Parenting While Married To An Unbelieving Husband


Should a mother continue seeking to raise children in a home where the husband shows no respect for the mother or the God of the mother?


Short Answer



Bible Answer

1 Peter 3:1-6 "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement."


Mrs. White's Response

"Letters have come from mothers, relating their trials at home and asking my counsel. One of these cases will serve to represent many. The husband and father is not a believer, and everything is made hard for the mother in the training of her children. The husband is a profane man, vulgar and abusive in his language to herself, and he teaches the children to disregard her authority. When she is trying to pray with them he will come in and make all the noise he can, and break out into cursing God and heaping vile epithets upon the Bible. She is so discouraged that life is a burden to her. What good can she do? What benefit is it to her children for her to remain at home? She has felt an earnest desire to do some work in the Lord’s vineyard, and has thought that it might be best to leave her family, rather than to remain while the husband and father is constantly teaching the children to disrespect and disobey her. {Lt28-1890}

In such cases my advice would be, Mothers, whatever trials you may be called to endure through poverty, through wounds and bruises of the soul, from the harsh, overbearing assumption of the husband and father, do not leave your children; do not give them up to the influence of a godless father. Your work is to counteract the work of the father, who is apparently under the control of Satan." {Lt28-1890} 


Further Thoughts

The excerpt came from a letter written to a woman who had left her children with her husband to serve God in a greater way in Battle Creek. In the course of the highly instructive letter that strongly asserts the priority of raising children over any other task, Mrs. White includes two paragraphs where she gives her thoughts on the viability of a mother continuing to parent in a home situation where the husband was disrespectful of God and herself. A clear answer was given: Don't leave; your children need you to counteract the influence of the father. In reading this, recognize that this was written at a prior time when women could not so easily take their children from the home. The principles given can provide direction in our day. However, this is only one situation, and broader reading would be helpful.—Dan