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Ask A Pastor: How Often Should Boyfriend and Girlfriend Visit Each Other’s Churches?

Question

“My girlfriend and I are from different churches. She is URC and I am FRC. How often should we visit each others churches (realizing our responsibilities as members in our own church)? Should we always be in our church or is there room for visiting?”

Answer

This is a hard question to answer without knowing your precise situation; therefore, although I assume the best, I must qualify my response in the event that another reader might take the liberty to twist my advice.


The first qualification is that long term church membership including accountability and parental guidance are very important. This is supported by the fourth commandment.

The second qualification is that dating should not simply be a casual relationship but take place with the goal of a long term relationship, in other words with marriage in the Lord in mind.  These qualifications are made to ensure that my answer does not condone flippant relationships and church hopping.


Therefore, the advice that I give assumes this situation; you are both members in good standing, having good communication with your elders and parents, and that you have your elders’ and parents’ support.

Advice

If this is the situation, I would suggest visiting each other’s churches for up to 6 months, while working with your pastors, elders, and parents to reach a unified decision regarding your committed relationship and church membership. Since I am assuming the best situation, my advice to anyone in your situation is to first discuss your situation with those who have oversight over you. I am sure your consistory and parents appreciate your concern, and I am sure they are willing to give clear guidance for your specific situation.

Biblical reasons for this advice

Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3)

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Heb. 13:17)


In order to bring these two principles together in your situation you need knowledge and open communication with all involved.

Practical reasons for this advice

If you are just casually dating you could damage a lot of important relationships by just casually visiting each others churches. Trusting that you are mature and serious about your relationship and memberships then you can not make this kind of assessment in a month or two, it will take some time. However, if it is longer than 6 months, then relationships within each others’ families and churches will become strained and you may be sending a negative unintended message to your peers regarding your commitment to your church family.


May the Lord give you wisdom and grant spiritual leadership through this important time in your life!


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