As a minister, our family’s schedule can be hectic. I’m not saying it’s more or less hectic than other folks, but there are unique challenges associated with my job as there are with yours.
From time to time, I have been asked to get involved in certain ministry opportunities. Whether it is a chance to speak at an event, write some curriculum, or to take another job, opportunities come our way. Obviously, we have accepted some and rejected others.
When I first became married, the whole “oneness” with my spouse thing was difficult to comprehend. Honestly, it still is challenging, but it’s becoming clearer.
I used to ask Amanda, “Hey, I got this opportunity to do so and so, it is such a great chance to do something like this. I’ve always wanted to have a shot at this, and I think I can figure out how to make it work. Would you be OK if I did it?”
Well, I married a wonderful bride. She loves me. She serves me. She wants to bring joy into my life. And, most times, when I would light up about the chance to do something, she didn’t want to rob me of that joy. Being a selfless servant, she would oftentimes go along with something that I wanted but that honestly she didn’t.
In certain cases, I overextended our family. I could keep up with the demand, but it eventually would wear on the family unit. You can only forego sleep so much.
Walking through those times, I would talk to my bride and sometimes discover that she had gone along with some of my ideas that she didn’t think was wise at the time or didn’t realize all that it entailed when we first agreed to go forward.
My first question has always been, “Would you be OK if I did such and such?”
I have now added the 2nd question (that might be the most important one): “Would you feel relieved if I didn’t do such and such?”
And the answer to that question usually gets to the heart of what she is feeling.
Some of you may think this thought process is crazy, but I think it is biblical. Yes, I am called to lead, but I am also called to sacrifice. In fact, I am to sacrifice in the same manner that Christ sacrificed for me (Eph. 5:25). That means that I put her needs before mine. I would sacrifice my safety, desire, and health for hers.
I am to put my wife’s interests ahead of my own (Phil. 2:3-5).
I am also called to live with her in an understanding way realizing that in some ways she is weaker than me (1 Pet. 3:7). Before anyone takes a shot at me, I didn’t write the mail, I’m just delivering it. And it is very apparent in our home. My wife is way stronger, more patient, and shows Christ in her life at a level that inspires me.
But there are areas that she is weaker than me. As a woman, and as this specific woman, she is wired uniquely. Things that bother her do not bother me. Things that keep her up at night have me snoring the night away. And, as her husband, I have to respect that.
That means that there are certain things that I have the opportunity to do, desire to do, feel passionate about doing, that I simply will not do because my calling to my wife is clear.
Sometimes knowing God’s leading is a tricky thing. I can’t really say without a doubt that God has called me to North Side Baptist Church rather than South Side Baptist Church.
I do know without a doubt that God has called me to one specific ministry – sacrificing for one lady.
In fact, he says I am to live with my wife in an understanding way (1 Pet. 3:7). I am not called to understand your woman, I am called to understand mine.
As I husband, there are times I must say “no” to something I want, so that my wife can maintain something she needs.