Unequally Yoked


Over the years I have observed that it is unusual for a husband and a wife to be equally yoked in spiritual things. More often one or the other is more evolved, and yearns for their companion to wake up and catch up.

Spiritual inequality is a result of agency, personal experiences, and the nature of the spirit we brought with us from before this world. There is no way to change this formula.

But, here are several truths that can guide us when we find ourselves in this very common situation.

1) Regardless of your gender, your companion cannot limit your spiritual growth. You can seek and obtain every blessing the Lord opens to your understanding, and for which you are willing to pay the price. An unrighteous, or even uninterested companion, does not have the ability to inhibit your blessings. We won’t be punished for their transgressions – which also means their actions might delay your achievements, but they can’t stop them.

It is true that a demanding or controlling spouse might make it more difficult, but such opposition to spiritual things, when met with humble obedience to the voice of revelation, will make us that much stronger, and becoming submissive to Jesus Christ will enable us to overcome and thrive no matter how daunting the obstacle we are facing may seem.

2) The covenants you make, and the promises you have received, are yours to claim. The laws governing obtaining these things are unchangeable. When you are obedient to those laws, regardless of what your companion does, you will receive the associated blessings.

3) We must be ever aware that a huge part of our being with this person may be the Lord’s way of saving them, and in that process, purifying us. We must be very careful to be informed of Christ’s will by listening every moment to His voice, so that we don’t let our own desire to fly unhindered upon the wings of the Spirit, turn our life out of the path where our mission, and our spiritual future are ordained to unfold.

4) We must never act to limit our spouse’s freedom of choice, or to coerce change in them. If their choices are damaging to us, or abusive, then the Holy Spirit will guide our response if we listen to revelation in preference to emotion. It may well be that the inspired action is to leave to higher ground – it might also be to stay and complete our mission in their behalf, and our purification in our own behalf.

5) Ultimately what will happen is that your spouse will find himself, or herself, living with a creature of the Holy Ghost – someone who is loving and forgiving, who makes inspired choices, who teaches without coercion, and whose desire is only to do what is right. They will find their lives surrounded by joy in which they are not participants, and will either reject and eject, or they will repent and rejoice that you were obedient enough to stay with them through their darkest and most dangerous days.

These are difficult paths that mortals cannot navigate unaided by revelation. These are pathways surrounded by mists of darkness, where only the iron rod of the Word leads us safely. But, the iron rod isn’t leading us into the mists of darkness, it is leading us out – and the iron rod always ends at “that which is desirable above all things, and most precious to the soul.”

Brother John

© August 2011, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted

About John Pontius

I am a lover of truth.
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6 Responses to Unequally Yoked

  1. Brother George says:

    I don’t know to whom this is for, I just feel moved to tell my story as it relates to this post. I and my wife started out equally yoked, as to say both not knowing much in the gospel. I soon took the low road and fell away indulging in my addiction(s). She continued to do her best.
    After a few years she was given the key to all blessings and I was still spiraling down. Our marriage was in shambles and I hated myself. She continued to pray for me and cry over me for which I still weep for putting her through.
    It seems though that her prayers worked and that the Lord had plans for me. One day I hit rock bottom. My eyes were open to the lies of Satan. Broken and jobless I came home in tears to my wife hoping she would forgive me and not leave me. Moments before she had received revelation and was given a loving heart. We embraced and she tried to comfort me.
    At that moment I was ready to give all my sins and will to the Lord. I came back, only this time I was given the key to all blessings so now we are equally yoked again. I love her so much It’s like I never knew what love was. I love the Lord for saving me.

    Brother George

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  2. Pearl says:

    Outstanding thoughts… I mean, really good. Would you mind if I used some of these thoughts as a “hand-out” sometime? I would put your name on the statements, if that’s agreeable.

    I share in your experience of living in two extremely different marriages. This life is indeed a test. Sometimes I think we think to ourselves, “If I live right and be good, I will be insulated from trials. Trials happen when you do wrong.” We might think, “I shouldn’t have married this person… looking back, it seems so clear now… etc. etc…”

    But the deal is… no matter the trial, if our hearts are right, we will come out better people on the other side. Trials are not ‘strange’ as Paul says, they are the point.

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  3. Dahlia says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your insights John. The most unmistakeable personal revelation I have ever received occurred while I was dating my future husband. I was lying in bed pondering our relationship and whether I should allow it to progress when I had this sudden burst of knowledge like I have never had before. I suddenly knew that marrying this man was a good choice, and that it was something I wanted. I had never had the experience of being uncertain one second and then the next having full knowledge of something the next. It is still remarkable to me that all of the sudden I just “knew” something, and that I also just “knew” that this knowledge did not come from me but was revelation. This has been very comforting to me at times when I don’t know if my husband is going to stay true to the gospel. It reminds me that I just need to do the best that I can to be true and faithful and all will be well. Sometimes it is tempting to doubt my memory of receiving that revelation, and I start to worry and fret more than I should. I wonder how my husband’s choices might affect me and our family. This post rang true to me and was extremely comforting. Whether my husband ends up being my greatest trial or greatest joy, all is well.

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  4. Sharon Cox says:

    I am single, but I can well imagine how heartbreaking it must be for someone who is striving for Zion, to be unequally yoked with a spouse who is not. Number 5 is true – light attracts light and repels darkness, therefore someone not willing to let their light shine, cannot stand to be in the presence of another whose light is shining brightly; they will, as you put it, eventually “reject and eject”.

    Thank you for your inspiring and thought-provoking posts.

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  5. Kim says:

    Thank you, John.
    I needed to hear that. It’s so lonely to be married when every day that marriage seems less like togetherness and more like separateness.

    But then again, isn’t it also true that people change, gain new interests, etc. as they go on through life? It’s almost inevitable that they will become less interested in the things that they used to enjoy doing together, and will find new things to do and enjoy with which they can’t or don’t necessarily share an interest with their spouse? I guess spiritual matters can be similar.

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  6. diane hawkes says:

    Thank you John, for your inspiration, I needed that blog.

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