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Don't Marry Him Just Because He Attends Church

MsDora, Certified Christian Counselor, has spent four decades empowering young and adult women to pursue positive, productive womanhood.

Many who attend [church] ... are divisive, even mean-spirited. —House & Thornbury

Many who attend [church] ... are divisive, even mean-spirited. —House & Thornbury

More Than His Body

Within the church membership (local and regional), men were scarce. The young adult women were concerned that bridal prospects were dim. Still, the church warned the congregation in sermons, in literature, in drama presentations and in every other possible way to avoid marriage relationships with persons who were not of their faith.

The solution offered (not sure of the origin) was often mentioned in female discussions about the shortage of marriageable men. It resulted from a thought process which went something like this:

If there is a lack of eligible men within the church, focus on one outside, pray for God to reel him in and save his soul. While his soul is being satisfied in his relationship with God, both God and the man will approve the need for his body to be satisfied also. So, go get him, motivated by this noble intention: “The soul for the Lord and the body for me.”

But is the desire for physical satisfaction a good enough reason for marriage? Will the man automatically make a good husband, because his body sits regularly on the church pew? The research states that the man and woman need more than bodies to sustain a relationship. “A sustaining, energized sexual relationship is a product of an integration of multiple facets . . . being in sync with each other’s values and outlook; your desires and fears about your journey together; your life goals, both individually and as a couple.” - Douglas LaBier, Ph.D., psychoanalytic psychotherapist

The man and woman need more than bodies to sustain a relationship.

The man and woman need more than bodies to sustain a relationship.

Membership Is No Guarantee

Attending church and professing to have a relationship with God does not guarantee that the individual knows how, or that he will make the effort, to contribute moral support in the marriage. Some church-going men are known to maintain a saint-like posture of integrity and kindness everywhere else except at home. How long will happiness in the relationship last, if he is insensitive to her needs for spiritual, social and emotional partnership? Church membership does not guarantee compatibility.

It seems that a happier, more satisfying option for the woman will be to discover and pursue her life’s purpose above the pursuit of sexual satisfaction. Her purpose decides whether her destiny includes marriage, and whether marriage will serve her better when she is more mature. She may even discover that marriage does not fit into her purpose, and that her purpose includes accomplishing a joyous, prosperous lifestyle, single handedly. Every woman is not destined to marry, but every woman has the right to experience fulfillment of purpose.

If, however, the woman chooses to pursue a faith-based marriage, let her pray to find a mate within her church who helps, not hinders, her pursuit of purpose; who has more to offer than just his body.

What Else Does the Relationship Need?

The marriage relationship needs all the basics—primarily love—which any healthy friendship needs. Here, we cite three other fundamentals which are helpful even before the union takes place. Without them, the pre-marital relationship can be frustrating, and the marriage can become a hell. The definitions are from the Oxford Dictionary online.

  • Respect (due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others)
  • Communication (the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings)
  • Trust (firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something)
How long can any relationship last without, communication, trust, or respect?                —Dr. Soraya Sawicki, LCSW

How long can any relationship last without, communication, trust, or respect? —Dr. Soraya Sawicki, LCSW

Respect

Even before she considers marriage, the woman does well to open her eyes and watch carefully how he regards her. Even though he may not reveal his total self, these are a few of the attitudes which she may be able to evaluate. (She is also expected to give him the kind of respect which she wants from him.)

The man respects the woman if (among other things):

  • He recognizes that she has personal worth all by herself.
  • He asks her opinion and does not make decisions for her.
  • He encourages her to pursue her purpose.
  • He treats her like his partner, not like his property.
  • He does not use the Bible (or any other literature) to whip her into submission.

Communication

What if the man also entered the relationship solely for sexual activity? What if they never discuss their expectations about that or anything else? There is no guarantee that the questions and answers withheld before they marry will be accommodated afterwards. Openness is encouraged from the start. There are online materials which offer effective communication strategies.

Both should feel free to share their journey, to offer and accept support. As they make discoveries about each other’s attitudes and habits, it is good to give compliments or ask questions in a friendly manner (not interrogate), instead of taking what they think they see, for granted.

Listening is an important asset in communication. It ensures that each is allowed to speak without interruption. It requires that the listener focuses on what is being said, and is allowed to ask for clarification when necessary. An understanding of body language also helps; this is one instance when the body can offer something else to the relationship.

Trust

"The best proof of love is trust." —Joyce Brothers
"Love ... always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." —1 Corinthians 13: 6, 7 NIV.

Trust begins with honest communication, and by keeping one’s word. Promises kept are a sign of dependability and trustworthiness. Vulnerability also shows willingness to be vested in mutual trust. As the relationship continues to grow, offer and accept helpfulness, kindness and loyalty.

“Trust but verify,” warned Ronald Reagan. This is good counsel for the church girl who thinks that she has met a potential life partner. (It is good for the man too.)

Be intentional in verifying, as much as possible, that church affiliation is established for the right reason, that attraction is more than physical, that respect for each other is genuine and mutual, that both value and commit themselves to the pursuit of God’s purpose for the individual and for their united lives.

References

Craig, Heather (BPsySc): PositivePsychology, 10 Ways To Build Trust in a Relationship (04/03/2019)

Degges-White, Suzanne (Ph.D).: Psychology Today, 15 Things Women Want From the Men in Their Lives (06/04/2018)

Douglas, LaBier (Ph.D): PositivePsychology, How Sex Bonds Couples, and Why Sometimes It's Not Enough (05/29/2017)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Dora Weithers