The conversation still lingers in my heart. John and I were “getting serious.” That’s when I got offered a job as a full-time, paid youth worker. Up until this point I had been either bi-vocational or a volunteer. I vividly recall telling him why I couldn’t “take the job.” It was 60 hours a week at least and there was no way that would be good for us when we became newlyweds. Yet, after praying and seeking the Lord (separate and together), it was clear that this was Christ’s plan, for us. My world became immersed in youth, and I got “paid” to do it. As a dating couple it wasn’t that hard to navigate. Then we got married. That first year in marriage we learned a lot about what it means to be married and to be a youth person.
You are both “called.”
I highly recommend having an honest heart to heart about this before the wedding bells ever ring. Yet, if you have already “said the vows,” you need to sit and talk this concept through. I am not suggesting that the church got a “two for the price of one,” deal. You will need to figure out how you will each serve and support the other in the actual day-to-day tasks of “ministry.” Instead, this is a philosophical view. When you do not have a heart that is united in backing the “calling” a rift happens in your marriage. It does not belong to one or the other of you, because ministry is never just a “job.”
Learn to communicate
A mentor told me once, “Communication is not what you say, it’s what the other person hears.” I repeat this often to others. This means that you as a couple need to make sure that you are learning to communicate about everything from boundaries, to schedules, to vision for your lives. Make time DAILY to communicate with each other face to face. Sit and really talk about everything, make sure the other person is hearing you. Make sure you are listening to what your spouse is saying. This does not mean merely sharing, facts, but ensuring there is mutual understanding and investment.
Make Jesus the Center.
Of what you ask? Yes. Is the answer. Be intentional to take the time to make Christ the focus of your personal life. Then make sure you are taking the time intentionally make him the center of your marriage. Then make sure he is the center of your ministry. Before anything you “do,” your relationship is most important. We all “mean well,” to not be too busy or distracted. However, Satan wants to render us ineffective. He wants to devour our marriage and us. Individually and together take the time to pray, read the Word and worship. Do these things daily, make it part of your “schedule.” Building your marriage on the rock and keeping it there, is what gets us through the storms of life.
Most importantly, don’t ever forget to enjoy each other! The Lord gave you a traveling companion on this narrow road with him. The road is rarely easy. However, it is a joy to have someone to share it with. Learn each other, take time to foster this relationship (deliberately) and just fall deeper in love every day. You stood in front of each other on that wedding day and thought, “How could I possibly love them more?” Then with each passing year you get to turn around and watch it grow deeper and richer. This is regardless of your “ministry status.”
Any other advice to the newly marrieds out there?