Anyone who has known me for any length of time can tell you that my wife and I celebrate “Kaye Day” every Friday. We call it “Kaye Day” because it is a day set aside for her. We do what she wants to do, go where she wants to go, talk about what she wants to talk about, and generally celebrate our marriage.
We believe that healthy marriages require maintenance. That is, they require regular investments of time and effort to keep them healthy. It is far too easy in our culture to let things slide and become careless about our marriage relationship.
What do I mean by “regular investments”? Praying together, planning together, sharing our hopes, dreams, and discouragements together, playing together, doing things together outside of the church ministry.
I asked my wife to give me a list of things she felt were important for a successful marriage. Here are ten “ingredients” for a successful marriage:
- Both spouses being Christ-followers.
- Communication, talking and listening. This means REALLY listening to each other.
- Putting your spouse before yourself – Preferring his or her needs above my own.
- Making decisions together. (Seeking counsel)
- Maintaining oneness. We can tell when there is something not quite right. We don’t let that go very long. We work on our oneness of spirit.
- Praying together. (Not just at meal times)
- Sexual intimacy.
- Financially responsible choices. Being on the same page about giving, saving, and spending.
- Serving others. We agree that this is something we want to do together
- See yourselves as partners in life. My spouse is my equal in every way and my spouse is an equal partner in every decision.
These are especially true for the pastor and his/her spouse. Healthy ministry flows from healthy marriage, and healthy marriage flows from healthy spiritual lives. We cannot neglect this priority and continue to thrive in ministry.
You may not be able to set aside a whole day every week but you can carve out some time every week to intentionally invest in your marriage. Some couples plan a “date night”. Whatever you do, intentionally set some time aside just for the two of you.
If you are experiencing marital conflict, marital distance, or marital isolation, Care for Pastors can help. We understand the unique challenges of pastoral ministry and how those pressures and stresses can take a toll on our marriages. We have designed an intensive counseling ministry specifically for pastors and their spouses. We can help you heal from past hurts and develop skills to help you thrive in marriage and in ministry.
Reach out to us at careforpastors.org.