Customer Reviews: Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage
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on March 30, 2002
I've been looking for a book like this for years! As a Christian married to a spiritual skeptic, I've wrestled with all sorts of emotions, pain, and difficulties. Finally, a couple who has actually lived in an "unequally yoked" marriage has written a biblical, practical guidebook for how to deal with the inevitable conflicts that arise in such relationships. This book has it all -- how to get through the arguments and disagreements; how to raise children in a spiritually confusing environment; how to talk to your spouse about God; how to pray for your partner (the book includes a 30-day prayer guide); and so on. It also features chapters on whether Christians should even date non-Christians; what to do if you and your spouse are both Christians but one is less spiritually mature than the other; and how to handle the situation if your spouse is a member of another religion.
I thought the advice was sensitively presented, biblically sound, and resoundingly practical. The authors, Lee and Leslie Stroebel, draw on their own experience of having been married during a time when Leslie was a Christian and Lee was an atheist. While my spouse isn't an atheist, the counsel they offer was totally relevant and useful.
Let me add one other thing. I've been trying at my church to start a group of people who are married to non-Christians, but I've been stymied as far as what resource to use as a curriculum. This book includes a wonderful "application guide" that's a roadmap for a group like this. Now those of us who find ourselves "unequally yoked" can get together and encourage each other while learning together how to survive our mismatched situations.
If you're a Christian but your husband or wife isn't, you MUST have this book. If you know someone who's in that situation, please let them know that this resource can help them in a hundred different ways. And if you're the leader of a church, either a senior pastor or women's ministry director, check out this book and consider starting groups to minister to the Christians in your congregation who are wrestling with the difficulties presented by a spiritual mismatch.
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on December 12, 2003
I'm in my own spiritual mismatch in my marriage.
My wife is Jewish and I'm Christian. My beliefs weren't an issue
with our marriage until I re-affirmed my beliefs in Christ a few years ago.
If I mention so much as a desire to go back to church, my wife hems and haws and threatens divorce. I've never pushed my beliefs on my wife, and likewise she with me, but I was concerned about the backlash she unleashes when the subject of God comes up in our household.
I heard Lee and Leslie talking on a radio program about their book and figure I give it a shot.
On the upside much of what Lee and Leslie went through I could identify with, since they themselves went through the same thing. In their case, Leslie is Christian and Lee was Atheist. Many of the fights and situations they described I've gone through to some degree with my wife. The solutions to those problems are of course outstanding, but the Strobels give some tools to the reader in dealing with you and your spouses differing perspectives.
I've used those tools, and they've helped somewhat. Not a total solution, but very helpful in keeping a hot subject from escalating into disaster.
However I felt a bit letdown in the tone of their book since the Strobels have the notion that men, not women, in a majority are seperate from Christ. Thus the reader is addressed that "your husband this..." and "your husband that..."
Well, my problem isn't with "a husband" but with "my wife".
This tone sort of made me felt left out when reading the book. The Strobels acknowledge this oversight, but wouldn't it be better to just address the oversight by being non-gender specific?
Also I had a problem with lack of scripture reference. As I mentioned, the Strobels offer many tools in dealing with spiritual conflict with your partner. The problem is they say God wants you to do this, or something else to please your partner but doesn't give a specific scripture reference which I can follow. The bibliography in the back of the book just references other books, which in turn doesn't do much in satisfying my hopes that I'm acting in a Christian way.
Another problem I had was there were a few sections in the book that addressed Christain people that were seeking relationships with non-Christians. Why mention this at all, since you're buying this book to solve a crisis after the fact?
Its like saying, "Hey dummy, if listened to God to begin with you wouldn't be in this mess."
These chapters have no business being in the book, since the basis of the book is mismatched married couples, not a Christian's guide to dating non-Christians.
Another problem I had was Lee's salvation. I'm very happy for Lee that he let Christ into his life, but the fact of the matter is not every mismatched couple has a resolution like this. The Strobels mention some cases where the non-Christian partner does become saved, but how can you expect to setup your reader for this outcome. Its almost a bit pretencious. I would have liked to have read more about situations that are more closer to home like how does one partner deal with the other partner never coming to Christ? How do you survive that?
The prayer guide in the back of the book is helpful in seeking God's help in these matters of peaceful coexistance of two people who love each other and have different views of life and eternity.
This book is very helpful and I encourage anyone who is going through a mismatch to read it. Great tools in dealing with a big problem.
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on March 24, 2007
I picked up Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage, at the local Christian bookstore. I figured with Lee Strobel writing it, it would have to be well written with lots of information. Leslie, Lee's wife was a Christian for a couple of years before Lee. This book is written from that perspective. Lee tells all about how he felt when Leslie was trying to get him into church.

This book gives me hope. It is honest and upfront. It tells you that not all spiritual mismatches last only 2 years. Some spouses have been spiritually mismatched for 25+ years. Some have sadly seen the unsaved spouse pass before accepting Christ. However, this book gives advice on how to handle the many differences in ways that should not add more stress to an already stressful situation.

While most of the book is about being married to an unbeliever, there is a section for Christian couples who are out of sync. One spouse is more spiritually mature than the other, and the one that is not as mature seems to be not growing at all. They give many helpful tips on how to deal with this situation, as well.

I highlight in books. I mark things so I can find them easier. I have to tell you, a big part of this book is highlighted. It is wonderful. I have gotten so much out of this book, that I will be able to in turn help others through these situations. I would recommend this book for anyone in a spiritual mismatch or out of sync, spiritually, with their spouse.
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on May 19, 2005
Leslie and Lee do an outstanding job of comforting, encouraging, motivating, and giving sound Biblical advice to those in an "unequally yoked" marriage. Chapter after chapter gives essential advice and encouragement from a couple who have gone through it themselves and have come out of the experience all the stronger for it. The one piece of advice that helped me more than anything was to give up my guilt and responsibility for my part in my wife's unbelief. Her salvation is between God and her, they say, so love her unconditionally and stop feeling responsible. Chapter after chapter contains great advice for changing your own attitudes, developing an attractive faith, standing firm when necessary, avoiding arguments when unnecessary, providing spiritual input for your children, etc, etc. The Christian spouse is constantly motivated to give up his/her gloominess and thrive in the situation, with God's help living out an authentic faith and a sacrificial love that very well could win over the unbelieving spouse. You would do well to read this book slowly and prayerfully, then make a list of all the suggestions you can try in your marriage.

Of course, none of these things are the solution to the problem. After all, only God can bring someone to faith in Christ and create peace in a home. And as Lee and Leslie state many times, there is no guarantee that it will happen. My wife still doesn't have an active faith, but is now much less resistant to mine ever since I started serious prayer for her and have put some of these suggestions into effect.

Some minor quibbles: 1) Prayer should be emphasized more. There is a chapter on it, but considering how essential it is, there probably should have been more. 2) Although the book is written for both men and women and often uses the term "spouse", everywhere else (including the picture on the front and back covers and every page in between) it assumes that the husband is the unbeliever. I suppose that now I know how women feel when a book constantly says he instead of he/she. 3) Relevant verses that are directed to husbands (Eph 5:25, Col 3:19, etc) aren't discussed, whereas verses directed at women are. Don't let this stop you from getting this book - you'll need it.
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on July 6, 2002
The first several chapters must have been written from my living room! Leslie's account of the emotions and struggles of a new Christian married to a non-christian, and Lee's own accounts of his confusion and struggles has helped me understand what is going on in my own situation.
I would recommend this book for either person in a spiritually mismatched relationship. This is also a good book for anyone who knows such a couple or is involved in ministry.
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on July 26, 2012
This helped me so much as my husband and I do not agree on a spiritual walk. We are both christians but we do not agree on alot of theology and this has helped me to learn to keep my mouth closed and how to act when he is around while I am reading my Bible and to not rub his nose into what I believe and try to force him to accept my beliefs. I know that I have more peace now and I am able to have my relationship with God and he has his and we are both okay with God and I no longer feel like I am neglecting God because we are not sharing the same relationship. I would recommend this especially to anyone who has had conflict with their spouse who is not on the same level as they are. The bible says where there is strife, there is EVERY evil ocurance and I know that EVERY is a scarey thing and what that means.
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on January 17, 2016
The Strobels wrote this book from the perspective of a couple who has been through spiritual mismatch in marriage - Leslie converted to Christianity two years before Lee did. Their experience gives this book more credibility. They are able to address many questions that arise when a Christian experiences the turmoil that can result from marriage to an unbeliever.

Throughout the book, they cover the following topics: their own story, how to find joy in the marriage despite the spiritual mismatch, and tips for how to introduce the unbelieving spouse to God without being pushy. All advice is centered on Biblical passages. The Strobels make no grand claims that every Christian will be able to convert his or her unbelieving spouse. However, they do provide a sense of peace that God will use the marriage for good. And throughout the book, the reader is encouraged to keep his or her marriage flourishing despite the spiritual mismatch. The aim of this book is a happy marriage, regardless of each spouse's beliefs.

As the wife of an unbeliever, I found the advice in this book to be very encouraging. I especially appreciated the section on discovering the exact nature of a spouse's unbelief and how to handle that particular situation - not every spouse is going to fit the mold of Lee's story, after all.

There are also two extra chapters at the end. One is on boundaries that Christians should set when dating to avoid a spiritual mismatch. The other is on marriages where two Christian partners are at different points in their spiritual growth.

I recommend this book for any Christian who needs help with an unequally yoked relationship, be it a marriage or a dating relationship.
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on June 5, 2002
Surviving A Spiritual Mismatch In Marriage by Lee and Leslie Strobel is the candid and revealing story of one married couple's journey together despite conflicting beliefs. When Leslie Strobel made the decision to become a devout follower of Jesus, her nonbeliever husband had severe opposition. They conflicted on a vast array of central issues to married life, from finances to the raising of their children. Learning to accept their differences and make their marriage work was a long and hard road, and now they present readers everywhere their life experiences for the purpose of helping others going through the same problems of adjustment to cope and reconcile one another's differences. Surviving A Spiritual Mismatch In Marriage is unique and highly recommended reading.
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on July 13, 2013
If you are struggling with a mismatched, unequally-yoked marriage, this book will help you a lot. Lee and Leslie do a wonderful job sharing their experiences, their transformation, and his salvation. Recommend this book to any couple, equally-yoked or not!
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on August 14, 2012
This book should be retitled. It should be called "How to Be a Better Spouse". While reading it, I kept thinking I needed to implement some of the Strobel's thoughts in order to be a better husband. One of the biggest things I've learned from this book is to ask yourself "how would I like to be married to me?".

The one thing I didn't like about this book was the focus on lists. There seems to be a list every couple of pages. i.e. 10 ways to do this, 8 things to remember... I can't remember 20 something lists to help me be a better influence on my spouse.

Overall, it was a great book with lots of insight on how to be a better spouse and letting your spouse see Christ in you.
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