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