Growing up, church was my home away from home. Many of my early memories are of me at church. When I was a little kid (2-7), I loved going to church. When I was an older child (8-11), I tried to get out of going to church (like a lot of kids), and when I was a teenager (12 and on) you couldn’t drag me away from church. Believe me – many a night did my poor father sit out in the church parking lot waiting for me to get finished gabbing to my friends. My church was like a small town. Everybody knew everybody else – and everybody else’s business. Though I didn’t appreciate it enough at the time, my home church was my support system.
After I left for college, I realized what a treasure it is to have a good church full of godly, supportive people. After getting married, it became even more evident that a good church was an essential part of life. Early in a marriage, it can seem like the only relationship that matters is between a husband and wife. For the first few months of marriage, you may not see the need for others; yet, after the new smell of your husband or wife wears off, you will likely see the need for outside support.
Eric and I have a good relationship. We laugh a lot and enjoy spending time together, but we realize that we don’t have everything the other needs. Eric needs the advice, fellowship, and sharpening that comes from male friendships (Proverbs 27:17); whereas, I need the loving, listening ears, and strength that comes from supportive female friendships. When you and your future spouse plug into a church that teaches the Scriptures (without changing them to make them “relevant” or “socially acceptable”), prioritizes family over the world’s definition of success, and works together to provide support to each other, it will change your life.
It’s easy to forget that God’s command for us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25) is about more than just hearing the word of God preached. It is also about worshipping with (and spending quality time) with other believers.
This life is hard, and we need encouragement. Our spouse is not (and will never be) emotionally equipped to give us all of the support we need, especially since men and women need different types of support. Women need to talk situations out and process feelings – obviously some women need this more than others. Men can listen to their girlfriends and wives, but men are created to solve problems. Men want to fix what’s broken. That doesn’t mean they don’t care about their sweetheart’s feelings. Because they care, they want to fix the problems. Sometimes women just need other women to hear them, affirm their feelings, and provide insight that is not clear in the middle of cloudy circumstances.
On the other hand, men need other men to discuss ideas and to get advice on life issues. When a man tells another man about a problem, he is expecting advice. Women are great at listening and giving sympathy: “Honey, that’s just terrible. I’m so sorry you’re going through this.” Though men may appreciate our heartfelt sympathy, men really want to know how to fix the situation. Men are great at providing each other with advice. Women can give their men advice, and a man needs his lady’s advice, but men also need the objective suggestions of other like-minded men.
As you prepare for marriage, make it a top priority to get involved with a good, supportive, local church with your boyfriend/girlfriend or fiancé/fiancée. If you move shortly after getting married, make finding a new church a top priority. If you are currently a part of a church and are getting ready to relocate, your current church may be able to connect you with a good church in your new area.
Though, ultimately, being a church member is much more about living with and supporting the body than following the current pastor, it is helpful that many churches post their sermons online so that you can check them out to make sure they are theologically accurate with what the Bible states before attending. This will likely give you a flavor of the type of people who would be interested in attending that church.
Ask the Lord to lead you and your honey to the place of worship that He would have you attend. You will find it if you are diligent in seeking it out. We hope you will get involved in a church where you can serve and be supported.
Are you and your boyfriend/girlfriend involved in a Christ-centered, supportive, body of believers?