Q: I am a middle-age woman and I have been in a relationship with my fiancÚ for three years. As excited as we are to get married, we have seriously been discussing some issues about our impending marriage and life together.
The biggest issue is our home churches. We belong to different denominations, and by extension, we have different home churches. The churches are not far apart geographically, about 10 minutes drive from each other, but neither of us wants to change churches. He loves his church and has been going there from he was a boy; he feels he is part of a family there. I hold my church family extremely close to me. Other than my sister, they are the only family I have. I was born into that church, baptised in that church, buried both my parents at that church, and I have many 'nieces and nephews' at that church. I hold leadership positions and I am very involved in my church. My fiancÚ's situation with his church is fairly similar.
We have thought about continuing going to different churches, but the thoughts did not last long as we both want to worship together every Sunday as a married couple and not just visit each other's church from time to time, as we are doing now. We also do not think that it would work well when we have children having to take them to different churches each Sunday. We both know the great impact our church homes have had on our lives and we would want the same for our children.
We are also disagreeing about where the wedding should be. He is insisting that it should be at his church because his church has better facilities and better parking. My church is small and cosy and since the wedding is small, it should be at my church. These issues are becoming very distressing. What should we do?
A: Many people make the mistake to believe that religion does not divide people. Often, people think that it is only issues relating to finance, communication, in-laws, and sex that cause problems. However, the Church, which should help to make people come together, can cause conflict and separation.
Traditionally, it is said that the wedding should be held in the church of the bride and then the husband and wife should attend the husband's church after the marriage. This would be a happy compromise, but that might be unacceptable to both of you.
However, it is sad that both of you are insisting on your church and are not willing to give an inch. It could be indicative that both of you are stubborn, and it spells trouble for other issues and the marriage.
If, doctrinally, you are similar, then it should not matter which church you attend. Furthermore, you are worshipping the same God and you should not focus on a building. It is important that you do not sweat the small things and do not make a mountain out of a molehill.
You and your fiancÚ need to have a joint meeting with both of your pastors and come to an amicable conclusion.