Should Married Couples Avoid Sitting Together in Church?

Why would a married couple possibly want to create a chance for gossip by not sitting together in church? One writer found five reasons.

There are only two kinds of married couples that I recall not sitting together in church every single Sunday.

The pastor and his wife didn’t sit together for most of the service, although at times they did.

And people who sang in the choir or performed in the worship band obviously didn’t sit together during the worship, though they did sit together generally when they weren’t on stage.

Otherwise, if you’re married, you sit with your spouse (and your children). You probably have a favorite chair or pew that your clan always chooses. Every Sunday, that’s your spot. You probably even have mostly the same people sitting around you.

Every Sunday.

Last week, I wrote about the isolation some people feel in churches. Even when there’s a strong sense of community within a church, some members just don’t feel that it includes them.

Just the other day, I read a post on Christianity Today about a woman who identified five reasons that sitting together in church isn’t the best idea for married couples.

Read them all at this link. I want to focus on just one of them.

Rebecca McLaughlin writes that one of her five reasons she doesn’t sit next to her husband in church is because “outsiders shouldn’t be outsiders.”

She tells the story of seeing a young woman enter the church and stand alone at the back of the church. McLaughlin watched for a moment, then beckoned to the visitor and suggested the two sit together.

Later, she learned from the pastor that a newcomer reported being welcomed by a woman who matched McLaughlin’s description and talked about “how much it had meant to her.”

I’ve been that person who walks into a church for the first time not knowing anyone and not feeling like there’s a place for me. I’ve been that person in that same church weeks or months or even years later.

Some of us make friends easily. Others of us don’t.

And in a church, where we’re all supposed to be one body, the sense of isolation can be overwhelming.

I would hate to be the reason a married couple might decide not to sit together during a church service. I respect all five of McLaughlin’s reasons and I’m intrigued by them.

I guess it’s my own church background in which we all sat together all the time that makes this practice of splitting up to, in part, be more neighborly and make outsiders feel welcome a bit alien.

But I really am glad there are people out there who are willing to go this far just to make sure a stranger visiting a church feels like someone there cares enough to show the hospitality we’re all supposed to show. It’s the kind of gesture I wish more people would make.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.