How should a Christian woman obey her unconverted husband?
This question has troubled many women who have been called to a knowledge of the truth before their husbands have been called. They are faced with a tremendous problem which may cause much needless worry and anxiety until the plain teaching of the Bible concerning this subject is understood.
In Ephesians 5:22-23, we read: "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church...."
Does this apply to you if your husband is unconverted?
Here is the Biblical answer: "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, IF ANY OBEY NOT THE WORD, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives" (I Pet. 3:1).
If your husband doesn't understand the truth, you must not try to convert him by constantly repeating your belief and by insisting that he listen to the broadcast or read the literature. That will only drive him further away from the truth. Rather, you should wait until he questions you concerning a certain truth. Then you should be prepared to give a convincing Biblical explanation.
Peter further instructs Christian women: "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands" (I Pet. 3:3-5).
Certainly, controversies will come up in families if they disagree on religion. In such a case, the wife must obey God rather than her husband. For example, if the husband wishes his wife to break the Sabbath Day by doing the family shopping on Saturday, or by attending a football game or movie with him, she should refuse to do so. However, she should explain in a very kind way that the Sabbath is the day God commanded us to keep holy. She should, in such a case, obey God rather than man. Yet, she should always be submissive in attitude toward her husband and obey her husband when his authority does not conflict with the higher authority or law of God.
Remember, the wife should be in subjection to her husband even though he may not be converted. Though he may never be converted in this life (I Cor. 7:12-16), yet if she obeys him and respects him as the Bible commands, he will in turn love and respect her. As a result, he may be won over by her good example. He may be inspired to want to obey the truth when he sees the life she is living (I Pet. 3:1). In any event, her constant love and respect, and her cheerful recognition of her husband's rightful place as head of the house will result in them both living a happier and fuller life together at this present time.
All of you wives need to respect and submit to your husbands as the Bible commands. This is God's way — the Christian way. Most women have not understood this subject, and much unhappiness has resulted. Ask God to help you honor your husband as you should.