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Resenting Church

(14 Posts)
PaulMcGannsMistress Thu 09-Jan-14 19:08:58

I'm not a believer - DP is. We've recently started going to a new church, which, to be fair, is a lot better than our old one for a lot of inclusive, cuddly reasons. But I hardly see him now - on top of three weekly visits to the gym, which I really don't mind, he does youth club, men's group and worship team. Couple that with a couple of clubs for the kids which he ferries them to, there isn't a night in the week where I don't see him before 10, and he's always knackered. Plus there's worship team practoice on Saturday afternoon, and obviously Sunday mornings and evenings. I feel like we have no actual life together that doesn't revolve around the piggin church.

I don't want to be mean to him - he believes what he believes and that's fine, and I'm fine with him wanting to express that. I guess I'm just feeling neglected and it's hard to not feel resentment towards the church. Any advice, from believers or non-believers, welcome.

Rosieres Thu 09-Jan-14 20:24:08

It's very good that you give him space to be involved in church things, but it sounds like he is taking it too far. Along with the gym 3 nights a week that's a lot of time away from you and the family. DP and I are very involved in our local church, but only have one regular thing taking out an evening each week. DP also plays in the music team, but the practice is before church on Sunday so DP can go in a bit earlier and I come along for the start of the service with the kids. We only do one service on a Sunday, unless there is something special on and just one of us (usually DP) goes in as an extra treat. I don't mind when this happens, it is usually DPs way of de-stressing before the start of a busy working week.

You probably need to have a chat with DP about getting the balance right. Involvement in church life will change over time, and while you have children it is important to make family time together and not get drawn into too many church things. There is also a strand in the New Testament of new believers making sure they honour the family situations they had before they came to faith, making sure that they don't dive completely into the community of the church but honour their responsibilities to elderly relatives, spouses, children, etc.

cloutiedumpling Thu 09-Jan-14 21:32:51

I think it is great that you are so supportive of your DH. My DH and I had a similar situation. After discussion DH decided to buy a free weights set. It doesn't take up much space and means that he can exercise at home. This wouldn't be the answer for everyone, but does mean that we see more of each other. Alternatively, could your DH go to the gym before work, or during his lunch hour so that you could still have the evenings together? Or get some exercise by cycling to work?

He might worry that he'd be letting people down if he scaled down some of the church related activities. In my experience (both DH and I are Christians) people are very understanding and are aware that children do take up a lot of time and energy. Stepping back doesn't have to be forever, just until things are easier and perhaps the kids are more independent.

I've seen people on mumsnet say that they have a regular "date" night. It doesn't have to mean that they go out, just that they set time aside to spend time together and perhaps have a meal or a bottle of wine. We haven't tried this as such but it might work for you.

If you don't mind me asking, do you get any time just for you? I found I became less resentful of DH being out of the house all the time when I had planned some activities that were just for me.

PaulMcGannsMistress Fri 10-Jan-14 09:09:07

Thanks smile No, I don't have an evening to myself - well, I do, I have every evening all to myself after the kids have gone to bed. But I don't really know anyone in terms of friendships to go out with, tbh. Date night used to happen but he's so busy these days it's taken a hit. We had an argument last night and he didn't go to Worship practice, but that's no good.

Ragwort Fri 10-Jan-14 09:20:11

Why don't you develop some hobbies and interests of your own rather than expecting your DH to fulfill your needs - I don't mean that unkindly. To be honest I know so many bored couples who don't seem to do anything that I think it is great your DH is so involved in community work. smile. But yes, perhaps the balance is a little wrong, does your DH need reminding of his christian duty to respect his marriage wink.

PaulMcGannsMistress Fri 10-Jan-14 09:54:12

Well I do have interests - I write and help out at the food bank and parenting courses at the church during the day, but he's at work then anyway.

Bumpsadaisie Fri 10-Jan-14 10:23:13

Life as a Christian is a question of balancing things in a holistic way. Many people burn out or neglect parts of their life as they feel a drive to do everything and be involved in everything. Many clergy marriages break down as it is difficult to feel OK about setting appropriate boundaries.

If he were my DH I would be saying that he needs to change the balance of his activities a bit. Not seeing your OH till 10pm most nights is no way to sustain a relationship, which is as much as an expression of faith as any of the other activities he is involved in.

HoneyandRum Fri 10-Jan-14 11:31:14

From a Catholic perspective marriage is a Sacrament and a vocation, it is one of the ways that we can draw closer to God - in fact a path to God which uses the stuff of ordinary live to help us grow in love and forgiveness. We also have a concept of the Domestic church - whether married or single, with children or without

From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers "together with all their household" (Acts 18:8). Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The church is nothing other than "the family of God".
Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Domestic Church 1655

The home is where faith is nurtured and grows and marriage is considered a sacred union in which the couple minster God's love to each other and their children. It is therefore the highest priority - definitely a higher priority than any church commitment other than Sunday Obligation. How can a family learn to be a Chrsitian family if they are never together? How can children learn what a loving marriage looks like if their parents are constantly apart? I know many very involved Catholics with many ministries within the church and there can always be a struggle with balancing enough family time but marriage and family is always put ahead of all other commitments.

In this case though the balance is completly out of whack. The first place your DH should be ministering to is his wife and children - they are always the first community before the wider community that we have a obligation of love and service to. I don't think the OP just getting herself some more hobbies is the solution. No Christian worthy of the name should be out until 10pm every night seperated from their family (unless for emergency or absolute necessity). I think you and your DH need to sit down and figure out a much more balanced solution that is a loving response to all the family's needs. I think 3 nights at the gym is too much and also he is in way too many ministries and neglecting his family. I would suggest one ministry - maybe music. Then cut back the gym to maybe twice a week and those times should be in the same days/times as music so that he has 3-4 days (at least) completely free of outside commitments.

Also why not do a service project with your DH or the whole family?

Strong opinion, me? grin

HoneyandRum Fri 10-Jan-14 12:43:06

Despite my long reply I'm not finished! When rereading your first post OP I am not surprised you feel resentful. Each one of those ministries/ areas: youth group, worship and men's group are very big commitments on their own. Each area involves a lot of work and time commitment. He's almost making an idol of the church because he's missing the point of his calling as a Christian - we don't have to be Jesus! The world and church won't collapse if he's not signing up for everything he feels called to do.

An issue with Christians sometimes is not choosing between something positive and negative but choosing between many, many good and wonderful services we can be offering the church and community. However, we have to learn to discern what is God truly asking of us and what are HIS priorities. Marriage and family is your DHs first and most essential commitment and the usual way that God draws us closer to him and helps us to learn to die to ourselves and be more fully filled with the Holy Spirit in so many ways. An example; making sacrifices at times out of love. If a ministry is going to remove us constantly from the life of our family to the point that, as you say you "have no actual life together outside the piggin church" then WE ARE NOT BEING CALLED to that ministry! Your first vocation is to your marriage and family. Any other commitment that takes you away from your spouse and family needs to be discussed and agreed upon. If he is announcing that he "has to" go to a bunch of church functions and commitments without you both discussing it and agreeing amicably then already he is working against his marriage.

And to be doing youth work and not seeing enough of his own kids is another Red Flag. In Christian terms God has given you each other and your children are also a gift from God. It is very serious to turn your back on and neglect the people God has given us to personally love and care for.

There is tons of Catholic writing, books and teaching on the vocation of marriage and family and I could point you to some of them but I'm guessing that you may not be Catholic so I'm not sure of the resources you could use to help him see sense. I'm sure there is plenty in scripture about it though, so if I have time I might try and find some good examples.

I can't quite imagine Joseph being out at temple every night until 10pm because it was more important than being at home with Mary and Jesus though!

springysofa Fri 10-Jan-14 19:50:30

Yep, he's getting this REALLY wrong!

You're resenting the wrong thing (iyswim), it's not the church at fault here, it's him. YOu and the family should be coming way up the list of his priorities, instead you're way down at the bottom - his bad, not the church's.

...unless the church aren't keeping an eye on him, or don't realise how much he's neglecting his family (in which case it's time to step in and say now look, your family come first before all this) but they probably don't know he goes to the gym 3 nights a week.

I'd be very pissed off with him iiwy. Big restructuring needed here.

minniemagoo Fri 10-Jan-14 19:59:48

No way would our minister allow that much commitment from someone without touching base with the family etc to ensure it is the correct thing to do. Church is supposed to be there to be your Christian support and Community but your own family should be nurtured first and your own more intimate relationship with God. Sometimes people get carried away doing the good works and neglect the relationships around us. Maybe discuss the importance of breaking bread together with your Dh and family and focus on increasing that time.

PaulMcGannsMistress Sat 11-Jan-14 14:32:50

Well, we had a chat, and he's dropping the mens thing, and scaling back his commitments to the worship team, i.e., not going every single week so he can actually sit with us in church too. Thanks for the advice.

PedroYoniLikesCrisps Wed 15-Jan-14 07:47:47

Ummm. I'm sorry. What the actual is worship team?! I thought I had a reasonable guess until I saw worship team practice...... is this a sport?

PaulMcGannsMistress Wed 15-Jan-14 18:59:06

grin Pedro... worship team is the music group that plays the songs and hymns in the church services.

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