Ask Donnell - Must I Only Attend My Spouse's Church?

Must I Attend My Spouse's Church?

We received the following question from Melanie;

Hi Donnell,

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 4 years now, and we are planning on getting married next year. However, we cannot seem to agree on whose church we will attend once we’re actually married. I heard that couples should attend the same church once they are married and that the tradition is that they go to the man’s church. But! I do not want his church to be the only church that I fellowship at since I do not receive as much as I do from my home church. However, I have no problem with us joining a new church together but his mind is set on not leaving his current church. We are both comfortable with his church being our home church and attending my church as often as well. That way we both get what we want. So is that okay/allowed? (A lot of people say that it isn’t.) Or should we hold back on the wedding plans before we are able to agree on one church?

Genesis 2:23-24(NKJV) - And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Great question Melanie. This is definitely an important discussion that both of you should be having before marriage. Not everyone really understands how crucial church attendance is and contrary to what some believe, which church you join is also crucial. It sounds like you came to a decent resolution of sorts that's mutually agreed upon so that's good to start off. Eventually, you will have to settle on a church together and get completely plugged in. In other words you don't want to be attending one church to appease your spouse while your heart is in another. You both want to be "all in" because you will be one!

Funny you should ask about it because it's exactly what my wife and I had to address while we were dating. Fortunately, we had it completely resolved before we got married. I had been a member of one church for 12 years and she was a member of another. Initially, we went our separate ways every Sunday morning and just occasionally met up for lunch after the church services were over. Then, as the relationship progressed we started visiting each other's church occasionally. We then decided to alternate churches each Sunday. We also started visiting a new church together. Do you want to know how we settled the matter?

Isaiah 30:21(NLT) - Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.

We took it to The Lord in prayer and waited patiently for His response. However, while we awaited His final answer on a long term solution we sought His face each week for a short term one. Each weekend I would trust The Lord and tell her where we would be going. Sometimes the answer came when I woke up on Sunday morning itself and believe me, wherever we went He was there waiting for us. Eventually, He spoke to our hearts and told us to join the new church together. That was the best decision we could have possibly made. It was The Word of The Lord and we are now reaping the benefits.

Proverbs 19:21(NLT) - You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

Let me give you some of the best advice you will ever get in your life. 🙂 Stop trying to figure things out in your mind and learn to hear from God. Believe me, it will change your life forever. Life is confusing. If you think you're going to figure your way out of every dilemma you will be sorely disappointed. Things are not always black and white. Everyone has an opinion. There are pros and cons to every decision. You'll always have to make difficult decisions. Sometimes, things can get so confusing that you will wish you could just disappear and reappear after things are resolved. However, when you can hear from God you won't waste time making plans that He will eventually override.

In sum, this is a topic that should be brought up in counseling but it should be resolved with a Word from God. Tell your boyfriend that both of you need to seek God's face about this and wait for Him to answer. If the both of you don't know how to hear from The Lord as yet, now is a great time to learn. Go with the short term plan you have right now but both of you need a long term solution where your hearts are completely settled. Find out where The Lord wants you to go so that both of you can agree. Just joining his church because he's the man is great but it's not the best case scenario. You can follow your man all you want but He needs to be following Jesus.

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