Recently, I attended a religious service where the presiding minister shared that a wife’s job is to get her husband into heaven, and her husband’s job is to get his wife into heaven.
That’s kind of a tall order.
And it made me squirm just a little. Because if my husband getting into Heaven were left up to me, my poor husband would be out of luck. Seriously. I’m not worthy on my own of getting into Heaven, so I couldn’t possibly get my husband there! Praise God I’m a saint by grace, saved from my sin by the sacrifice of my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ!
The idea may be tied to Scripture, but is taken out of context and wrongly applied! In 1 Corinthians 7:14, Paul explains that an unbeliever who is married to a believer is sanctified through their spouse. But this doesn’t mean that this type of union “gets” the unbeliever into Heaven, nor that the believer’s actions will accomplish that, either. The word used in this Scripture is sanctified – it is not salvation. It’s important to understand that sanctification and salvation are two entirely separate concepts.
Salvation vs. Sanctification
Salvation is the restoration of one’s soul, being sealed for eternity in holy union with the Father. It can only be accomplished through an act of one who is without fault, blame, or sin. I know that’s not me, and I’m pretty sure that goes for most of us out there. So then, it could only be what Jesus accomplished on the cross and through His defeat of death and then resurrection. Jesus Himself said “No man comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6). He alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Hallelujah!!!! This must be recognized and accepted by each person individually for him or her to begin that personal relationship with the Lord and to receive the salvation for their soul.
Sanctification, on the other hand, is the daily – in my case moment by moment! – process where we take status inventory of our hearts, minds, and souls. What are the factors of influence in our lives at those times? Are we allowing the Lord to be LORD of our lives? Or is there a cleansing process by which we need to rid the impurities. Proverbs 25:4 alludes to this process of removing wickedness in our lives with the process of removing dross from silver. Through a repeated process, the silver that was left would reflect the silversmith’s visage perfectly. It is a one on one process between the silver and the silversmith. By identifying and removing this dross, we become more holy and like our Lord Jesus.
Sisters, wives, please hear me: You are NOT going to “get” your husband, children, family into Heaven. You cannot give salvation to your husband. You cannot be your spouse and create a personal relationship for them to have. But that doesn’t absolve you of playing a part in allowing the Holy Spirit to work through you for your beloved’s salvation and sanctification.
So, then: What is a Wife to Do?
When we so often want to have control and do, fix, or create something, but we can’t actually cause an immediate and direct change, we get frustrated. Conflicts arise. Feelings are hurt, and hearts are hardened.
Fortunately, according to the Bible, there are a few things we CAN do!
Pray for your husband’s salvation and sanctification.
If your husband is already a follower of Christ, his salvation is sealed, and his sanctification should be a daily process of walking with the Lord. This process will allow him to become the compassionate, strong, and loving leader of your home.
If your husband is not a follower of Christ, even though he may be a “good person”, that does not establish his eternal salvation. For this reason, his salvation and relationship with the LORD should be at the top of your daily prayer list. His sanctification will come through your presence, grace, and love as he sees your example and works to be a better husband, father, and man. But he has to come to the personal realization that his soul is in need of a Savior.
Ask the Lord to bring positive Christian role models in your husband’s day to day interactions.
Not for the Lord to just “fix” him or “change” him. But so that you, and others in direct contact with him would allow him to see the genuine heart and love of God. Just as the Lord softened and changed the heart of many people in the Bible (all of the Disciples, Saul/Paul, Pharoah, David, etc.), He can still change hearts today. And that includes your husband!
Consider Your Influence
Wives have an incredible influence on their husbands, whether we know it or not. In Genesis, Eve influenced her husband to sin by eating of the fruit from tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Without even considering what he was doing, Adam accepted her offering and they both heaped consequences because of his disobedience.
Conversely, Zipporah intervened on behalf of her disobedient husband Moses by circumcising their son according to God’s covenant and command, in order that the LORD would stay His hand of punishment against Moses (Ex. 4:24-26). The Lord blessed Zipporah’s obedience by continuing the covenant He’d established with Moses, resulting in the Israelites freedom from slavery and then the Ten Commandments. All because of Zipporah’s obedience!
Your obedience to God in your life and behaviors directly affects your husband’s ability to be obedient. Note that your obedience doesn’t mean your husband WILL be obedient – but that it affects your husband’s actions of obedience to God. You, dear wife, are a primary influence in your husband’s life. Consider the effects of the following actions you can take and how they could influence your husband:
- Submit to the LORD as an example of a sister in Christ’s proper behavior and relationship with the Lord.
- Joyfully and lovingly serve your husband, family, community.
- Use respectful dialogue when engaging your husband
- Phrase suggestions so that he is able to begin taking leadership opportunities, rather than “following orders”.
- Practice glass-half-full conversations to encourage and edify your husband’s spirit.
- Submit to your husband’s leadership of the home and family.
* Caveat – this does not apply in cases where you are caused to sin, are made fearful for yours or your children’s safety/health/well-being, or are physically harmed. These examples are not Scriptural submission! If you are experiencing these, please seek Christian professional and possibly legal help immediately!
Sister, while as a wife there is so much we can do to help and support our husbands, our work ultimately does not “get” them into Heaven. If you are working and striving to accomplish the salvation of your husband, put that burden down now.
Hand it over to the Lord. Submit this in prayer and allow Him to do a mighty work through your prayers, your influence, and the example and influence of others. And rejoice as you see this work accomplished while your husband grows as a spiritual leader and Christian man in your home and community as he deepens his personal relationship with the Lord!