Ask Amy: Spouse wonders if church will hurt the marriage
Dear Amy: My husband of two years has recently become interested in exploring Christianity.
He went to church as a child, but stopped going when he was a teen. He is now very concerned about what will happen after he dies. He says he wants to find “peace.”
Amy, I have no interest in going with him. I was baptized, but I never went to church as a child. I am not a believer and to be honest, I don’t feel comfortable participating in organized religion.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with him going to church by himself or with another family member (we have one who keeps inviting us to their church).
Do I need to be a part of this? I feel like I will hate every minute of it and become resentful. But if I don’t go, will it ruin our marriage?
Dear Concerned: Your marriage should not be contingent on you forcing yourself to worship alongside your husband. I do suggest that you remain open to hearing about his experience – ask him how the service went and what the topic of the sermon was, and perhaps attend special holiday services if he seems eager to share them with you.
The churchgoing experience will bring your husband into a belief system, as well as a new social system. Any time anyone forms new relationships, it could place a strain on the marriage – but the alternative (shadowing him out of fear that the marriage will be threatened) is a non-starter.
If he dives in and starts attending Bible study and joins church-centered social groups, you will discover that church activities are very time consuming. This might negatively affect your relationship, but his faith practice could also lead him to a more loving, compassionate, and – yes, peaceful -- place.
Dear Amy: My neighbor picks flowers off of our trees/plants in the front yard.