Sunday morning arrives and so does the stress. To attend church or not to attend church is the question. Spiritually mismatched couples find church attendance a giant point of contention as I discussed in the series, Going It Alone. This series explores the flash points of disagreement which arise with our spouse over church and how we can navigate through our hurt and disappointment.
Taking our children to church can create an entirely new set of problems for a spiritually mismatched couple. As a Christian parent, we are compelled to take our children to church. We want to expose them to other kids and adults who love Jesus and who pursue a life lived for Him. Our spouse, however, does not share our enthusiasm or can be outright hostile about taking the kids to church.
What can we do???? In most households, the non-believing spouse usually does not mind if the kids go to church as long as they don’t have to go. So taking your young children to church is relatively easy. Young kids find church programs fun and they enjoy playing with the other children. However, when they enter their tween or teen years, their desire to attend church can shift. This is especially true when Dad stays home. Kids want to stay home and hang with Dad.
As the Mom or Dad who attends church the best advice I have is to remain flexible. When your spouse is encouraging your kids to stay home or the kids are difficult about church, don’t argue in front of them. What we must do is decide before this day of contention arrives how we will react. Reacting in anger or forcing attendance creates negative emotions and feelings in your child’s heart. I agree there are times when we, as parents, insist our children follow our instructions and wishes. There are many good reasons! However, in a mismatched marriage the dynamics are different.
What can we do? We can pray hard and plan to take them to church as long as we can. Many of us have children who have given up on church whether they were raised in a Christian home or not. I want to give you a wonderful scripture. It is a promise from God that is powerfual and gives us hope for our kids.
The key to this verse is the word OLD. Remember effective influence over our children is through our authentic relationship with Christ and by the way we live. This is true of our spouse as well. It is solely up to Jesus, who is the redeemer of all people, to save our children. Rest in this promise.
Encourage your children to go to church for as many years as you can. Such encouragement, as long as it is not heavy-handed and dictatorial, can make a dramatic impact on youngsters, even if they abandon going to church earlier in life than you would choose.
Be encouraged! We serve the Most High!! He loves our kids more than we do. Be blessed, Lynn
Next Post: Other ways to encourage your kids toward Christianity.