Church Choices: Can we Worship Separately?

Spiritual intimacy is a vital part of your marriage relationship. A big part of your spiritual growth as a couple is being part of a church community. But if you both came from different types of churches - how do you find a church where you both feel comfortable?

Here’s what one wife asked us:
“My husband and I are having a hard time enjoying a church together. I want to know how you guys feel about each of us going our separate ways? Do we enjoy two different types of churches? Or do we stay together? Or do we alternate churches? One Sunday go here, one Sunday go there?”


We answered this wife’s question by saying that we believe that the outcome of this should be the two of them worshiping together on a regular basis. They also had children in this mix, which made it all the more important.  How you get to that point when you’re struggling to find a church that “fits” both of you? It doesn’t need to be “yours” versus “his.”

When you come from different backgrounds and styles of worship, it may take some time. First, decide on the things that are not up for discussion: You want to find a church that opens the Word of God, teaches the truth, believes in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and as Lord and Savior, preaches the message of salvation, etc. Those are not to be compromised (and you’ll be able to find plenty of compromising churches out there). After that, consider what is negotiable. Is the size of the church an issue? The type of music? What about Sunday school and youth programs for the kids?  Your goal is to find a place where you come together as husband and wife to worship and pray, and where your kids are enjoying that time with a mom and a dad together. 

It may take a few months of going back and forth between the types of churches each of you is used to. Be open. Communicate. But only do that for a season or so and not let that be long-term. In the end, you may need to try some churches that are new to both of you. Plenty of couples face problems in this area. But if the problem is not whether to go to church, but where, you can count your blessings. 

Remember that God gives headship to the husband. As the wife supports him in his spiritual leadership, it will grow him as a man. So if a husband feels strongly in this area, the wife might do well to allow him that leadership. She could still have other spiritual needs met through attending a women’s Bible study at another church. The point is, let’s make this Sunday morning thing work and trust God for the outcome. Scripture that says a house divided will fall. If your children are in the backseat of your car and they’re watching mom and dad go different directions on Sunday morning, they’re going to get this lost feeling when it comes to having faith and a relationship in God. Husband and wife need to pull together—for the sake of their marriage and for the sake of their kids. 

For more helpful marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It's available in our online bookstore!