Marriage Missions International

Is Marriage In Conflict With Your Ministry?

Many times couples feel as if marriage is in conflict with ministry. The attitude seems to be: “If I really give to my marriage what all these books and counselors say I should, my ministry will suffer. Marriage is important, but my ministry is for God, and he deserves 100 percent.”

This type of thinking translates into the resolve that “I will respond to anyone who calls at any time other than my spouse. Even if I have promised my wife (husband) that I will stay home, if someone else calls for my attention, my wife (husband) will just have to understand that God’s work comes first.”

Perhaps the bluntness of the above statement makes it seem like something that you would never say. However, this type of thinking can creep in subtly.

The reason for this error is a misunderstanding of how marriage and ministry fit together. Many couples believe and live as if marriage and ministry do not fit together. They view these two areas as being in irresolvable conflict and feel that one must be subordinate. Frequently, this translates into a severe neglect of the family, because “serving the Lord” is more important. Those having this attitude define service to God as “those spiritual things that take place outside the home.”

Other couples believe that marriage and ministry ought to fit together, so they run back and forth between the two. The fit is never comfortable or easy, but they enjoy some success from their juggling efforts.

The first approach, a neglect of the home, is clear disobedience to God’s standards for those who oversee his church. Paul tells us that “[an overseer] must manage his own family well” (1 Timothy 3:4). Obviously, a pastor cannot manage his home if he is never present. The second approach will work when both areas make major demands at the same time. Those who try to take on both equally are prime candidates for burnout.

There is a better way. I have seen it work for people who made a commitment to it from the beginning, as well as for those who first chose one of the above approaches and then struggled hard to change horses in midstream. This third option regarding marriage and ministry is that we view our Bible studies, our singing in the choir, our teaching, or our counseling as a part of our ministry, so we must see our marriage as a viable part of our service to God.

One of the most important assets in an effective ministry is a healthy and strong marriage. Many people in ministry are failing God because of problems in their homes that have been generated by their neglect.

One of the traps that many ministry couples have fallen into is that of separating spiritual things from earthly or mundane things. God makes no such distinction in our lives. We are to honor him and give glory to him in everything we do. Surely God would not have us neglect our families for the sake of his church. Rather we need to nurture our relationships at home so they, by example, can strengthen the body.

An example of this is found in a young pastor who believed that the things he deemed “spiritual” must be treated as being more important than those he felt were of this world. Early in his ministry he worked six long days in the church.

On his “day off” he left his wife and three small children at home and spent twelve hours in the streets passing out Bibles. This pattern was repeated for ten years, and his marriage and family suffered greatly. He said to me, “How I wish I understood that loving my wife and nurturing my children were also ministries!”

How we must grieve God when we neglect the very relationship that is to illustrate Christ’s relationship to his bride. What a greater affront is that we do it “in his name.”

Several years ago I was counseling a ministry couple whose marriage was on the verge of breaking up. This pastor’s neglect of his family was staggering. When I suggested to him that his pattern of behavior was not of God, he replied: “You do not understand. Whatever crosses my path is from God and requires my complete attention. I cannot say no. He will care for my family.”

This minister had defined ministry as absence from home. How sad it is that he never saw that his family had also crossed his path and that his ministry to them was as important as any speaking engagement!

Everything we do is to glorify God, and all that we strive for is to be in service to him. This is as true of listening to and encouraging our spouse as it is of being at the bedside of a dying parishioner. God makes no distinctions: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17).

The idea that every area of our lives is to be considered service to God is powerfully emphasized by Peter’s exhortation to elders. He says that overseers are to shepherd others while also serving as examples to their flocks. Paul reiterates this idea many times when he says, “Copy me” “Be imitators of me.” We are to be godly examples to those we serve. This certainly includes all areas of home and family life as well as all aspects of our church ministry.

A perfect ministry and a perfect marriage are not necessary in order to glorify God. However, obedient hearts that strive to please God in every area of life are necessary if our example is to bring honor to the name of Christ.

This article comes from the book,  Counsel for Pastors’ Wives -written by Diane Langberg, published by Zondervan. In this book Dr Langberg offers sympathetic and realistic answers to 14 questions submitted to her from pastors’ wives —ones that are often asked. All of the answers require acts of faith, renewed patience, and wisdom that must come from God. With these divine resources come healing and possible solutions.

Share

Join the Discussion!

But please observe the following guidelines:

  • Try to be as positive as possible when you make a comment.
  • If there is name-calling, or profane language, it will be deleted.
  • The same goes with hurtful comments targeted at belittling others; we won't post them.
  • Recommendations for people to divorce will be edited out–that's a decision between them and God, not us.
  • If you have a criticism, please make it constructive.
  • Be mindful that this is an international ministry where cultural differences need to be considered.
  • Please honor the fact this is a Christ-centered web site.
We review all comments before posting them to reduce spam and offensive content.


− 3 = three

Comments

39 Responses to “Is Marriage In Conflict With Your Ministry?”
  1. Sue says:

    (US)  Me and my husband have been separated (not divorced), will be 2 years in March. During this time we have talked and been with each other a couple of times. Went out to eat, watched movies together, but then all of a sudden he changed to not wating to have anything to do with me and that he no longer loved me.

    Before we separated we were pastoring a church. Somethings had happened that lead me to leave and God has spoke to me since then letting me know that I should have never left. During the 2 years I have told him I no longer loved him and was done, but have found out that I was wrong. During that time he was willing to try and make things work, but I didn’t want to.

    Now I want things to work and he doesn’t want to. What can I do to mend this? I love my husband with all my heart, but the vale of resentment, bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, and much more had my eyes covered. I know now that the devil has his eyes covered too.

    He is still Pastoring a church but I feel he should step down. He said that no matter what I do he still has a calling and he is going to do what God has called him to do. I am wondering if I am wrong in thinkng that he should step down or what should I do. We are both Christians that I believe want what God wants for us but so much time has went by and I don’t know what to do except wait on God… and pray that restoration is in process… Help.

    • Precious says:

      (SOUTH AFRICA)  Hi Sue, my heart just goes out to you. My husband and I are both Pastors. He first became a pastor and I knew that it was a calling that he had and I understood that I had to help and support him in his calling. There were many challenges and I have felt like leaving him as well, but I never go by what I feel, only what the Word of God says. I know that could be difficult but you cultivate it.

      I believe that you need to be patient. Since you are the one that left him in the first place, you need to be humble to deal with what he is going through, and no matter what, never stop praying for the restoration of your marriage. Speak life into your situation amd marriage. Speak only what you want to see and nothing else. The enemy is after the ministry he is involved in and mostly he is after your union because that union is powerful beyond words. So refuse to give him room to win. Your husband will come around. God is still in the business of fixing marriage and He will do the same to you.

      He could be facing a lot. Keep talking to him and reasuring him of your love for him. I will keep praying for you. Remember that being his wife is a ministry in itself and it should not be taken lightly… do not ask him to step down, if that is the plan that God has for you. The Spirit of the Lord will direct him. Let him hear God for himself and do not demand it from him. Love you…

      • Danae says:

        (USA) @SOUTH AFRICA- You offered some amazing advice to Sue and I would appreciate your wisdom on a matter as well if you don’t mind. I have been married almost 2 years and at the beginning of this year 2013 my husband has accepted his call to ministry. He is in the studying, fasting, praying, visiting churches etc phase which is completely understandable. Since this is not only my first marriage, but now with my husband being called I am just trying to understand my role in it all.

        We have struggled financially throughout the majority of our relationship, even prior to marriage. I have supported us for most. We are in our late 20s and early 30s, my husband has been married before and has 3 kids from that marriage. For the whole month of January all he did was study. Meanwhile, neither of us have corporate jobs (we are entreprenuers), therefore he has been neglecting the responsibilities of our home. We have rent due and no money.

        We have had conversations about him balancing ministry and home/marriage. I am so confused! I feel like we have struggled so much and now he is doing God’s work and really doesn’t desire the fancy cars, homes and things anymore nor does he really desire to work. So what do I do? We used to talk about dreams and living well now it’s like let’s barely make it so be can focus on ministry. I really need help I am so overwhelmed.

  2. John O. says:

    (UNITED STATES)  I recommend you and your husband read 1Cor. 7:10 and 1Cor. 14:1-13. Self is our worst enemy. The devil uses our flesh to tempt us. We fight not flesh and blood. A minister of God should govern his house well and be an example unto the flock. Enough said.

  3. Aissa says:

    (PHILIPPINES)  Hello, I am desperately seeking for answers to my big questions. I have this calling in my heart since I was a child. It’s very strong and I am convinced that I am called for the frontier mission. When I was in college, I met a person who said he had this passion for the mission frontiers too. Because of this, we enjoyed each other’s company so that our friendship developed into marriage.

    When we got married later, and I reminded him of our promise but he said he is never going to the missions. I never surrendered, I kept on pressing him about this promise but he said he never made a promise and that he felt “no calling’ in his life. This became our source of conflict. I became depressed clinically, but God healed me.

    Later the Lord let me visited the mission field in Indonesia against my husband’s will. I planned to have 2 years but circumstances held me back with my two sons and husband back home. I kept asking why God led me back home when my heart is totally for the ministry.

    What should I do? Today I work as a guidance counselor in a college, I also work in the campus ministry. Still, my husband is reluctant to help me even though opportunities had been opened. Deep in my heart the passion for frontier mission is so strong but I know I can’t live without my family. Please help me.

  4. Ruth says:

    (UK)  I have been with my boyfriend now for 5 and a half years and we are currently studying God’s Word together regarding marriage. We love each other very much and want nothing more than to get married.

    However, over the past several months, I have become aware that God may be calling me to the mission field. While my boyfriend has eagerly supported my recent short term overseas mission trips and has himself been to Africa, he has not felt the call to go full time. I understand that God calls Christians to take up the call not counting the cost, but I love my boyfriend so much and have felt for a long time that God wants us to be together. I want to please God, but if this means losing my boyfriend, it’s hard to see how I will ever be happy, even if I am living within His will.

    I find it hard to talk about this with my family and church family for fear they will not understand my predicament …why is it easier to seek advice from someone you have never met?! Anyway, if you have any advice, please don’t hold back, I’d love to hear from you. Ruth

    • Angela says:

      (USA)  Hi Ruth, I am on the mission field where my husband is called and I am here with him because I love him and chose to be wherever he is. I did not feel like I was personally called to the mission field but I did feel that I married the right person and I am supporting him. But I will admit that it has been a huge struggle for me to adapt to life here. God is working in me but it has been hard.

      One thing that nobody realizes before marriage is that once all the romantic love wears off -if you do not have the SAME VALUES -there will be nothing left holding you together. This is very, very serious.

      Where we live we know many many other missionaries and I would say that most of them have one spouse who is very, very miserable on the mission field. I am very troubled by this and I always think about it. I think that it would have been better if God had called both of them to the mission field or if they had even met on the mission field and found another person who had already been called.

      My biggest advice would be to be patient. Be very patient. You may want to fast and pray about this and get a very clear answer from God. The last thing you would ever want is an unhappy marriage, a divorce, or for you to be stuck in a marriage and feel like you missed God’s calling for your life. I hope this helps and God bless you!

  5. Sandy says:

    (USA)  Married to a pastor and he treats me like dirt. When we are alone he don’t even speak to me. Please pray for me. He lives two lives and I cannot tell anyone in the church.

    • Yvette says:

      (USA) I’m married to a Pastor as well, his attitude sounds very familiar to yours. We are living in two location and no one knows. My husband has great selfish issue but God will deliver me from it all. I know this is a very difficult to times & its hard to smile when your heart hurts so bad. Just keep seeking God words for guidance & comfort, it works.

    • Jean Jacques says:

      (DR CONGO) (Sandy) is your husband is willing to spend time with you in prayer? Most of the time we tend to blame others but the problem is us. My advise to you is go back and track where the problem started. Tell God to restore your relationship.

    • Just Me says:

      (USA) I have the same issue. The only thing is, I knew it before I married him. He never did anything for me, lied to me about everything including the fact that he was a pastor, still married, was living with a woman who was not his wife and unemployed. I believed with all my heart that God sent me in his path and he has since stop running, got back to his ministry and its growing. We are just married 1 year and now I feel that I have put my life, my hurts, my disappointments, my needs, my money and mostly me, aside and he has grown in confidence, and all I ask is do something, anything for me. He has never taken me out, I have to plan everything or nothing gets done. I really believe he is depressed (only at home) and can’t move, won’t help me at all at home. I work, pay all our expenses and some of the church expenses and he gets a small stipend but wont take $5 to even get me a card. I could go on and on but I’m ashamed. I can’t talk to no one, and for sure, I can never talk to him. I have literally got on my knees and begged him to think of me just 1 time. I can’t even keep writing cause it hurts so bad. I cannot keep going through this, I want to leave now!! He dismisses everything I ask him to do for me and says Im letting the devil use me. I’m so tired and hurt and don’t understand how God can show him about everyone else but not about me. How can you heal the world, when you are killing your wife. I feel worst now that I am closer to Christ, a 1st lady at a Church that actually runs everything behind the scenes and is mistreated. I’m dying inside…..

  6. Cassie says:

    (USA)  My husband and I have been married for two and a half years. Before we got married we talked a lot about ministry and how it would relate to our family. I have seen so many people, especially husbands and fathers in ministry who neglect their families in their busyness of ministry and I wanted to be sure that my future husband would keep our marriage and family over his future ministry.

    But now that he is in full-time ministry, I feel like I have been side-lined. I see times when he puts ministry over the well-being of our marriage or makes decisions that affect me without being considerate of that. I know that this issue in our marriage is affecting our ministry as I feel abandoned and I feel like I am boring to him compared to the joy he finds in ministry-this is evidenced by what he talks about, journals about, prays about, etc.

    I want to be a Godly wife but I can’t be genuinely supportive, submissive, respectful, or trusting when I don’t feel like he is guarding me above ministry and I am so hurt. I have been hurt by the head pastor in my church and since I haven’t been living where I am for very long, I don’t really have anyone else to go to with this.

  7. Tamara says:

    (USA)  I feel very weird asking for advice here, but I feel I have nowhere else to turn without a wrong person finding out. I have been married to my husband for 6 1/2 years and have 3 small children. My husband is always neglecting us and has forced me to be a stay-at-home mom so that I have no time to do what I’m passionate about or an outlet outside of the home.

    Before we were married, I said I didn’t want to marry someone in ministry because family life was very important to me and I knew it was common for pastors to neglect their family. He assured me his family would be his #1 ministry, but that has long been forgotten and when I bring it up it only starts another fight. I’m thinking of leaving him, but I know it is not what God wants. What do I do?

    • Andra says:

      (USA)  Tamara, I wish I could reach through the computer and put my arms around you. I am a pastor’s wife, and also a pastor. I have a heart for pastor’s families that are in crisis. In fact, next week I am holding a conference for our regional (6 states) minister’s retreat. The focus is on the pastor’s family, and basically giving pastors ‘permission’ to invest in their families, and also permission to take a Sabbath and have rest and renewal.

      So many times pastors get confused as to what their responsibilities in the church really are. Ephesians 4:12 states the the ‘job’, if you will, of the pastor is to “prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Unfortunately, church boards, congregants, and even the unchurched put expectations upon a pastor that he feels he must meet. Sometimes pastors themselves put expectations upon themselves -and their families -because they feel it is the correct way to minister. If only church boards and pastors themselves would consult the Bible for their job description.

      For instance, our church feels that my husband and I need to attend every public school sports game (we homeschool), which usually figures out to 16 hours per week, and we should also be cleaning the church and mowing the church lawn. Ummmm, no. The church (people, not building) is the body of Christ. We each have different functions and callings and responsibilities. The pastor doesn’t do it all (or shouldn’t). What pastors should be doing, however, is setting the example of how husbands should treat their wives and families.

      If your husband is neglecting you, or if your marriage is hurting and suffering, I would seek Christian counseling. Your denomination may have counseling service especially designed for pastors and families. If not, you may check with Focus on the Family. I think they also have services available for pastors and their families.

      I do believe that it’s important that your husband understands how much this is affecting you and how serious this is. He also needs to understand that his family is his first ‘church’, the congregation is his second. As such, you and your children are his first priority after his relationship with God. Praying for you!

      • Cindy Wright says:

        Thank you Adra, very well said. I love your heart and appreciate your reaching out to Tamara. May God richly bless your ministry and your marriage.

      • Nicole says:

        (USA) To Andra and all, GOD comes First, everything else is last. GOD comes BEFORE your family, friends, and anyone or anything else. GOD DOES NOT COME AFTER! We must always put GOD FIRST, above all. He put us first so we must put Him first. GOD is our everything.

        • Annette says:

          (USA) Nicole, you are correct. God does come first but you seem to lack understanding of what Andra is saying. God’s word gives instruction on how a family unit is structured and how it is to operate in ministry. If you are not taking care of home then you are out of order. Ministry begins at home. The love of God is shown in how you treat your family. Please read Eph. 5:22-33. Remember, the marriage should represent Christ!

        • Victory says:

          (USA) I just wanted to say that, this is what Andra said. She said family first AFTER your relationship with God meaning God is first.

        • Jean Jacques says:

          (DR CONGO) I have been reading some advices given here and I come to understand that so often we cast out the pastors (Male). I can tell you that some pastors’ wives are a stumbling block to the ministry of their husbands. My simple solution if you think your husband is giving priority to the church, why not sit and talk to him and tell him that you need more of him at home or do the work of God together. May God help us all!

    • Michael says:

      (USA) I feel your dilemma. My girlfriend recently left me. Part of the reason is because of God’s call on my life to pastor. We aren’t married yet, but had hopes to be soon. We had other issues in our relationship that we were working on the past years, however we are members of a traditional church. Which means courting has to be done, not general dating. This limited time we could spend together, which created tension, frustration and resentment toward each other. Now it’s to the point she no longer wants to be a part of my call to pastor. She feels the church is too controlling and she stated she no longer wants that kind of life. I think she identifies more with your end. I think it is unfair because I told her years ago what God’s plan was for me, and she was excited. Now years later, after so much has been invested in the relationship, she changes her mind. It’s probably best we didn’t go onto a marriage and then she changed her mind.

  8. Pat says:

    (USA) Please pray for me; I am so confused my husband and I have been married for 2 years. When we met I was in the ministry and he supported me, but now it has been a conflict between us. All he wants to do is go to work, come home, shop, eat, and watch boxing. But he says that my ministry is to him, but sometimes I feel like he wants me to minister to him and him alone. Help!!

    • Yvette says:

      (USA) I will be praying for you & your situation. There was story I heard where a man said he was jealous of his wife’s attention to the church & not him. Be all you can to him ‘ God will make room for your gift to others. Life is a test & we have all the answers in his word, but emotions take control of our vision.

  9. Caroline says:

    (USA) Hello, my husband is a Pastor. We’ve been married for seven years and pastoring for five years. We both went to Bible School together, and had a calling to ministry. I love the Lord, and my desire has always been to serve him and serve the church. I support my husband, and serve in the church in different areas of ministry. However, I must admit that these past five years have been very difficult. It seems as though the church is my husband’s priority. He’ll say that his family is before the church, but that’s not true. We have services Sunday in the morning and in the evening, and also on Tuesdays and Thursdays at night, but every other evening that he should have off, it seems like he always finds something to fill them with. You name it, Bible school classes that he has to give, or a home Bible study, or baseball game with the youth or the men, but pretty much he’s gone during the day, and also schedules things during the evenings.

    His day off is Monday, but I can seriously say that during the five years that he’s been pastoring, maybe 25% of the time he’s really taken his day off, which he uses to sleep. We always have arguments because I let him know that he should have his evenings off to spend with his daughter and me, but he always finds a way to let me know how he thinks. I just want to manipulate him, and have him do whatever I want him to do.

    I’m really dissappointed at all this, I’m frustrated, angry, and tired. Many times I’ve wanted to just leave, and have felt like an obstacle to him instead of a help mate, but I honestly stay because I do not want my daughter to have to go through the separation of her parents. I don’t want my marriage to end like this, and honestly feel like there’s nothing I can do but just put up with this and leave it in God’s hands.

  10. J says:

    (CANADA) Hey… I go married last October. 8 years ago the Lord placed a burning desire to serve him on my heart. During those first 6 years I chose to date several women that led to much shame and dissapointment. When I met my wife 2 years ago I loved her “shy” low key attitude and willingness to attend my church and interact with my family (she had just got out of a 3 year “godless” relationship). Since we’ve been married I’ve been filled with many regrets about marrying her. I know we both feel unsupported and misunderstood at times.

    I lead a ministry of many young men; discipling them on a weekly basis. Recently it feels like we are both being stubburn in what we want to do. Often times she pushes me away saying “it’s better for you” or “you’ll have more fun with them”. My wife has serious self-confidence issues. This is so hard on me. It’s so hard to lead any person in the truth with this going on. All I want is to make her feel loved and for her to love and support me. Please pray for me. I know I’m not alone, but I really want my marriage to work out.

  11. Terri says:

    (USA) I find this website encouraging even though I’m not a pastor’s wife but the wife of an entrepreneur. It’s all about obedience to God. He will come through with His best plan. STAY IN THE WORD OF GOD AS MUCH AS YOU CAN… personalizing it with your name and His as if you were talking to each other. BE 100% committed to obedience to God. God loves you and your spouse more than you do. Glory to God! Hallelujah! And amen.

  12. Lynne says:

    (USA) My son is a youth pastor (not a paid position) at church and holds down a full time job. I am afraid that he is letting church get into the way of his family. The pastor of the church expects him to be at every function that the church has and also they are doing a program at church and he has to be at church every night for 3 weeks to do this. He is gone from home from 7 in the morning until 10 or 11 every night.

    The pastor is able to go and spend time with his family at any hours but my son is not able to just go away from his job and spend time with his family. He and his wife have a young child and I can see that this is having an impact on his wife. The pastor feels that the church and God should come first before family. I believe it is God, family and then church. I try to stay out of things but do not want my son to get so involved in doing church stuff that God is left out along with his family. Am I wrong for thinking this way. Please help me pray about this situation.

    • Cindy Wright says:

      You are so right Lynne, to be concerned. When your son made his wedding vows, he vowed that he would no longer approach ministry in the same way that he was able to, when he was single. If you read 1 Corinthians 7, you will see that he has to consider his wife (and family) above even being involved in ministry. Being married he is “concerned” as it reads in the Bible “about the affairs of this world –how he can please his wife –his interests are divided.” If he isn’t making his first ministry his wife, then he is disobedient in his priorities. She became his main ministry the day he said, “I do.”

      I’m not sure how you can approach him though. Having grown, married sons myself, I know that I can’t say the same thing I could before to them. I have to be much more careful so I don’t step on their “adult” toes. I would pray about this, asking God to help to your son rearrange these mixed up priorities. Your son means well –I don’t doubt his heart, but he’s under the illusion that he can neglect his wife and family and all will be well. It won’t stay that way, I can assure you. Eventually his marriage and family life will come unraveled. If your sons reads through this web site he will see time and again where comments come in where the wife (sometimes it’s the husband) will stuff and stuff and stuff her feelings of discontent and sometimes even bitterness to the point where something explodes. Either she ends up in an affair because some man woke up her unmet feelings of romance and made her feel like she actually is important (even though she never “meant for it to happen”) –those feelings her husband shoved aside to go do “ministry” attending to the needs of others, or the marriage explodes, or it simply withers away where they become distant roommates. I’ve seen it time and again. Sadly, this is predictable if your son doesn’t do something to change this, while he still can.

      I can tell you that many wives (and sometimes husbands) will stuff and stuff their feelings of resentment and then one day, she hits a wall in what she can take and she is done with the marriage. The husband (or wife) will be “shocked” saying, “I never saw this coming. I thought everything was okay… why didn’t she (he) say something … why didn’t she (he) let me know how serious this was?” Two things could be in play here, either she (he) was a stuffer and didn’t let all of it come out into the open until it was “too late” or she (he) did say so, but the other spouse was oblivious to realize how serious things were. He (she) thought, “my spouse will come around… this will go away.” But it doesn’t.

      I would hate for your son and his wife and family and for you to have this happen. It’s devastating –not only to all the immediate people involved but also for ministry. How can one witness effectively of God’s love when it’s not being lived out in it’s full form at home and the ministry happens to be the reason for a fractured family and/or divorce? We are to communicate the gospel with and without words. What does this fractured home “communicate” to a world who needs to see a living picture lived out, of God’s love for the church?

      Honestly Lynne, I would do a “Queen Esther” prayer time. Even though this concerns your son and his wife (where Queen Esther’s situation concerned her husband) this is something to pray and fast about and ask God if He would please open your son’s eyes at “such a time as this” to save his family from relationship death. And pray that if you are to say something, He will give you the words and timing in which to do so. This is serious stuff. It may not be (or may be) serious right now, but it sure leads to a pretty predictable path, as I’ve seen over and over and over and over again. You can’t neglect your vineyard and expect it to keep bearing fruit. Eventually weeds or animals and vermin will take over and a mess will prevail instead of a harvest. And what does this say to this child about God? Doesn’t it say that he or she isn’t important to Dad –that he just joined in on the birthing “event” but after that, he or she is as important as an end table that can be shoved aside? I could go on and on… but I know you get the point. My prayers are with you, Lynne, and with your son and his wife and his child. I pray that there is an awakening BEFORE they get to a point where the wife declares, “This is the point of no return; I’m out of here!” May God have mercy!

  13. Vanessa says:

    (UNITED STATES) Hello! I have been reading all of the above comments. The reason why I googled this, is because I myself am engaged to be married to a minister. There have been so many doubts and fears in my heart because of the same reasons that I have been reading about. I am a woman of God myself and want and desire the will of God and is ministry myself. I also desire to be married and sexually involved with my husband as well, because I have prayed and asked God to deliver me and to allow my flesh to die until I get married.

    Since we have been dating we have been very much abstinent, but I am like the rest of you all, this man is never spending quality time with me. He is always praying, always talking about God and the church. He never talks about us and our relationship. We are due to get married in March of this year. Deep down in my heart I am so scared and confused. I am really thinking about not getting married to him.

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Vanessa, If he isn’t making a point of spending quality time with you now, before marriage, you can count on it even getting worse later. We usually put our best foot forward before marrying. Please count the cost of leading this type of life within marriage, if you decide to marry. It sure sounds like you have warning flags flying high for you to consider.

      • Diane says:

        (USA) I am 33 years old and have been married to a minister for 11 years now. We have been pastoring for three years. My husband and I served God in the ministry before we met each other. We can honestly say to each other that we love God before we loved each other. We are not offended by it, because we know that if we will serve God whole heartedly we will treat each other right. That gives me confidence. Our desire to serve the Lord and similar family values has been the glue in our relationship. We don’t have many other things in common though.

        Our marriage hasn’t been perfect. We have endured many hard trials. I had relocated two hours away from home to marry my husband to discover that I would barely have time with him. He worked 60 hours a week and we attended church at least three days a week. He always paid home visits to other people during his down times. I really felt bad about not getting quality time with him. It took me years to discover that I am entitled to find happiness and emotional fulfillment from developing a teaching career, reconnecting with family and old friends.

        My husband and I both had to overcome sexual distrust due to both of us being sexually abused as minors. It took years to accept that sex is a gift from God to his people. It was part of God’s command to Adam and Eve “be fruitful and multiply.” We have had cold seasons and hot seasons. We are able to work through through open and honest communication and sacrifice.

        We did not have children for the first 4 years of marriage. I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. Our son is a miracle child. The umbilical chord was wrapped around his neck 5 times. He was not coming out of me. I had my daughter shortly after that and then the PCOS returned.

        We experienced the loss of five close family members and additional friends. Him losing his dad and me losing my mom was really heart breaking. My mom died from lung cancer and brain tumors. She suffered from severe mental illnesses as a result. We could not save her life. I had to make a decision to take her off life support. This caused us to grow emotionally distant from each other because no one can really replace a parent (even if they weren’t church goers). There will always be an emotional void for my husband and I.

        He ended up in a car accident and lost his job due to his injury. He was unemployed and I attended work on a full time basis while he took care of two children for 3.5 years. We were highly criticized for breaking the traditional role of man and woman. I believe God allowed my husband to be at home with the kids to learn about loving God’s people.

        Our old church that we served in closed and we pioneered our own church ministry. I was busy working 60 hour weeks and dedicating 23 additional hours to the ministry. I never saw my kids and husband. Quality time with my kids was having them sit on my lap during the preached message in service. I led the music ministry.

        We worked hard to lead souls to Christ. We sacrificed a lot for the people in the church. We did not force people to attend church and give donations. We gave money to congregants and held over night prayer meetings to see God perform miracles in the lives of broken marriages, physically ill children/ adults and homeless families. God did move on their behalf. He answers prayers.

        Eventually I lost my good paying job that helped support the church and keep my husband ministering. After that my husband went back to work but he made less than half his old salary. We could not live on it. He did not have as much time to pay home visits etc. Sadly, when the congregants watched us go through financial trials they criticized us instead of helping us. They thought we were getting paid a salary from our Bishop. That was not the case at all. They gossiped and passed judgements based on tradition or superstition and not on the actual Bible.

        Now we are very discouraged. Both of us work at several per diem jobs and side jobs because we cannot find full time work. I have a masters degree and can’t find a job that offers medical insurance. Our kids are 5 and 7. Our son’s school wants us to evaluate our son for special education. We are under so much stress. We have no time to enrich the children or do home visits to our church congregants. There are a good number of people that we know who have been negatively impacted by Hurricane Sandy and we want to help them but can’t afford to. There are a lot of little things that have been happening that have been draining our finances and energy.

        It’s amazing that God has sustained our home and provided our needs over the past 4 years since my husband hurt his back and lost his good paying job.

        We have been spiritually broken and beaten up by other so called Christians. It’s not easy acting like your life is perfect. Only God is perfect! We all need the grace and mercy of God. How can pastoral families continue to put up fronts that their lives are perfect? Congregants need to understand pastors are not God. Jesus is God! I realize that we pastors can be real with the people concerning our circumstances. But we need to maintain a good attitude otherwise we will discourage the people. Good people suffer too. However, it is part of the molding process.

        Today I was driving my car to work and thinking… wow it took me 20 years to realize that God is with me even if I don’t feel His presence. Five minutes later I hit someone’s truck and broke their tail light. The man got out of his truck and yelled at me. I looked at him and said “It’s my fault!” Immediately his attitude towards me changed. We became very friendly and he followed me to work so I can check in then call the police. I had to teach a three hour class to adults. My co-workers saw me maintain my cool and said “You have a great attitude. You are a hard working woman.”

        I recognize that we Christians need to be realistic about things and get help when it is necessary. Pastoral couples need to get counseling, prayer and support when it is necessary. Super spiritual people need to see doctors and take care of their mental health. Spiritual health depends on physical and mental health too. Feeling God’s presence is actually a physical phenomena because it effects hormones in the body that one feels. Sometimes a hormonal imbalance or physical ailment can cause stress that will make someone feel less spiritual and depressed. Christians need to stop blaming the devil for everything and start taking responsibility for their own actions.

        If God is for us. Who can be against us? Trials come and go. We get beaten up by life. But, when God is on the inside working on the outside oh what a change in my life! All these trails have caused me to trust in God more and more. I believe God is able to perform more miracles now than ever. Through all the tests I have many testimonies not to glorify myself but to encourage you sisters to be proactive about maintaining Hope, Faith and Love. But the greatest of these three is LOVE.

        God loves you and your families. He will not let you down if you just HOLD ON!

        • Cindy Wright says:

          Dear Diane, Preach it sister! As I read your comment, I can see God’s hand in your life leading you and your husband to learn things that you couldn’t learn any other way than through this difficult journey you have traveled and are traveling. My heart cries for you and yet rejoices. There is both sadness and satisfaction at times, tears and yet joy that is experienced as your eyes open up to see things that you never realized.

          Pastors and spouses and their families have it hard in so many ways and most congregants don’t get it. They seem to think because you are anointed you don’t hurt the same way and bleed when you are cut –especially emotionally. It’s actually the opposite… yes, there is an anointing, but there is also a bullseye invisibly put onto your lives together where the enemy of our faith wants to bring you down so many others will fall, as well. The pressure is all the more, because you live in “glass houses” where others see more of your lives than they probably should, but they don’t see the extra portion of tiredness, heart-ache over the troubles you see in other’s lives, and just the “normal” pressures of living a high-demand life. I could go on and on… but you know.

          All I can say is pull together. Make things as good as it’s possible behind closed doors between each other and God… and you will be strengthened to do what you can when you are out in public. You can’t do it all. God doesn’t expect you to… people do. Even Jesus Himself didn’t heal every person here on earth while He was in human form. He did what He could and yes, tongues wagged, but He knew that He wasn’t ultimately accountable to them, but to His Heavenly Father and His mission while He was in human form. Many people didn’t understand Him, and they won’t understand you. It comes with the territory of ministry.

          Lord knows we get criticized here at Marriage Missions. Some days it’s as if people think we can’t do anything right. But ultimately, we know we are doing what God empowers us and leads us to do and we have to rest in that, whether others understand or not. I pray that for you and your husband –that God leads you to do what you can and that you see that you can leave the rest alone. If tongues wag… that is their problem. You must keep on task of first honoring God who loves you whether you “perform” or not… and loves you despite your imperfection. He knows that. All He wants is your love and worship and the rest is all dessert, but not if it destroys who you are created to be in the process.

          Diane, it seems to me that you and your husband are doing the best you can with what has been handed to you in this fallen world. Whether you lead the life of a “traditional man and woman” or not, it’s ok. You love God and are doing the best you can and I have no doubt that God is pleased.Please know that my heart goes out to you and my prayers go out for you. I pray the Lord helps you, and guides you, and comforts you, and speaks to you, and works in and through you in this situation. I also pray God infuses hope into your heart that you will eventually experience better days –ones that will bring a smile to your heart.

          “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ –to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)

        • Crystal says:

          (UNITED STATES) Diane, your testimony just help me in the very place that I am in and so many others who are in ministry preaching the glorious gospel of Christ. I shared your testimonies with some other friends of mine and it touched them to the core. The anointing of the Holy Spirit is on this. Woman of God, you have a story that will touch the WORLD and many believers in it. Thank you, Crystal

  14. Mickala says:

    (USA) I have met and fallen in love with a wonderful Christian man. We are both older and have been through marriage before, yielding children for both of us that are over the age of eighteen. We have found a church and follow God’s word in our lives. We became engaged several months ago. This past week my fiance’ informed me that he felt God was calling him to the mission field and that if called, he would have to go and that I could not go with him because I could not leave my house, job, or children. I am devastated, what do I do? How would God call someone away from the person He brought into their life?

  15. G says:

    (ANGUILLA) The scriptural principle is this. Unless the husband instructs or leads the wife into that which is sinful she is obligated to her Lord Jesus to submit to his leadership and direction. What I am seeing here on this blog is a high degree of a spirit of rebellion on the part of wives. An unsubmissive spirit. Selfish attitude. Unwillingness to step out of themselves and into the purposes that God has infused into their husbands.

    There is a reason why God had given the biblical structure for marriage and family. Two different yet complementary roles so that each has their objective part to play in the ordering of their home. If you’re married to a man called to missions then it’s the biblical conclusion that you share in that calling whether you got the personal call or not. Your connection with your husband is the maIn consideration. To reject it or kick against it or to treat it as something you can disconnect yourself from, is to act in rebellion against God. And my question is, why do we have so many wives that are willing to rebel against God? Something is desperately wrong.

  16. Yolanda says:

    (PA) First of all, It’s God, family, then church. The problem is that some Pastors need to be reminded that there wife want to feel loved and have that compassion that a wife need. Just because you are a pastor’s wife doesn’t mean that you want to spend all of your time in the church with your husband. A pastor’s wife still loves to be romance by their husband.

  17. Bongani says:

    (SOUTH AFRICA) I have been blessed.

  18. Cindy says:

    (UNITED STATES) My husband has been a pastor for eight years. We came to the ministry after a career in business and with all of our children out of the house. I love my church family and I am very involved with the community. My problem is that my husband is restless and feels like he is being called into the mission field. What about the mission field that exists in our own town? The depression, extra marital affairs, children without fathers who are crying out for Godly adults to lead them?

    When my husband was called it was in a very dramatic public way and it was very apparent that the place where we got called was where we were supposed to be but the demands and the seemingly thankless aspects of ministry are chafing on him. Going on long mission trips he gets to practice his calling in a way that he feels he can’t here. While I am glad that he has a passion for Christ and a burning desire to spread the gospel abroad, what about this congregation? How do they deal with the feelings of abandonment? They feel they called a pastor, not a missionary and I am the one who is having to deal with their feelings.

    Has anyone else had to deal with this? Yes, I am praying about how to respond to inquiries about my husbands missions and I am holding down the fort while he is gone by preaching, visiting the sick, doing the business of church and I am frustrated by being treated like I only exist to allow him his globe trotting. Pray for me, I need to stay strong in the Lord because I serve Him.

  19. Gina says:

    (SMITH) I am also a Pastor’s wife of 7 years. My husband treats me like crap; when we got into the church he made it all about himself. I only get to say something if I’m lucky at Bible study. I’m also a teacher and preacher of God’s word. He tries to preach about me on the sly were he doesn’t think anyone will realize it’s his wife he is putting down. It took me 2 yrs to realize he doesn’t really care for women in ministry; he finally had to admit it. He will also throw rocks at other pastors. He ignores me like I’m not in the room or I’m negative or talk too much; he looks straight ahead when I talk to him. The only time I’m special is on Wednesday and Sunday…he lies to the church. I’m not acknowledged at home. What should I do?

  20. GL from United States says:

    I think this entire thread is critically important. When we look at the Bible, great men of God did have horrible families:

    - Noah – whose son seems to have sexually abused his drunk father?!
    - Righteous Lot – it seemed his family wasn’t ready to leave Sodom.
    - Jacob (several of Jacob’s sons sell their youngest brother into slavery– God used it for good but… did it have to be that way?)
    - Judah’s family – Two wicked sons, killed directly by God, ends up siring a twins via his daugher in-law’s ruse as a prostitute.
    - Samuel (two sons whose oppression of the people led to the establishment of an Israelite King –which God clearly says was a rejection of him to “be like the other nations around us”)
    - Aaron (Moses’ brother –two of his sons were killed by fire for callously ignoring God’s specific commands around worship in the sanctuary)
    - David –his family life reads like a real life Greek tragedy –fratricide, patricide, rape-incest, sibling rivalry in political intrigue.

    All of these were given to us for an example of how badly things can go if no one’s minding the home fires (no matter what they’re out doing… from the work of God to fighting with the “living armies of God” to administering a priesthood devoted to Godly worship).

Marriage Missions International