Leaving organized religion not only was a big deal in of itself for me, but it presented CGC's with several theological "challenges" as well. The main reason being that I left church and my husband and kids stayed. People within the system didn't quite know how to deal with this fact. It tweaked with their status quo...big time! The reactions ranged from people seeming shocked that we weren't both on "the same page" to some asking overt questions about it. They wondered how it was working out for us, was it a challenge?, were we both ok with not doing the same religious ritual?, (my words.) It became clear to me that people within the church simply weren't comfortable with the fact that I had left and my husband hadn't. It became clear to me that we had broken one of the cardinal rules of the church: Be Ye Equally Yoked.
It dawned on me that within church circles couples are expected to have the same expressions of faith, worship, etc. Heaven forbid that one would feel to seek God outisde of the church and the other remain within the church. I think people were surprised when I told them that my husband and I were perfectly fine with doing different things on Sunday. Honestly, after I left the church our marriage greatly improved. The longer I remained in the church system the more our marriage became, well, equally choked.
So where did the idea come from that husbands and wives need to express their devotion to God in the exact same way? I think the verse about being unequally yoked, (2 Cor 6:14), is the origin of this idea. The kicker is that this verse is talking about being unequally yoked with unbelievers! This has nothing to do with people of the same faith. I would even argue that this verse may not pertain to marriage, (but that is a whole different post.) Another reason I think people were in such a kafuffle over this issue goes back to the verse about wives submitting to their husbands, (Eph 5: 21-22.) I did some research on this verse, in the Greek, and discovered that the part about wives submitting to their husbands is only one example of submission. The verse begins with, "Submit yourselves to one another out of reverence for Christ." It seems to me that this is a mutual submission - wives to husbands, husbands to wives. In our situation I felt strongly that God had spoken to me that it was time to leave organized religion. My husband then submitted to me in my leaving. I then submitted to him staying, (I really wanted him to leave as well, but now have peace with the decission he made at the time.) If we hadn't submitted to each other I think we would have a boat load of tension and stress in our marriage right now!
All through my years of being in the church there was the unspoken rule that husbands and wives need to be on the exact same page spiritually: attend the same church, be involved in the same ministry, etc. I'm now seeing that this is not what God expects for me. There may be couples out there with the same calling of course, but I believe in many cases couples have various callings on their lives and varied expressions of faith. I wonder what would the church look like if more women stepped out of the box religion has put them in and into the ministry God had called them to...