The wife of a ministry husband will often find herself navigating a complex set of relationships as she seeks to serve in Gospel work together. That, at least, has been my experience.
Over the coming weeks I’m going to share some quick jottings on four areas of relationship in which I’m involved. Each has its own challenges, and each its own special cares needed. Call them my time-tested insights.
Being the wife of a husband in ministry.
- What I think helps the most here is you and your husband to have the same Gospel mindset, sharing the same Gospel desire. Actually that’s an understatement – it’s essential. There are years of stress, strain and stretching ahead, most of which will be beyond what you both thought you could do. If you’re not on the same page and hungering to serve God with similar intensity it will make things pretty hard, even impossible. If you already feel there’s a major difference in the way you see things, if you think of it as his work and you feel uncomfortable when it sounds like you’ll be included, it would be good to examine those feelings before plunging into the deep end together. There are other ways to serve God as a couple.
- Having said that, being on the same page doesn’t mean doing the same job. Your contribution will probably look quite different, and will almost certainly change over time. The key is to have the same Gospel desire. However having that same desire may mean you feel frustrated at times. I think then it helps to have a clear picture of how your roles and responsibilities contribute to the work. I found it helpful to know the work I did at home was crucial to our Gospel work in that it was a key to my husband’s ability to function. It was also helpful to reflect that if I was doing front line stuff all the time, no one was bringing up the kids!
- One outcome of having the same Gospel mindset and being on the same page with each other is the empathy understanding brings. Appreciating your husband’s role and the pressures it brings allows you to:
- Let go of expectations of his time and let go of expectations of getting help whenever you think you need it. It can make you willing to manage without him. It can challenge you to stretch yourself.
- Be able to excuse the small oversights that come with stress and a heavy load – forgetting to do things, not noticing , being preoccupied. The love that undergirds a ministry marriage can learn to cover a multitude of sins.
Having a discussion about your needs and how you’re both going to get through this long term with the marriage still together is the best way to go.
Actually, that discussion is a good one to have even with a supportive husband. The more you understand each other, the more of a blessing your ministry is likely to be – to you, as well as others.
Published September 27, 2016