I have been married to the same wonderful man for over forty years. We raised our three children in church and all are God loving people. We moved to a remote location over five years ago. We have been involved in two different small churches since our move. In the last two years, my husband has stopped going to church. He says he can't handle the politics of small churches and he doesn't have a need to be involved with the community here. He works in the city about three days a week. My question: He says that he doesn't care if I go alone but always seems to make comments. What does the Bible say about this?
- NH from Alabama
Forsake not... (Part 1)
I have to be careful not to get too high up on my soapbox with this question. I have strong opinions about going to church - no matter what. Hebrews 10:24-25 says; "And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near."
So how do you get around that? Yet many do and right now there are thousands upon thousands of Christians who quietly live their life in the shadows of God's kingdom or on a shelf, out of reach of the ministry they are called to. They feel they do not need church but what they fail to realize is that church needs them.
The Church is a living body with Christ as the head and everyone is assigned a part. When each person is operating in their full supernatural gifts the body is healthy and growing and it is also invincible. Think what would happen if an organ of your body decided to "sit it out" - just be on vacation instead of function along with all the other parts. Right now many born again believers are sitting it out.
I believe there is a deluding spirit which has pulled the wool over the eyes of what I call "detached Christians." I personally know of a man right now who does not attend church with his wife because of music sound levels. He is a strong mature believer with gifts to offer but he is not using them. The church is poorer for this.
Notice in the scripture cited above; "and all the more, as you see the day drawing near." If these are the end times (as I believe they are), it is especially essential that every soldier of Jesus Christ report for active duty because a great battle is gearing up.
None of this gets your husband to church or gets him to realize the great significant difference he can make - even in a small church with lots of politics. You certainly should pray for him to have a great awakening but you can't make him drink the water you lead him to. In the meanwhile, what should YOU do?
Next: Things you can do
Solutions (Part 2)
If you have been married for forty years to a "wonderful man" I'm sure you have worked out most communication issues and you are blessed. While appreciating every good thing that God has graced you with through your husband, I think I would want to pursue a discussion of the "comments" he makes. What is up with that? Is it really okay with him that you go by yourself? I don't think so or why would he make side remarks?
I suggest a new level of honesty if he is agreeable. What is the real issue for him? If you can get him to share that with you it may open a new dialog that opens up new solutions. By the same token, you should be honest and tell him how it makes you feel when he makes comments. You should tell him how it feels to go it alone.
In the meanwhile, continue to go to church even if by yourself but pursue every avenue that will put you in touch with a more vibrant church experience. Connect with a small group if it is possible or travel occasionally to a church with more life.
Try to have some level of spiritual communion with your husband. Do the two of you ever pray together? If the answer is "only with the blessing at mealtimes", try extending that with maybe just an extra sentence or two. As it becomes more comfortable, that could turn into a daily prayer time.
What about doing a Bible study together or a couple's devotional? I would highly recommend The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. The chapters are very short, can be read together out loud and are designed to work through in just forty days. Or maybe he would agree to read the book on his own.
Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a strategy so that you and your husband stay on the same page together spiritually. I believe he will do that for you as you seek God's face. Stay on fire yourself. Large fires tend to warm and attract those near them. As you extend loving warmth, how can your husband resist?