Do you ever feel like ministry is having an adverse effect on your marriage? While it’s easy to blame, the truth is, ministry isn’t responsible for anyone having a bad marriage. God doesn’t call us to lead in His church to the detriment of our marriage. But I’ve watched many men sacrifice their marriage on the altar of ministry. And when we do it’s a clear indication that ministry is no longer a calling; it’s an idol.
LAUNCH Network hosted a great Virtual Whiteboard session yesterday featuring Shawn and Tricia Lovejoy who talked about how to have a thriving marriage while in ministry. The Lovejoy’s planted Mountain Lake Church in Cumming Ga, started Velocity Church Planting Conference and coach church planters all across the country.
Here are a few of my takeaways from yesterday’s session:
- I will seek to understand the dark side of my strengths. Sometimes the strengths that make us so good in ministry may be the thing that’s hurting us in our personal life. Shawn said, “Your greatest asset can be your greatest liability.” Some of us are great communicators but not good listeners. We may be results-oriented but unable to rest or relax. We may be hyper organized but have no flexibility. What’s the dark side of your strength? And how is that impacting your marriage relationship?
- I will take an honest look at my insecurities. Insecurities are frequently something we ignore or are unaware of in our lives. Unfortunately when we fail to deal with them they eat away at our relational health. When you’re driven by insecurities you become so focused on getting your own needs met that you fail to serve the needs of your spouse. Insecurity pushes us to seek validation, affirmation, and approval of others. Insecurity can cause us to place unfair expectations on those we love and make us difficult to live with. How are your insecurities influencing your “need seeking” in your marriage?
- I will make a plan rather than excuses for my addiction to work. Shawn stated that one of the greatest temptations church planters face is workaholism. Acknowledge this. Admit it. Then make a plan for it rather than make excuses for it. He advised us to seek a healthy rhythm in our life rather than pursuing balance. If you’re always staving for balance you’ll live with a sense of guilt each day you don’t hit it. But striving for a healthy rhythm acknowledges that some days and some seasons are more demanding than others. What excuses are you making? Now, what’s your plan?
- I will think as strategically about my marriage as I do my ministry. We will spend hours solving problems, setting goals and strategizing dreams for ministry. But we can put family on autopilot. Shawn challenged the men to take the lead in scheduling dates, arranging for baby-sitting, scheduling vacations, etc. Write out a one-month strategy for the enhancement of your marriage. Where do you need to grow in your marriage? What next steps can you take?
- I will honor my wife by continually encouraging her in the development of her gifting. Church planters, we dishonor our wives when we expect them to fill a ministry gap rather than encourage them to use their gifting. Tricia reminded the women that they have a call to ministry too and if their husband is called they are “one” in that call. But make sure you operate in the unique gifting that God has given you. What is your spouse good at? What are they passionate about? How can you encourage them in that this week?