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She Doesn’t Have To Go To Church With Me

November 12th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

For the past couple of weeks, I have been getting a lot of questions from readers about where I stand on the role religion plays in relationships. Some folks ask me if I think people from two different faiths can make it work, others ask me if I’m a believer in the idea that a couple who prays together, stays together; even the importance of being equally yolked has popped up in my Formspring. All of these questions are good ones, for which I don’t have a straightforward answer.

The way I see it, the way I always have seen relationships, is akin to the separation of church and state. And I guess, that is an answer in and of itself, so I can’t say my stance is entirely indifferent. As a matter of fact, I suppose much like non-believing is a belief, my doesn’t-matter philosophy is a point of view to which I subscribe on the whole religion/relationships issue.

As the title of this post points out, when it comes to something like going to church on Sundays, my woman can join me, or she doesn’t have to at all. If she wants to sleep in, I’ll keep it quiet while I get ready. If she wants to get some brunch with her girls, while I go get some good word, fine too. Sometimes, I even enjoy a Wednesday service. Again, if my woman has other plans, she’s more than welcome to stick to those plans, especially if those plans were something like cooking dinner. I would never tell my woman, “Don’t cook dinner for me, come to church with me instead.”

The thing is, church is important to me. I think the reason I can’t see myself putting any pressure on a woman I’m dating to go to church with me is because it’s something I feel is deeply personal and something we should do for ourselves. I genuinely enjoy going to church most times. It feeds my soul, and allows me to focus on this blessed life I live. As I have said before, church is my spiritual and mental gym, it’s where I go to get my heart and mind right after both have been taken through the ringer six days out of the week.

It should be said, I always extend an invite for a woman to attend church with me on Sundays, but it’s always optional and never a loaded invite. I don’t care if she chooses not to go with me, but I think some women care that I don’t care if they don’t attend, or maybe not care, but they’re definitely surprised.

One time, a woman wanted to come over to my place after partying until 4 a.m. on Saturday night. I was already home, asleep. When she called and asked if she could come over, I said it’s fine with me but I plan on going to 9 o’clock service, which was five hours from the time she was calling. She didn’t pay the time much mind, said she would come over anyway, and so 20 minutes later, she was my door in her club clothes. We did what she came over to do and fell asleep. A couple of hours later, my alarm went off, and I began to get ready for church as I planned. Was I tired? Absolutely. The bed was definitely warmer than whatever temperature was outside of my window, and of course the woman who was in my bed was tempting to just lay next to. But I wasn’t about to miss church, not to just sleep in.

I let my guest sleep as I threw on my suit and ate a bowl of cereal. Then when it was ready to go I woke her up. Half-sleep, she turned her head, looked me up and down, and said, “You’re seriously going to church?”

“Yeah,” I said. “I told you that last night.”

She then plopped her face back on the pillow the way we all do when we realize it’s time to get up and moaned something like, “I can’t believe you.” With attitude, she put on her clothes, and looked at me like I was about to praise Satan. “Don’t look at me like that,” I said. “I told you I was going to church.’ Now of course, I suppose I could have let her sleep in and stay in my place unattended for two hours, but I didn’t feel right about that, and I don’t even think she was upset because of that. As a matter of fact, she didn’t even suggest I could have let her sleep in, for which I was appreciative.

The two of us hopped in a cab, and I told the driver to make two stops. Awkwardly enough, the street my church was on, came before the street my company’s apartment was on, so I had to get out first. On the short drive to the block of my church (I thought it was weird to ask to be dropped off in front of the church), my friend said to me, “so you really are into church huh?”

“I mean, I am active about going,” I said. “But I’m not a Monday through Friday church goer, if that’s what you mean.”

“Oh okay,” she said. Then she chuckled.

“What?” I asked.

“Nothing, i just really can’t believe this is happening,” she said. “You got your church clothes on, and I’m in my walk of shame clothes.”

“No shame,” I said. “And no walk either, we’re in a cab.”

She game the death stare when I said that.

“Hey, it’s all good,” I said. “We’re cool. If you ever want to go to church with me, you can. I’m always down for friends going to church with me.”

The cab pulled up at the block where I was getting out, and I gave him cab fare to cover both my ride and hers. I leaned over to kiss her goodbye and said we would talk later. We stayed in touch for a long while after that day, matter of fact, I would say we’re still friends. even though never took me up on my invitation. But honestly, she never had to. I still go to church by myself, and I think I might prefer it that way.

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  • http://twitter.com/IAmAndreaBrown Andrea Brown

    I grew up n church, with my father as a minister and my mother in the choir…me and my brother were ushers. So…church is a part of my life and will be for the rest of my life. I go to Bible study mid-week and then service on Sunday. Do I expect the person that I’m dating to be at church every day of every week, no. I just want to know that their faith is in the same place, or stronger than mine. If my mate has a relationship with the Lord, then who am I to question how and or where he spends time with God. Most of the guys I’ve dated have been church boys…so I know that being involved in church doesn’t exactly equate to holiness and living by the principles taught in the Bible. In essence, I can agree with you Jozen about not forcing the issue of church, but there is no separation between religion and relationship for me. That’s a deal breaker in my book…but thats just me.

  • Kae-Toya

    What about if you want to get married and have a family?

  • Bert

    I really enjoyed this post not many people would take that stance in their relantionships. Usually Religion and politics bring out passions so hopefully that doesn’t happen though.

  • Raenajoy

    Great blog as usual! For me dating somebody that shares my faith is a prerequisite. We don’t have to be at the same point in our journey, but I think of my relationship with God as a foundation in my other relationships. Plus there is nothing sexier than going to church with my man : ) Have a great weekend!

    queensquared.wordpress.com

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  • http://www.facebook.com/amanda.trinity Amanda R. Trinity

    What I like about going to church with the guy I am dating is the conversation after…Like the discussion about the message. Since service is later here we go and grab brunch…by the way Jozen,if you ever head to Houston, The Breakfast Klub is a great spot…I digress…It just turns into a really cool hangout day…

  • Naomi Williams2

    I always go back and forth with this topic. Yes I want to be able to open up to my mate enough that I want to share my church/spiritual experience with him. But church for me is completely personal. It is where I am able to wholly be myself, attempt to heal and nourish my soul, and give all of my troubles and issues to God. I think sometimes I’ve made it too personal where I wasn’t willing to share that part of me with my mate and that pushed them away. Where I’ve gone to church since HS, its a HUGE deal if someone brings someone of the opposite gender to church and I’ve always wanted to avoid that..because I don’t make such a huge deal out of that. If he wants to come to church, by all means he’s welcome. If he doesn’t, he welcome to that too. But one day I’m going to want to share that part of me and if he’s not willing, THAT’S my deal breaker.

  • kamarichelsea

    Jozen, you read my mind with this post. Since I started dating again (after a mini hiatus) I’ve had a lot of guys ask me if I go to church every Sunday since I try not to be out late on Saturdays and tend to not be available for a good 2 hours every Sunday. A lot of times, I think it’s a little funny that they always seem so shocked, since I’m not shocked that they don’t go. Still, I’ve been grappling with whether or not I should actually ever invite them and if it should matter that they don’t go.

    I say all that to say… this is good food for my already ongoing thoughts.

  • http://www.Brownbombshellbeauty.com/ Amber/BrownBombshellBeauty

    Jozen, had I read this post a few years ago, I would have been inclined to agree with you. At that point in my life, I didn’t feel too strongly about whether or not a man I dated was in church on Sunday (or any other day, for that matter). I guess I felt like it was a nice perk if he was Christian/spiritual/into church, but didn’t care it if he wasn’t. Looking back, I suspect this was because every guy I had ever been involved with was into going to church, even if it wasn’t on a regular basis.

    My position on this has changed after being in a long-term relationship with someone who didn’t share in my faith. At all. Raised in a very Christian home, by a very devout mother, going to church was not an unfamiliar thing to him. I won’t go as far as to call him an atheist (a painful childhood made it hard for him to believe/have faith), but he was adamantly against attending church, prayer, anything. Long story short, this resulted in some very painful, upsetting situations, that I will never allow myself to be in again. There is no longer a separation of religion and relationship for me. I don’t need a guy I date to be a choir boy, but I need him to not mind throwing on a shirt and tie, and joining me at church every now and then.

  • BoomShots

    I am an avowed Agnostic. I have no qualms about what anyone else may believe faith wise. I go to Church for weddings, funerals and similar special occasions. One of my best friends is a minister, I was there when he preached his first sermon. I respect him for the man he is because I knew him well before he became serious about his calling.

    I have been dismissed by sistas all the time because I am not a “church goer”, “God Fearing’ , “man of faith” or whatever euphemisms are applied these days. I know women who have declined to date me to date the brotha with the 2 kids by the 2 different women because he was “god fearing” and I was not. I am intimately familiar with religion, grew up surrounded by it, religious schools until college and probably spent a 1/3 of my youth in church. I know enough to know it is not for me.

    I applaud your personalizing of your faith because there are so many people who use it as a litmus test. As if bad people don’t attend church regularly. I steer clear of folks who use church and religion as a litmus test because what they are generally doing is taking the onus off themselves and putting it on

  • http://twitter.com/caribbeanBleu Jinx The Chase

    Love your comment. I myself grew up surrounded by churchgoing relatives, close by and far away, and there has always been an expectation to do certain things like christening your children, going every Sunday, etc.

    While I find that okay for others, I’m okay with that not being for me or mine. I’ve gone through experiences that have taught me that the good people are good regardless of what they do or don’t believe in, and they should be a part of your life whether they’re Christian or not.

    I haven’t had the same issue dating wise, as I would say more women are into a Godly relationship than men. I will say though I prefer men who have had experience with the church, good or bad, even if they’re no longer a churchgoer. I tried dating someone who’s never been to church and it was mad awkward for us both.

    Great post Jozen!!!

  • Miss Sia

    You don’t have to go to church with me. I go to church most Sundays and I’m not going to nag you about it. I also won’t admonish you or look down on you. Your soul is your responsibility. Not everyone worships in the same way and I understand that. While yes, you may form a closer bond attending services together, it is not necessarily guaranteed in this instance. If they want to attend, they will find the time and a way.

  • mara

    I have more a problem with the fact that he did NOT say he went to repent…

  • Curtis1911

    She doesn’t have to go to church with me as long as she goes to church somewhere…If she is at my place when I get ready to go….She has to bounce or head to church with me….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=30401700 Tahani Tompkins

    so i love how you still hopped up and praised the Lawd! this post cracked me up… I live a very. AHEM! interestesting life. Church definitely keeps my karma in check, and makes me feel a little better for my serial dating crazy adventures in the loop.[goILL] like you, i honestly don’t care if my man goes to chuch. my ex doesn’t believe in God since he creates millions banking. that was cool. as long as he understood that i would be @ church faithfully er’ sunday. i think people put tooo much pressure on their mates for silly things like this. as long as said companion doesn’t treat you all crazy what’s the big deal? i’ll still cook sunday dinner/prep tacos for you and the boys during game time w/ or w/o you attending church w/ me. the sex will STILL be creatively satisfying whether u wake up/roll over sunday mornin… more sistas should think that way…. hmph!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=30401700 Tahani Tompkins

    so i love how you still hopped up and praised the Lawd! this post cracked me up… I live a very. AHEM! interestesting life. Church definitely keeps my karma in check, and makes me feel a little better for my serial dating crazy adventures in the loop.[goILL] like you, i honestly don’t care if my man goes to chuch. my ex doesn’t believe in God since he creates millions banking. that was cool. as long as he understood that i would be @ church faithfully er’ sunday. i think people put tooo much pressure on their mates for silly things like this. as long as said companion doesn’t treat you all crazy what’s the big deal? i’ll still cook sunday dinner/prep tacos for you and the boys during game time w/ or w/o you attending church w/ me. the sex will STILL be creatively satisfying whether u wake up/roll over sunday mornin… more sistas should think that way…. hmph!