As Christian couples we are called to walk in unity of heart and purpose with our spouses. The issue of the place of worship is one of such areas we must agree to walk together in unity.
Amos 3:3 says “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” In Amos’s question the word “together” means to walk as a unit, as one. Two people walk to the same destination at the same pace and with the same rhythm. They also must have “agreed” to take the walk of unity, as a unit with oneness.
Gen 2:24 tells us God created man and woman to become “one flesh” when they marry, not two separate beings who go their own separate ways.
There is a unity in marriage which is unique and holy. The moment you agree to marry each other, you are both agreeing to have one mind, one purpose, one desire etc. Your coming together is expected to bring completeness to each other in the areas of your deficiencies.
There is one area of unity in which the devil has been attacking Christian marriages. It is in the area of place of worship. In the course of counseling couples, I have been asked this question. Is it wrong for a Christian couple to attend separate churches?
You see married couples attending separate churches from their spouse is a situation that is more common than one might think. It is common for the children of such couples to be divided between the two churches, thereby creating a division in the family that is not healthy for the growth of that family.
In order to determine whether or not it is “wrong” for husband and wife to attend separate churches, we must first look at marriage as a relationship instituted by God.
What was God’s intention for establishing the marriage institution?
We will start from the very beginning. The Book of Genesis gave us an account of how God created the world and His purposes and desires which every creature is expected to fulfill.
He created man for the sole purpose of fellowship; after creating Adam, there was no playmate for Adam among the animals that will satisfy that desire of fellowship that God created in him. God had to create Eve and they (Adam & Eve) became one flesh Gen2: 18-24.
They were expected to fellowship together, plan and take decisions together and not to live separately. The entrance of sin brought an end to this beautiful desire of God. From that time everyone went his separate ways. Husbands and wives lost that divine seed of fellowship and oneness that God put in them at creation.
This was the order of the day among the children of Israel of old, husbands and wives involved in separate worship Hos 2:1-13. The same thing is still happening today, couples involved in separate worship.
With the coming of Jesus Christ, we were redeemed from sin and the seed of fellowship was restored back to us through the finished work on the Cross.
Moreover, marriage is the picture of Christ and His Church (Believers) as described in Eph 5:31-32. The marriage covenant between a man and a woman is symbolic of the covenant between Christ and those for whom He died. His is an everlasting covenant and one that is holy and sacred, just as marriage is to be holy, sacred and unbroken. This unity of two people into one reaches its most sacred in the spiritual realm, where the two are to be of one mind regarding the basic doctrines of Christianity; God, Christ, sin, salvation, heaven/hell, etc. This unity of understanding through the ministry of the Holy Spirit unites husband and wife in a bond unlike any other on earth.
While it’s possible for husband and wife to have differing tastes as far as music, preaching or worship styles, children’s programs, etc., none of these things are significant enough to break up the family into two parts so they can attend different churches based on tastes.
It is clear that if both churches are Bible-based and Christ-honoring, there is no reason why one spouse can’t bend a little and put his/her personal preferences aside. An even better alternative is for the couple to join together to seek a church, where the Word of God is preached as the only source for faith and practice. Where the entire family can learn the true gospel of Jesus Christ and fellowship with like-minded believers. In this, the husband as the spiritual head of the family should take the lead and make the final decision, lovingly taking his wife’s input into consideration.
This issue of common place of worship between married couples is a problem that cut across religion and ethnic groups.
Sadly, the two church family situations have continued to be a problem among Christian believers (purchased by the Precious Blood of Jesus). It is a shame that, we who are expected to show the world the true meaning of fellowship and unity in marriage are not practicing what we profess.
Matt 5:14 says “we are the light of the world, a city set on the hill that cannot be hidden”. Other religions are to take example from us on how to rule their affairs and their homes.
By the time the man of the house wakes up to his spiritual responsibility as the Priest of his house and prayerfully seeks the face of the Lord concerning the mind of God for his family’s place of worship, the issue of two church family will become a thing of the past.
The problem of two-church family is most common in marriages, where the couple is raised in different denominations with different doctrinal positions. The Bible tells us that a man (woman) shall leave his/her father and mother and they shall become “one flesh”. This means apart from physically leaving your parents homes to become married to each other; you are to leave behind denominational and doctrinal differences and prayerfully adopt the worship center God has ordained for you as a couple.
Without mixing words, in the issue of the church where you should worship as a married couple, the wife must worship where her husband worships for the sake of peace, harmony and unity of the home.
This is why Apostle Paul admonished us not to be unequally yoked 2Cor6:14-16, it is very dangerous for a bible believing young lady to be yoked together in marriage with a non bible believing young man or someone with different doctrinal position from her own.
Once she marries such a man, she is expected to believe what he believes!!!
Two people entrenched in their different doctrinal positions often find it difficult to compromise and reconcile, a couple in such situation may be forced to attend different churches, especially if one or both spouses consider the other spouse’s beliefs to be unbiblical.
If you find yourself in such situation in marriage, there is hope, for with God all things are possible Matt19:26. Both spouses should commit to prayer that the truth is revealed and spiritual unity be achieved.
Let’s not deceive ourselves, doctrinal conflicts must be resolved in a marriage before true unity can be achieved.
The benefits of a couple worshipping together in the same church cannot be overemphasized.
Below are some of the benefits of worshipping in the same church as a family.
1. You and your family have the same spiritual covering.
2. Have a common spiritual base from where you can launch attacks on the enemy of your soul and home.
3. Feed from the same spiritual table.
4. Enjoy spiritual unity, such that the enemy cannot penetrate your home Matt18:19.
5. Have opportunity of building a relationship with other believers with like minds, thereby having common spiritual friends.
6. Your children enjoy the fellowship of other children whose parents are also members of the church.
In any way the enemy has been cheating you of the benefits of worshipping together in the same church as a family, I pray that the Almighty God will intervene in your affairs and give you the desire of your heart in Jesus Name. Amen.
- Worship in Marriage (yahwehssong.com)