In a previous post, I wrote about the emotions of a pastor or leader’s spouse during a time of ministry transition. You will need to read the post HERE for this post to make complete sense.
The post resonated with several who are dealing with this issue. My post was to bring awareness to those emotions, but as I expected, it generated questions.
People wanted to know how—how do they help their spouse transition?
Great question. I don’t have all the answers, but I have some.
Here are 10 ways to help your spouse in a job transfer:
Celebrate what they are doing
Many times your excitement will seem to diminish what your spouse is doing. I was talking to a young pastor recently who is experiencing great success in his new church. At the same time, his wife is watching their children. I reminded him that changing diapers on the children he loves is just as powerful. He knew that, but he needed a reminder to celebrate this fact.
Help them explore and pace themselves
Eventually, the spouse needs to find their own identity. It will take time. Allow them the freedom to do so, even if this means you have to keep the children or do other responsibilities some so they can.
Don’t lock them into your world
Don’t dictate their ministry. My wife and I are partners, but she is not me. Nor am I her. Her interests and mine are different. And, it’s OK. It’s actually by design. She makes me better. And, in a much smaller way I’m sure, I make her better.
Listen to your spouse
This is always important, but even more so in times of stress or change. You’ll be busier than ever. But your spouse will need you—more than ever. Listen. The practice will serve you and your marriage in the days ahead.
Let them grieve
They may mourn over the separation from friends. Especially if it was your job for which you moved, they may be more likely to miss the old house. They may complain at times the supermarket isn’t as easy to navigate or the conveniences of the city are not as good. It’s a part of the acclimating process. Give it time.
It won’t be the same. It probably never will be. Each of your roles will be different. You will have different friends. Your schedules may be altered. Your routines will change. Be conscious this creates stress in people and relationships.
Be present when home
When you finally get home, be fully home. Shut down. Have some times where you quit everything work related and be with your family. Give your family the attention they deserve.
Celebrate your new area
Explore the new city together. Discover the hidden gems and be a tourist for a while. (I wrote a post about how to acclimate to a new city HERE.)
Keep your spouse informed
They will naturally feel somewhat isolated from your exciting new world. Don’t promote this emotion because you’ve excluded them from it. Make them feel a part of things as much as you can by giving her details of your day. I realize it requires more patience, but during transition the spouse needs to be even more a part of your day that they missed.
It may take longer for your spouse to acclimate to the new environment than you think it should. This is OK. Your spouse is not you. Don’t expect them to respond to change the same way you would.
Those are my suggestions. If you’re in a time of transition, for the good of your marriage and yourself—be intentional!
Have you transitioned a position recently? What recommendations do you have for dealing with your spouse’s response?