Sounds crazy, I know but the truth is I never ask my husband if he wants to come to church with me. I wake up on Sunday mornings, get myself and the kids ready without ever asking him to come. There is no, “Hey, will you be ready to leave in 10 minutes?” or “What service do you want to go to?” or “what do we want to do after church today?”
I simply get our children ready and if he wants to come- great. And if he doesn’t? Well, that’s okay too.
You want to know what the crazy thing is? More times than not he is showered and helping me with our children so that we can all leave on time together, as a family. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times, of lately, when he hasn’t been at worship with us. He is now the one driving our family on Sundays.
For some couples, I’m sure church is implied. Both husband and wife attend together as family. For others, it’s simply known that it has no part of Sunday’s agenda.
For a while, Mike would come with me, but it was begrudgingly and primarily to make me happy. While I admire him putting my needs above his, it wasn’t exactly a willing heart. Or a heart filled with want either.
Looking back, I can understand why. I grew up in the Episcopal church- we attended services regularly. As in it’s just what we did every Sunday morning. Mike, on the other hand, didn’t have a lot to do with church growing up. He was baptized and called himself Catholic but Sunday worship was far from the norm for him. He argued that he could experience God just as well while fishing as he could sitting among the beautiful jewel-colored stained glass windows.
I can remember calling my University of Alabama roommate, Hope, shortly after Mike and I were were married in the Episcopal church. She got married exactly one year before me and was my friend that (tried) kept me on the straight and narrow during sorority fun-filled weekends. I complained to her how Mike never wanted to go to church with me. How I was always having to “drag him” there. I was fearful the whole ‘church thing’ was going to be a long road.
I can remember vividly what Hope told me. She said, “Garrett, it doesn’t matter what church you go to so long as you go together.”
The church we were attending at the time was the same church where my grandparents were members, where my father grew up and the very church where I was baptized and confirmed. I had just assumed he and I would raise our children in the same church. After all, I was the only one who mainly went.
Hearing Hope say this was an a-ha moment for me, a dig her heels into the ground gal. She was right. Mike felt like it was my church- not necessarily the church for us. For him, it was too ritualistic (even for a non-affiliated Catholic!).
I had to be willing to walk away from my beautiful, comfortable building so that he and I could walk together as one.
We ‘shopped’ for a new church home, and found one immediately where we both felt at home.
This didn’t change the fact that I was still married to an avid outdoors man who much preferred Columbia shirts and deer stands to starched shirts and hymns.
Years went by of the same old thing. Me asking for him to please come to church with me- to the church where we had become members. Mike, being the great husband that he is, obliged.
Until one day, I had an epiphany. Why was I asking him to come with me? He is a grown man capable of making his own decisions. I no longer wanted him to be there unless he wanted to. I decided right then and there I was no longer going to even ask.
The Lord did an amazing thing to him too- from that point forward, when I released that expectation, he now enjoys taking his family to worship on Sundays. He wants to be there. Not just for me but because he wants to.
I am so proud of him taking on the head of the household role and leading our family. When I over hear him explaining to our children why this is something we do as a family on Sundays, it is yet another reminder of the things God can do in our lives. It easy for me to think I can change people if I put forth enough effort, when the truth is, only God can really do that.