My Best Friend's Nightmare

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She is my anchor, she is my mast and sail. 
She is the sun and the rain.
She is the wind and the calm.
She is the high, there at the low.
She is my lover.

When taking this current position, neither of us had any idea where to begin. We were young, free, and reckless. When we had the opportunity to move to the West Coast, any excuse (especially one that promised a job) would have done. So we packed up that tiny and cheap apartment that had quickly become home, and made the 2,700 mile, 8 day trip to where we now call home. Had we driven another hour and a half, we would have driven into the Pacific Ocean.

 

No class, no advice, and no mentor could have prepared us for what lay around the corner. There’s comes a point in all our lives where we become so comfortable with what is, that we can’t imagine alternatives from reality. And when that alternative reality strikes, it’s with a force of venom that rivals the strength of a Cobra. Yet here we find ourselves. Stranded, yet surrounded. Lonely, yet overwhelmed by the amount of love and grace we’re constantly shown. 

 

Why, then, is it so hard for a spouse in ministry? 

 

The struggle with having a spouse in ministry doesn’t present itself in concrete conclusions. There are people who understand that only one person was hired. But the struggle isn’t who’s paid or not. The struggle begins with expectation. I recently found a quote in my Facebook feed that I sincerely related to “Expectation is the root of all heartache” –William Shakespeare. If there’s an expectation of two, the congregation is going to be let down. 

 

There are some members of all congregations that expect a wife (or husband) to be an additional acquirement when a person is hired. Our church is currently vacant, and I can’t count the amount of comments that have been said “We need a spouse who plays piano!”

 

The most important thing to remember is that your spouses needs to be your most important support person. We must sacrifice time at work for our spouses, time with friends for our spouses. And most importantly, know when to quit for the contentment of your spouse, because if you loose that person, you loose everything. 

 

  • What steps are you taking to value your spouse over your job? 
  • Are you prepared to give up everything (even the church) to maintain a healthy marriage? 
  • For the Veteran Ministers: How has your perspective of a spouse in ministry evolved as you’ve continued in your ministry?
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No, they don't need a spouse who plays the piano.   They need to train their children to play the piano.   Even a child who only plays the melody, is still a greater gift than "buying" a pianist, because that child will grow and develop and improve.  And when that imported pianist leaves, then what?   Back to square one.   While the child who learns will be there longer.  Even in a small church with less than 100 people, it is possible to have six children learning to play, and others can play different instruments.   Music is a gift from God;  a gift to be used, not just to be listened to. 

Not that there's anything wrong with having a "spouse" who plays the piano, but concentrate on the children first. 

Thanks so much for the support! One of the many challenges of ministry is breaking traditional models or understanding of church, and what you've said above tells me you understand how to approach the issue. Thanks again!