Ministry should not kill marriages
A few weeks ago, I asked What would you like me to write about? This post is in reply to input from that request. Click the link if you would like to suggest something.
It is my firm conviction that God calls us to our spouse and children first and foremost. In fact, 1 Timothy 3 says to me that those men who are not good fathers and husbands are neither qualified nor allowed to be leaders. Based on this, I am convinced that God never calls us to sacrifice our marriage, or deny our spouse, in the name of serving Him.
This is not to say marriage is more important than serving the Lord, rather He has made marriage sacred and because of that He will never call us to a position where serving Him will destroy our marriage. (Please note that I see a difference between following Him and serving Him – and there are times when a spouse’s hard heart means following the Lord can harm or destroy a marriage.)
Unfortunately, ministry often hurts and even ends marriages. Consider these statistics*:
- 1 in 3 ministry leaders say being in ministry is hazardous for their families
- 77% of ministry leaders said they don’t have a good marriage
- 80% of ministry wives think their husband is overworked
- 80% of ministry wives wish their husband would change professions
- “Wives’ issues” is the No. 1 reason pastors leave their ministries
- The divorce rate for pastors is no better than for the public as a whole
Additionally, those who minister to pastors and their spouses agree that pastors have worse marriages than their congregations, worse sex lives than their congregations, and higher levels of porn use than their congregations.
The above is for church ministers, but things are no better for missionaries and those involved in para-church ministries. Why is it so bad? Why is it that being a minister puts your marriage in danger, and often means your wife is miserable? Clearly, the way we’re doing things isn’t right because the result is something that is far, far from the will of God.
If you are a minster: Please get your priorities right – with your wife and your minor children being ahead of your church or ministry. If your ministry is hurting your family, make changes. If your ministry is killing your marriage, do whatever it takes, up to and including getting out of ministry, to save your marriage.
If you’re not a minster: Please understand how difficult ministry is. It’s not as easy or footloose as you think. Ministry is hard on those who do it and on their families. Pray for and support those in ministry, starting with your pastor. Be an advocate for getting your pastor more help, better pay, needed time off, and so on. Refuse to let your church be a marriage killer!
*Statistic sources: Schaeffer Institute, Barna, Focus on the Family, Global Pastors Wives Network, and Fuller Seminary
Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:
Tips to Last 47 Years: Happily Married After shares tips on marriage from a couple who have been married 47 years. This is a simple list, but the depth of wisdom is massive. I don’t say “MUST READ” often, but this is in that category.
Chemistry Lesson: Another fast read with deep implications from Happily Married After .
Uncomfortable: A great “Grow Up!” post.
Bringing Flowers: A cute cartoon that hits a bit too close to home!
7 Days of Sex Challenge: Are You Ready?: The 7 Day of Sex Challenge made by ONE with Tony & Alisa Dilorenzo, starts today (Sunday).
Are You Punishing Yourself or Your Spouse for Past Promiscuity?: A follow up post by Julie of Intimacy in Marriage. Are you guilty of this?
Healthy Friends are Responsible To, not For Eachother: A fantastic post by Donald Miller. I think this is valid for marriage as well as friendships – at least for a healthy marriage.
Wife or Children?: Better Husbands and Fathers has good thoughts on a subject that can lead to screaming (been there, been accused of hating children).
Swift kick in the life list: Simple Marriage‘s Corey Allan has an idea that blows away the bucket list – do you have a this-is-the-way-I-live list? BTW, Corey’s book, A Simple Marriage is 20% off this month (not an affiliate link).
Love Does Not Insist On Its Own Way!: Debi Walter of The Romantic Vineyard has another in their what Love is and isn’t series.
How your Marriage is Like A Wedding Cake: The Marry Blogger has a thought provoking analogy between marriage and a marriage cake.