Thirteen years ago, my husband and I shared a platform and an overhead projector as we told church after church of the burden God had given us to serve Him on the mission field. While my husband spoke of the hopes and dreams we had for ministry, I slid color transparencies on and off the lighted glass until my turn came to speak and his to switch the snapshots! Even back then our technology was dated, but many times we received encouraging comments from the congregation about hearing from both spouses and presenting as a team.
Memories of those early opportunities to stand side by side serving together are still sweet. I count as one of the greatest blessings of ministry that I can share the same vocation as my husband and work alongside him in a complementary role. The people he serves are the people I serve; the burdens he carries are the burdens I share; the joys that delight and challenges that concern him are mine as well.
As the author of Ecclesiastes says in chapter 4, verses 9 and 10, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
While I write this post, my husband and I are seated at small desks on opposite sides of our bed. He is doing bookkeeping for a new ministry project. I am scanning documents for the same. Our youngest son is sleeping in his crib just a few feet away. Our older children are homeschooling the next floor down. Though I’ll admit there are times I dream of a more structured work environment, right now this is our reality and I wouldn’t change it! It is part of the adventure of doing ministry together.
Recently I read another pastor’s reflection that ministering with his wife had made them better friends. Thankfully, this has been our experience as well. Below are three other ways ministering together has had an impact on our marriage.
1. Being married in ministry has held us accountable. When we prepare together to teach God’s Word on topics related to marriage and family, we must evaluate our own first. Then we must remember that our listeners will be watching to see if we “practice what we preach!”
2. Being married in ministry has kept us communicating. When ministry commitments take us in different directions at different times, it requires us to be coordinate schedules and adjust accordingly. No two weeks are exactly the same, so keeping current with each other is a must.
3. Being married in ministry has never been boring. We joke about this, but it really is true. There have been so many surprises (good and bad!) and unexpected twists and turns in our ministry life together. It is an “adventure” that like any good drama has kept us looking forward to each new chapter together. Yet only knowing and trusting the Author of our story has made this possible.
This week, we celebrated nineteen years of God’s grace and of marriage. Half of those years were spent in study and/or preparation for ministry, and half in the trenches of ministry itself. What a privilege it has all been. Thank You, Lord, for the blessing of a marriage in ministry.