Dear Aunt Sevvy: My husband is a wonderful man: kind, hard-working, a good father. But even though he and I both grew up in the church, now he won’t attend church with me. I hate sitting alone. We’ve had a few arguments about it, to the point where I just don’t bring it up anymore. What would you suggest? In the Lonely Pew
I wish I could tell you that you are the first to encounter this problem. But millions of couples have faced this before you. So let’s list your options.
- You can argue with your husband. As we all know, arguing usually helps people change their mind and come around to your way of thinking.
- You can ignore the problem and hope it goes away—also an effective problem-solving method, right?
- You can ask your husband why he doesn’t want to go to church with you, and then actually listen to the answer he gives without judging him or putting up your defenses.
Perhaps your husband simply doesn’t like the worship style or the sermons. Maybe there’s someone at church who rubs him the wrong way. Some people are introverts and church fellowship is emotionally taxing for them. Some people just don’t “get” religious talk. These problems might be solved by finding a new church, or by worshiping at home or in a small group.
If your husband tells you that he is having doubts about his faith, perhaps you should congratulate him: he has joined a worldwide club of people who are rethinking what faith means in this modern world. Especially if you happen to live in America, where Christian faith is too often conflated with nationalism and politics and theologies that exclude people rather than help them, stepping back and reconsidering your faith may be a biblically-necessary thing to do.
And should all negotiations to get him to church fail, maybe—just maybe—he can be a wonderful Christian husband without going to church. And you can accept that and not nag him. In the words of a famous prayer, “God help me to accept the things I cannot change….” Just an idea. Spouses have, after all, had worse fates to put up with.
You have some choices now, hon. What you do is up to you. Who knows? Maybe as you talk to him you’ll find some spiritual questions of your own to explore.
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—always without real names. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.