Sending Your Husband
For sixteen years, my husband and I had a great marriage. We loved the Lord, were active in church, tithed, and taught our children about Jesus. When Rob shared he felt called to leave his field and be a pastor full time it was not a surprise; I saw it coming. Taking that leap of faith, well, that took my breath away. So many changes, so many surprises.
The Lord saw us through the transition, and Rob got his first church. We were so excited, and I was ever the supportive wife. I knew the Lord had called us and after all how different could it be?
What I didn’t realize was what Rob becoming a pastor would mean for our family. Suddenly I had become a single mom. No matter how many times I tried to explain this to Rob he just didn’t “get it.” To him, he was doing what a preacher should. He preached twice on Sunday, taught a seminary class on Monday, Tuesday was ministry and visitation, Wednesday night was the church again, Thursday night was men’s prayer meeting, and Fridays and Saturdays were all ours. Well, except he had to work on his sermon sometime and well, “Honey Ms. Needy just called (third time this week) and asked if I could go and help her buy a new tv”. Seriously???? To say my excitement at being a pastor’s wife had waned would be an understatement!
Suddenly Rob and I were at odds about everything. Every time the phone rang I cringed. The children missed their Daddy, and I missed my husband. Nothing I said seemed to make a difference. He just didn’t understand why I was fussing. He was still at the church all the time like before wasn’t he? Wasn’t God supposed to be his first priority? Other pastor’s wives did this, why was I making this so hard on him?
For the first time in our lives, I understood how someone could think of divorce. He was so unapproachable, so distant, so BUSY and I was so lonely. A member of a church full of strangers thousands of miles from family, no friends, no outlet for my frustration with three small children. My heart was broken. I cried out to the Lord, but even He seemed to be too busy; I could no longer hear His voice. How could even the Lord desert us when we gave up everything to follow Him!
I was in this very bad place when Rob told me about the family State’s Baptist Convention Conference. Once every four years they provide a wonderful getaway for the entire family with breakouts for the kids and marriage renewal for the couples. I felt a glimmer of hope. Perhaps they could help us. Though the breakouts were great, it was almost over with no change. I was getting desperate. Were we going to leave this place and not talk about what was happening in our marriage?
Finally, the evening came for a couples only conference where the featured speakers were a pastor and wife team. To be honest, I was barely listening I was so wrapped up in my misery. Then the pastor turned to the men and said “Is your church sending you home to your family to be a husband and father or is your family sending you to church to be a pastor?” Rob’s “oof” was audible. He said later he felt like he had been punched in the gut. I cried for joy. Here was what I had been trying to explain but didn’t have the words, and he “got it.” I could see it in his eyes.
Rob thought he was doing everything right. God first, family second. When he wasn’t the pastor, the church was part of his worship to God. As a pastor “church” crossed over into a job. Part of the problem with being a pastor’s family is the lines blur everywhere. We had to learn as a family that GOD comes first, and that has nothing to do with church activities. I once heard it said that if the devil can’t make you sin he will make you busy. I think this applies especially to pastor’s families. Our time alone with the Lord through our quiet times where we read our Bible, pray, and journal is part of our worship time.
Our time with our family comes next. A pastor must put his family before the church family, or he risks losing it all. If a pastor loses his family, his church won’t want him. This means that we may have to fight for our man. Date as often as you can, and no Walmart does NOT count! This doesn’t have to cost money. Rob and I have “coffee time” each morning. We get up early while the kids are still asleep and just share. It is such a precious time to me and keeps us connected even as we go our separate ways. Keeping family second also means you must intentionally spend quality time with your children. Have game nights where the electronics are not allowed and whatever you do, do NOT answer the phone!
Our lives are so busy; work, church, and other activities never end. Our calendars will always be full. If we do not protect our time with God and our family no one else will. We made these changes and it saved us from an unhappy marriage. What changes do you need to make? Are you sending your husband to church to be a pastor? I pray so.
In His Service,
Michelle Muncy, B.A., M.A.C.C., M.A.M.F.C.