If you go to church without your spouse, how do you deal with unmet expectations?

Church Alone AdobeStock_68422967 copy Please answer this question by leaving a comment below

(To see previous questions, visit our archive)

This is a simple question posed, for a very important reason. The reason we pose it is because so many spouses are in the position of going to church without their spouse. They don’t want to, but it’s either a matter of going alone, or not going at all. So we’re asking you, if you go to church without your spouse, what helps you? What has God, and others spoken to you that helps?

Concerning this question, Dr Ralph F. Wilson wrote:

“A sense of responsibility for her children’s faith is what motivated Dyann. “One Sunday morning I realized that my six-year- old had never been to church or Sunday school,” she said. “I know I can’t give her my faith, but I am responsible to help her learn about Jesus so she’ll be able to develop her own faith as she grows. To rob her of a knowledge of God would be even worse than robbing her of the ability to learn to read.” Dyann and her daughter, Lisa, have been attending church ever since. (From the Joyfulheart.com article, “Should Wives Go To Church Without Their Husbands?”)

This is something to prayerfully consider.

Also, Before Answering Our Question:

Here’s a piece of advice written by Desiree S. Coleman, that you may find helpful:

“In being true to yourself, explain to your spouse why your faith is important to you. Likewise, express your desire for a united family. And communicate how you would love to have a shared commitment to faith. And then, as cliche as it sounds, you will have to let go and let God do the work. Realize that the spiritual walk involves spiritual things. In other words, at a certain point, there is only so much that you can do and say. At that point, you will have to activate your faith and believe God to draw your spouse unto Him. And don’t lose hope when it seems like nothing is happening. Because when you’ve exhausted all your options and handed it to God, that’s when you realize He has been at work all along. (From the Blackandmarriedwithkids.com article, “5 Things To Do If Your Spouse Won’t Come To Church”)

And Lastly:

The following is some advice that Lynn Donovan gives from her own personal experience:

“Here are some lessons I’ve learned through sitting alone in church. One, I’m not the only one. My spiritual mismatched allowed me to see many others who don’t fit in. My heart is drawn to those who are alone, even those who feel alone but ARE sitting with a spouse. And my friends, churches are filled with these kinds of people who pretend their marriage is perfect. It’s simply not true. Every marriage, including your pastor’s will struggle, even greatly struggle at some point. It’s just different from yours.

“Allow yourself to set aside your loneliness and pain and truly look around you. It’s likely your training here at SUM and through the Word will allow you to speak love and truth into some other misfit who is sitting in the sanctuary. And that my friends, is exactly what delights the heart of God. BTW: Ultimately we will discover we are all misfits and that is exactly what God intends!!! (From the Spirituallyunequallyyokedmarriage.com article, “Going to Church Alone”)

Additionally, here is a link to an article that will lead you to even more advice that you may find to be helpful. We encourage you to read:


Now, once again, the question we’re posing. We hope you can give some insights to help others as you answer it:

If you go to church without your spouse, how do you deal with unmet expectations?

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Filed under: Question of the Month Spiritual Matters Unbelieving Spouse

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186 responses to “If you go to church without your spouse, how do you deal with unmet expectations?

  1. Hi. My wife and I love the Lord Jesus, been married for over 25 years. Just over ten years ago I had a problem with the then worship leader. I felt I had been unjustly turned on. I only asked privately we should pray before we practice worship; that’s when I was turned on, so I lifted my keyboard and walked out. It hurt when my wife stayed, I think I am over it, but now and again it comes up. I get envious of other couples, I feel so alone. It seems where we could grow together, we seem to be growing apart. I understand that God put us together; need help, Colin.

  2. My husband and I have been married for two years, and dated for two years prior to marriage. I knew when I met him that he was a believer in Christ and that most of our Christian values aligned. This, as well as the puppy love stage I was in (and honestly still am in if I’m being 100 percent honest), caused me to overlook some differences that now are forcing me to let go and let God take the lead, because I cannot carry the burden on myself anymore.

    Here are the differences I over looked. We both grew up in Christian homes with one parent who was raised catholic and the other Lutheran. In my family’s instance, my parents became a united front and my mom converted to Lutheranism and she has always said it was one of the best decisions she made in her entire life. In my husband’s family, his parents chose to raise him Catholic; however, he attended church only with his mother, 75 percent of the time. My husband told me, “My dad feels church is a hoax. God is everywhere, why does someone need to be in a building where half of the people don’t have a real faith anyway. God is all around us. You just have to look for him.” My father in law is a kind man who will do anything he can to help anyone; however, church has not been a part of his life since he was in his late teens and he had some negative experiences.

    I bet you can guess the rest. Growing up in a home where church and prayer was a part of daily and weekly life for me, I find church to be important, and I even feel pangs of guilt when I don’t attend or forget to pray, like I am missing something very important in my life. My husband on the other hand has taken his father’s perspective and I have heard many times a similar outlook to the way he describes his father’s faith.

    I am a very stubborn person; my husband lovingly tells me that all the time. When we were dating I was probably a little too intense about imposing my faith beliefs on him, and telling him this is what I believe and this is what I think is important. I think in my mind it was my way of telling him, this is what you get with me and it is not changing because my faith, my God, and church are a very important part of my life.

    I also am a Lutheran school teacher and have been almost the entire time I have known my husband. He supports this, though he doesn’t approve of the lower salary I receive and the extra hours I spend working. He knows it is important to me however, so he supports me and encourages me to do what I love. I love and admire this about my husband.

    My husband has taken steps forward in his outward visible church life to make me happy. He joined the church I teach at, and while we were dating made an effort to attend church services with me whenever we were together on a Sunday. However, I had the hunch then, and know certainly now he was not doing those things for himself, but rather for me. This continued our first few months of marriage, and I told myself, it was okay he was going to church for me. Going to church for me was a start, and at least then there was some feeding of his faith occurring and God could use this to continue to grow my husbands faith and understanding of his faith.

    However, slowly over the last year and half, my husband has been finding more and more excuses as to why he can’t go to church with me. I kindly ask him each week, but don’t nag. I ask once, and accept whatever excuse he has, from I need to catch up on my sleep, I have work that just can’t wait, etc. I accept these. I don’t nag, I don’t ask again, but rather I go by myself. I don’t let him see the tears as I drive to church week after week alone, sit alone, and sometimes feel more alone than I should in the house of God.

    We talk about our faith sometimes, and I have even gone as far as to ask him where he would like to go to church, and have talked to my pastor at my current church letting him know that I may not be in attendance as frequently as my husband and I try to find a good fit for both of us (trust me that conversation took a lot of courage to have and was uncomfortable at times). I want both of us to be comfortable at a church, and I want us to be a united front in our faith for our future children’s sake. I have a terrible fear of being the mom in church with two plus kids while her husband is nowhere in sight.
    On a happy note, I have seen growth in my husband’s faith since I met him. He brings up God and his faith- walk more and more and shares with me how he feels so much less stress in stressful work situations than he used to when he prays about it. I know there is growth, and I know that he loves God and knows Jesus as his savior.

    Many of my friends tell me I should be happy with that. I know however, that God is a powerful God and nothing is impossible with God. I know I need to set my hopes and dreams aside however, and let God do his work in his way and in his time. I will never give up hope. As my little Kindergartners remind me each day with our school theme this year, “Our God is an Awesome God!”

    1. A man once asked an Orthodox Priest: “God is everywhere, why do I need to go to Church?”. The priest replied, “The atmosphere is full of water vapor, but if you want to drink you have to go to the well.”

  3. The word says that as the unbeliever accepts the believers faith he will be be sanctified through the believer so it is awkward not having a spouse with me at church; but as a child of God I can’t let anything ever separate me from the love of God. And your spouse had to accept that and maybe he or she will be drawn by your spirit.

  4. I have been going to church without my spouse for 19 years but I am still believing for his salvation. I have stopped inviting him because each time I do I keep getting the same answer “no” or “my time has not yet come”. I have stopped trying to make him come to church with us (my children and I).

    I have asked God to change me; I asked to be changed for God to renew a right spirit in me and strengthened me and I also pray for my husband’s salvation and I notice I am no longer angry that my husband is not coming to church with us.

    When we have a family problem I tell him I am going to pray about it and he is welcome to join me. My husband is coming to kneel down with me as I pray and I hold his hand. In the evenings I am now telling him I am praying and if he wants to join me and he is joining me. God is moving in ways I had not planned and I praise Him. We need to let God deal with His children and get out of the way.

    1. We are Jewish. I was Bat Mitzvah’d at age 12 (coming of age) whereas my husband had very little to no Jewish education or faith. We raised our only son in the Jewish faith who was Bar Mitvah’d at age 13. This certainly brought the gap closer for us because of the required family participation to prepare.

      When we moved to CO 9 years ago we joined a synagogue hoping to meet new people only for it to be shattered by destructive political views at the time, which caused us to walk away and not look back. However now we are empty nesters and I am personally seeking a new community for myself especially with the High Holidays fast approaching. I so miss the prayers and music from my childhood.

      1. Oh Alyssa, I pray God will lead you to a community of faith that will draw you and your family closer to Him. That may be difficult to do in these challenging times, but we will join you in prayer for this. Please don’t give up. God is seeking you as you are seeking Him.

        May “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26) Also, may: “The blessing of the LORD be upon you! We bless you in the name of the LORD! (Psalm 129:8)

  5. My husband wants me to go to cult church. He says he’s the man and I should follow him. What should I do? I’m not of that cult religion. I’m against it. God is restoring my marriage but still he wants what he wants to do because I always do things my way.

  6. I go to church alone because I need to be in church, praying and being around fellow Christians who love me, guide me and uplift me. I am working on a closer relationship with God. I am working on wanting a marriage where arguments are fair and not one sided. I want to grow in my walk with God. If I do that alone then so be it. I can’t change him, but I can pray for him.

  7. So how I deal with disappoint in my marriage concerning my husband not going to church and not walking with me in Christ? It is through a lot of prayer and support from my close friends. Although as more time goes by it is becoming more discouraging. And my husband not only doesn’t come to church with me but he practices another religion. I have been standing and praying for almost 25 years now. The struggle is real. But I know my God will come through!

  8. My husband and I had been in the same church for over 25 years. My husband died 13 months ago. I can never see myself going back in that church without my husband. Why do I feel this way?

    1. I’m so sorry. I don’t have an answer for you, but I know a family friend who took a while to go back alone but she did it and goes every week now multiple times. Losing him was a lot for her and also seeing my mom lose my dad earlier this year to covid I understand how hard it can be. I’ll be praying for you. I’m sorry. 😔

  9. Hi – Before we started dating we talked about our differences; I am Catholic and I am not sure about his religion At first I thought he is a Christian. We talk and I told him I won’t follow his church ever. Then he called his spiritual brother and I was convinced maybe I will join if God allows me. Unfortunately before I could join him I fell pregnant. His church leaders blame me for his business failure; they even said its because his involvement with me NOT knowing it started before I came to the picture because they will go to his salon without paying. About half of the church and the money he made went to the church until he was bankrupt and couldn’t even afford to pay his workers and what owed the landlord where he rented the salon.

    I came and tried to rescue him but it was fiasco. They were no where to be found when he needed them the most. He was hired by another company to sell public phones and it was successful by that time we were blessed with two kids and he paid lobola and we were about to be married and boom they were on to him again saying he should come back to church and they don’t care about me or they already have someone who agreed to marry him with my kids but he refused and told them he loves me and wants to marry me and they told him he should come without me.

    We fought a lot and 6 weeks before wedding he told my Mother to hold on wedding arrangements because we fought over his church interfering in our life.When my Sister passed away he came as if nothing was wrong and I ask him what happened acting as my husband to and he said the wedding is on again and I told him to go and tell my mother that . Our house was paid up in town and I was not working as I resigned so we combine our money and bought our house and wedding continue as planned.

    After six months his church leaders call him again and ask him to come so they can bless our marriage certificate and I didn’t get it but my mother told me to go and to my surprise they want me to be baptized first before blessing our marriage and I have a list of things I should pay every month when I ask about that money they told me that I shouldn’t question anything then I told them I can not afford that money since I’m working alone my husband was not working and they said it doesn’t matter I will pay double the following month and I ask why must I owe the church according to my knowledge; I should pay my tithe according to what I earn and yes I know also about offerings but they said if I question them I am going to suffer my whole life and secondly if I refused to be baptized and they insulted and dismissed us . My husband looked for another church and we fellowship with them I even serve to the church, we will go with our kids to my surprise on Sunday we go the church and on Saturday he will attend his old church secretly and I ask why . He apologized and promised never to go.

    My problem with his old church is they told you what to do in your home it doesn’t matter what you want as a couple, all the money goes to church; he even took money for electricity and owe people’s money which I don’t know anything about it until we lost our house and became Homeless, owing a lot of people. When I question him there’s no answer. We rented a house and I worked part time far from home. Sometimes he only buys bread and potatoes for the kids the whole week. He’s not helping the kids with homework and they started misbehaving at school and they are failing at school. He is never there for the kids always in church and spend all the money I sent to him to take care of the house hold and kids and NOW he agreed that he went back to his old church and he’s not backing up. I prayed and comes to a point where I don’t say anything to him I put my trust to GOD but I don’t want my hard earned money to go to that church. Please help. Am I selfish and he is not helping financially the little he got he spent all his money to the church. To him church comes first he doesn’t care about his family and now I’m considering divorce because I am not happy but I love him and they even told him at church to divorce me but he never agreed to that telling them he loved me and the kids. We don’t argue with anything else except his church. Thank you

    1. I’ve read your comments and may I suggest you remain prayerful and ask God to search your heart and show you what can be done in this situation? Ask Him to give you wisdom especially when it comes to taking care of yourself and your children. Pray for your husband ask God to soften his heart and believe that you and he can be on one accord, going in the direction that is best for the family as a whole. I pray that God will show you the best way to handle this situation and may he grant you and your grace, peace, and safety.

    2. My husband and I have been married for two years. I visited his church with him while we dated but I was not very comfortable there. He has been there for over 20 years and would like for me to join. His ex-wife has several friends there (although she doesn’t attend, she pops up randomly). Some of the members give him weird looks and don’t even speak to him. I just don’t feel this is not a place where I want to worship nor join. I am not asking him to leave his church because I know he is comfortable there. I personally have not had a church home in a while but I view church services online. Many people say that I should join his church but why should I join somewhere that I am not comfortable?