1) Ministry to the Believing Spouse. Everyone needs a mentor, or at least a comrade, to whom one can vent, cry, or say anything that's on their heart. If you find yourself filling that role for a spiritually single Christian, remember to be objective. As the Strobels suggest in their book, do not create a situation in which it seems that you and the believing spouse are allied against the unbeliever. Be careful to not always side with the believer if she shares a marital disagreement with you. Be careful to point out the positive virtues of the unbelieving spouse. You don't want to create more discord in an already difficult marriage.
But do not overcompensate in the other direction, where it appears that you always side with the unbeliever. Simply try to be objective. Sometimes it's most important to just listen and not even take a side.
2) Ministry to the Unbelieving Spouse. A relationship with any lost person should have the ultimate hope of leading that person to Christ. But don't come across as if the unbeliever is your pet evangelism project. Start a relationship on common ground--a common hobby, collection, favorite sport, children's' activities, or something like that. Always be alert to ways you can put in a good word for Jesus, but don't get into any relationship with ulterior motives in mind. Insincerity is conspicuous from a mile away.
Do not triangulate by putting the believing spouse in the middle so you can go after the unbeliever. Do not drop by the couple's home without first making sure it's okay. If you have nothing in common with the unbeliever, introduce this person to believers who do share some common ground with him.
3) Do not Treat the Spiritually Single as Second Class Citizens. It seems to be a couple's world, even in the church. It is difficult for singles (and the spiritually single) to fit in. Be sure to always leave the door open to opportunities for involvement. Do not assume that the spiritually single spouse would not be interested or available for a particular ministry because of their situation. It may be the case, but don't assume it. Treat these folks like anybody else. If you're in the position of planning church functions, include activities that are not exclusively couples oriented.
4) Do not Judge. "You have no idea what I have to put up with" is a common lament I hear from spiritually single people. They have a tough row to hoe and church members can make it worse by judging the believing spouse on the basis of sporadic church attendance, limited program involvement, or low giving patterns. This could all be symptoms of one living with an unbeliever.
Don't assume that the spiritually single person is simply using the unbelieving spouse as a convenient excuse for non-involvement. But as I said before, most of the spiritually single would love to be more involved and nothing would make them happier than a spouse converting to Christ. What follows are the words of an e-mail correspondent in response to this series who knows what it's like to be spiritually single and who shall remain anonymous. I use this with permission:
I would say that the best way to support spiritually single women is to develop and maintain a personal relationship with her. Tell her that God cares about her. Show her that your church cares about her. Encourage, encourage , encourage. Don't blame her or condemn her, or guilt her for her relationship with a man she loves who is an unbeliever. The kind words you share with her will be an encouragement during the dark moments she may experience.