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Going to Church on Sundays

(226 Posts)
EdithSimcox Sun 12-Jul-15 11:01:52

Question for Christians obviously: How important is it to you to be able to go to church on Sunday?

I have recently refound faith after an absence of 25 years. My DP is finding it impossible to accept. I've been trying to find ways of being as unobtrusive as possible about it - including going to church near the office on a weekday lunchtime so as not to disrupt our family weekends. But I do want to go to church on Sundays sometimes - I want a 'home' church, to be part of a regular congregation, to sing hymns, to feel part of a church family (DP would really shudder at that one). In the last 8 weeks I've managed to go twice. I wasn't going today anyway because I knew 2 weeks in a row would really tip her over the edge. But this morning she asked me to agree never to go on Sundays. I said it was too big an ask to try and bounce me into and she had a sort of panic attack (I don't know if that's a technical thing, but it's definitely a physical panic/pain response she has - which she is having therapy to deal with but she thinks may never go away)

I do want to put her and the DC first, and I am prepared to compromise, but I was thinking more like going once or twice a month, not never. But she says I can pray anywhere and go to church in the week, so it's not a big thing to ask at all.

As a compromise I'm think I'm going to agree not to go until September, but that won't be enough I'm sure.

What do you think?

capsium Sun 12-Jul-15 11:10:42


capsium Sun 12-Jul-15 11:24:04

Sorry pressed post too soon.

I think what matters is what you feel the need to do, in terms of your faith.

"5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.(Romans 14: 5-9 NIV)

You might, out of compassion for your partner, limit your Sunday church attendance or at least tread carefully. However it does sound like she is completely emotionally blackmailing you, which is wrong and unfair.

Personally I think you have done brilliantly so far negotiating what must be very difficult. I would make each decision as it arises. You could say you will continue to attend during the week for now but there may be a time in the future when you want to attend a Sunday service or not mention the future. Who knows what the future brings? Are there any groups during the week you could attend?

What I would say though is that the behaviour you have described is a dysfunctional, desperate response and cannot be allowed to continue forever - otherwise you could become a slave to it.

Tuo Sun 12-Jul-15 11:51:45

In haste, sorry, but personally it seems to me that it's not the day that matters, but the thing you've already identified... the belonging to a community. Christianity is a faith grounded in community and in engagement with others, and you're missing that to some degree if you lack a 'home' church.

It seems obvious to suggest that every other week would be a fair compromise. Is there something DP would like to do on the 'non-church' weeks which you could facilitate?

legohurtswhenyoustandonit Sun 12-Jul-15 13:10:11

Or is there an early morning or evening service you could attend which may fit in more easily with family life?

EdithSimcox Sun 12-Jul-15 13:21:47

There is an early morning service but (1) as with lunchtime weekday services it's harder to get that sense of worship in community in a congregation of 5 and (2) she would still know I was going so it would still be in her face - though less inconvenient I grant you.

EdithSimcox Sun 12-Jul-15 13:30:26

caps thanks for your response, sorry for the NC; I don't know what I need for my faith exactly - I wouldn't say my beliefs are that well defined just yet.

Which is why I ask how important Sundays are to other Christians... ?

tuo I wish...
Sundays are a real mixed bag for us; we often see friends, go away, or whatever. In fact the reason I said I'd agree not until sept is because we're busy or away every weekend over the summer anyway. By September I'm hoping we'll be getting over this, but at the current rate of progress that's definitely not a given. sad

capsium Sun 12-Jul-15 13:51:25

Edith the thing is I am not sure I personally am a typical example as don't attend a regular Sunday service and don't have a regular pattern of church attendance. I tend to worship at home, throughout the day. I pray throughout my day and remember God in the music I hear and sometimes sing. Even when I do housework and clean I often think of Him cleasing us spiritually - sorry if this sounds too wierd. I share my faith and fellowship with people day to day, informally, on these boards for example or in general conversation with people in real life.

But then in real life I have been used to moving around a bit and have experienced being a bit socially isolated, partly due to this and as a result of my DC having had some SENs. This has unfortunately meant we weren't invited to as many events or some events would have been difficult to manage, especially when my DC was younger. So I am used to worshipping on a more ad hoc basis.

capsium Sun 12-Jul-15 13:52:13

Cleansing. Typo.

Solo Sun 12-Jul-15 14:11:08

In answer to your question; I prefer to go on a Saturday evening. That's more my choice now because my Parish has changed so much, is extremely well attended (big Church and standing room only!) and I don't want to be rushing around on a Sunday morning. Generally, we go on Sundays for the school mass once a month because I feel bullied into doing so by the school.

Could you compromise by going every two or three weeks? I hope you can resolve it. Do you have Dc's? I wonder if your Dp is worried you'll drag the kids into attending/becoming religious.

EdithSimcox Sun 12-Jul-15 15:18:24

Hi solo yes 3 DC but I'm not moving the goalposts for them.
And frankly I have enough trouble with my own faith to even attempt to bring them into it! There's no Saturday night service here but even if there were that would be even worse for DP.

CaptainHolt Sun 12-Jul-15 15:25:22

It's really important to me. Not for God, who I don't imagine cares all that much, but because it's my faith community and you can't be part of a community if you aren't there. If I'm on holiday I don't always go.

capsium Sun 12-Jul-15 15:33:28

Captain I console myself that I can still do good, share my faith and fellowship amongst the wider Christian community, even though I may not be a regular member of a particular place of worship. Technology allows us to communicate with many people also. Although I can see why many people value being part of a particular church's community.

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 12-Jul-15 15:48:08

Some of the Catholic churches do a "Sunday" mass on a Saturday evening.

I have to go to church on Sundays but then I'm the vicar so people sort of expect it!

When my children were tiny and I was exploring this faith thing I used to go to a midweek service and that was the only one I went to for about 5 years or so. Looking back I think a lot of that was about not disrupting my husband's Sunday routine with the children as he was working very long hours at the time and wanted Sunday to be family time.

You might want to look at some of the faith communities online such as St Pixels or I-church or some of the resources from places such as St Aiden and St Hilda's.

EdithSimcox Sun 12-Jul-15 18:04:15

Thanks Greenheart I will check them out. Do you think SIBU? or am I?

capsium Sun 12-Jul-15 18:48:34

Do you think SIBU? or am I?

Well you can imagine the response on the relationships board! Some of what you describe reminds me of the cultural anecdote of someone having one of their 'turns' when they are challenged with anything they don't want, although I think this sounds more deep than that.

Regarding reasonable, some atheists I am sure would say, faith is unreasonable by definition. So,in one respect, whether you are being reasonable or not is not the question.

You could try and view it in terms of having time to indulge a 'hobby' or 'interest' from a unbeliever's perspective. How much time do you allow each other for this? Of course religious faith is much more from a believer's perspective, it becomes part of you.

The crux is, I think, that when you visit church during the day, during the week, your partner does not have to face you having faith in such a life changing way. It does not impinge on her life in any obvious way, until faith alters you - which will undoubtedly be a scary prospect for her as she fell in love with you before you explored your faith. This is why treading carefully is a way of acting in love and Christ is love. However going so far as to indulge her in her fear is not acting in love IMO. So I think I am saying tread carefully and compromise whilst still developing your faith - which you are doing.

Luke 1:37 says:
"For with God nothing shall be impossible." (KJV)

BackforGood Sun 12-Jul-15 19:04:48

It's extremely important to me. I belong to the whole community that is my Church, and they are like a family to me.

Yes, I could (do) pray on my own at home, and I suppose if i were more disciplined I could follow some kind of bible study (although i prefer to do that with other people and get wider views) but i love hearing the organ playing and being part of a larger body of people singing together - it's just so uplifting to song with others. Then i like being challenged and educated by sermons. Crucially though, its the community for me.

However, what concerns me is the fact that your dp seems to think it's acceptable to stop you from going shock
If dh wanted to go to something I didn't, then we would reach a compromise about how often that would work best for us all. Same as he would for me. It is not a very healthy relationship if one partner dictates what the other can/can't do hmm

EdithSimcox Sun 12-Jul-15 20:46:10

backforgood she doesn't really think it's ok to dictate what I can do. She knows what she's asking is unreasonable. She is just desperate. This is genuinely really hard for her. I don't think the 'relationships board' response would help us here - she's not a bastard and I don't want to leave her. And I have been told by several atheists that her response to my faith is completely what they would do too. So I'm trying to be completely reasonable and generous and, dare I say it, Christian, in my response to her - it's just sometimes I don't know how far I should go...

capsium Sun 12-Jul-15 21:03:07

Edith I don't think the relationships board would necessarily have the answer for you here, either.

I think the considerations you are trying to bear in mind, regarding your decision are Christian. You want to act in love, towards your DP, towards God and do what is right which means being considerate but not overly indulgent towards your DP. This is a balancing act. IMO there is room within the Christian Faith to allow for this.

FybilSalty Sun 12-Jul-15 21:12:35

This mail ght sound nuts but would she go with you once? I came to faith a few years ago and DH a staunch agnostic, and I was petrified as my mum's coming to faith was the final straw in her and my dad's marriage, and was terrified it would do the same to us.

DH was thankfully open minded and now loves going to Church. He still does not believe and is open about it and is totally accepted anyway. He loves the sense of Community and singing, and realised it wasn't the threat we both thought it would be.

I wonder if you could get DP to go in once she may feel less threatened so you could come to a compromise.

EdithSimcox Sun 12-Jul-15 21:48:26

Ha! fybil I honestly think she would rather die!

BackforGood Sun 12-Jul-15 23:08:17

She knows what she's asking is unreasonable. She is just desperate

Sorry, I don't understand what you mean by this. Desperate about what?

As Capsium said - surely this could be viewed as a hobby or interest by your dp if they think religion is a load of poppycock. Would she try to stop you going to the gym or to join a choir or a book group ? confused
If you are not trying to convert / persuade he, or be evangelistic in some way, I don't see what it is she is objecting to. From your first post I thought it was a resentment about the time you are away from the family, but from the second, I'm now confused.

I'm another one who is confused. What is it about church that makes her so desperate that you think she would rather die than set foot over the threshold? I know that the choir sing a few duff notes at times but even to those with perfect pitch it isn't fatal!

EdithSimcox Mon 13-Jul-15 07:38:46

back sorry I didn't explain very well. It's not like a hobby. It's fear and hatred of religion. She is horrified and disgusted by my faith.
She wants not to leave me but doesn't see how she can stay if she doesn't respect me anymore. There's more to her response than I should say here. Suffice it to say that I know she is trying hard. The
question for me is how much should I give in?

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