MINISTRY & MARRIAGE

by | Nov 17, 2022 | Marriage, Pastor, Pastor's Spouse | 0 comments

Today we welcome Jaime Hlavin back to the blog. In today’s post, Jaime explores the real challenges facing ministry couples, and offers four practical tips to help busy pastors and their spouses cultivate a growing, life-giving marriage. Enjoy ~ John

My husband and I have been married for 23 years. We’ve been in pastoral ministry for 24 years. We’ve been in Ministry longer than we’ve been married. He began youth pastoring while we were engaged.

In July of 1999, we literally returned from our honeymoon and took 50 students on a canoe trip the next day. Then, 48 of the next 52 weekends were jam packed with youth activities (not including our responsibilities on Sundays). 3-4 nights a week, not including Wednesday night service. We also added to this stack of activities having students at our apartment.

If I could talk to the 1999-versions of Jaime and Aaron right now, I’d have a bit of stern advice for them.

The nature of serving alongside of your spouse in ministry can lend to the propensity to fall into a pattern “just doing ministry together.” You can easily become “business partners” and lose the oneness of marriage.

Marriage, in and of itself, is under attack. The statistics of divorce both inside and outside the church are astronomical. Infidelity and pornography use are on the rise like never before. It’s no secret (I think it’s no secret) that marriage takes hard work to succeed.

Under the best circumstances, the nature of ministry can be invasive and interruptive to the relationship of couples in pastoral leadership. Choosing to not closely cultivate non-ministry aspects of your marriage can create disastrous results.

So . . . how do you avoid the pitfall of neglecting your marriage as a couple in ministry? The answer to this is to take intentional time to connect emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Here are some ways to create margin to foster that connection:

Have a weekly (or regularly scheduled) calendar check in

Go over your calendars together. Evaluate the pace of life and ministry. If there is not enough blank space, push back and create some together. Discuss ways to keep from letting busy-ness dominate.

Find non-ministry related topics to discuss

Make sure you’re talking about other topics that don’t include ministry or how you’re ministering to others. Music, books, activities, the kids—make sure your conversation is well-rounded and you don’t lose your relationship in the constant drone of ministry chatter.

 

Go on dates and schedule time away from ministry

This routine can easily fall by the wayside as your calendar fills up. And it can be easy to use this time to talk about ministry. Fight against both of those temptations. Guard this time carefully.

Laugh often

Proverbs 17:22 says that a “joyful heart is good medicine.” I am a huge proponent of humor in day-to-day life. Ministry can be daunting and not everything needs to be serious all the time. Keep a lighthearted attitude throughout the day—joke with one another, send one another funny memes, etc. Just don’t take yourselves too seriously all the time.

I’ll say it again . . . marriage takes hard work. The rigor of ministry can make that work even harder. But it is possible maintain healthy and thriving relationships in leadership roles. And I’m pretty sure you (and I) will need to be intentional as we push back those things that want to crowd out the most important human relationship . . . our marriage.

Rooting and praying for you to give your marriage the priority it deserves!

Jaime

 

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