My husband has recently decided he no longer believes in a God. He has stopped going to services or anything to do with God. We have young children we homeschool and most of our work centers around God and His word. How do I parent and teach our children, whose father has fallen?
How am I to fulfill my duty as a wife to a Christian husband who has fallen away? I've been trying to treat as "one who has an unbelieving spouse," but it just seems like this may be different since he once believed but has fallen. Does that make a difference?
For instance, last Sunday the children and I came home from morning service and he was working on stuff around the house. What bothered me the most was he took the company vehicle, which he is not suppose to drive for personal reasons, and he hasn't before. It is out of character for him to disregard company policies. I know our children saw that as they know he can't use it. He was boasting about all that he had gotten done around the house, which again our children see and know it is not what is right for him to put getting lightbulbs ahead of God. He had three days prior he could have done any of those things as he was off, but he chose to do it all on Sunday. I really wanted to take the children and leave for the rest of the afternoon and not come home until after evening service. Would that have been wrong?
But it is more complicated! I'm not perfect! So I feel guilty in saying anything to him since I am not the best wife I should be. I realize that I am still trying to change and do what is right. I acknowledge what I have done and am very open about what I need to change. I have made progress. But some of his problems of not believing stems from me not putting him first and respecting him, which are the two biggest areas that I have much work still to do. He was a relatively new Christian (around 5 years) and I feel like I have squashed the plant that had sprouted. Woe is me who causes one of His children to stumble!
Where do I turn to in God's word?
"Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward--arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel -- rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror" (I Peter 3:1-6).
You may have discouraged him in the past, but he is responsible for his own choices. "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die" Ezekiel 18:4). In the same way, you can encourage him, but you cannot make him change. He has to desire to change. No one is perfect so that is not an excuse not to do the best you can.