(My apologies that this blog is late. I have been in rural Spain with no internet connection!).
In church, we have always taught about the “weaker brother” – the baby Christian. But the thought came to me this week that there must be a lot of Christians out there who actually fell into the trap of marrying a weaker brother, or sister. In haste they fell for a fellow Christian, and because the intended spouse was a “Christian” they thought they were not compromising the command: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers!”
But after the honeymoon, they found that their new spouse didn’t believe like they believed, or even think like they thought.
For many of us this was never a problem. We got married as a weaker brother to a weaker sister and just grew up together over the years. But for many other believers it has been a very hard trial, especially for those who have embarked on a second marriage after the death of a spouse.
They have found the old cliché to be true: “It doesn’t matter who you marry, because the next day you will find it was somebody else.”
So what can you do if you find yourself married to a “weaker” Christian?
Divorce is not an option. I don’t think there is a court in the land that will grant a divorce because a husband is not as “spiritual” as you are! And besides, the biblical advice is this: “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” — Romans 14:1.
As we mustn’t get out of the marriage, we must let God in! We can be aware that God is at work within our spouse. This will mean patience, as God’s work is not always instantaneous. It is a process. There are circumstances, and situations, and places, through which we must go in order to achieve His purposes. Some of us are further along the process. Some of us have just begun.
We must receive – or accept – the weaker spouse. Baby Christians are like natural babies. And for older people that can get tiring. You grandparents know what I mean. You dote on your grandchildren. You brag about them. You can’t wait to see them – but at the end of a long and tiring day, you are so glad that they can go home to their mom and dad! But you cannot give a husband back to his mother for an evening.
One of the most common characteristics of infants and baby Christians is that they think they are always right! And then comes the obvious mistake of the “stronger” or more spiritual spouse always correcting and passing on his or her own preconceived notions, to the other.
“Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.” — Romans 14:1(NASB).
When you teach a weaker spouse the Word, make sure it is the Word, and not your own traditions!
Another characteristic of baby Christians is that they show off! It’s often the weaker brother who’s got the biggest Bible. And a weaker brother’s witness to the world is often in defence of their own opinion, rather than a defence of the Gospel!
It also helps to recognise that husbands and wives are not supposed to be the same as each other. God is the God of variety. God does not make clones! If there is one thing that we the Church are guilty of it is trying to make everyone within the Church conform to our pattern. The biblical word for the Church is “Transformation” not “Conformation!” “Conforming” is the attempt of the flesh. “Transformation” is the work of the Spirit.
God does not expect us to be the same. We are answerable to God, rather than each other.
“Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he stands or falls. Yea, he shall be held up: for God is able to make him stand.” — Romans 14:4.
Your “weaker” spouse is not just like you. And even when they reach maturity they should not be just like you! Respect the differences! Don’t frown when they do things different.
Love wins! With all these faults, we still love children! Thank God for infancy! There is little as annoying as an old head on young shoulders! For the sake of the work of God in your marriage, try to see the weaker spouse as “cute.” Don’t be offended by them. He may be a 56 year-old just converted. So please don’t see him as a 56 year-old. See him as a babe in Christ. He’s so cute and cuddly, and besides that he is God’s child! You can only blame yourself if you married someone who was still in their playpen, and not as “spiritual” as yourself.
One final thought: weaker husbands and wives always quarrel. That is another characteristic of baby Christians.
Jesus called His generation childish:
“But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.” — Matthew 11:16-19.
Children squabble. And a weak spouse will squabble with you. That childish generation could not be pleased whatever happened. John didn’t eat and drink wine, and they said he was demon possessed! Jesus ate and drank wine, and they said He was a winebibber and a friend of tax gatherers! There was no pleasing them.
A man once told me that his wife used to pour his wine down the sink. Of course, while she was doing that at home, she had an impeccable reputation in the church as an upright and spiritual woman. What a childish attitude.
If you are as infantile as that lady, then the chances are YOU may be the weaker spouse.
It may be time for YOU to grow up!