Family life is all about having a special intrinsic value of unity and coherence, and all the more so in the case of married couples. When a man and woman decide to enter marriage, they should be prepared to live with one another and accept each other’s beauty and faults. Marriage is often referred to as a lifetime commitment, but more likely a divine institution appointed by God. Thus, what God has joined together, let no one separate (Mark 10:9). What if your spouse or child does not believe in God?
There are many passages in the bible that discuss about marriage. The readings from 1 Corinthians can be a good start. Married life is a struggle. If we have struggled much when we were single and unattached, the struggle in marriage can be harder. The good thing is that we have our better half to help us through these struggles.
The concept of divorce is not new. In the bible, it is indicated to have started at the time of Moses (Deuteronomy 24). Moses did not intend to make this a law for the convenience of the people back in those days. It was because people have hardened their hearts (Mark 10:2-12), especially those who were married. As time passes, more marriages are ending by divorce and in some places, cohabitating is taking the place of marriage. This is often justified by saying that I don’t need a piece of paper to commit to another or they become jaded by past relationships and don’t want to commit. In either case, they are committing a sin in the eyes of God.
Concerning religion or faith in marriage, God does not encourage separation or divorce on the basis that one spouse is Christian or religious and the other is a non-believer. The same goes for the children of a married couple. Being a Christian or a believer is a conscious and willful effort of the person to follow Christ. Even though a spouse does not believe in Christ or has a different belief, it should not be a reason for the wife or the husband to leave their spouse. Nor is it a reason for a parent to punish or ostracize their child who does not believe. Instead, they should live in love, peace, harmony and cooperation. In God’s perfect time, our spouse and children will come to realize in their own ways the beauty and importance of serving God and following the ways of Jesus. Also, Christian wives and husbands should be good examples at all times in all aspects of their lives for their spouse and children to perceive and appreciate. Even if our spouse or children do not believe, as long as we show the essential example of living the Christian way, eventually we will be able to bring them to the Christian fold.
I leave a significant passage of the letter of the apostle Paul to the Corinthians for couples of families with non-believers: “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 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. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.” (1 Corinthians 7: 12-14)
For single people, I give you words of wisdom from my eight grade math teacher. “Do not date a person that you would not marry.” That means you should get to know them before becoming involved with them. If you find that they have different values, your dating should stop. Following this advice has saved me many troubles and I still find wisdom in these words today.