When I have an opportunity to give pre-marital advice, I always try to encourage a couple to “do church together.” Here’s why:
When an individual attempts to nourish his or her faith life, they are engaged in the most important activity possible, because one’s faith is about ultimate things: heaven, hell, condemnation, forgiveness, salvation, guilt, love, pain, purpose, meaning, etc. If I were visiting with a surgeon about an important or difficult surgery, I would want my partner with me. My faith is at least that important.
Not only is one’s faith an important subject, but since it is about a mystery, it is also a difficult and confusing subject. When I’m confused about a subject, it’s my partner that I want to puzzle it out with. When I’m excited about something I’ve just heard or experienced, it’s my partner that I want to share the moment with.
More than that, if an individual wants to nourish his or her faith and their partner chooses not go with them, the partner makes it much harder for the individual to succeed in their quest. This is often true for couples, and especially true when there are young children involved. Imagine trying to pray or listen, when you’re a single parent with one or two or more children needing attention. Because I love my partner, I want her to succeed in her quest, even if it’s not my quest.
Finally and most importantly, an essential ingredient in any marriage is forgiveness. I have always found it easier to seek and give forgiveness after worship. Forgiveness is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the call of disciples. Christians pray, ‘forgive us as we forgive.’
If you love someone enough to spend the rest of your life with that person, you surely love that person enough to worship with him or her once a week.
I give this advice to couples preparing for marriage, but it’s also good advice for people already in a marriage. So if you and/or your partner have fallen out of the habit of “doing church together,” give it a try. It may be the best gift you can give to your partner and yourself.
Copyright © 2019 Pastor Bill Bernau. All rights reserved.