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Source: (consider it) Thread: The Family that Prays Together (well, Worships Together) Stays Together
Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
# 7

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Hi, I'm Wood. You may remember me from some stuff.

Anyway, so 18 months ago I left the church that I had been going to for 16 years on a point of principle, although it was a long time coming, and started going to an Anglican church, and I came here and started a thread about it and people were very supportive and lovely apart from this one guy, but then this is a forum and you have to expect that.

So I'm still going. I'm observing but studiously staying out of the governance of this place. I am making friends. I am falling in love with the participatory drama and subtle variety of the Anglican Eucharist (one Sunday when the Bishop came and he was droning on about something I worked out that in the 20-page service book extract we use alone, there are over 48,000 possible communion services, which gives the lie to the idea that Anglicans say the same words every week).

Mrs Wood's not so keen. She tried. But she's always loved happier, clappier churches and, crucially, she really misses her friends. I have another support group in the local poetry night I help run. She doesn't have that and we haven't been going long enough to build up a new network from scratch.

She also, however, believes strongly that we should be going to the same church. Like really strongly.

So she has been agonising over it. Like sweating metaphorical tears of blood. Me, I'm like "go back, already." She doesn't share my point of principle, and I made a point in The Letter that she explicitly did not resign her membership the way I had. She's been really bothered about it.

But she is going back and we're offering the kids the chance to go with either of us of a Sunday. Old church is an hour later and a lot louder, but it's also an hour longer, so it's balanced as to which they want to go to. And they all use the Scripture Union Bible study notes. So that's not a problem.

But is it a problem? I mean, is there some important spiritual principle I don't know about that makes my wife and I going to different churches a Really Bad Thing? What's your view? What's your experience?

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Narcissism.

Posts: 7842 | From: Wood Towers | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

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Forgoshsakes. It's not a bad thing, and from what you describe, it's a far, far better thing than what you have going on right now. And it doesn't hurt children to see that their parents can make allowance for each other's different needs (you are explaining to them, I'm sure) and can live happily together in spite of the differences. Which bodes well for when one of your kids grows up and becomes an RC nun or a charismatic. [Big Grin]

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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the long ranger
Shipmate
# 17109

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Sigh, story of my life, Wood. My wife is at heart a conservative evangelical, I am a woolly freethinker who has been hiding in the Anglican church for a long time. There isn't a whole lot of overlap between us, but we've been struggling to find somewhere we can both attend. We haven't quite got to the point where we go to different churches yet, but I'm not sure we are too far off.

I'd be quite happy not going to church at all - as it is, I frequently have to walk out in the middle of services before I hit something or mutter something embarrassing. It might well be better for my wife to spend time with language and forms she finds more comfortable, unfortunately.

I do worry about the impact on my daughter, but then she has her own problems due to her habit of asking too many difficult questions. I can't imagine where she learned that from.

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"..into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” “But Rabbi, how can this happen for those who have no teeth?”
"..If some have no teeth, then teeth will be provided.”

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poileplume
Shipmate
# 16438

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Dear Wood, I had exactly the same experience and are suffering from the same angst. My wife and I were happy Anglo Catholics. Then the church veered towards the anachronistic, odd ball wing of Anglo Catholicism.

She became a Society of Pius IX, the ultra traditional Catholics and I became a mainstream Anglican. BUT we detest not going to the same church, that is not sharing. (The children are heathen by the way)

I look forward to the postings.

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Please note I am quite severely dyslexic

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Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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Ideally, a husband and wife would worship together at the same church. But life isn’t ideal and spirituality doesn’t fit into a nice tidy box. It doesn’t take into account that one may like happy clappy music with 45 minute sermons whilst the other prefers icons, bells, smells and a 10 minute homily. Sometimes you luck out and find somewhere that ticks enough boxes for both of you that you can live with it. Other times, you don’t and it can be a struggle for both partners. (Even if one of you is happy with the worship on Sunday, knowing the other isn’t brings The Guilt).

If one of you would be happier worshiping elsewhere on a Sunday and you’re both cool with it, that’s fine. You can always talk about the different services together, pray and do other spiritual stuff together. It’s not like, “Church on Sunday as Family” = Spiritual Stuff Done”.

Tubbs

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am

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birdie

fowl
# 2173

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What LC said.

But also, I think there is the potential for this to be a really good thing for the kids, in terms of learning about different Ways To Do Church.

Mr b's preferences and mine as regard worship are very different (but actually are starting to coincide more, which is lovely - horrible when it's the other way round, and you and Mrs W have my sympathies.) Although we've always gone to the same church on Sunday morning, when the kids were littler I used to take them to the toddler service at our local (very) high Anglican place in the week where they learned that lighting candles, and all saying the same words together at the same time, and having an altar are all part of how we can worship God, as well as making up prayers on the spot, and having loud music etc.

Mr b grew up believing that there was One True Way to organise a Sunday morning. I hope my kids even now know that's not the case.

If I attempted to put in this post all the thoughts that your OP provoked, it would become even more reambling stream-of-consciousness than usual for me, so I will stop, but be watching the thread with interest.

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"Gentlemen, I wash my hands of this weirdness."
Captain Jack Sparrow

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mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

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I've always gone to the same church as my wife when possible. Now that we have children I can't imagine not doing this. We both feel quite strongly that we should do this, but I know some couples who I respect greatly as examples who go to different churches and don't seem to have a problem with this.

I think there isn't a problem believing different things about the bible or christianity, and no problem with wanting different things in worship. Humans will never completely agree and children need to see their parents dealing with this in adult and mature ways.

The problem comes in not being able to enjoy family occasions when parts of the family are in different churches. This is particularly acute at baptisms, Sunday school events and the like. Of course one can always attend on the odd special occasion, but I value the sense of continuity between family and church family.

In our case, this has meant we both accept a church community that isn't our top choice (I would prefer a cathedral for my regular worship, instead I get a MOTR parish service, she would prefer a non-conformist hymn sandwich, instead gets a conformist liturgy sandwich with a conformist hymn sandwich on family services).

But we have both been through considerable change in our tastes, and I expect we will again some time.

I suspect it doesn't work where the choice is very close to one partner's top choice and substantially far from the other partner's tolerable zone.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Josephine

Orthodox Belle
# 3899

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I know a good many couples who have a do not attend the same church, or where one attends church and one doesn't. There might have been some issues adjusting to that at some point in the relationships, but at this point, tt seems to work for them.

I'm sure it doesn't work for everyone. I don't think it would work if one partner decided that the other was going to Hell. I don't think it would work if one was trying to "convert" the other. And it likely wouldn't work in a "we do everything together" sort of relationship didn't allow room for separate interests and activities.

It's probably good to acknowledge that you've made unilateral changes in something that was considered a "joint" area earlier in the marriage, and to acknowledge that that's not really fair, and that you know that it's hard on your wife. Expressing appreciation for whatever support your wife provides is also a good thing, as is making it a point to support her participation in the parish where she has friends and is happy. That might mean helping her cook for a potluck at her church, or looking after the kids while she attends a women's Bible study, or whatever it is that you can do that would let her know that you value and support her in her decision to do what works for her.

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I've written a book! Catherine's Pascha: A celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church. It's a lovely book for children. Take a look!

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moron
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# 206

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All I know is I don't attend the evangelical church my wife does and the other day I came home and found the TV tuned to EWTN.

I have studiously refused to address the topic.

[Our 32nd wedding anniversary is next October...]

[ 14. June 2012, 13:05: Message edited by: 205 ]

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Anyuta
Shipmate
# 14692

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I have the same issue. My DH is a relative latecomer to faith in general, and is a very... impressionable person. the long and short of it is that over time he has adopted a much more cafeteria style "bible and me" approach to faith.. with the specifics constantly changing. He is strongly influenced by various preachers he finds on the internet, and sadly tends to jump wholeheartedly into whatever they are teaching, untill he comes to some very fundemental disagreement.. at which time he switches to the next guy completely renouncing (for a time) the prevoius one.. it's quite a cycle.

I have been and probably always will be an Orthodox Christian, and to the extent there is any variation, I tend towards the more liberal end of the spectrum. DH went through an uber-Orthodox phase, but it's been years since he's attended church with the family. While I wish we could all worship together, I've come to accept that as with many other htings in our relationship, it works best to liver parallell lives, enjoying the times when they run together, and not worrying too much when they diverge, provided they are not running in oposite directions or perpendicular.

However, one of the things that DH has latched onto in all his religious seeking is the idea that families should worship together. He understands that I am not about to change my faith or worship practice. But he is not quite ready to re-join mine. so... he agonizes about it. he doesn't attend any church, and will come with me on holidays, but generally stays home (or goes to an AA meeting). But it BOTHERS him, much more than it bothers me. so he is often talking about how he wants to want to go to my church with me (he doesn't use that phrase, but that's the gist of it). I'm more frustrated by his frustration than I am by the fact that we don't worship together.

What I do is just say "I'm going to X church tomorrow (two parishes I attend.. one small, close to home,services in English, one large, far, with services in Slavonic) do you want to come with me" and leave it up to him. letting him know he is welcome to join me, but at the same time that there is no expectation/obligation for him to do so.

My kids were much more impacted when Dad went through a bible literalist phase and forced them to read bible passages than they are by the different place of worship.

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Matt Black

Shipmate
# 2210

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HTF does that work??

My wife and I are in a similar position to you Wood: we left the Bappo gaffe we'd been at for five years five years ago (no that wasn't a typo) mainly because I had moved higher up the candle and quite fancied attending an Anglican or even Catholic church. She hadn't and still hasn't, so we settled on mainly going to an evo CofE place with occasional visits to the Catholic church attached to the school of the older two of our three kids. Most of her friends were at the old church and she hasn't really made close friends at the new place, whereas I have.

But we both consider it important, not so much to worship at the same place week after week, but to worship wherever we do together. Therefore, whilst we mainly go to the CofE place, we also eat at other spiritual tables from time to time, including the Catholic church; we do this together, with our children. That seems to work for us in the main; it also is inculcating in our children a more 'broad church' sensibility in that the two older ones at least are realising that there is more than one way to skin the Christian cat (they also attend the Exclusive Brethren Meetings of Mrs B's parents when they stay there). I hope that this will stand them in good stead as and when they become disenchanted with the main Christian tradition in which they are being raised, in that they will know that there are other equally valid Christian traditions to which they may switch and thus avoid ditching Christianity altogether.

Just my £0.02...

[reply to 205]

[ 14. June 2012, 14:07: Message edited by: Matt Black ]

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"Protestant and Reformed, according to the Tradition of the ancient Catholic Church" - + John Cosin (1594-1672)

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Moo

Ship's tough old bird
# 107

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One of my daughters, who is a deeply religious Christian, married a Unitarian. She thought and prayed a long time before she decided to marry him. He is as committed to his faith as she is to hers, and they have great mutual respect.

Their children attend both churches; I don't know just how they divide their attendance.

Wood, I think if you and your wife pray together at home, this is a more important bond than attending church together. However, the problem of her loneliness remains.

Moo

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Kerygmania host
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See you later, alligator.

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the long ranger
Shipmate
# 17109

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quote:
Originally posted by Matt Black:
I hope that this will stand them in good stead as and when they become disenchanted with the main Christian tradition in which they are being raised, in that they will know that there are other equally valid Christian traditions to which they may switch and thus avoid ditching Christianity altogether.

Just my £0.02...


We are in a similar place in that respect - but I think all it teaches our daughter is that there are other Christians out there doing other, inexplicable things as well as people like us doing the inexplicable things we do.

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"..into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” “But Rabbi, how can this happen for those who have no teeth?”
"..If some have no teeth, then teeth will be provided.”

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Matt Black

Shipmate
# 2210

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Not quite the same here. Our eldest, aged 7, has a fair idea why people do the things they do at church and is beginning to also understand why different churches do different things. Our 4 year old daughter is beginning to understand why people do the things they do at church but doesn't understand the differences still less the reasons for them.

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"Protestant and Reformed, according to the Tradition of the ancient Catholic Church" - + John Cosin (1594-1672)

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Tubbs

Miss Congeniality
# 440

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quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
I know a good many couples who have a do not attend the same church, or where one attends church and one doesn't. There might have been some issues adjusting to that at some point in the relationships, but at this point, tt seems to work for them.

I'm sure it doesn't work for everyone. I don't think it would work if one partner decided that the other was going to Hell. I don't think it would work if one was trying to "convert" the other. And it likely wouldn't work in a "we do everything together" sort of relationship didn't allow room for separate interests and activities.

It's probably good to acknowledge that you've made unilateral changes in something that was considered a "joint" area earlier in the marriage, and to acknowledge that that's not really fair, and that you know that it's hard on your wife. Expressing appreciation for whatever support your wife provides is also a good thing, as is making it a point to support her participation in the parish where she has friends and is happy. That might mean helping her cook for a potluck at her church, or looking after the kids while she attends a women's Bible study, or whatever it is that you can do that would let her know that you value and support her in her decision to do what works for her.

Thank you. [Yipee] I was trying to work out how to say this but gave up.

It’s good to show that you both validate and support the other’s choice by coming along to the odd event. There are a few non-church going spouses of people attend our place that regularly come along for coffee at the end of service. It’s lovely to see them.

The Hidden Agenda is also a danger – where one partner is secretly hoping that the other will “see the light” and go where they go. (Ain’t going to happen!)

The one time when I can see the whole Going to Same Church thing becomes an issue is when one of you is in leadership. Then it’s a slightly different conversation as it’s not just your relationship that this will impact.

Tubbs

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"It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it up and remove all doubt" - Dennis Thatcher. My blog. Decide for yourself which I am

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Twilight

Puddleglum's sister
# 2832

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My husband and I have been going to different churches since I left our old mutual one. It seemed fine at first but lately I'm barely going to church at all. Not sure why. I think it's just harder to go alone and drive myself.

IMO, the partners who think it's really, really important for couples to go to the same church (Wood's wife, Anyuta's husband) probably should be the ones to give in and go to the spouses' church.

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CorgiGreta
Shipmate
# 443

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It may not be ideal, but I think that it is far better for the two of you to attend different churches rather than one or the other of you feeling that you HAVE to attend a certain church out of a misperceived desire for marital harmony.

Religion is ultimately a very personal matter, and being dragged, as it were, to a church one would not normally attend can breed resentment, something bad for one's marriage and probably bad for one's faith.

Let the children do as they wish. They may choose to sleep in.

[ 14. June 2012, 14:58: Message edited by: CorgiGreta ]

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frin

Drinking coffee for Jesus
# 9

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Different churches do it for Dyfrig and for me. We had a few years in which we went to the same church. Then we helped that church to close, and there was no other church that fitted the midpoint of our different spiritual needs. We've been going to different churches from one another for at least 6 years now, and have both been involved in leadership positions in those different churches. It does not do us harm to worship in different places. Given the distance between our liturgical instincts, it might conceivably do one of us harm to try to conform to the other's place of worship. Not, you know, irreparable long term damage, but certainly it would create discomfort. Occasionally we revisit the question of where we worship. We haven't yet decided how we will deal with these issues when the time comes for me to be ordained into a pastorate.

We both miss the time when we were part of separate sunday morning congregations but also had an emerging church community which met at a different time to which we went together. I wonder if you could find some 'all family together' thing to do (even occasionally) outside of your normal pattern of attending sunday morning congregations, so that the children know that you all can and do worship together, even if there are reasons why you can't find one church for sundays.

'frin

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"Even the crocodile looks after her young" - Lamentations 4, remembering Erin.

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mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

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quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
It's probably good to acknowledge that you've made unilateral changes in something that was considered a "joint" area earlier in the marriage.

quote:
Originally posted by Tubbs:
Thank you... I was trying to work out how to say this but gave up.

I can't claim I was trying to work out how to say that but I can now see it's a central point.

I think that is why in our situation choosing a church that was "half-way" between both our ideals worked, and I have a sense that if my wife had simply followed me or I her then it wouldn't have worked in the long run.

Having said that I can see there isn't going to be a "half-way" option for every couple.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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mdijon
Shipmate
# 8520

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quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
IMO, the partners who think it's really, really important for couples to go to the same church (Wood's wife, Anyuta's husband) probably should be the ones to give in and go to the spouses' church.

I think both partners have to give in. Its hard to run these decisions based on who ought to give in - personally I think marriage only really becomes about rights when it has broken down.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Huts
Apprentice
# 13017

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We have quite a few in our congo who attend 'his' church one week and 'her' church the next week. This means that they can all go together with the children. They are on rota's for the weeks they are coming. When the children get older thy can choose where to get confirmed.

We are an evangelical Anglican church and the other church is often Catholic.

This I think is a good compromise and keeps the family worshipping together.

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Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

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I can't see any reason why you can't attend each other's churches occasionally, while regularly attending different ones. If nothing else, it provides variety for your children, and helps them to see that there are many different types of Christians who worship in different ways. If they are thinking sort of kids, then it could spark off some deeply interesting discussions.

I know several couples where the husband attends a different church from the wife, including clergy couples. One used to sing in our choir, and he explained that his wife forbade him to attend her church! I guess they had more interesting things to talk about over the dinner table if they went to different churches.

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Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

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frin

Drinking coffee for Jesus
# 9

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quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
I can't see any reason why you can't attend each other's churches occasionally

I can. Wood has left their previous church. I don't easily see how he can now attend there occasionally - unless it changes.

'frin

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"Even the crocodile looks after her young" - Lamentations 4, remembering Erin.

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birdie

fowl
# 2173

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quote:
Originally posted by Wood:

But is it a problem? I mean, is there some important spiritual principle I don't know about that makes my wife and I going to different churches a Really Bad Thing?

Is it to do with the idea of being One Flesh? If marriage unites you* spiritually, then maybe you should be united in worship, not seperate. Thing is, I don't think that necessarily means rocking up to the same building together every Sunday. I'm sure I know plenty of people who go to church together on a Sunday, but never pray together, discuss spiritual things, or any of the other stuff that is part of spiritual life. Whereas going to seperate churches on a Sunday morning in no way prevents you from doing other 'spiritual' things together.

Allied to this (and please note I'm not suggesting this is part of mrs w's thinking but I bet it is part of some people's), is possibly the submission thing... a wife going to a different church from her husband might be seen as not submissive. (yeah, even if her husband has said 'go to the other church'. I know, I know.)

*the general 'you'. I was going to write 'us' but that makes it look like I'm married to Wood.

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"Gentlemen, I wash my hands of this weirdness."
Captain Jack Sparrow

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Kelly Alves

Bunny with an axe
# 2522

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quote:
Originally posted by birdie:
Whereas going to seperate churches on a Sunday morning in no way prevents you from doing other 'spiritual' things together.


This. Why not bump up personal devotion in the home? Maybe even connect to compare/ contrast the messages from the different services after church? It could be really fruitful.

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I cannot expect people to believe “
Jesus loves me, this I know” of they don’t believe “Kelly loves me, this I know.”
Kelly Alves, somewhere around 2003.

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longing
Apprentice
# 17154

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I almost have the opposite problem. My wife and I worship at the same church, and both fit happily into the same Catholic leaning Anglican arrangement. However, we don't engage in any devotion at the home, we've not even broached the topic. I will only pray alone. I think that perhaps I'm embarrassed, which is strange given that I'll brazenly pray in front of her and the whole congregation on a Sunday morning. What sort of family devotions do you engage in together?
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Ronald Binge
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My late Grandmother's "trimmings" on the Rosary back in the day killed family prayer stone dead for me. The whole thing could take an hour and a half and the rather strange content that included prayers to be warned of approaching death within three days creeped me out. I wouldn't recommend that particular approach to family prayer.
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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
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quote:
Originally posted by frin:
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
I can't see any reason why you can't attend each other's churches occasionally

I can. Wood has left their previous church. I don't easily see how he can now attend there occasionally - unless it changes.

'frin

Yes, and I cut the traces quite drastically and painfully.

I went back there for a friend's baptism a few weeks ago.It was like being in a room with one's ex staring at you the whole time with doe eyes, wishing hard you would come back, only the ex was on every side. It was hard and painful. I saw the baptism, snuck up during the song to give our friend a hug and left.

I spent a good five years writing poetry during the sermons and wishing I was somewhere else. I refused to leave because of me. it had to be on a point of principle; I am not going into that, but suffice to say it's not going to change. Suffice to say, 'frin is quite right. My going back there is never going to be an option.

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Twilight

Puddleglum's sister
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quote:
Originally posted by frin:
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
I can't see any reason why you can't attend each other's churches occasionally

I can. Wood has left their previous church. I don't easily see how he can now attend there occasionally - unless it changes.

'frin

Exactly. I could never return to my old church because the pastor became very angry with me when he found out why I had left. It would be extremely awkward to return, even if I was able to keep my nostrils from flaring, whenever he talked about people who were, "abominations," and how bad parenting causes mental illness.

If both partners are required to "give in," that would mean finding a third church, which would posssibly make life even harder for everyone.

If Wood has a list of priorities about church with, say, "Inclusive," at the top and "Husband and wife go together," ten points down, while she has "Husband and wife go together," at the top of her list, then, I think, it only makes sense that she should change. Sorry Mrs Wood.

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mdijon
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My problem with that approach is that it treats husband and wife as individuals. It sends the message that the husband's problem is one of his principles, and the wife's problem is of wanting to be with her husband.

In fact both partners share both problems equally.

At worst it might appear to turn the marriage into an issue of power - in this instance I have power to drive the bargain, because my need for a different church can be effected whether or not you come with me, but your need to be with me requires you to come to the church I want to go to.

If both partners are going to make lists of priorities, "wife" needs to be at the top of the husband's list, and "husband" at the top if the wife's list.

[ 14. June 2012, 20:05: Message edited by: mdijon ]

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
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birdie

fowl
# 2173

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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:

If both partners are going to make lists of priorities, "wife" needs to be at the top of the husband's list, and "husband" at the top if the wife's list.

Quotes file.

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"Gentlemen, I wash my hands of this weirdness."
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Eleanor Jane
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# 13102

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Hmmm, it's an interesting one...

Of my husband and I, he's a lot more 'liberal' and has been going through a gradual loss of faith for the past couple of years.

With our new church (having moved countries) our unspoken compromise is a) I'll go to a liberal church and b) he'll go to church at all. He likes traditional worship with hymns n liturgy, I don't mind either that or praise choruses and a rock band but I'm happy enough with the worship where we are.

We're away fairly often too so we often go to evensongs at cathedrals etc. (We both like choral music).

Seems to working so far and going to a church that's more his taste seems to helping prop up his faith a bit, which is good from my point of view. I definitely want to be married to a Christian, if at all possible.

Cheers,
EJ

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Schroedinger's cat

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# 64

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A few years ago, I did the same, and left the church we were both going to. And it caused real problems, which we eventually resolved. But it is difficult.

Of course, it didn't help when earlier this year I left the church altogether.

Is it important? Yes, but not essential. It is a good idea if you can work it out, but if you are different, and have different desires or requirements from a church then it is probably better to go separately, keep your relationship with God alive, and take some time to pray with your partner separately.

Because, at the end of the day, church is not that important.

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Johnny S
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# 12581

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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
Because, at the end of the day, church is not that important.

Did you read mdijon's most recent post?
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Dinghy Sailor

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# 8507

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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
Because, at the end of the day, church is not that important.

I disagree.

Back when I was at uni, a figure I heard a few times was that 10 years after graduation, 50% of us would have left the faith. I haven't go to 10 years yet and thankfully, I doubt quite half of my Christian friends will have apostatised by then, but it's got to the point where it really isn't funny anymore. Several good friends have given up on faith, and several more have the faith of a train wreck - and with one exception, the problem (or at least my diagnosis of it) is some variation on not putting the time into sharing fellowship with other Christians.

Going to church is really important because you are nourished and taught, and you are reminded that you're not in this alone, there are your Christian brothers and sisters alongside you. If you're out in the world, you hear the world's answers to Christian problems - you need to regularly hear Christians' answers to those same problems, or else your mind will inexorably be conformed to the world's way of thinking. I don't mean to be legalistic here - there's no "you must get your dose of magic Jesus bread once a week" - but pragmatically, fellowship and worship is vital to keeping your mind focussed on God.

We all have complaints about our churches but these are like complaints about flatmates or family - we'd still prefer to have them with all their foibles, rather than live alone. It breaks my heart to see friends leave the faith, and doubly so when the reasons are so consistently recognisable and repetitive.

So yeah, church is important. Stick with it [Smile]

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Twilight

Puddleglum's sister
# 2832

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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
My problem with that approach is that it treats husband and wife as individuals. It sends the message that the husband's problem is one of his principles, and the wife's problem is of wanting to be with her husband.

In fact both partners share both problems equally.

At worst it might appear to turn the marriage into an issue of power - in this instance I have power to drive the bargain, because my need for a different church can be effected whether or not you come with me, but your need to be with me requires you to come to the church I want to go to.

If both partners are going to make lists of priorities, "wife" needs to be at the top of the husband's list, and "husband" at the top if the wife's list.

So based on your list, I should just forget all about my spiritual needs to have communion more than twice a year and a pastor I can respect, and just go to my husband's church because "husband" is at the top of my list and he would like to have me there to listen to his musical program and discuss it afterward.

Sorry, I am an individual and not just my husband's band groupie.

You seem to think this list of priorities is a list of what matters most in my life and not a list of what qualities we prefer (even need) in a church. I love my husband but he doesn't top all my lists for every single one of my activites and I'm certainly not topping all of his, thank God. I'd hate to see my name on the top of his list of yard chores.

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Ethne Alba
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i seem to recall friendship being in the equation up there in the OP....?

Can't be understated.....shame it couldn't be found outside the previous church tho.

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anoesis
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# 14189

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quote:
Originally posted by Dinghy Sailor:
quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
Because, at the end of the day, church is not that important.

I disagree.

Back when I was at uni, a figure I heard a few times was that 10 years after graduation, 50% of us would have left the faith. I haven't go to 10 years yet and thankfully, I doubt quite half of my Christian friends will have apostatised by then, but it's got to the point where it really isn't funny anymore. Several good friends have given up on faith, and several more have the faith of a train wreck - and with one exception, the problem (or at least my diagnosis of it) is some variation on not putting the time into sharing fellowship with other Christians.'

It can get really difficult to put the time in when you don't feel a sense of fellowship, when despite having tried several different churches/denominations, you still can't find anyone you really want to spend time with, when in fact it is just really uncomfortable having to make polite conversation about trivia with these people week after week. But of course it is the fault of those who leave, not those who stay...

quote:
Originally posted by Dinghy Sailor:
Going to church is really important because you are nourished and taught, and you are reminded that you're not in this alone, there are your Christian brothers and sisters alongside you.

It is possible that you have your causality the wrong way around here, and that you are still in church BECAUSE you feel nourished and taught by it, and your friends are not, because they didn't, and it got to the point where they were a bit too tired and demoralised to get up and put the happy face on every Sunday morning.

quote:
Originally posted by Dinghy Sailor:
If you're out in the world, you hear the world's answers to Christian problems - you need to regularly hear Christians' answers to those same problems, or else your mind will inexorably be conformed to the world's way of thinking.

This is so alarming I don't quite know where to start with it. It's a step further than 'you need to hang out with people who think like you so you can have your opinions validated', which would be bad enough.

Have a look at the following [real] scenario and tell me if my problem is that my mind has been inexorably conformed to this world...

Setting: discussion on why earthquakes happen (after Christchurch earthquake).
Room divided between 'it is because humanity is fallen, and the earth itself was affected by the fall', and 'it is a message from God that we need to rely on Him for the things that are really important'. You are asked for your opinion. You say that you think that earthquakes are pretty much an inevitable feature of a planet with tectonic plates, so asking WHY it happens is not very helpful. Perhaps instead we could discuss HOW we are supposed to respond to it. Silence falls. You realise you are the only person in the room who thinks that earthquakes are just things that happen, rather than are divinely caused. In a mainstream Anglican church. Hoo... uncomfortable.

But yeah, I'm sure that ultimately I left because I wasn't prepared to put enough effort into sharing and fellowshipping...

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The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused. -- Dafyd --

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anoesis
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# 14189

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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
I think both partners have to give in.

Ahh, yes, compromise - the process by which no-one gets what they actually want. Still, if someone's going to be miserable, perhaps its best for everyone to be equally miserable, together...

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The history of humanity give one little hope that strength left to its own devices won't be abused. Indeed, it gives one little ground to think that strength would continue to exist if it were not abused. -- Dafyd --

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birdie

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# 2173

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quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:

You seem to think this list of priorities is a list of what matters most in my life and not a list of what qualities we prefer (even need) in a church. I love my husband but he doesn't top all my lists for every single one of my activites and I'm certainly not topping all of his, thank God. I'd hate to see my name on the top of his list of yard chores.

But I think mdijon was thinking of a 'list of priorities' for life in general, not specific activities. And the idea is presumably that if he is at the 'top' of your list, you should be at the top of his. It doesn't mean either of you blindly following the other, but that, if there's something that's causing a problem, it's a problem for both of you, and both of you are involved in getting it sorted.
[And if there are children, perhaps it's more appropriate to have 'family' at the top of this list, rather than 'spouse']

(I must add that in my book, there must be that mutuality in having each other at the 'top of the list'. If he's at the top of your list, but you're not at the top of his, all bets are off.)

[ 15. June 2012, 07:04: Message edited by: birdie ]

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"Gentlemen, I wash my hands of this weirdness."
Captain Jack Sparrow

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Johnny S
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# 12581

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quote:
Originally posted by anoesis:
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
I think both partners have to give in.

Ahh, yes, compromise - the process by which no-one gets what they actually want. Still, if someone's going to be miserable, perhaps its best for everyone to be equally miserable, together...
Ahh, yes, the 21st century definition of marriage - two individuals living together.
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the long ranger
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# 17109

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quote:
Originally posted by anoesis:
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
I think both partners have to give in.

Ahh, yes, compromise - the process by which no-one gets what they actually want. Still, if someone's going to be miserable, perhaps its best for everyone to be equally miserable, together...
In 12 years of marriage, we've moved four times and never found a church we were both comfortable with. Modern life being what it is, it is a surprise that anyone manages to do church together.

[ 15. June 2012, 08:34: Message edited by: the long ranger ]

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"..into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” “But Rabbi, how can this happen for those who have no teeth?”
"..If some have no teeth, then teeth will be provided.”

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PerkyEars

slightly distracted
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quote:
We all have complaints about our churches but these are like complaints about flatmates or family - we'd still prefer to have them with all their foibles, rather than live alone.
Really!? I've had both flatmates and family that were bad for my mental health and that I am well shot of spending too much time with. If I walked into a church and heard that quote in a sermon I'd seriously consider walking straight out again, because any minister that made it seriously doesn't understand the depth of pain and dysfunctionality that's going on in a lot of poeople's lives.

quote:
She also, however, believes strongly that we should be going to the same church. Like really strongly.
Sometimes I know I forget to do the obvious thing, and ask my spouse to unpack why they feel a certain way. Often in a marriage we assume we understand, and maybe we don't.

The thing I'm confused about is why your wife's church friends are no longer her friends since she's not attending on a sunday morning? Can't she meet them in other contexts?

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mdijon
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# 8520

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I can't see that;

quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
If both partners are going to make lists of priorities, "wife" needs to be at the top of the husband's list, and "husband" at the top of the wife's list.

leads to

quote:
Originally posted by Twilight:
So based on your list, I should just forget all about my spiritual needs...

Sorry, I am an individual and not just my husband's band groupie.

I could see that reaction if I hadn't made the priority listing reciprocal, but I did. It doesn't work if it's only one-way.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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mdijon
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# 8520

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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
I think both partners have to give in.

quote:
Originally posted by anoesis:
Ahh, yes, compromise - the process by which no-one gets what they actually want. Still, if someone's going to be miserable, perhaps its best for everyone to be equally miserable, together...

Funnily enough I don't find either myself or my wife to be made miserable in our current mutual accommodation of each other.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Wood
The Milkman of Human Kindness
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The only cut-and-dried thing is that I can't go back to the old church. The point of principle is so profound that it cannot be gotten around: if I am right, I cannot in good conscience be a member because it is morally wrong for me to be so; if I am wrong, I cannot in good conscience be a member because I am damaging the congregation's work.

The fact is, I cannot see another way around this if we are to be happy together; paradoxically, her going back will be good for our marriage, I think, because she won't be so isolated. She's suffering a bit of cognitive dissonance around this; me, I think it's the best possible way for us.

Note the words "possible" and "for us".

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Matt Black

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# 2210

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quote:
Originally posted by anoesis:
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
I think both partners have to give in.

Ahh, yes, compromise - the process by which no-one gets what they actually want.
I believe that compromise is an essential feature of a healthy marriage.

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mdijon
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It might be reasonable to "try out" the arrangement of different churches with a view to reviewing it after a few months.

That might feel like less of a wrench initially, and if it is made clear at the outset then there isn't the same awkwardness in changing the arrangement again in whatever direction after the time is up.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Barnabas62
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# 9110

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"Shared misery" is not too bad, is it?

"We're in this together", whatever "this" is, is better than "this is really your fault for changing your mind/sticking to your guns" plus "you really ought to be more considerate!".

Mrs B and I had one of these times in our lives - about 30 years ago. We "muddled through" and we both found it painful. But not to the extent of wanting to pressurise one another away from convictions. Living with differences was a lot better than that.

Mind you, we did argue quite a lot to start with, before establishing cooling off signals and "let's not go there again" agreements. Muddling through is OK-ish, and certainly a lot better than Mexican stand-offs. If you love one another.

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Morgan
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In the last 3 generations of my family no couple has attended the same church together. Never been a problem. We share our experiences and have a common spiritual life at home.

My Dad was Catholic and my Mum was Anglican in an era when "never the twain . . ." They each went to their own churches. We said grace as a family before every meal. There were evening prayers, and Easter and Christmas were strongly spiritual as well as having all the secular fun.

My brother and I never doubted that faith and family were the twin pillars of our parents' lives.

My husband does not go to church but hears all about my church. I am an Anglican priest.

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