What is faith? Merriam-Webster defines faith as a “strong belief or trust in someone or something.” By this definition, we put our faith in various things and people every day, even hourly. I have faith that I’ll have hot water to shower, that the coffee maker will turn on, that the refrigerator will keep my cream for my coffee chilled, that my car will start, that my husband will make it to and from work safely based on a number of factors, that my health will sustain, that we’ll always have food on the table.
Yet I personally also pray to God for some of these things, too. Even though I have faith in the people and the things to work as they should, I know that life is full of expected twists and turns. The way I get through the expected is through my faith in God. Merriam-Webster defines this faith as a “belief in the existence of God; strong religious feelings or beliefs.” (Side note: If you don’t believe in God or are still wrestling with the idea of a God, stay with me through this post. I’m not arguing for His existence or trying to convert my readers. I have a different agenda in mind. Just keep reading until the end; you’ve lasted this long.) While I agree with this definition as a basis of what faith is, it is so much more when it comes to my belief system.
My husband and I have a different marriage than many of my friends. We have opposite belief systems as far as God is concerned. I belief in the Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—while my husband is an atheist, meaning he does not believe in the existence of gods. He is focused on the progression of science and cannot logically make sense of my belief system. However, he has never disrespected my beliefs, and I have never disrespected his. We have always talked openly about our beliefs, and we have known about these differences since our first official date. My husband even attends church with me when I ask him to, and we have agreed on a specific way to raise our future children (if we ever have any) that takes into account our belief systems.
Many people do not understand how this type of marriage could work. In fact, when we were first talking about marriage, some of the church officials at my old church said there was no hope in a marriage like this, turning their backs on me. I even feel as if I lost some friends over this when I had to leave that church. I struggled during this time, wondering why God had brought such an amazing man in my life if so many people were telling me this was a bad idea. But even with all this turmoil, I still felt that God was telling me that he had provided me a man to marry, and I decided I would marry this man.
I’m so glad I did marry him, and he agreed to marry me because my marriage has made my faith stronger. My husband asks me questions about my beliefs, some of which I don’t always have an answer for, and because of these questions, I’ve grown as a believer in Christ. He has made me question my faith, question my very belief in my Savior. Yet every time I question, I return back to my God a stronger believe than before. This is because faith is meant to be questioned again and again. How do you know your faith is authentic if you haven’t questioned it, if you haven’t scrutinized it under that microscope of doubt? Ignorance is not bliss as a Christian. It makes us weak as a community of believers. This is what my experience with my atheist husband is teaching me.