More and more women complain that they have to push, plead and drag to get their husbands to church every Sunday. Why do some men prefer sleeping in after a hard night of drinking on Saturday than going out to praise the Lord? As a wife, how do you get them to understand the significance of going to church and start acting their age as far as the issue is concerned? Akossa Mphepo tries to get some answers from family expert and columnist Patrick Semphere.
Are you one of those women whose husband would rather Ã¢â‚¬Å“drop you offÃ¢â‚¬Â at church and Ã¢â‚¬Å“pick you upÃ¢â‚¬Â when the service is over? Do you find yourself enviously looking at couples that go to church together, sit together and even share a hymn-book? You are not alone. A lot of women find themselves in the same predicament, if the complaints they make are anything to go by.
Matilda Gwede* (not her real) is one of these women. She says she canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t remember the last time she and her husband went to church together.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I got tired of dragging him with me every Sunday and finally gave up. I also felt he was being hypocritical because each time he attended (at my insistence), he would look so bored throughout the service.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Gwede says because her husband has no interest in attending Wednesday prayers, they have not been able to form relationships as a couple with other church members.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Midweek prayers have only been held twice at our house and both occasions were awkward because my husband could not observe proper etiquette. I really wish he had more interest in church and in embracing our congregation,Ã¢â‚¬Â she laments.
According to family columnist Patrick Semphere, going to church can be motivated by several factors. The first is a purely social interest where individuals simply want to have a sense of belonging. The second could be psychological such as trying to secure a decent burial upon death. The third is a spiritual motivation; an internal drive to nurture oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s spiritual life.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“While all these factors are legitimate, the most important one is the spiritual one. Church is not simply a social club or a burial society. It is the body of Christ and therefore demands that those associating with it should have some Christ-like identity.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“If a wife is struggling to have her husband go to church, the question to ask is Ã‚Â whether she has a compelling reason why her husband should go to church. Does she herself demonstrate a lifestyle that has been transformed through her churchgoing or is it simply to belong to a church?Ã¢â‚¬Â Semphere queries.
He says the key would be to pursue an inside-out motivation. When Christ, who is the Ã¢â‚¬Å“founderÃ¢â‚¬Â the church, is the centre of oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s life, then church attendance will be meaningful and inviting. The tug-of-war will cease if each of the spouses sees church as the life-giving Ã¢â‚¬Å“fuel stationÃ¢â‚¬Â that is indispensable for a sustained spiritual journey.
But how can couples achieve this?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Praying together as a family is the first step, as it cements the family unit. In our society, there are ferocious attacks on the family from all angles. Media entertainment can impute harmful values on the family where children may want to relate more with the TV than with parents. Praying together will help fight these negative forces and glue the family together with the love of the Lord.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Praying together with other church members has the benefit of broadening our family horizon as we appreciate the bigger picture of what God is doing in our lives. We then identify our role in being of service to the larger community as we plug into what the church is doing both spiritually and socially. We fully appreciate our role as salt and light of the community as we fulfil our role through our diverse gifts and capabilities,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Semphere.
So, the next time your hubby makes a show of not wanting to go to church, start from the bottom up; ask him to say a prayer with you.