Cultivating a Healthy Marriage in Ministry

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I've started writing this post five different times.

I've started writing this post five different times.

 

I think part of me wants to be clever and profound, maybe say something you have never heard before. But I just gave birth a few weeks ago to our seventh child, so I decided I better be realistic. More than ever, I find myself needing people to keep things simple and to the point.

 

I absolutely love marriage, and I love my husband! And ministry gets sweeter and sweeter the less I focus on "doing ministry" and the more I focus on loving God (and others) the way he wants me to.

 

Here are a few things God brought to mind when I considered how to cultivate a healthy marriage in the midst of ministry:

 

1. Be strong in the Lord.

 

Every healthy relationship with your spouse starts with a healthy relationship with Jesus. This is rather obvious, right? But I can't tell you how many times I approached my husband with unnecessary burdens and expectations because my walk with God was lacking. This is so draining for them! And it cripples your marriage and your ministry.

 

Our men need to count on us as partners in the gospel who don't need to be carried by them and their walk with God. A passage of Scripture that I love is Jeremiah 2:13: "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water."

 

Run to the Spring of Living Water, so he can quench your thirst and meet your needs in a way that your husbands never could. The stronger you are in your own walk with God, the healthier your marriage will be.

 

2. Realize that ministry is not your husband's mistress; it's his mission.

 

It is so easy to get jealous for our husbands' time and attention. Who wants to share their man with so many people? But I do not want to be the bitter wife. I refuse to stand in the way of all that God wants to accomplish through my husband. We are here for Jesus. We were "created in Christ Jesus to do good works, that He prepared beforehand" (Eph 2:10).

 

In those difficult moments when your husband is called away during your anniversary trip, or you have to put the kids to bed again by yourself because of a late meeting, or you just think you want to live a "normal" life for a little bit, remind yourself of why we are here. Remind yourself of heaven. One day, when we are in the presence of God, I imagine we will wonder why we ever complained about anything.

 

3. Be a blessing to your husband.

 

The thought of my husband standing up and "calling me blessed" as Proverbs 31 says is pretty cool. But to be called blessed, you have to be a blessing. My natural inclination is to think of all the things Francis should do for me, but I always hear the Lord asking me, "How are you serving him?"

 

After twenty-one years of marriage, I don't want to get stingy with my love and service. This covers everything from the physical (you are the only person they can look to for this need, so hold nothing back) to the emotional (thankfully, my husband doesn't require too much in this department, because I have five daughters who do) and spiritual.

 

Please pray for your man. Pray for his purity and his love for God. Pray for him when things are well, and pray for him when the weight of the world is on his shoulders. He needs you. Sometimes I motivate myself by thinking about how I want to be remembered. When my husband reflects on our life together, I want him to know that I brought him joy, that I stood with him through this crazy life and made it a little sweeter. How do you want to be remembered?

 

A Great Gift

 

Marriage is such a great gift. God has used marriage to smooth out a lot of my rough edges. This hasn't always been easy with the "ministry spotlight" on our lives, but I have learned to be grateful that many people are watching to see if we really believe what we say we believe.

 

Don't underestimate the power of your marriage to point others to Jesus! Love your husband well, so you can be a reflection of Christ to everyone around you. In the end, looking more and more like Him is all that really matters.

 

This piece first appeared on the blog of CROSS WAY. This is guest post by Lisa Chan and is part of Pastor's Wife Appreciation Month. Lisa's husband, Francis, is the best-selling author of Crazy Loveand formerly served as teaching pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California.

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