The seventh chapter of Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth was prompted by some questions the church asked him (7:1). While we do not have a transcript of their letter to him, we may infer some of their inquiries from his responses and what we know of the church historically. Broadly, we know that the questions were related to sexuality, since they prompted him to pen an entire section dealing with various aspects of it.
As the Corinthians were won to the faith, some of them found themselves in households with mixed spiritual convictions. In light of Amos 3:3, were they meant to remain married or should they sever those marital ties? Indeed, it is uniquely challenging to be married to someone you differ with at a fundamental level. If your worldviews differ irreconcilably, the simplest conversations can become stressful and conflict unmanageable. Moreover, in relationships where Christ is not central, two people who love each other end up setting each other up as idols. When one idolizes their partner but their partner does not reciprocate for love of God, the disproportionality results in marital strife.
It is clear, then, that anyone looking to marry should strive not to be unequally yoked. But what if you unwittingly find yourself to be already in a relationship with an unbeliever? You were not a believer when you married but have now come to know and love Christ. Paul’s response was to view this as an evangelistic opportunity. When you think about it, if we are called to share the gospel with strangers, how much more should we be ministering to those closest to us?
This lesson applies in situations where the couple are of the same faith but have different convictions about certain things. That is bound to happen, because we each have our own personal relationship with God, and He leads us individually. Perhaps you experienced a revival but your partner did not. Or maybe your partner’s responsibilities make it challenging for them to maintain a consistent devotional life so their spiritual life begins to suffer. As the one more closely connected to God, you have a calling to so exemplify the winsome love of Christ as to win your spouse over.