There are some very good reasons for this:
- It helps keep you on the same spiritual wavelength. We usually begin marriage with a common worldview and a common spiritual outlook, but it;'s surprising how outside influences can cause divergence...and one day you can wonder how you ever believed the same things. Going to church together isn't a magic cure, but it does give a basis for discussion so that you can catch differences before they become chasms.
- It provides an opportunity to service, through ministry teams. Serving together, in a common cause, is one of the best ways to strengthen a marriage.
- It provides a way to meet other couples for fellowship...and to provide accountability partners. Fellowship, in this context, does';t necessarily mean talkathons about witnessing; rather, its the chance to hang out with someone whose views you can trust, someone with whom you're both implicitly and explicitly comfortable. Same with accountability partners, though their function is to act as your Christian conscience when temptation hits.
- Going to church together sets an example for younger members of the congregation. Teenagers are surprisingly observant, and almost astonishingly wistful when it comes to marriage...and they are watching. Hold hands in church, walk with your shoulders touching, and you will give young women - and young men - an image of what can be.
But, surprisingly, a lot of Christian couples fall away from regular attendance. Schedules get busy, weekends are the only chance to sleep in, the kids are unruly and rebellious, there are parents and grandparents to be visited...and church falls down the list.
Besides, the Christian community begins at home, right?
Exactly. It begins at home, but it's supposed to extend out into the wider world. The light of faith isn't supposed to be hidden under a basket, and the first step in carrying it openly is...you guessed it - going to church.
It's a two-way street. The Christian influences from your marriage are supposed to flow out into the secular world, and become a living testament to the Gospel.
But it works in reverse, tool the temptations of secular culture are sometimes superficially attractive, and if all you have is a living-room-fireplace-mantle church, you quickly lose the backbone-stiffening consistency of message that you'd otherwise get every Sunday...if you were there.
nd make it attractive, if churchgoing seems a bit of a chore. Stop at Starbucks afterward for a treat. Go miniature golfing. Go for a hike. Sure, worship is supposed to be its own reward, but that'snot always the case, so why not give yourself a treat,to mark having done it?
The most important thing, on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis, is that you show up.
If you have a chance, please stop by my other blog, "Starting the Day with Grace", for a "grace quote"and a mercifully short commentary.