“Church is optional. If church fits in our schedule, if it’s convenient, and we feel like going—-we will try to get to church.” While couples may not actually say those words, their actions and choices reveal their values. This seems to be the growing belief held by couples and families today.
The data backs this up. The number of Americans who identify themselves as regular church-goers equals about 40% of the population. But on any given Sunday, the number of Americans who actually attend church is closer to 17.7%. (You can read the study here.)
To be clear, going to church and engaging in worship is not about what we can get. First and foremost, worship is about what we give to God–the honor and praise that He alone deserves. When we choose not to worship God in corporate gatherings, we are robbing Him of what is rightly His. The writer to the Hebrews said: “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do….” (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)
There are a lot of reasons couples give for not attending church. It could be they simply haven’t done due diligence to find the best church fit. Here’s an article we wrote that can help you find a church home for both of you: https://www.buildyourmarriage.org/finding-a-church-home-together/
Most couples know they should get back into the practice of regular church attendance. Here are five solid reasons to remind us why we need to be consistent in attending church:
1. It connects us
Our spiritual journeys are a very personal part of who we are as individuals. Being together in church places us in a context where we grow in intimacy with each other as we grow closer to Him. We are developing spiritual practices that give a context for conversation through the week as we pray, learn, give, sing, and serve together.
2. It de-isolates us
Our marriages are under ongoing attack by our enemy, the devil. Satan wants to keep us isolated from other Christians. When he can accomplish that, he weakens our faith. We are less armed to withstand his attacks. We lack wise counsel and we feel alone when our marriage struggles.
There is strength in community with other like-minded followers of Jesus. Making regular church attendance part of our practice as a couple puts us in a stronger position maritally. We have regular injections of God’s truth into our lives and a community that will fight with us for our marriage.
3. It re-centers us
We all carry demands on our time and a press from the world to fit its elusive mold for success: work pressures; the drive to attain; an inner longing for significance; or a longing for security (this list is innumerable). But attending church redirects our focus UP to our Creator. We are re-centered on the One who declares our value and worth through His Son, Jesus. We are reminded in a seven-day rhythm of corporate worship about what truly matters…and what will fade away.
4. It develops us
Listening together to a gifted teacher of the Bible gives us a common foundation for spiritual growth. This places us in a position to talk about areas where God is challenging us to grow. We can take steps also of trusting Him. Furthermore, our mutual values and thinking become Biblically based. As a result, we make better and more unified decisions.
5. It blesses us
As we wrote earlier, when we make the choice to attend church, we honor God by giving Him the glory He alone deserves. By doing so, we are more rightly aligned to receive his blessing and favor. He provides greater intimacy with Himself (John 14:21). We are encouraged in community with other Christ-followers. We are in a position to gain insight and direction from Him in the context of the corporate gathering for worship. And we are drawn more closely to our spouse’s heart as we draw near to Him.
Make a mutual declaration to re-prioritize your attendance at church. Prepare your hearts on Saturday to show up expectantly on Sunday—ready to give God your best and receive whatever He may have for you. Grow together spiritually as you build your marriage.