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When one of you doesn't want to go to church any more

(12 Posts)
wanderings Tue 31-Oct-17 10:59:22

Does anyone have the experience of their partner suddenly not wanting to go to church any more? My DH has stopped going. He has a variety of reasons; one of them is that he doesn't like the recently-appointed vicar, but also that I think he's bored with the whole thing, although he used to love it. I think also that churchgoing for him has generally been out of habit rather than anything else, and being in choirs as a child. He doesn't want to talk about it much.

I wouldn't dream of trying to change his mind; I'm a firm believer in adults knowing their own minds, especially with faith, and we have our own hobbies and activities. I remember resenting having to go to church as a literal-minded child, at the time I thought it was a load of rubbish, so I think that people should not feel forced to go. However, I do feel rather sad about this; the church used to be a central part of our life, we were very involved in activities such as the choir. We married there a few years ago, and we had no doubt that it would be there and nowhere else. It was also he who introduced me to that particular church when we met.

I'm continuing to go because it's still very much part of my life, but it's hard. DH is conspicuous by his absence, and without fail every week somebody asks me about him, often with a concerned "is he all right?" It's nice that people care, and I've merely replied that he's been busy with work most Sundays, which is half-true, but I keep on wanting to give more reasons for him not coming. I know if I did that, he'd find it even harder to return if he thought everybody had been talking about him. (He doesn't agree with Oscar Wilde that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about!)

I'm not looking for advice with this, but am curious to know if this is familiar to anybody else.

McBounty Wed 01-Nov-17 01:01:13

I am sorry, I haven't been through this.

My DH however, is a strong atheist. I am a born again Christian. Very strong in my beliefs and incredibly devout. DH hates it. It's even changed our relationship a lot. It's tough.

I hope he finds his faith again OP.

Yes happened to my husband for a number of years. Then he came back. As a clergy husband he goes to another church so that I'm not his vicar as well as his wife. As we grow in faith it can be tough on couples when a church isn't supporting one as much as the other. We at least have an excuse to go to different place and I'm Mrs rather than Revd when I go to his churches stuff.

Daffodil397 Fri 03-Nov-17 20:28:48

Hi wandering
I think I’d find that situation hard. It’s something that you used to share, both the church community and your personal beliefs.
Wonder would it be worth talking to someone in church about it who you both trust, vicar or member of the team? Check with your husband if he’d be happy to meet up with this person and chat, with or without you?
Just that this happened with a friend of mine. She suddenly wanted to check out of all things church and God. Underneath it was that she had been going through a tough time for a while understanding where God was in her life, feeling let down and disappointed and quite angry with God I think, more than church.
I think we can all go through periods of doubt. I think it’s good to get support at these times so the deeper problem if there is one doesn’t get missed.
All the best.

Julie8008 Sun 05-Nov-17 17:46:06

Maybe try developing some joint activities that are non-church related. Your marriage needs to be rooted in something more concrete than going to church together.

Strawberrybubblebath Mon 06-Nov-17 23:02:36

OP DH and I are considering trying a new church since the vicar changed. Nothing wrong with the new one but he doesn’t know us and as it’s a very big church he probably never will. A lot of the church team members have also moved on over the years so a lot of our history there has gone.
We are considering a different church that is a bit closer just for a change.
Would you and your DH consider trying a few other churches. If you want to stay at the current one but your DH wanted to change you could go alternate weeks.

allegretto Mon 06-Nov-17 23:06:38

This has happened to us except I don't want to go anymore. I feel a bit mean as I know dh wants me to go but I just dont want to.

Fffion Tue 07-Nov-17 18:08:51

Have you prayed about it?

wanderings Thu 09-Nov-17 06:43:30

Thanks everyone for replying. Yes I have prayed about it, but I do respect DH's decision to stop going, just as I wouldn't expect to be forced to go myself. The church is certainly not the only thing in our marriage, we have many other shared interests - but not long ago it was one of the main things.

HeteronormativeHaybales Thu 09-Nov-17 07:23:28

Is the core issue (or the change in his attitudes) with this particular church, with the church as an institution, or with his faith? I think the answer to that question will help dictate your joint approach. If it's with this particular church, the solution of going alternate weeks to this one and an alternative one is good, or just do your own thing church-wise - it's a trite and not entirely appropriate comparison, but you wouldn't go to the same book club if one of you loved sci-fi and the other chick lit. If the issue is with faith, he may feel after a while able to come along and enjoy the community, particularly if your church is one that believes faith is between the individual and their conscience, i.e. none of other people's business. My agnostic-leaning-towards-atheist dh loves our church community almost more than I do.

FritzDonovan Fri 24-Nov-17 11:53:19

Isn't this just part of the learning and development of an individual? We hopefully all develop in ourselves and our beliefs as individuals over time rather than stagnate and become set in our ways. Shouldn't you be happy for him rather than try to hold him back in a situation which doesn't suit him or make him happy any more.

deplorabelle Mon 27-Nov-17 07:43:49

Don't underestimate how big an effect it is, not liking the vicar. It sucks the life out of you, especially if the vicar goes on to make changes to the character of the worship as has happened with us.

You asked for others' experiences rather than advice (and I certainly don't have any useful advice to give!) we have both kept going in our situation but I would say I am the one in our relationship closest to stopping going. The reason I'm unhappier than my DH is because our vicar has no interest in children (and I do children's work) and no empathy with women, so DH felt the change of climate far less than me at first. Although he sees it and thoroughly dislikes it, he doesn't feel it as keenly as me.

A the children have got older it's got harder to consider changing church (we did go on fact finding missions to other places for a while but didn't find anywhere that would work for all the family so we're digging in where we are. I think it's quite corrosive to my faith)

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