This Saturday, somewhere in the world, a woman is coming up with ways that she can get her man to church on Sunday morning. She stands with a white board before her and a marker in hand, mapping out her plan of action.
Step 1: invite him over for a meal at the house, cook his favourite. Watch a game of rugby/ football / tennis.
Step 2: Bring up the subject of church and then mention how much of an impact it has had on your life. Pause and then gently placing your hand on his arm say: “You know, it would mean a lot to have you there tomorrow.”
Step 3: Strategically let one solitary tear come down your cheek, look into his eyes and wait for his answer.
How can a man say no to that?
Tomorrow morning you will see the guy in a suit and tie in the front pew, nodding and Amen-ing like a pro! Often the guy who has been dragged to church hangs out in the corner after church while his girlfriend socialises with her friends over tea. He is on the phone or jiggling his car keys in his pocket and staring into space.
Women need to stop forcing their boyfriends to go to church. Here is the truth about what is really going on:
1. He is doing it for you, not for God.
Many women who have to drag their boyfriends to church have a thriving relationship with God and want to see their boyfriends have the same thing. They have good intentions and they think that his saying yes to church is a sign that he’s ready to get serious with God. Sometimes it is. But more often than not, he is doing it for his relationship with the woman and not for his relationship with God. The decision to follow Christ is not something you can force on your man. You can encourage and invite him but ultimately, for it to be genuine and lasting, he must make his own decision.
2. He is saying yes because he feels like he cannot say no.
Forcing your man to go to church usually requires you to manipulate him. The word manipulate is defined as “to manage a person or situation to one’s own advantage, especially unfairly or unscrupulously.” In the scenario that I described above, the woman’s PoA is designed to get her what she wants, she manages the situation to her advantage. She places her man in a corner where he feels like he has no real choice. He says yes because he feels like he has to and not because he wants to.
What wrong with this picture? The problem with this is that it makes it okay for either one of you in a relationship to use manipulation if it get you what you want. The manipulator does not respect the other person’s right to exercise their will. Ultimately, what this leads to is distrust in each other and controlling behaviour.
3. You love him for the man you want him to be, not for the man he is.
When you are in relationship with someone, you see potential in them and you long for them to live it out – this is good! The trouble is, many women make their man a project. They treat him like an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. When they first meet a guy, he has none of the characteristics that she sees in a man but why reject when you can remodel?!
Firstly, you need a reality check, look at your man and see him as he is, today. Secondly, ask yourself if you would be happy spending the rest of your life with this
house man, if he never changed. If he was the kind of man who could not have a serious conversation with you about God, or could not pray with you through things.
Remember, your boyfriend going to church says very little about his spiritual maturity or whether he is actually following Christ. This Saturday, instead of trying to find ways to force him to go to church, ask him some serious questions like: Do you have a committed relationship with God? What do you think it means to be a Christian?
Start there, but before you do, answer these two questions below:
Is it important to you that your man be a follower of Jesus?
Is it okay for Christian women to be in relationships with men who are not Christians?