The following was a question posted to my "Our Love Story" tab. It is such a good question that I am sorry I didn't answer it before. You can find my response underneath.
After reading your beautiful love story, I have a question for you: As true Christians we're not suppose to marry non-believers, how did you make the decision that a non-believer you married was "the man he [God] had" for you?
This is a terrific question.
As I am sure you can guess, I was very conflicted at first. I was still new in my renewed faith in Christ and I had not yet made all the changes to my lifestyle I have made now (Now, I believe in the idea of courtship). When I met my husband, I knew immediately he was the man for me. I loved him from very early on. He was raised in a Catholic home, and had grown very confused over his faith as he wondered how God could have allowed some things in his life to have happened. He was the definition of a lost person searching for answers.
Let me contrast this to someone who is lost and has no idea that they are lost. I know many Christians who end up in marriages to such people, and instead of having any influence on that person’s faith they end up diluting their own to keep the peace. This is what Paul warned against in 2 Corinthians 6:14:
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
My husband and I got to known each other over the phone, which led to lots of in-depth conversations. I reminded myself routinely of my promise to God: I will not marry a non-believer. He began going to church with me when he came to visit and even started reading his Bible. He understood the idea of the salvation of Christ but was still not sure if he could put his trust in Christ, given the struggles and questions he still had.
Through all of this, I prayed constantly, and I really felt God’s presence and guidance. I took comfort in John 6:44:
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
I knew that God could draw him near if he chose, and if this was the man for me, then God would draw him near. I waited on his timing.
When he proposed to me, I knew that our marriage was conditional upon his making that step in faith. I asked him to go through counseling with me at my church, during which we were paired up with a wonderful couple from my church. They met with us every week (my poor husband drove down from his school 2 states over to meet with them) and they spent a lot of time talking him through his spiritual walk. They encouraged me to stay the course, as we could see God working in him. But I had already made the very painful decision that I could not marry him if he could not take that step. How difficult!
Our counselors surprised us one day with a book by Andy Stanley called How Good is Good Enough. That night, my husband read the book aloud to me for 2 hours (it’s a very short book), and it very clearly lays out the logic of God’s salvation through Christ. Faith in Christ does not need to be completely blind; I believe that belief if Christ is very logical if one already has faith in God. This book worked wonders for my husband’s engineering brain. At the end of the book, Andy Stanley invites those who agree with God’s plan of salvation to accept Christ into their hearts.
My husband looked up at me and said “wow this makes so much sense!”. He accepted Christ then and there, and we were married a few months later, fully in sync with God’s plan for our marriage partnership. Since then, he has grown so much in his faith.
How I went about this was not ideal. It is best to meet another believer and develop a love from there, because there are 2 very big risks in “hoping from salvation” when you go into a relationship with a non-believer:
1) they could “accept Christ” to make you happy but not truly have the change of heart
2) they could never actually get there, and by then you love them so much you marry them anyway.
My situation is an exception in that I knew he was looking for something, and I knew as a Christian I could not walk away from his searching heart. I loved my husband from the first few days I met him, but I also had made the decision that should he not make the decision to come to Christ, I could not marry him. I truly believe God brought me to my husband to bring him the Good News first, then marry him, the first being the more important and the one that needs to precede the second.
I warn all who read this: if someone is not searching for Christ, do not delude yourself into thinking you can wear them down. I know people who thought this and ended up in unChristian marriages, which is definitely not what God has in mind for his people. I would encourage anyone who is in a relationship like this to pray for God’s guidance, because 9 times out of 10 you probably should get out of the relationship.
I hope this answer was thorough enough (I know it was long enough!). I appreciate the interest and hope I have anwered your question. I am not a perfect Christian, and I don’t have all the answers, but in my journey with Christ I hope I can encourage you all through my triumphs and my mistakes to make wise decisions in your relationships.