When a ministry spouse travels and the other is “left behind” to keep things going on the home front, there are various issues that arise. Loneliness and carrying an extra work load is among a few of them.
Sometimes people think that when you “serve God” in a visible way, such as being a missionary, or a ministry or pastoring family, “normal” emotions are emptied out and traded in for improved ones (given by God). Somehow these emotions are supposedly more “selfless.” Thus, you automatically are able to better cope with marriage issues. You can better cope with loneliness, and other matters than if you weren’t in full time ministry. But nothing could be further from the truth.
When a Ministry Spouse Travels
Those in ministry positions have human emotions too. They also don’t usually have the same support base. It’s not as easy for them to find those who are “safe” to complain to. They also need to receive help and comfort. So, the problems can be compounded.
Also, the attack from the enemy of our faith appears to be more ruthless. It’s as if a “bulls-eye” is invisibly tattooed onto their lives that says, “apply more pressure here.” Also, “target the attack here because there is a weakness.” The reason may be because when someone, who is in a visible ministry position falls, there is more potential for others to fall, as well.
On the issue of one ministry spouse traveling without the other, missionary Jamie Jo was asked the following question:
“How do you deal with absences and returns of your husband if he frequently travels? It seems that as a family we have one routine and system while he is gone. And then we have to adjust when he returns. It is like going from a two-parent family to a one-parent one and back again. What ways have you found to handle those transitions?”
On the Womenoftheharvestconnection.com web site, Jamie Jo gives her answer for you to read:
— ADDITIONALLY —
On this issue, posted on the Greatcommisionchurches.org web site, Sandy writes:
“We hear from three wives who have teamed together to share about a familiar topic. As we are all married to leaders, we have probably experienced separation from our husbands due to ministry work. Whether he is flying internationally to encourage workers in the missions field, going on a weekend retreat with fellow leaders, or even spending a day alone with the Lord, we know what it is to manage without our ‘guy’ for a while. Rita, Sharon, and Susan sent their mates off to Hong Kong. And then they came up with these encouraging tips for us to consider and practice when our own men are away.”
Whether you are a pastor’s wife, a missionary wife, or a ministry wife of any type, you could benefit from gleaning through the tips these women give. The following link will send you to this article, written by Rita Bergen, Sharon Brown, and Susan Wang. This is where they address the matter. Please read:
And then, to deal with not only the “problems” that occur when the spouse travels, but others, as well, Ruth Ann Graybell talks about them in a mrnet.org article titled:
— ALSO —
Another side of “traveling,” as it pertains to ministry, is when you are living what is termed as a “trailing spouse” —someone who follows the other spouse to another location so that spouse can minister there. They may locate their home in that location and the spouse may travel from that location to others, or minister from there. Either way, traveling is involved and the spouses have adjustments to make.
So, here is a Missionarycare.com article written from a different slant. In it you will find helpful information and tips to read and glean through. Please read and prayerfully consider:
In trying to work through this matter, you may be able to relate to the goal that the Apostle Paul proclaimed:
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this article.
If you have additional tips you can share, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
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Filed under: Pastors and Missionary Marriages