If you accidentally married, or are going to marry someone who is an unbeliever, or who says they are a believer, but behaves differently, you cannot make them believe like you after marriage. You cannot plead, coax, bribe, yell, intimidate, or push your spouse into going to church, reading the bible, or accepting Jesus for their life. The more you push, the more they pull away.
Sometimes we shine our light too bright and that is the problem. God never says to glare your light on others. We are to shine our light by being a loving and supportive example, not a self-righteous religious person who is only concerned with themselves. Our job is to SHINE our light, after that, the rest is left up to God. When we shine our light we are not telling our spouse what they need to do, but are showing them who God is thro0ugh us. By our light we become the shining example for God.
Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 NIV
Shining our light is not about telling others what they should do or not do, how they should believe or not believe. It is more about watching what YOU do and being a positive impression on those around you, so they may want to know more about God.
I have come across several people who married an unbeliever and thought they could change their spouse after marriage. If that is what you think, I am here to tell you that it is easier said than done. No one wants to be preached too or looked down upon. If they want preached to, they will go to Church.
When believers become too overly zealous about winning their spouse to Christ, I think it tends to make them rebel against God even more. Instead we should continue living for God in all our ways and in all our efforts. We should never get angry or think we are better than them. On the contrary we should be as supportive and loving as possible, by allowing them to accept the Lord when they are ready by shining our light, and not glaring our light in a “holier than thou attitude”.
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else and not your own lips. Proverbs 27:2 NIV
Have you ever heard the saying, “you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar”? Well, it’s the truth. From your shining influence a seed can be planted in the heart and mind of your spouse. By your shining light, you can then water the seed and give it a little nudge towards growth, but after that, the rest is in the hands of God. No one can change the mind of another and make them believe a certain way, just as no one can save another and give them eternal life. You can use honey or you can use vinegar; the choice is yours.
I planted the seed, Apollo’s water it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be awarded according to his own labor. For we are all God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:6-8 NIV
Shine your light.