Monthly Archives: August 2011

Wound Up Tight

Dear DW, 

My wife is the children’s minister at a large church.  Lately, her administrative pastor has been riding her hard about her budget.  When I see him in the hallway at church, I want to punch him in the head!  Does he even know how much time my wife spends at the church working?  When you have a hundred extra kids come to an event, you are going to go over budget.  I told her to quit because she doesn’t need this kind of hassle and disrespect for the little bit she is paid.  But she won’t do it.  She loves the kids too much.  How do I deal with this man and keep my Christianity? 

Wound Up Tight

Houston, Texas

Dear Wound Up Tight, 

I highly recommend that you count to 10 and keep your hands tightly clasped around your Bible when passing the administrative pastor in the hallway!  Look, it’s natural for you to want to protect your wife.  Some would say that it’s your responsibility as her husband.  But think about this for a minute, if your wife had a job in a secular office, would you storm the doors and protect her honor with the staff accountant?  Probably not.  Church ministries are personal, and the lines between work and home are easily blurred.  Just like in a secular job, it’s important that your wife take responsibility for her own ministry.  The way that you can support her best is by making your home and marriage a peaceful haven from the stressors of her ministry.  Validate that what she is doing is meaningful in the “eternal”.  Pray for and with your wife about how to face this challenge with her supervisor.  With prayer and communication, you both will be in unity about when it is truly time for her move on from this current ministry.  In the meantime, get a punching bag, avoid the main hallway, bathe in prayer and ask God to change your heart and attitude about this pastor.  Who knows?  He may be living in the same pressure cooker that your wife is in.  There’s no one better to pray for him than someone who knows what it’s like to live in a glass house.

 With Love,

DW~

 

Alone Again

Dear DW, 

My husband works all of the time.  When he’s not at church doing some kind of meeting or bible study, he’s at home on the computer or on the phone counseling someone.  I can’t remember the last time we had a date or even an uninterrupted conversation.  I know his ministry is more than just a job so I feel bad saying anything when I know that these people really do need help.  I’m willing to share him for the sake of God’s kingdom, but it’s starting to get lonely around here.  Is this the sacrifice I have to make to be married to a pastor? 

Alone Again in

Arkansas

Dear Alone Again,

 Yes, sacrifice is a part of a ministry spouses’ life, however, when you start describing your life as lonely, the red flags go up.  I have a rule in my household regarding “worthy ministry” that helped revolutionize the way my husband and I view what is really important enough to interrupt our private time together.  Whenever presented with a ministry opportunity, we ask ourselves these two questions:

  1.  Is this something that has eternal value?
  2. Is this something that someone else could easily do? 

Some examples: 

  • Running up to church during dinner because someone forgot to lock the doors has no eternal value and could definitely be done by someone else.  
  • Running up to church during dinner because someone’s family is in crisis has eternal value and requires your husband’s attention.  
  • Going to a football game to support a teenager from your church could have eternal value, but it is something that someone else could easily do.  
  • It may be necessary for your husband to conduct a leader’s meeting, but can it happen at a different time than on your only day off. 

Considering these questions before disrupting your family time for ministry will help you be a more supportive spouse and help your husband be a more attentive husband.  It’s helped my family to organize our ministry and family time much more effectively.  It also forces us to allow other people the chance to be involved in ministries that my husband might have just done himself in the past. 

Recognize the red flags.  Please sit down with your husband and tell him how you feel.  Reassure him that you are supportive of him in ministry but you need some more time with him.  I challenge you and your husband to try out the question method and see if it doesn’t transform your time together and maybe even your ministry!

 With love,

 DW~

Overwhlemed Newlywed

Dear DW,

I’m newly married to a youth pastor.  He is a wonderful man and I am madly in love with him.  I’m just not so sure that I’m madly in love with being a pastor’s wife.  I want to support him, but this is not exactly what I had in mind when I dreamed about our future together.  I’m finding myself frustrated all the time- frustrated with teenagers, frustrated with church people, frustrated with our finances, and frustrated with our lack of time together.  When I said “I do”, I didn’t sign up for this. 

Help!

I’m Overwhelmed

Louisiana

Dear Overwhelmed,

I don’t really want to say this but the reality of your situation is that when you said “I do”, you did sign up for this kind of life.  Church people, teenagers, and financial struggles all come along with the “married-to-a-youth pastor” package.  However, while you do have to live with the lifestyle, you don’t have to live with the frustration.

 Some tips that might help:

 1)Set your boundaries. As a newlywed, this is a great time in your life to establish some strong boundaries between your personal life and the youth ministry.  My guess from your letter is that your personal life and your public life have been blending together.   Spend some time with your husband talking about how you are going to define your family life and how much of your private time you are going to share with ministry.   Regularly schedule time that is “ministry free”.  Yes, actually put it on his schedule.  If you don’t, someone else will fill that time for him.

 2)Find a mentor.  This does not necessarily have to be another pastor’s wife.  Choose someone who lives a very busy lifestyle and successfully maintains a close loving relationship with her husband.  Get to know her and search for the tools that make her marriage work.

3)Live on love! I Peter 4:8 says “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”  This not only goes for you and your husband, but for church people, too.  Focusing on the “why” behind your sacrifice of time, money, and privacy will go a long way to helping you deal with the daily frustrations of ministry life.  Ask God to help you love these people the way that He loves them despite their faults.

With love,

DW~

 

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