Husband won't change churches
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Old 07-10-2011, 08:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Husband won't change churches

My husband and I have attended the same church most of our adult lives. I am unhappy at our church and want to go somewhere else.

My husband used to tell me that things would improve if I would just reach out to more people, get involved in ministry, etc.. I've make a sincere effort to do those things for years, but I still dislike the church.

My husband finally admitted to me about two years ago that he doesn't like the church either, but he's afraid to leave. He thinks we can't leave because the church isn't teaching heresy or doing anything unbiblical, so we are not justified in leaving. By the way, this isn't a cult, just a small evangelical church. It's not like they would hunt us down or threaten us if we left.

This is the real kicker. My kids are starting to complain about the church and often don't want to go. Our church has been shrinking and there isn't much of a children's ministry. I've tried really hard to be supportive of our church, but I must admit that I think my attitude is rubbing off on my kids.

I'm a stay-at-home mom and we have one car (which my husband drives to work), so I have little social life outside of the church community. I've explained this to my husband and he says he sympathizes, but still the situation never changes. I really think we'd all be happier if we found a new church community.

Short of stealing the car on Sunday morning and taking off without my husband, what do I do?

J'Mae
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Old 07-10-2011, 08:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Husband won't change churches

That's a tough one. I don't have much in the way of suggestions other than sitting down with your husband and doing the pros verses cons list together. What are the benefits of staying and the benefits of leaving, etc. It seems as though you've already voiced you're displeasure with the way things are there. It doesn't seem like the best environment fir you or your children.

On another note, this seems to have brought to light something even more important for your relationship, the inability to resolve conflict. I'm curious as to how you have historically handled situations like this.
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Old 07-10-2011, 08:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Husband won't change churches

Do you know anyone at one of the other churches you would like to attend? If so, ask for a ride. Also, some churches do provide "rides". Otherwise is walking an option? Public transportation? I think if all else fails I would just stay at home a few Sundays with the kids. Although not a great way to resolve conflict, perhaps your husband would start listening to you and your children.....and consider what the majority is trying to tell him.
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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On another note, this seems to have brought to light something even more important for your relationship, the inability to resolve conflict. I'm curious as to how you have historically handled situations like this.
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You bring up a good point. I'm so focused on this one issue that I've missed the forest for the trees. Now that I think about it, this isn't the only long-term unresolved conflict in our relationship.

I tell my husband about things I would like to change, he tells me he has to think about it, nothing changes, and I feel like I should learn to be content. I don't like to gripe about my husband to others, so I stuff it and move on. We definitely have a pattern going.

If I have to complain about my marriage anonymously on a public forum, I must have a problem that really bothers me. I'm beginning to think that marriage counseling may be in order...

J'Mae
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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A book that would at least get you started in the right direction would be "His Needs, Her Needs". It drastically changed my understanding of the differences between men and women as well as my understanding of what it takes to have a fulfilling relationship. I would highly suggest that.
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Husband won't change churches

He can leave because he is a grown man, and he wants to. He doesn't have to justify it with anyone.

What do you do?
Refuse to go. It's your right. Why go ,and be miserable. You aren't learning anything.
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Church is supposed to be a place you want to go, why are you staying in this lousy one???

If nobody in your family is happy there it is way past time to leave. You said yourself the congragation is dwindling, there's a reason for that! Other people are not having their spiritual needs met there, either. Unless you & your husband are heavily involved in the church council & have some sway over the path the church is taking, I really don't think there is anything you can do but find a better church.

I believe if you don't your children may grow up feeling church is a "chore", not something they will look forward to like they should. This could easily lead them to not attending church once they are not living under your rules. If that happens, who knows where they may end up.

Church should be a joy, a special treat on Sunday morning that the whole family looks forward to. There are millions of churches out there, just investigate until you find one that fits your values & has the spirit of Jesus running through it's congrigants. You'll know it when you see it so don't get discouraged. It took me over a year to find the church that is the absolute perfect fit for for my family. I doubt your search will take as long, but even if it does, it is sooo worth it to worship in a place that feels like home.

Please don't feel guilty or ashamed for leaving a church that is no longer a good fit for your family. This happens to many, many people & is no reflection on you as a Christian. After all, God doesn't care which church you go to so long as you show up!
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I look at spirituality as a personal search, following a path to a somewhat predetermined goal. Much like those early settlers that went to the West. Some followed the Oregon Trail, others the Santa Fe Trail, etc. Each group had their own wagonmaster that they followed, convinced that that wagonmaster would get them to where they were going safely. Some were good and some not so good. The people in the wagon train were not obligated to follow the train, they were afraid to leave because of the unknown. Little did they know, many of the wagonmasters did not really know either, but seemed to have confidence.

No two people in the world interpret spirituality exactly the same. AND, if you are uncomfortable with the church that you are attending, then that could be detrimental to your children's future "acceptance" of what you are attempting to expose them to. It would be negative, counterproductive. But, it could encourage them to find their own personal path without the help of a preacher, in the future, by listening to their "heart".

If you all have doubt about the church, then ask yourself, "Could it be God telling me something?" Have you ever wondered how God communicates with you? I say that as long as you are headed in the right "direction", you are most likely on the right path. To this day, I have never met anybody that I would consider is on the wrong path, regardless of denomination.
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:52 AM   #9 (permalink)
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We have made some progress this week. I have signed my kids up for VBS at a church that I'm interested in attending. My husband has agreed to visit a couple of churches this summer. We talked about this last summer and it never happened, so I'm hoping it will happen this time since he was the one to bring up the subject.

It is past time to leave. I believe we have done everything possible to make our current church work for us. However, it's been difficult to convince my husband to make the final break.

Thanks for the responses!
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I look at spirituality as a personal search, following a path to a somewhat predetermined goal. Much like those early settlers that went to the West. Some followed the Oregon Trail, others the Santa Fe Trail, etc. Each group had their own wagonmaster that they followed, convinced that that wagonmaster would get them to where they were going safely. Some were good and some not so good. The people in the wagon train were not obligated to follow the train, they were afraid to leave because of the unknown. Little did they know, many of the wagonmasters did not really know either, but seemed to have confidence.

No two people in the world interpret spirituality exactly the same. AND, if you are uncomfortable with the church that you are attending, then that could be detrimental to your children's future "acceptance" of what you are attempting to expose them to. It would be negative, counterproductive. But, it could encourage them to find their own personal path without the help of a preacher, in the future, by listening to their "heart".

If you all have doubt about the church, then ask yourself, "Could it be God telling me something?" Have you ever wondered how God communicates with you? I say that as long as you are headed in the right "direction", you are most likely on the right path. To this day, I have never met anybody that I would consider is on the wrong path, regardless of denomination.
If "spirituality" means following the leading of the Holy Spirit of God, (which is supposed to be a part of the Christianity I am familiar with) then only one "interpretation" is correct.

On the other hand, if "spirituality" is a meaningless, nebulous word that no two people can agree on, then the voice you are hearing in your head is probably not God's. More than likely it is your own voice. A lot of people made it to California in your wagon train analogy, but there were also some Donner parties...

That said, there are reasons to leave a church. God gave us a brain for a reason. Listening to your feelings is what gets most of us into the trouble we are in.

I would caution the OP to give some thought to what is making her unhappy at this church, lest the next church make her even more unhappy. Church is like a lot of other things (including marriage!) in that you mostly get out of it what you put into it. I went to church for the wrong reasons for years - to meet friends, to be entertained, to be seen, until I realized that church is for what we go there to do - worship God - and all the rest comes from that. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your mind, and all of your spirit, and you will find that you love your neighbor as yourself.
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:44 PM   #11 (permalink)
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If "spirituality" means following the leading of the Holy Spirit of God, (which is supposed to be a part of the Christianity I am familiar with) then only one "interpretation" is correct.

On the other hand, if "spirituality" is a meaningless, nebulous word that no two people can agree on, then the voice you are hearing in your head is probably not God's. More than likely it is your own voice. A lot of people made it to California in your wagon train analogy, but there were also some Donner parties...

That said, there are reasons to leave a church. God gave us a brain for a reason. Listening to your feelings is what gets most of us into the trouble we are in.

I would caution the OP to give some thought to what is making her unhappy at this church, lest the next church make her even more unhappy. Church is like a lot of other things (including marriage!) in that you mostly get out of it what you put into it. I went to church for the wrong reasons for years - to meet friends, to be entertained, to be seen, until I realized that church is for what we go there to do - worship God - and all the rest comes from that. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your mind, and all of your spirit, and you will find that you love your neighbor as yourself.
I was raised strict Catholic, attended Catholic elementary, altar boy for 6yrs, high school at different Christian schools including non-denominational and Baptist, close relatives that studied to priests, relatives that are nuns of different orders, relatives that are pastors of various Christian denominations. What they all have in common is, that at gatherings they will not talk about their beliefs because it always turns into a heyday. They each have different thoughts on it, as we all do.

When I refer to spirituality, I do not intend to directly refer to the Holy Spirit, but rather make reference to "spirit-consciousness" (the acknowledgement that there is a Supreme Being). I make this reference because each has their own interpretation of the Supreme Being, relative to the way they were raised. Many sorta consider God (the Supreme Being) to be an old man that sits on a throne and poofs havoc and mayhem, all the while, creating problems for the mortals to go through some sort of test, or problem-solving feat. I do not perceive Him that way!!

I have challenged many to find two people that interpret spirituality equally, equally in every aspect. In over 50 years I have not found those two people. But then logically, how can any human understand spirituality since we are material beings? We do try to understand, however, in preparation for "life" after death. AND YES, there are the Donner parties that erred , remember the parable of "Sowing the Seed". Some seed will land on rock, some seed........ Remember? It seems difficult to "understand" when God speaks to us, everyone interprets it differently. Do we think of it in our brain? Or do we think from the heart (soul)?

FOR ME PERSONALLY, not trying to speak for you or anyone else, I found that my physical mind has been "clouded" by ideals and thoughts implanted in there by society, propaganda, and various religious sects that I have been exposed to throughout my life. Many years ago I could not understand, if the particular religion is so perfect, why are there so many different sects and beliefs? It made me think of what Christ said, "A house divided amongst itself cannot stand." Catholics against Baptist, against Pentecostal, etc etc etc. I suppose that we each find that "church" that we feel comfortable with, that we can relate to as I our brain or heart feel???

For me personally, I attempt to "worship" God all the time, I mean 24 hours a day, not just on Sundays. I do this by "following" Him, "following" the parables left behind by Jesus Christ. And as I do that, I find myself doing more for others. I guess that you could say that that is why I am here on this forum, I am a happily married person. I am not seeking advise, I am trying to share countless life experiences.

Last edited by weR2; 07-15-2011 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I would caution the OP to give some thought to what is making her unhappy at this church, lest the next church make her even more unhappy. Church is like a lot of other things (including marriage!) in that you mostly get out of it what you put into it. I went to church for the wrong reasons for years - to meet friends, to be entertained, to be seen, until I realized that church is for what we go there to do - worship God - and all the rest comes from that. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your mind, and all of your spirit, and you will find that you love your neighbor as yourself.
I understand what you are saying, but this is the type of thinking that has my husband and I at odds over this situation. He thinks we should continue to wait and see if things get better or maybe there's something wrong with us that is causing the problem (though he can't tell me what it is). My husband worries that we won't find another church that we like, that maybe we will find ourselves in the same situation again, or that we don't have grounds to leave in the first place.

We have been at this church for over 25 years. There have been good times and bad times. We have tried to serve God and the church faithfully to the best of our ability. However, we have a difference in values with the current leadership and we no longer feel like we fit in.

How long do you endure, hoping that God may be teaching you something through this?
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:37 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I understand what you are saying, but this is the type of thinking that has my husband and I at odds over this situation. He thinks we should continue to wait and see if things get better or maybe there's something wrong with us that is causing the problem (though he can't tell me what it is). My husband worries that we won't find another church that we like, that maybe we will find ourselves in the same situation again, or that we don't have grounds to leave in the first place.

We have been at this church for over 25 years. There have been good times and bad times. We have tried to serve God and the church faithfully to the best of our ability. However, we have a difference in values with the current leadership and we no longer feel like we fit in.

How long do you endure, hoping that God may be teaching you something through this?
You have been there 25yrs, you have prayed for guidance, you have been good parishioners, you pray to God for guidance, you begin to have a difference in values with the current leadership, you pray to God some more for guidance, now you no longer fit in, you pray for God to guide you even more.

Maybe you can listen to HIM, seems to me that He is trying to tell you. How long should you make your soul suffer? That is entirely up to you, your free will, your choice. I think that if you decide that you need to endure more, God will still try to guide you all the way! May be that He wants you to change the leadership?
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Old 07-16-2011, 03:49 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Can I stick in my agno-atheistic 0.02?

Just ignore the spiritual aspect if you can, for a moment. You aren't happy doing something. Your children aren't much enjoying it either. Why continue?
If your husband chooses to continue that is, as it should be, his choice. Indeed none of you should feel put out if a slight difference in view on where (if) to go to church means you strike out in different directions. If there are churches you are interested in trying out within reasonable travel distance, you and the kids get on bikes (not being flippant, I mean it) and go elsewhere.
Give something else a shot and if it doesn't work for you, or you reach some mental peace about that actually your original church is the place to be and you just need to work harder at it, sobeit and if the members of the church are truly church people they'll welcome you back. If in the meanwhile your husband has chosen to stay at, or leave, the original church, that remains his choice.
You are not joined at the hip - neither you to your husband nor your kids to either of you. Simply that the subject under discussion involves faith should make no difference to that.

Last edited by madimoff; 07-16-2011 at 03:50 AM. Reason: typo!
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Old 07-16-2011, 05:36 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Many years ago I could not understand, if the particular religion is so perfect, why are there so many different sects and beliefs?
The short answer is that some "get it", many do not, and that is something Christ also spoke about: "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

I believe it was Ravi Zacharias who said that Jesus healed two men of blindness: one he used mud and the other he did not use mud, and he was surprised that there were not two Protestant denominations that resulted from this knowledge, the Mudites and the Non-Mudites.

It's just the way things are. Christian spirituality is not lacking because people like to make up their own religions. With all that, though, I, being a pretty devout guy myself, can sit with congregants from a non-denominational community church, Baptists, Lutherans, and others, yet still share the same experiences with them because regardless of our worhip traditions we still understand each other, because we are the church. The denomination is not the church.

That said, I think a congregation of true believers is good for a marriage in that they can lead you closer to God and each other, support you in the tough times, whatever they are. That's all.
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