Church is good for my marriage.
And not just because church is the place where I hear a healthy rhetoric about how to serve my spouse, stay monogamous, honor God, make good decisions, etc.
Church is good for my marriage more because it’s a reminder of the gospel message and how that gospel message should impact my heart as a wife.
1- Church reminds me of my own sin. If I’m honest, my inner dialogue most days goes something like this: I am nicer to Nick that he is to me, I work harder than Nick does, I deserve to be treated better than Nick treats me. Though these are probably true some of the time, they are certainly not true all of the time- or even most of the time. Church reminds me that I am not, in fact, the perfect, hard working, self-sacrificing, husband serving wife that I imagine I am. Church reminds me of my selfishness, my need to get what I want, and my tendency to try to turn Nick into who I want him to be. Church reminds me that I, like Nick, am a fallen sinner who fails again and again to love him well, that I am a fallen sinner who needs the cross.
2- Church reminds me Nick loves Jesus. When I am in church and Nick is sitting next to me, a peace washes over my soul I cannot explain. I’m not sure if there is an equivalent for atheists or those from other religions (I’d love to hear if there is), but hearing my husband sing in worship or seeing him bent over in prayer as he ponders communion reminds me of his love for Jesus. It reminds me that even when I am most angry with him, he is still- somewhere- searching his heart to serve and glorify God. This helps me trust him. This helps me forgive him. This helps me feel safe.
3- Church reminds me that Nick is my second love. Though I am always aware of Christ’s love for me, church carves out a space for me to hear about His love from others and sing about His love with others. This helps me feel that love in a radical way. When I attend church on Sunday mornings I am reminded of how deeply, powerfully, and personally I love Jesus. I love Nick a lot. A LOT. But Nick has never died for me, and though Nick knows me well- he doesn’t know all of me. Nick doesn’t know my darkest thoughts or my most innermost heart. Jesus knows all of me. Jesus loves all of me- even the dark parts. And I love him back. I can’t wait to be in heaven with Jesus. Being reminded of how much I love Jesus, and that I love Jesus more than I love Nick helps me put less pressure on Nick to fulfill all my needs or to be my savior. I already have a savior.
4- Church reminds me I am called to sacrifice for Nick as Jesus sacrificed for me. Attending a Gospel centered church is a great reminder that life is not necessarily supposed to be easy. I am not supposed to get everything I want (spoiler alert). God made himself man and suffered for selfish, petty, judgmental, neatfreak me. I can certainly suffer for my husband- and by suffer I mean things like accept the fact he’s not as clean as I am or that he doesn’t always make me feel as special or paid attention to as I want. I can serve Nick and I can lose and I can give up what I want, because there is someone far greater who served me, who lost in this world, and who gave it all up for me.
These are reasons church is good for my marriage. Church reminds me of the heart of the Gospel. I love attending church, and I love attending with my husband. I don’t so much love being convicted of my sin, but I love being convicted of Jesus’ love for me, Nick’s love for Jesus, and how I can be better at loving Jesus by loving and sacrificing for Nick.
…and occasionally Nick comes home from a service and tells me how he felt convicted when the pastor said you should honor and listen to your wife…that’s good for our marriage too😉