Supporting Christians in ‘mixed relationships’ (where one partner is a Christian and the other is not – usually Christian women)
The “How’s the Family?” report (Evangelical Alliance, 2012) found that
Women are more often the Christian partner in a mixed marriage (32% women compared to 13% men)
“This probably reflects more than anything else the comparative absence of eligible men in churches”
“Having a Christian spouse is a significant factor for a happy marriage. Over 90% of Christian couples expressed happiness with their marriage, while only 66% of those in a mixed marriage did so”
For men and women
For some couples, attending a Marriage Course is helpful for addressing issues around faith. The Christian may have the opportunity to share how they would like their non-Christian spouse to further understand their faith, which may lead to their spouse finding out more, perhaps attending a course which explains Christianity.
Some women become Christians after they are married and some Christian women meet and marry non-Christian men. They can face difficult issues because their husband does not share their faith, which many others in the church do not understand, or simply ignore.
How many Christian women in your church are married to a non-Christian?
What is your church doing to support these women?
Who has sensitively and appropriately asked them what their pastoral needs are, and who will help meet these?
What is your church doing to welcome their husbands? (see also materials about the church reaching men and Growing a gender-balanced church)
There are not currently many resources available for Christian women whose husbands do not yet share their faith, but they need the church to both support them, and to welcome their husbands.
For Christian men who are married to a non-Christian woman, churches should similarly find out how they and their wives can best be supported by their congregation.
How women help men find God (David Murrow, 2012)
Surviving a spiritual mismatch in marriage (Lee and Leslie Strobel, 2002)