Emotionally Abandoning Spouse For Ministry

Some people protest that God alone meets all our needs. They believe that the Lord doesn’t need to involve a spouse to remove our aloneness. Philippians 4:13 is often quoted, I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” They sing hymns such as, “Jesus Is All I Need” that celebrate God’s total sufficiency. They firmly insist, “I have God, and God meets all my needs. As a result, many are emotionally abandoning their spouse for the sake of ministry figuring God is all they need.

God IS the Source For Meeting Our Needs

Teresa and I wholeheartedly believe that God is the ultimate source for meeting all our needs. We understand both biblically and experientially our deep need for God. Nothing else —not possessions, not position, not success, not another person —can fill the God-shaped vacuum within each of us. God alone brings peace and order to the human heart. Yet God revealed a wondrous mystery in the Garden. In his unsearchable wisdom, he has chosen to partner with us to remove the “not good” of aloneness in our spouses. He is still the source for taking away the “not good” of being alone in our marriages, but he desires to enlist us as his colleagues in the process.

How About the Single Person?

What about people who are not married? Is God’s design for removing aloneness thwarted in those who are single? Absolutely not. God’s wonderful plan for removing human aloneness is fulfilled in three divinely appointed relationships. For those who are married, the marriage relationship is God’s primary means for removing aloneness. But some people do not marry, and some marriages do not continue. In such cases, loving family —parents, children, grandparents, and siblings —is a divinely provided relationship.

…And for those who for some reason are without close family, God’s “safety net” for removing human aloneness is his body, the church. Jesus declared, By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35). God has graciously provided marriage, family, and the body of Christ so that no one should suffer the “not good” of being alone.

God Changes Our Heart

At age twenty-one, I was fully aware of my personal need for God and that is when I trusted him as my Savior and when his Spirit began rapid changes in my heart and life. As I began to grow as a Christian, I generally accepted the idea that I needed other people somehow. But I firmly believed that my only real need was for God. And I assumed that if others —including Teresa —would just become more spiritual, they would not need me!

This view skewed my understanding of God’s design for involving me in removing Teresa’s aloneness. And I certainly didn’t understand God’s desire to remove my aloneness through Teresa. Since God had not found in me a colleague to care for Teresa, the oneness she and I sought was elusive, and the blessing God desired and deserved from our relationship was limited.

The Pursuits of Spiritual Pursuits

As growing Christians eager to do God’s work, Teresa and I poured ourselves into spiritual pursuits. I memorized large portions of Scripture. I became deeply involved in ministry to students, and I led discipleship groups. Teresa became deeply involved in her own ministry, which reached thousands of women each year. Eventually Teresa and I conducted marriage seminars together. In our efforts to please God and serve others, our primary focus and priority was on ministry. I left Teresa alone. By placing our children and our ministry before our marriage, Teresa left me alone. Although our church viewed us as the ideal ministry couple, we continued to silently endure our relationship. We were very active and very busy, but very alone.

Focused on Ministry

In those years I was so focused on my spiritual life and ministry that I had little time or attention for my family. Teresa was left with the responsibility of caring for our two daughters, Terri and Robin, and our young son, Eric. Occasionally she would lament to me her desire for a more loving husband and a more devoted father for our children. But my attitude said, “Teresa, you don’t need more of me to have a fulfilling life; you need more of God.”

It is true that a relationship with God is to be primary in each of our lives. We are to trust Christ as Savior, yield to his Spirit, and obey his words: “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-38, NLT).

Our Neighbors are Important

Had Jesus stopped there, we might conclude that all we need is a relationship with God. But Jesus went on: A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments (Matthew 22:39-40, NLT). In Jesus’ eyes, relationship with our neighbors —literally our “near ones” —is as important as relationship with God.

As we set our hearts on loving God completely, He desires to enlist us as His colleagues to remove the aloneness of our near ones, beginning with our spouses. Teresa and I often call this the Great Commandment marriage —loving God with all your heart and loving your spouse —your nearest near one —as yourself (also see Ephesians 5:28).

You Are to Be God’s Colleague

Removing aloneness is fundamental purpose of marriage. Are you showing yourself to be God’s colleague, actively involved in the process of removing your spouse’s aloneness? Is your spouse less alone today than he or she has ever been? This is an important biblical measure of a successful marriage relationship.

It is clear throughout Scripture that God, for reasons known only to Him, has opted to fill our longings for oneness through love relationships with both Himself and other human beings. God is totally sufficient in his provision. Yet He has chosen to share some of His love through the three relationships He has ordained: marriage, family, and the church. If we are not fulfilling the Great Commandment in our marriages, our families, or in our churches, the result is not good.

Misunderstanding God’s Design

…My skewed perspective of God, human needs, and relationships convinced me that I needed only God in my life to have a successful marriage and fruitful ministry. My misunderstanding of God’s design to remove my aloneness through him and Teresa fostered an unhealthy and unbiblical self-reliance that robbed our marriage of intimacy.

Furthermore, my attitude heaped condemnation on Teresa, communicating to her, “Ministry is my top priority, and it should be yours too. When are you going to grow up so you don’t need so much of my personal time and attention?” One day, in my frustration to pressure Teresa to become as intense as I was about my ministry, I confronted her in the kitchen with an ultimatum. I said, “Teresa, if you don’t come along with me in serving God, I’m going on without you.” Then I walked away.

Teresa’s View

Teresa explains her reaction to my statement.

“David’s pointed words pierced me like a lance. He left me standing in the middle of the kitchen wondering exactly wheat he meant. Was he talking about leaving me physically through separation or divorce? Was he talking about giving up on me spiritually and emotionally? He could not have known the terrible pain those words caused me. And it only got worse.

“As David continued to lose himself in ministry, he did leave me every way except physically. I was alone and floundering while my husband filled his life with his top priority: the ministry. As a result, I became increasingly aloof and independent I tried to play the ‘ministry wife’ role, but the more he pulled away into his work, the more I buried myself in activities at home with our children.”

Self Doubt

Teresa suffered tremendous self-doubt induced by the painful messages of my self-reliance. She often thought, “Maybe if I were more spiritual or sensed a deeper call to ministry, I wouldn’t need David’s love, acceptance, comfort, and encouragement so much. If I just had more of God, I wouldn’t miss him so much when he is away doing ministry.”

I expected Teresa to deal with her needs in a self-reliant manner just as I did. I chided her for not being spiritually independent. The more involved I became in the ministry, the more uncomfortable she became living in the fishbowl of congregational scrutiny.

Teresa Explains:

“As a fairly new Christian, I was still deciding what I believed. I was battling false with guilt and self-condemnation over how insecure I felt in the ministry. Someone once made the thoughtless remark, ‘I would never have believed you were David’s wife. You don’t seem to be as spiritual as he is.’ By this time I had developed a bubble of self-protection against the pain in my marriage and other relationships. I became extremely self-reliant in my own world. It was important to me to shut out the pain I experienced in my relationship with David and other Christians. I had mastered the skill of not feeling, not hurting.”

False Self Reliance

We had falsely equated self-reliance with spiritual maturity and emotional strength. As a result, our love for each other grew increasingly cold. We needed to change our twisted view of God’s design for marriage. But more than a renewed mind, we needed a humble heart.

The solution to self-reliance is humility. It is humbling for us to admit that we have needs we cannot meet on our own. And it is equally humbling to acknowledge that we are helpless to remove our aloneness apart from depending on God to minister to us. It is also humbling to involve other people in our lives, as he desires. Hunkering down in a foxhole of self-reliance and just waiting to become more mature will not remove our aloneness. Maturity and strength in our relationships come only as we humbly depend on God to minister his grace to us. This often comes through our spouse.

This article comes from the book, “Never Alone” by David and Teresa Ferguson, published by Tyndale House Publishers. It’s unfortunate, but this book is no longer being published. You can obtain it through used book resource centers. We hope you are able to do so because this is an excellent book!

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Filed under: Pastors and Missionary Marriages

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52 responses to “Emotionally Abandoning Spouse For Ministry

  1. (UNITED STATES)  I AM TOTALLY IN AWE OF THIS ONE…it sounds like me. My husband is a minster. We are babes in Christ and he was called to the ministry after we married. Well as he switched us from church to church and ministry to ministry to find that perfect man of God to guide, instruct and teach him, I became worried. Worried because it looked as if we were not rooted anywhere and I prayed that God would direct us somewhere. I discussed that with him… well, I tried.

    He went on to tell me that I didn’t support his ministry… it’s not true. I did whatever I possibly could to show my commitment to helping him but he went on his way in doing everything under the sun to show himself ready for the work of God. In doing that, he abandoned me at home.

    Whenever I would make mention that I miss him dearly and when were we going to take time for us again, he would look at me with an ugly scowl and say he is doing work for the Kingdom and he was NOT going to let me stop him from doing that. He eventually started looking at me like I was satan (he even called me that at times) and I indulged in work and home duties and doing things by myself and waiting on him to come home.

    He later walked up to me after work one day and said that I was holding him back and that we had nothing in common (meaning spiritually) and he found someone else that loved God, he wanted a divorce and he left. And has been gone since Dec. 08. We are not divorced yet and I thank God at least for that but I miss him dearly and pray daily that God is touching him and his heart, that He convicts him to leave the other woman and get him out of adultery and restore and heal our marriage.

    1. (BOTSWANA)  I do relate to your situation and do feel your pain because I have a similar situation. The difference is that my husband has not physically left. He is a pastor and I am a fulltime employee at the University of Botswana. The only thing that seems to matter most to my husband is the congregation and I am tired of it. I wish there was a system that was more supportive to pastors’ wives.

      1. (USA) Hi Maria. I’m so sorry that you are experiencing such distance from your husband. So many times, those who are in ministry can get consumed in helping others, that they forget the needs of their marriage partners. They believe their spouse should “understand” and somehow look past their own needs. It’s another way the deceiver of our faith works to undermine the church and ministry opportunities.

        You mention that you “wish there was a system that was more supportive to pastor’s wives”… actually, there is. If you go into the “Pastors and Spouses” section, you will see a number of articles written there to help you. Also, in the Recommended Links and Resources part of that section, you will see a number of ministries listed that you can reach out to, that could help you with your marriage situation.

        I’m so sorry that your husband is tending to the needs of the masses, and yet he is neglecting the one he pledged to honor in marriage. God warns us in 1 Corinthians 7 to be careful of getting married and how this will affect how much we can pour ourselves out into ministry. Somehow he needs to be respectfully steered into realizing that as a minister of the gospel, he is ineffective if his own family is neglected (emotionally as well as physically).

        I pray the Lord will open his eyes and will also help you both to draw closer to each other through following His ways. I pray the Lord will meet your needs and renew your hope that your marriage can be a good one, to the glory of God.

      2. Holy Spirit, dwell deep in this woman’s heart to see the eternal purpose of her husband’s devotion. Praise you God, she also has a great role in his life as an anchor and lover, a soothing balm for his and her soul. God help them embrace and have your divine blessing flow into them both together. Lord give this woman a heart to emotionally invest in those you put on her path. In Jesus’ name, amen.

    2. (USA)  “We are babes in Christ and he was called to the ministry after we married.”

      Your husband was not obedient to the Lord. Unless he repents, he will be continued to be used as a servant of satan. 1 Tim 3:4-7 Qualifications of one in ministry: He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of and NOT A NEW CONVERT, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation [a]incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

    3. I’m sorry for you my sister in Christ. You have to pray for Him because as a minister he is livving in adultery. As a leader it is wrong of him to do so. Pray God has mercy on His soul because he is more accountable being that he is a leader. You continue to be a loving and humble woman for God and He will take care of it. God bless you sis.

  2. (U.S)  My husband and I are both called to ministry. He is called to disciple and I am called to evangelism. Well, it seems as if no matter what I do it is never good in his sight. He refuses to do counseling, he made it clear to the pastor that he does not trust my heart is right with the Lord. He says I need a heart change but at the same time divorce is not an option which is a plus.

    Praise God! I am extremely involved in evangelism and prayer etc. He refuses to see me for who I really am I guess. There is always belittling and devaluing in my marriage on his side. There has been in the past times where he has said that I have a devil in me and he constantly condemns me for my life and my walk with the lord. The funny thing is I know who I am in the Lord and what I have been delivered from.

    Ultimately what matters is I love the Lord and am living for him and he knows my heart. I decided to move out after countless times of trying to talk with my husband and him ignoring me and watching a teaching sermon on the t.v. The Lord did show me I was wrong in leaving so I apologized to my husband in which it did bring a huge wall down at that time and now its back up again. I know he loves me and has a passion to serve the Lord but I suppose he could be neglecting me emotionally.

    He did say if i didn’t get on board with him he was going to go with or without me. I have received the revelation on Love and since I have left and moved into the apt next to him I have tried to show him I do still love him and want this marriage to work basically by loving him as God loves me. I take him groceries,coffee etc. and have to leave it outside his door because he refuses to open it or answer any of my calls or emails.

    Well, he seems to think I do those things out of manipulation. I’m sooo confused. I merely did everything out obedience and love. Ministry is definitely is first in his eyes. I have been submissive and done studies when he asked only to have him say it was not good enough and I was faking any commitments or notes I took. HELP!!!

    1. (CANADA)  In response to Erika, I am sorry for what you are going through. I was a pastor for 16 years and loved every minute of my life. I was shocked to find my wife feeling that she was alone and not fulfilled in our marriage. I even came to the conclusion that she was listening to the enemy. We had so much -a new home that I had built, and on top of that I was bi-vocational -of course she was alone a lot. Yet I thought we had agreed to lay down our lives, our needs, for the sake of the call. How could she be missing what we were accomplishing by our sacrifices?

      I know now that I missed 1 Corinthians 7 -“pleasing your wife”. In fact you will laugh or maybe cry, but when I was 19 years old I literally ripped that chapter out of my Bible because I thought that Paul didn’t know what he was talking about. I pray that your husband will read this note and understand that his ministry begins with you. Well, you wrote this in April of 2009 -that’s a long time delivering coffee and groceries to a locked door. I pray that you persevered. Blessings to you Erika, From a pastor that missed it, Andrew

  3. (UNITED STATES)  Where do you turn to when people like Erica and myself are going through these things with our spouse who are ministers? It seems that there is no one to talk to because you don’t want your business to get out..you have people who are trying to look for a reason to come against your husband and his ministry or why he doesn’t need to be in the pulpit or that he wasn’t called. And then you have the women that want your husband for themselves and if they see or hear of you having problems, they are trying to get next to him. The other woman in my case…my husband gave her all the information that she needed to move in .

    By telling of the hardships we were having and my shortcomings as a spouse trying to learn HOW to be a minster’s wife..my husband was called after we married and it was a great transition. I felt like he was greater than me and that God was always talking to him and when I prayed I heard nothing…I felt so alone and didn’t know how or what to pray for, and I couldn’t understand the bible until I bought an NIV to start reading the word for myself.

    But who do WE turn to…who helps us(spouses or women who are married to a minister) while we watch our marriage dwindle down to adultery and a suffocating marriage? No one steps up to the plate; Not even pastors or ministers because they feel like they are overstepping their boundaries.

    The church where my husband is now I have been waiting and wanting the pastor to call US into the office so he can hear both sides and counsel us to restoration, lead us there, tell us where to tread and where not to tread. But I have gotten no call…nothing since my husband left me in November (physically left in December)…that hurts and says a lot, especially when I thought that this pastor loved the both of us. Now it feels like he just has a liking to my husband and not US as a couple .

    1. Get councelling, read books, and get some friends. Religion isn’t living, stop worshiping your position, and worship God. You have the most to lose; your reason is to love. So who cared but you, so you are the pivotal point. Give yourself wholly to loving on this man, if that’s what makes you happy. Otherwise why are you married? Eat fresh manna each day. God’s mercy is new every morning ,so serve up blessings on your efforts. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  4. (UNITED STATES)  I am so happy to say that my husband and I have reconciled. I thank God everyday since he has been back. We now attend marriage counseling with our pastor and he has apologized about not being “there” when we were going through. He explained that he was trying to stand back and let my husband have space and then admitted that he was not fulfilling his position as a pastor should have at the time. Our kids go through counseling also because it was a family experience and as soon as things are aired out we plan on taking the boat out and spending the day off of the coast.

    We pray as a family now and we talk more now and the pastor instructed that my husband have no contact with the other woman for 6 months to complete his severance with her and her child. God is good and I am still praying for spouses here on the site. Being apart of the ministry is work and could put strain on a lot of things but we have to stay faithful to our first ministry that God gave us: our marriage. Then we can truly honor the ministry that He trusted us with in regards to the people.

  5. (NAMIBIA)  Dear beloved, it makes me so heartsick to hear what men Of God are doing… allowing the devil to tamper with their joy, happiness. Biblically speaking, it is what God wants from all of us, those who are in marriages. First your marriage, family and God, as long as you don’t worship your husband or wife or family and put God last. I pray for a deep revelation in the life of the minister’s life. Forgive them Lord, and I pray for more wisdom in their life.

  6. (U.S.)  Sweety, the concern for our minister’s is great. Satan is stealing, killing and destroying. My husband and I have made great moves within our marriage but I/we can’t get settled and think that’s it. We thank, praise and talk to God together, something we didn’t do on a regular basis. How can satan stand against us if we are constantly shielding each other? He can’t.

    My husband has taken a small leave from his position, so that he does not cause anyone else to stumble and I am standing with him in his decision. God chose us to go throught this and when someone of my husband’s role is attacked, that sets him up to be an example. What the devil meant for bad, God meant for good. What better person can talk to an adulterer than my husband? What better person can talk to a spouse praying that their spouse turn from their wicked ways and stand firm and trust in God, but myself?!

    Satan is going to get even more upset because he is realizing that we are onto his schemes and we are now standing firm in what God has ordained. Our plan is to bind together and defeat the enemy on every hand for marriages. It’s time someone stepped up. It’s time that ministers stop turning their backs on ministers or congregation in need to marital help and urging them to be of the world and take steps toward separation and divorce; it’s against our God’s will. We know that we must be covered and indulge ourselves in the Word for preparation so that the stand we take outwardly can stand what is going to come our way.

    We have to be solid within our own marriage in order to help, support, and guide others into the same realm where we are striving to be. Being married is a blessing and God allows us to hit hard times so that we can find solid ground. But as men and women of His kingdom, we all have to do better. What good is it that the church suffers within the family and the world appears to be doing better within their homes? That is a slap in the face to the God we serve.

    We have begun with small steps, making sure that younger couples come and fellowship. You can have a marriage rooted in Christ and have fun. You can open up to believers and not worry about someone having fun with your shortcomings in your marriage. When we see each other as support or our Aaron’s and Hur’s, we will and can be successful in our marriages in our churches. That is because we know that there are people surrounding us with the same minds and faith and determination to fight satan to make sure that he takes his hands off our marriages and families and communities. We know that we are conquerors in Christ and there is nothing that God cannot fix. There is no one and nothing that will make us shrink away from our commitment to our spouses and our vows!

    My husband and I have to stand and stand now for ourselves and each other! satan messed up when he approached this house. We are fighting with everything we have to stay strong and to make sure that not another Christian marriage suffers at the hands of being selfish (which was what we both were doing!) and suffer from NOT knowing truly what our God says about marriage and the sacredness of this covenant. I have learned how to lift my husband up in prayer and praise. I thank God for the trial but I know that we are just in a layover for the next challenge. But with God’s help and the help of our Christian church and family, the devil is a liar! I am praying and keeping all spouses and called men and women of the kingdom, in prayer that deliverance from evil, sin and lies come about and restoration to marriages, families and homes will come!

    1. (USA)  Hi Josiland, I know its been a while since you wrote about your marriage but I am thankful to you for being so open it helped me in my immediately mind set. I am also married to a Pastor. We are starting a ministry and most of what we talk about even with the children is ministry. About three years ago my husband left his job and was trying to get the ministry off the ground, but he was the sole bread winner. So although I was not ready nor was my family ready I went back to work. He didn’t want to go along with the way I had prayed and set up our household to work in a functional way. So I wound up working all day and coming home cooking and cleaning while he was there all day long. This cause me to become bitter and angry and I no longer trusted his decision making. From that time until now I have been trying to rebuild my faith in my husband and our marriage because that really hurt me because we went through tough times.

      In recent times I have seen my marriage go from very close to now my husband hardly looks my way. He is cold and indifferent and he does not come to bed nights. I don’t know what to do. I thought if I keep my mind on Jesus I will not feel the pain of the distance and rejection.

      1. (US) Lisa, I had logged on to post when I came across this string from you to me that is a reply that I missed. I don’t see where I responded to you or remember of doing so, and I want to apologize for that. It is a hollow feeling to reach out to someone and not get a response back. I remember so vividly reaching out to pastors when we had problems and no one assisted in a Word or such. It was a lonely place to be. I don’t want anyone to experience that.

        I don’t post often and I don’t know if you do or not and don’t know if you will see this post. But I really pray that your family and marriage and ministry is in good standing. Continue to be the wife that you are supposed to be. Like the Bible says, a wife doesn’t always have to say words to minister to her husband, you only have to show him with your actions. It may take a short while for him to see and come to himself or it could take a longer time. Yes, focus on Christ’s love for you and your spouse and my prayers are for you both. Again, I did not mean to overlook your reply and I pray that that did not hurt you in any way.

  7. (UNITED STATES)  Just wishing you all Happy New Year. My husband and I will be praying for those spouses that are still battling the enemy. We decided that is is time to have another family trip, so since Disney World is a couple of hours from us, we will take advantage of it and take the kids.

    This year will be a year of restoration for some and for others will be another stand against the enemy. Stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord.

  8. (U.S.)  Just stopping by to encourage the ladies (spouses) here to continue to pray for their marriage, their spouses’ salvation and their spouses’ ministry. Be a part as best you can, to support them in what God has called them to do. It will make them feel good that you are interested and agree with their ministry and watch God change some things. Pray to God and ask for extra strength. It is hard taking care of home, the children and the finances and being the backbone for your spouses calling..it is ok to be tired sometimes. You are human.

    I pray that your spouse remembers that and that your spouse allows you the time to not be at his/her side each time they walk into the church. Pray together and set a time aside to talk, not about what’s going on wrong in the family or at work or at the church but talk …how was your day, how can I make your day better, what can I do for you to make you happy at this moment at this time… watch God work!

    My husband and I have been asked to go on a mission trip to Haiti. Please help us pray that the mission trip is a success to bring hope to the people that attend and truth and resolution to families.

  9. (US)  I am the wife of a husband in ministry as well. I moved here with my husband from another state. I am miles away from my family and I feel so lost sometimes. It’s like with him, the ministry always comes first. When I try to explain myself to him, he says that I need to get more aggressive like him, and get deeper into the Lord’s work.

    It hurts so bad and I feel so neglected. I don’t talk to anyone at the church because I don’t know who I can trust. Even though I am not a pastor’s wife, my husband is an armor bearer to the Pastor. He goes wherever he goes (out of town etc.). We also have three small children and one on the way. Which is sad to say I hate had to come into this. Everytime we argue he always says what God will do to me. It’s such a hurt that I don’t even know how to deal with it, so I just stay quiet.

    My dad is a pastor, and when I was young I saw him do the same things to my mother. I saw how she cried and the pain she went through. I miss her so much. She died of cancer. I just feel so lonely. So many times I wanna give up, but I have invested so much. I just don’t know what to do anymore!

    1. (UK)  Hi Kami, I am writing to you because I really have been scrolling the entire internet for someone who is going through a similar situation who I can relate to and I think I have found it. My husband and I have been married for about 16 months. We have no children yet (though we have been trying on and off). My husband is an armor bearer also. He used to spend loads of time out of the house with it but now he just does Sundays, which is fine but pretty much offers himself for armour bearing for the whole day. I’m ok with this, only thing is, I know my husband is soon going to enter leadership and he wants me to put aside all of my own dreams so that he can accomplish his.

      It is such a tough thing for me to even think about and I don’t want to sound selfish. I realise my first ministry is a wife but I now am feeling like I have no induviduality and feel lost as though I am trying to find my own place in this world and how I can be purposeful. Before we married I had so many hopes and dreams I wanted to fulfill. Now it just seems like he wants me to put it all on the back for him. I am really praying because I don’t want to fail to be a good wife to him.

      Also the loneliness of having no one to share with is unreal. I just SO want to be able to sit down and bear my heart with someone so they can say don’t worry God hears and knows you want direction and He will give it. But it’s so hard to know who to trust. Since I got married I don’t have many friends that have stuck around.

      My God, there has got to be a way to tap into that grace, which the Lord has for those who are struggling and crying out for uncomfortable situations to settle?! Princess

  10. (USA)  This hits home! Me and my wife have both been through this. It all started long ago. At first, I had no real desire or passion for any form of ministry. In fact, I was quite content living in sin. Primarily, “lust and obsession” filled my mind and heart. But along with God moving and acting upon my life, that mixed with an “empathy engifted” wife, came all these unavoidable confrontations and arguments that I had eventially lost out on and heeded to. For once my wife had begun quoting scriptures, and when I saw her daily heart ache and pain that I was causing her, and when I saw that inwardly, I was literally killing her… then and there, I stood convicted by God himself of my sin. (I may be able to justify my sin with my wife.. but I cannot argue with God.. and his word.)

    I was there and then fully reborn. I changed all my sinful ways… but it was no easy task! It was truly a battle till death (from within)… that I had first thought I would never have been able to win. For how can a man gain any real amount of control over himself? For can a man ever truly be enabled to master his own thoughts and body and hearts desires? Was this even possible? Or so I had once thought.

    I had later learned that this was only made possibe through Christ! (This battle within, literally lasted years.) But, all to my surprise, victory had finally been won! Wow! I was astonished at the power of God! For I have now been fully made to be free (of my thick and heavy chains to sin)!

    But now came “the new issue”. I wanted to share the new knowledge of this power with everyone! I call it “the blazing fire within that refuses to be put out or kept silent!” This was truly an extreme, loud and clear calling OF GOD to ministry! TRULY a consuming fire of God WITHIN did dwell within me, along with an extreme passion For righteousness and proclaiming the word and reaching the lost!

    So, I let that fire burn hard! I went wherever I felt God was leading me without any hesitation! In all my excitment and devotion to God I had unknowingly left my wife and kids in the dust. Later when I had realized it I put a full hault to my ministry. But I have come to learn “a healthy balance is essential” between home and ministry. I have mistakenly overlooked another God given ministry… that was found from within my own home!

    So now, I strive for a God provided balance. My family is my life, just as much of my life as the Church body! Truly, for a married man, his God-given tasks are many! His (God-inspired) passions will be divided and require mastering! Walk in wisdom! Let nothing fully master over you! Satan will secretly sneek his way in if you aren’t alert.

    1. (USA)  Jason – God bless you and may your servant’s heart and passion never burn dull! You appear to be on a journey very similar to my own!

      I’m glad you realized that you cannot serve any ministry when your home ministry suffers, and glad you are coming to terms with balancing the two. Stay steadfast, as there are many obstacles ahead in the Christian life, but the payoff is eternal!

      Check out Mark Driscoll’s talk on ministry and marriages from a conference not too long ago:


      You’ll be surprised at some of the leading names in ministry and how awful their home life was.

      Remain diligent – if you are experiencing success in ministry due to God’s calling you to extraordinary tasks know that Satan has a particular interest in you as well, and won’t hesitate to attack if given the opportunity.

      God -> Family -> Church -> You – good words to live by. God always comes first, and His Church is important, but our local church – not nearly as much!

      In my own life, I realized I was eager to serve. I later realized that much of that was flesh desires to do good, and some of it was legitimate calling from God. Not that having a desire to be good is bad, but it’s important to identify where God wants you. It would seem unlikely that God wants you to serve 8 different ministries at 10 hours a week and maintain a home life and secular job, so identify that which you are called to do, and focus on that.

      It sounds like you are on an excellent path, stay steadfast, brother!

      1. (USA)  Thank you for that!!:) It is very good to see that I am not alone in this walk! It feels good to connect with others much like unto myself! Connecting online does seem to be the way for me to go! For it does seem that from within your everyday local church the only man allowed to speak is primarily the pastor and no one else is really ever given such an opportunity. (We simply gather, listen to the message, keep quiet, then leave.) It is hard for me to see how the 5 fold ministry (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher) would ever be enabled to function correctly as God would have it to from within this kind of church setting (I have spoken to many pastors on many occasions, hoping to be made part of the calling but my words are just all shut out. I have been pushed aside.)

        So I have been lead away from these kind of locations, for the most part (by the Lord). Now I am leading all over the place in other locations, such as this, right here.

        It is interesting for me to see how it is that God does work!! I was raised all my life to know the Lord and his word but I did not appoint myself to any ministry by my own choosing, like I have noticed that many others have.

        For there I was, “the very least among these” going about my own business, seeking my own selfish interests. Then all of a sudden here came the mighty hand of the Lord. He grabbed me out of my pit and placed a fire from within my heart and mouth and now he has sent me out among wolves. I do seek an ear to listen. When I am shut out I just simply move on to more fertile ground, as the lord does lead the way. I now have a deep passion for truth. I do seek it daily. It is all I do. All else has been tossed away as trash. The only hunger that remains in me is for God and all that is of him.

        1. (USA)  I must also mention… I have no clue as to where exactly the Lord is leading me for I just don’t seem to fit in to any one “church.” Therefore, I do wonder around aimlessly, following the Lord wherever he does lead me. But regardless of this fact, I do have this ongoing urgency to ministry. But to where and how exactly this all is to take place, and to be enabled to fit into my life, I have not a clue! With my job, the home, my wife, and my 3 kids, I am very busy man!

          But one thing is for certain, I am not worthy of such a calling as this anyways! For who am I to speak on behalf of God I must ask? For I am just a lowly custodian of a college. I take out the trash and clean toilets of a living. So I am consistently “tossing my crown back down,” just as God keeps “lifting me back up again” and anointing me. Also, as an even further proof of a true and authentic calling of God (just as you have mentioned), satan has also seriously been on my tail! He has set out relentlessly to stop me. For my wife is very ill. She is very near death actually, she suffers with this brain tumor daily.. and I also have an autistic daughter of age 13 who has extreme violent moments of rage. All this being a true testing of my faith and endurance!

          For no matter how hard I am to pray, and beg and plead with God, even anointing with oils before the elders and the works, I’ve done it all. My reality of life still remains to be the very same. Round and round I go, then this deeply does troubles me because I know the truth found God’s word! It has been deeply embeded in my heart! We were all meant to be fully set free of all these troubles! Through Christ, all things have been made to be possible to me! So why am I still stuck in bondage I must ask? So satan does try to get me to be angry with God, to turn away from him and his calling upon my life. But I thank God that I am wise to his daily schemes! For I know in my heart that God is always good and he will and does work all these things for the sake of his own good! (Good will come from the bad.) And I do trust God with all my life!

  11. (USA)  I feel many whom God calls to ministry suffer from a condition of a “one track mind.” When they recieve a God given revelation or vision they connect with God in such a way that they can actually see and feel the heart of God. What a difficult burden this is to bear! I know it all to well! To be enabled to see and feel what God is truly after fills the called individual with a burning, relentless sensation of “priority and urgency” that this must be spoken! This cannot and will not wait! All things come second to such a called individual!

    They often times may seem unloving and incredibly harsh in their words. For to them, all are endangered of the very pits of Hell! All apear to be blind! To the man who can see as God does, all are lost and urgently needing to be guided! To this man it’s either we are fully living in obedience to God and heeding to his calling, or we are not! This can be an incredibly blinding condition, if one was to neglect God’s #1 law… simply “to love!”

  12. (USA)  Here’s the extreme urgency behind a true and authentic calling of God. It is found in 1 Corinthians 7:29 NLT “now let me say this, dear brothers and sisters; the time that remains is very short, so husbands should not let marriage be there major concern.” In direct contradiction to this we find in 1 Corinthians 7:32-33 NLT, “an unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and think how to please him. But the married man cannot do that so well for he also has to think about how to please his wife.”

    Therefore, I still speak firmly in the seeking of “a God-given balance” between the two! For it is out of pure love that I have refused to neglect my wife and kids any longer! And it is also out of this very same love that I have also refused to neglect my true and authentic calling of God! I’m often tossed in heart between the two!

  13. (USA)  There has also been this one other issue I have been struggling with… while part of me is trying to keep my calling and ministry under a balanced control (so I do not neglect my imediate family) the other part of me is scared to death! For I greatly fear “spiritually falling back asleep once again” and “falling back into my old sinful ways.” Simply put… “the Lord’s work” helps me to keep my focus on Christ. For when my eyes are fixed to the heavens, I am secure! Do I even dare to ever look away? For that one single moment could cost me my life.

  14. (USA)  My experience… A husband who is trapped in sin will in fact, cause inward harm to his wife at first. Then the Holy Spirit will instruct his wife to confront the man with the truth of Gods word (the Bible). He most likely will shut it out at first. But if the man truly does love his wife as he should, in time, he will listen.

    Now at this point… the wife is truly thrilled for she feels she has finally reached him! Praise the Lord she will shout! For now I finally have my husband all to myself!

    But wait! Now the man has been made and claimed by God himself, as his very own treasure, as a son, and as very useful tool for the kingdom! For truth does have it… that once a husband is truly reborn and saved he is then and there upon that very next moment, called and claimed and truly anointed by God himself to begin his ministry. (I must be about my father’s business).

    Then the even greater test to the marriage is still to come! For once the man begins his authentic obedience and he starts to hear the voice of the Lord first… his loyaltys will then and there be tested, for he must proven worthy! He must love God above all! He then and there will next be placed in a situation where he will be given a choice, at this point in time, he must sacrifice everything and anything that God may require of him (even a wife and his kids) at this point.

    The marriage may break apart for a moment. At this point in time the reality of the man’s calling, along with his heart and his vision of God, will have completely vanished! He will be truly crushed! But wait! Now once the man has proven his loyalties to the Lord… the marriage is then restored by God! This will conclude the very first phase of God’s works and instruction.

    But wait!! even more is still to come… my experience. Now once a man/husband is claimed by God himself as his very own treasure and tool the man will truly be put through the holy fire of God! God will then and there instruct him “to walk the straight and narrow pathway” and all the “bad” will be forced out of his life at this point! Thus… “all things being made new.”

    This also will be a huge test for a marriage! For the wife must fully understand the exact reasoning behind “the man acting all crazy!” The man will no longer be enjoying all the places and activities that all others do in this life. Such places as “the beach,” “clubs/parties,” and pretty much all other “ungodly gatherings of people”… will all be highly shunned and feared by this holy man of God (although he is actually called out to reach people such as these). For “the church” and “the kingdom of God” has now become his greatest passion of heart, and for this man to be enabled to “keep his focus” he cannot get too overly involved with the world and all of its distracting activities.

    Thus, “to be set apart by God”.. is not easy but “to go with the crowd” is “to become like the crowd.” God has chosen us to resist the flow. So my newly found marriage confict is that while my wife may be asking me “do you want to go to the beach?” I’m in return saying “do you want to go to church instead?” for going to “the beach” in the eyes of the true and authentic man of God is considered to be “committing spiritual suicide” for truly the sin of “lusting” runs rampant at the beach! Why would I ever want to go there?

  15. (USA)  I can totally relate to Teresa in this story, except that I am not a new Christian. Since I was little I knew I would live a life centered on ministry and probably be married to a full-time minister, and now I am. But my husband’s and my marriage has really struggled since he started in full-time ministry about nine months ago.

    He is thriving in ministry and totally sold out to love people and I feel like he doesn’t need me at all. We don’t have any kids yet, so I work full-time outside the home and he works full-time in ministry. We have things going on three nights a week, at least, not including times when he has to work evenings or weekends. Sundays are busy and we have had people staying with us at length during all this at times too.

    I would never have been willing to do all this even a year ago, so I feel like I’ve grown a lot, but my husband still expects more from me. He says that if God is the most important thing to us, then our actions will follow. This translates to me as: ministry is the most important thing in life. I am tired of competing with ministry and trying to protect my own well-being myself.

    1. (UNITED STATES)  Cassie, I know those feelings. Before the kids, we were really trying to make just the two of us work. Hang in there.

      Maybe you have done this already, but try to talk to your husband about it. We have to do everything in order. God asked us to do so. If God is not the foundation, then what we are governed over will not stand, but there has to be balance. Being a spouse in the ministry can make you sometimes “not excited about the ministry” if I can be honest. It does not mean you are a bad person, it just means that you want Christ in your life AND you want to spend time with your husband; nothing wrong with that.

      Be creative in that aspect. We picked a day of the week –it’s our day (but now, there are two days of the week with the kids). Our friends and family knew about our day, so they were asked by us, to allow us that time. Now, if the church HAD to take play in it, so be it. So, our Bishop even knew about it. We went to him about it. We picked Thursday night to ourselves and he tried his best to not disturb that night, also, even if it meant going to the other ministers before calling my husband.

      God sees you two, and He is proud and happy that you two are working for The Kingdom. But He really wants us to have loving marriages, as well as being servants to His people and His word. KEEP PRAYING FOR YOUR HUSBAND AND FOR YOURSELF. Start praying that when you bring this to him (your concern, not your problem or the time issue) that he is open and hears your need of wanting a healthy, Christian relationship and marriage with him. God will hear your prayer and He will open your husband’s heart. Also, ask God to give you two creativity on things to do with your day, even make up a name for the day to make it more personal to just the two of you.

      I pray God’s hand of strength and patience for you and your husband. People will see your marriage and work in the church and it will drive them to have the same thing.