Maintaining Your Marriage in Ministry
Marriage is the sacred union between a man and a woman. According to Barna Research divorce rates among conservative Christians are significantly higher than other faith groups, and much higher than Agnostics and Atheists. That hurts! With Christ in our marriages they should be succeeding!
Why is that marriage fail?
- Sexual Unfaithfulness (this does mean just sex either – porn, lust, etc)
- Financial Mismanagement
You could add so much more to that list, but that’s the BIG 3. I have seen more Christian marriages falling apart at the seams in the last few years. It pisses me off. Yep, I said it. I get so mad when I hear another story. God originated marriage and we have distorted it. It’s so easy to cheat – look at the porn in the privacy of your office – no one will ever know. It’s easy to miscommunicate – especially when husbands are working 40-60 hours per week and hanging with friends more than family. It’s easy to mess up financially – the current financial situation makes poor financial decisions come to the surface.
Marriage requires work, honesty, integrity, commitment, patience, understanding and so much more! If marriage was easy we would not have divorce! Simple, but true.
Marriage in the ministry requires a lot of work. I have the most amazing woman in the world – Mary is everything I could ever have dreamed of – I mean, everything. She surpassed all my hopes and expectations. So why would I ever risk forfeiting that!!! It has been an amazing 9 year journey so far …
So how do we maintain our marriage in ministry …
- I am home more than I am away. I used to keep a pretty rigid schedule – 5-6 nights a week out doing “ministry.” Today I am home 5-6 nights per week maintaining my marriage & family. Plus I try to limit my travel time, unless I can take my family with me.
- I pray. This is an overlooked marriage builder, but I pray for our marriage. I have a prayer mantra that I have prayed for 9 years – “Lord, keep my eyes only for my wife.” I want to make sure that no other woman would ever captivate me like my wife. Prayer keeps my emotions in check.
- I read God’s Word. Yep, another simple one. Did you know that reading the Bible 4 times a week or more creates a 70% decrease in adultery and a 60% decrease in online porn (according to ABS). Reading God’s Word strengthens our marriages. And not for sermon content, but for personal growth!!!
- I have no best friends of the opposite sex. I do not share or confide in any member of the opposite sex. I have placed safe-guards in our marriage to make sure that my spouse is my confidant. No private dinners or coffee appointments with females – ever!!!
- Many family nights. We spend so much time as a family that they have become irreplaceable. I could not imagine life with any other people. In fact, I can’t remember what life was like before my family.
- My marriage is my priority. If that means avoiding phone calls or not answering emails in order to spend time with Mary than that’s what I will do. I have made a commitment to let nothing drive a wedge in our marriage.
- Communication is the key. With a crazy busy ministry schedule Mary and I have to constantly talk about balance. And there are times that I have to pull back and re-adjust my schedule. Now with Malachi is 1st grade we have to really communicate!
- Guard social media relationships. I can’t believe how “open” people are on facebook or twitter. It is almost sad. People will share their deepest emotional struggles and pains with people they don’t know – we can’t fall into the “savior” mentality. Watch out who you follow and friend!
- Talk about your spouse in your sermons. Let the church know the value of your marriage. Don’t be silent on the most important “earthly” relationship you have. Let men know your wife is a priority to you! Let women know to stay away from you because you are devoted to your spouse. SIDE NOTE – don’t share negativity or make fun of your spouse publicly – only honor & praise!!!
I am honored and humbled that God has allowed me the privilege of doing ministry and having a marriage. My prayer is simply that “God would allow our marriage to be a testimony that it works when God is in it and the safeguards are in place.”