Manuscript Releases, vol. 8 [Nos. 526-663]


MR No. 654—Marriage with an Unbelieving Spouse

I was in the night season in my dreams brought in connection with the Health Retreat. I felt grieved to see you unhappy and much discouraged.... But while I was distressed over this revelation to me, there was one speaking with you, Dr. _____. His words reproved you, but were mingled with tender compassion. I cannot write the exact words as he spoke them. I will try my best to give you the import of them. He said: “You are nourishing despondency, but in this you are not wise; you will become weak and inefficient. This will give the enemy advantage over you. God would have you grow nearer and closer to Himself, to resemble the image and character of Christ. Your heart is the seat of many tumultuous feelings, which you do not strive vigorously to overcome. You do not put your full heart and will into the work of cleansing the soul-temple. Your mind is unwisely exercised on the subject of divorce from your wife. God is not leading you in this. You are not keeping this matter bound within your own mind. You are telling your ideas and plans to others, and in thus doing you are preparing the way for Satan to affect the minds of others by your suggestions. 8MR 431.1

The matter of the marriage covenant does not stand sacred and elevated in your mind as it should, and you will be certainly in danger of pursuing a wrong course yourself, and endangering other souls by your suggestions. Your mind while stirred up on this subject cannot be prepared to do the best work, and you cannot be an earnest seeker for the blessing of the Lord, unless you shall come up on higher ground. You have done positive injury to the hearts and minds of others. Close quickly the door of your heart that has been open to the enemy. Open wide the door of your heart and invite Jesus to come in. You will then have a balance-wheel to your somewhat erratic nature, that you can put your whole being into your work, realizing its importance. Improve every opportunity to work your way upward, exerting a firm and healthful influence. Lose no time in this matter. If you would be a free and happy man, you must resist the enemy.... 8MR 431.2

What you need is heart-religion, a heart purified, refined, elevated from common things, taking hold upon the divine. Be a man. Call your wife to your side, become better acquainted with the truth, be molded by the Spirit of God, and you will have peace. If you take the right course, if you are unwavering in the truth, if you keep your own soul in the love of God, you will be in the hands of the Lord the means of saving your wife, and in her turn, if she accepts the truth of heavenly origin, if she is a meek and humble follower of Christ, she will be the means in the hands of God of being a great blessing to you.... 8MR 432.1

It is not profitable to you or to others to engage in long talks. They do no one any special good. The time thus spent should be devoted to a searching of the Scriptures, to meditation and earnest prayer which will give vigor to the mind and stability to the character. If a man be in Christ, he is a new creature; he is prepared to use all his capabilities to minister to the soul as well as to the body, earnestly seeking the wisdom of God and guided by his Spirit. The work will be of a character to the saving of the body and also of the soul. Let this have an influence to humble your heart, that there is not one action of your life that is not open for the all-seeing eye of a holy God. The invitation from Christ is, “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Have you accepted this invitation? Is your will as God's will? Then you will have peace and rest.—Letter 8, 1888, pp. 3, 4, 7. (To Dr. G., 1888.) 8MR 432.2

The Lord has a work for you to do; it is not a public work, but a very important one, a work in your own home, to be true to your position as a wife and mother. No other can do this, your work. 8MR 433.1

The Spirit and the Word of God agree. Remembering this, let us read the words of inspiration from Jesus Christ through Paul to Titus. He is charged to speak “the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers not given to much wine, teachers of good things: that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed.” (Titus 2:1-5.) 8MR 433.2

With this Scripture before you, I ask, For what are you spending your time in Battle Creek? Has God called you to neglect your home? No, no. 8MR 433.3

My sister, the Lord has shown me that you are mistaking your duty. Your husband needs you; your children need their mother. You have stepped out of the path where Jesus leads the way. He is saying to you, “Follow me,” and He will lead you in your own home duties, which are now sadly neglected. The voice of the Lord has not bidden you to separate your interests from that of your husband and children. Your first duty is in the home. The Spirit of the Lord has not given you a work or qualified you to do a work, that is contrary to His own Word.... 8MR 433.4

You have a great work, a sacred, holy calling to exemplify the Christian graces as a faithful wife and mother; to be lovable, patient, kind, yet firm in your home life, to learn right methods and acquire tact for the training of your own little ones, that they may keep the way of the Lord. As a humble child of God, learn in the school of Christ, seek constantly to improve your powers to do the most perfect, thorough work at home, both by precept and example. 8MR 434.1

In this work you will have the help of the Lord; but if you ignore your duty as a wife and mother, and hold out your hands for the Lord to put another class of work in them, be sure that He will not contradict Himself; He points you to the duty you have to do at home. If you have the idea that some work greater and holier than this has been entrusted to you, you are under a deception. In neglecting your husband and children for what you suppose to be religious duties, either to attend meetings or to work for others, to give Bible readings or to have messages for others, you are going directly contrary to the words of inspiration in the instruction of Paul to Titus. The religion of Christ never leads a wife and mother to do as you have done. 8MR 434.2

You may now cultivate the home-making qualities with good effect, for your children are of the age when they most need a mother. The restless spirit naturally inclines to mischief; the active mind, if left unoccupied with better things will give heed to that which Satan may suggest. The children need the watchful eye of the mother. They need to be instructed, to be guided in safe paths, to be kept from vice, to be won by kindness, and be confirmed in well doing, by diligent training. 8MR 434.3

The Saviour discerns a value and dignity in every soul, because of the image of God which it bears. He died that your children might have the gift of eternal life. He looks upon them with divine compassion. Their souls may be saved unto eternal life, and they are just as precious as the souls of others. The Lord has not called you to neglect your home and your husband and children. He never works in this way; and He never will. You have before your own door a little plot of ground to care for, and God will hold you responsible for this work which He has left in your hands. Through earnest prayer and study, you may become wise in your home, learning the different dispositions of your children, and carefully noting their behavior. You may have at home a little school, of which you shall be the teacher. If you seek wisdom from the Lord to understand His way, and to keep it, He will lead you, not away from your own home, but back to it. 8MR 435.1

If you are one of those who are the light of the world, that light is to shine in your home. Poverty has been your lot, but this you could not help, and it was not sin. But your mind has been of that cast which has led you to view everything in too intense a light. Here you have lessons to learn at the feet of Jesus; you need to trust more to Jesus, and be less anxious; you need to have genuine faith in the promises of God. Yet, you are to be a laborer together with God, cultivating your mind, that you may bring to the education and training of your children a restful spirit, a loving heart, that you may imbue them with pure aspirations, cultivate in them a love for things honest and pure and holy. 8MR 435.2

Never for a moment suppose that God has given you a work that will necessitate a separation from your precious little flock. Do not leave them to become demoralized by improper associations and to harden their hearts against their mother. This is letting your light shine in a wrong way altogether; you are making it more difficult for your children to become what God would have them and win heaven at last. God cares for them, and so must you if you claim to be His child. 8MR 436.1

In time past you have erred in having too great an anxiety for your children. Your trust has not been fully in God, and you have indulged them more than was for their good. And now you leave them to themselves. What sort of an experience is this? Certainly it has not God and truth for its source. You are offending God in claiming to be led by Him and yet neglecting your duty to your children.... 8MR 436.2

When we give ourselves unreservedly to the Lord, the simple, commonplace duties of home life will be seen in their true importance, and we shall perform them in accordance with the will of God. Oh, my sister, you may be bound about with poverty, your lot in life may be humble, but Jesus does not forsake your family for this or for any other cause. God has made you a trustee, a steward in your home; seek to educate yourself for this work, and He will be by your side to bless all your endeavors, that by and by, when the reckoning time for the administration of your trust shall come, he may say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” 8MR 436.3

Your husband has rights; your children have rights; and these must not be ignored by you. Whether you have one talent or three or five, God has given you your work. Parents are fearfully neglectful of their home duties. They do not meet the Bible standard. But to those who forsake their homes, their companions and children, God will not entrust the work of saving souls, for they have proved unfaithful to their holy vows. They have proved unfaithful to sacred responsibilities. God will not entrust to them eternal riches.... 8MR 436.4

The Christian mother's work begins in the home circle, in making her home what it should be, pleasant to her husband, pleasant to her children. These dear ones are in her hands to educate faithfully.... 8MR 437.1

Scolding and fretting, gathering clouds and gloom about the soul, will bring only a shadow and discouragement in the home life. Mothers do not half appreciate their possibilities and privileges. They do not seem to understand that they can be in the highest sense missionaries, laborers together with God in aiding their children to build up a symmetrical character. This is the great burden of the work given them of God. The mother is God's agent to Christianize her family. She is to exemplify Bible religion, showing how its influence is to control us in its everyday duties and pleasures, teaching her children that by grace alone can they be saved, through faith, which is the gift of God. This constant teaching as to what Christ is to us, and to them, His love, His goodness, His mercy, revealed in the great plan of redemption, will make a hallowed, sacred impress on the heart. 8MR 437.2

Let not one word of fretfulness, harshness or passion escape your lips. The grace of Christ awaits your demand. His Spirit will take control of your heart and conscience, presiding over your words and deeds. Never forfeit your self-respect by hasty, thoughtless words. See that your words are pure, your conversation holy. Give your children an example of that which you wish them to be.—Letter 28, 1890. (To Sister V., July 1, 1890.) 8MR 437.3

It is essential for you to put your trust in God. I am sorry that in the place where you live, you have so little encouragement in religious lines. There are many who will give you words of sympathy, but they do not bring comfort to the longing, hungry soul, which is bruised and wounded, and which needs the healing balm. Never forget that your Saviour lives and reigns. Your grasp on the divine promises must be strong. Human teachers in Christian faith are few. 8MR 438.1

You may have felt almost discouraged, and may have yielded to the temptation to neglect your religious duties, to shun the cross-bearing life of a Christian; you may have consented to be governed by worldly principles and sentiments, you may have neglected prayer, neglected to confess Christ. If you have done this, do so no more. Remember the words of Christ, “Ye are my witnesses.” Your light may have been flickering, but thank God, it is not too late, even now, to acknowledge the claims the Lord has upon you. 8MR 438.2

You are the property of Jesus Christ. He has purchased you at an infinite cost to Himself. His you are by creation and by redemption. Although to you your hope of heaven may be at times uncertain, yet you know in whom to trust. Your hope of heaven is found alone in the merits of Jesus Christ. You may now gain a living experience in the things of God. Looking unto Jesus by faith, trusting in His merits, doubts of His love will vanish as dew before the morning sun. 8MR 438.3

Let your surrender to God be full and complete; wait not one day or hour. Make the most now of your probationary time, be it longer or shorter. Just as soon as you cast yourself unreservedly upon Jesus Christ, He accepts you. Do not in any way conceal the fact that you have chosen truth, and all the inconveniences that this choice will involve.... 8MR 439.1

Never, under any circumstances, even in appearance, consent to leave the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. Be steadfast, immovable to Christian obligations and to your God.... 8MR 439.2

I urge upon you to fulfill your Christian obligations to God. If there is no one within a hundred miles of you who observes the Sabbath, the whole universe of heaven is in sympathy with you. Christ your Saviour and the heavenly angels are round about you. If you will call upon God in every time of need. He will be your helper. Practice the truth in your home. “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord.” 8MR 439.3

But I am not able to write you more. If you love the father of your children, live the life of a Christian at all times and under all circumstances. If you had done this, God would have worked in your behalf. But when you please yourself, and displease your heavenly Father, how can the Lord work in your behalf? 8MR 439.4

May the Lord help you, my poor, dear tempted one, to choose the right way just now. May He help you to give your husband and children a testimony that you are a Christian in practice, that you love God, that you love Jesus, who gave His life for you. “And as your day is, so shall your strength be.”—Letter 76, 1896. (To Sister G., August 1, 1896.) 8MR 439.5

In order to render to God perfect service you need to accept the invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” You have not always pursued the course that will ensure to you the blessing of God. Do you want the abiding presence of Christ in your family? Then you must obey the Word, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me.” As you take upon you Christ's yoke of restraint and obedience, you will by individual experience find rest. Lift Christ's yoke, not a yoke of your own manufacture, which will always be galling. “Ye shall find rest unto your soul,” He declares. “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” In Christ's school learn perfectly the lessons of meekness and lowliness of heart. Seek to do His will and to glorify His name.... 8MR 440.1

The day we visited you we appreciated much the bountiful repast prepared for us. But you need to study how to prepare nutritious food in the most simple way. Your husband's wishes regarding the preparation of food should be respected, and still you may study to prepare appetizing dishes in as simple and healthful a way as possible, so that the fine nerves of the brain will not become weakened and paralyzed, making you excitable, nervous, and easily provoked.... 8MR 440.2

My dear sister, you stand in a responsible position in your home. Hold the reins of government with a wise, even hand. Do not allow the members of your family to lose their love and respect for you. Bind them to your heart with the silken cords of love. This you can do if you live close to Jesus. By beholding Him you will be changed into His image, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. God loves you; He loves your husband, and He is seeking to draw him to Himself. He desires to take his attention off mere earthly enterprises, and fix them on the eternal riches.—Letter 145, 1900. (To Sister K., November 8, 1900.) 8MR 440.3

My sister, our Saviour is a present help in every time of need. Do not distrust Him. Do not take your troubles to human beings. Take them to the Lord. You may think that others should sympathize with you in your downcast feelings, but you will sometimes be disappointed. Jesus never disappoints one who comes to Him for help. 8MR 441.1

Are you one that makes mistakes? Go to Jesus, and ask Him to forgive you, and then believe that He does. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Ask the Lord to pardon your errors. Then rejoice in Him. It will not help you in the least to keep mourning over your defects. Say, “Lord, I cast my helpless soul on Thee, and Thee alone. I will not worry, because Thou hast said, ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’” Believe that you do receive. Believe that your Saviour is full of compassion, full of tender pity and love. Let not little mishaps trouble you. Small mistakes may be ordered by the Lord to save you from making larger mistakes. 8MR 441.2

Act your part in helping yourself, as all must do who would be blessed. Believe that Christ helps you. Refuse to speak a word of unbelief. When the enemy tells you that the Lord has forsaken you, tell him that you know He has not; for He declares, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” 8MR 441.3

Jesus says, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” Then, my sister, dismiss the enemy. Tell him that you will not dishonor God by doubting His mercy, His goodness, His love. Never argue with Satan; for he has wonderful powers of deception. If, when he went to Adam and Eve, they had kept repeating the words of God, saying, “He hath said, and I believe His word, I will not distrust Him,” they would not have been overcome. 8MR 441.4

Instead of bemoaning your weakness, and talking unbelief, and feeling that you are hardly used, begin to sing. Talk of the mercy and love of God. To all who labor and are heavy laden Christ gives the invitation, “Come unto Me, ... and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” This is the lesson that Christ desires you to learn, and in learning it you will find rest. 8MR 442.1

When discouraging words are spoken to you, do not reply unless you can return a pleasant answer. When you are tried and tempted by unkind words, do not retaliate. Say to yourself, “I will not disappoint my Saviour.” Every man who is a Christian is a gentleman; and every woman who is a Christian is a gentlewoman. The law of kindness is ever on the lips of the Christian woman. She utters no hasty words. To speak gentle words when you feel irritated will bring sunshine into your heart, and will make your path more smooth. A school girl, in answer to a question, said, “meek people are those who give soft answers to rough questions.” Christ says, “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.” They will be fit subjects for the kingdom of heaven; because they are willing to be taught. 8MR 442.2

You say that your husband is not yet converted to the truth. Show him in your life the advantage of taking Christ at His word. By patience, forbearance, and kindness you may win your husband to the Saviour. 8MR 442.3

In the power of God's grace you may obtain most precious victories. You are not to treat your life as a romance, but as a reality. You are to labor together with God in forming a character that He can approve. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Does the charge end there? No, no, thank God! “For it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” You are to be a co-worker with Him in the saving of your soul. You are to will to do the will of God. Then do not spend your time and strength in murmuring, in talking unbelief and finding fault with God. Encourage confidence in Him. Speak kindly of Him. Honor Him who so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 8MR 443.1

Be sure to perform your smallest duties in the fear and love of God, with faithfulness and cheerfulness. God declares, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” Faithfully discharge your home duties, and then leave yourself with God, saying, “I commit the keeping of my soul to Him. I will not take the ordering of my life out of His hands. I will leave myself in His keeping.” 8MR 443.2

Study the life that Christ lived while on this earth. He did not disregard the simplest, smallest duty that fell to Him. Perfection marked all that He did. Look to Jesus for His help, and this will enable you to perform your daily duties with the grace and dignity of one who is seeking for a crown of immortal life.... 8MR 443.3

All that God expects of you and all other Christians is that you live out your profession. Show that Christ's word is true, that He can keep human beings from sin. Conform your life to His pure, beautiful, holy life. Obey His commandments. This will bring you practical godliness. 8MR 443.4

Do not dwell upon the hardships of the Christian life. Do not talk of your trials; for if you do, you will become more and more inclined to complain of God. Talk of the love of Christ, bringing it into your heart and life. Be thankful that the Lord has spared you, that you have not been cut off without having gained a preparation for entrance into the heavenly kingdom, where there is no sin, no sorrow. You have only one life in which to perfect a Christian character. If you reveal the grace of God in your character, if the law of kindness is ever on your lips, if you constantly thank the Lord for His goodness to you, you are preparing to praise Him in the home above.—Letter 72, 1903. (To Sister W., April 28, 1903.) 8MR 444.1

Released October 26, 1978.