel 25. In this particular situation King David had already been anointed but he had not yet been commissioned as King. David had been safeguarding the livestock and property of a man named Nabal and then it came time King David needed some help, he needed some support. Not only did Nabal say “no”, but he was rude about, in fact he mocked David. David then swore he was going to wipe out every male from the house of Nabal. Let us read how Abigail (Nabal’s wife) responded.
Shemuel Aleph (1 Samuel) 25:18-19
“Then made haste and took all kinds of things she took 200 loaves of bread, two bottles of wine, five sheep, roasted grain, clusters of raisins, cakes of figs, and loaded them on donkeys.
And she said to her servants, “Go on before me; see, I am coming after you. [Sending to King David]. But she did not tell her husband Nabal.
Notice what she did. She took action to save life, limb, and liberty, but she did not take action to save property or finances. In fact, she actually sacrificed property (finances) in order to safeguard life, limb, and liberty. That is the principle that we are to follow. Abigail was a very righteous woman.
Another what-if scenario. “What if my spouse makes terrible decisions and we are going to lose the house and all our finances and our standing in society?”
Well, in a circumstance like this we have to remember that the things are not what are important. People and the covenants are what are important. So, we need to remember that Yahweh is completely in charge and not even a sparrow can fall to the ground apart from His will. In this kind of a circumstance, we need to remember that all the great men and women in Scripture, every one of them, had great trials. Every one of them had great tests that they had to pass. In this particular kind of a situation, we need to remember what it says in
Mishle (Proverbs) 3:5
“Trust in Yahweh with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding [because Yahweh can deliver us];
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and Yahweh will direct your paths.”
We need to remember that it is the covenant and the relationships that are more important, and Yahweh is very capable of turning situations around overnight. He gave Job twice as much as what he had before. So, not to fear. Yahweh is in charge; He intends good for us and not evil. First, we have to pass the test, we have to ask Him what it is that He wants us to learn. When I find myself in a trial, I try to give thanks for it. I try to ask Him, “Father, what is it that You want me to learn?” Because once we learn what it is He wants us to learn then the trial can end, then the period of testing can be over.
So, it also helps to remember that no temptation will overtake us except such as is common to man. Because Elohim is faithful, and He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear. But with the temptation He will also make a way of escape, so that we are able to bear it.
Once again, we need to remember that Elohim is completely in charge, and He is capable of reversing our circumstances once we have learned what He wants us to learn.
So, let us review. What have we learned so far? In all these various what-if scenarios what we see is, we have to ask ourselves several basic questions. The first thing is “Am I being commanded to do something against my faith, or am I being commanded to do something that is against Scripture?” “Am I being told to do something that will cause a loss of life, limb, or liberty?” Or “If I try to preserve property, am I going to end up damaging a covenant relationship?” And in all these trials we need to ask ourselves “What does Elohim want me to learn?” And as soon as we learn what Elohim wants us to learn, then He generally ends the trial and brings us into peace with Him.
These are things that we all need to remember when we come into various tribulations and trials and when our spouses do not believe. I hope this was helpful.