I have friends who attend a church together with their family and the wife decided to leave the church. Should she leave even if the husband doesn't want her to do so? Where in scripture can we find this answer?
The general answer to your question is, “No, the wife should attend church together with her husband.” However, there are some exceptions. There are several scriptures that must be considered. The first passage deals with the situation where someone, including a wife, encounters false teaching. The second deals with the issue of submission to a husband. We conclude with the situation of conflict in the marriage.
The first passage is found in Revelation 2:20-23. This passage reveals what can happen to a false teacher and to those who submit themselves to false teaching and follow a false teacher. The passage clearly reveals that God will give both the false teacher and those who listen and accept what is taught time to repent. Those who who do not repent will eventually be punished. However, if they stop listening to the false teacher and stop participating, they can escape punishment.
But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. Rev 2:20-23 (NAS95S)
The message is simple. One must leave a church where the pastor is a false teacher. A person should also leave a church if the pastor is not faithfully teaching the Bible.
The second and third passages are found in Ephesians and 1 Peter.
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Eph 5:22 (NAS95S)
In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 1 Pet 3:1-2 (NAS95S)
Both passages teach an important concept. A wife is to be submissive when there is disagreement in the marital relationship. This does not mean that the husband is the dictator. He is to have an open and gracious discussion with his wife about any area of disagreement, but ultimately his decision is final if they disagree.
In this situation, the wife has the freedom to ignore her husband and refuse to attend the church if false doctrine is being taught. Otherwise, she should be in attendance with her husband. Before we conclude one must ask, “Is there physical abuse in the marriage?” If so, we would encourage them to get into counseling immediately.