I’m very aware of how difficult it is for a marriage to be vibrant and growing and intimate. Putting it lightly, a healthy marriage requires work! Then, when you add marriage to the constant demands and emotions of ministry, you’ve got a mixture that is difficult to figure out.
Today, Cathy and I celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary and I’m beyond blessed for the incredible friend, partner, and marriage that I have. We’ve haven’t had a problem-free marriage, but we’ve sure worked really hard to figure out how to make marriage and ministry work in a way that seems rare amongst ministry couples.
While there are many intentional actions we’ve taken, I’m going to share three simple ones over the next few days that are transferable and can become transformational.
Early in our marriage Cathy would get frustrated to learn of some of our ministry events thru a mailing or because people would just start showing up at our house for a volunteer leader meeting that I forgot to tell her about. For a few years we went thru calendar gymnastics in an attempt to try to figure out the best plan and rhythm that would work for our marriage and ministry.
I can’t believe we didn’t think of it earlier, but what ultimately worked for us was deciding that nothing would go on our official youth ministry calendar without Cathy’s approval. Basically, she had veto power of the events for our ministry. I might make plans at church, but everything became “tentative” until she filtered them thru the family calendar (which I wasn’t good at thinking about while working on the church calendar).
Once Cathy signed-off on specific activities (and they went on the church calendar) she was much more supportive when I was away at those events. On the other hand, when she was surprised by an event, it was understandably more difficult for her to be supportive. Giving her the veto power over calendar was a great move for our marriage.
This same principle has applied for our lives over the last 18 months even though I’m no longer on a church staff. For example, today I’m speaking in Indiana and Ohio and Cathy actually encouraged me to take these two speaking/paying events 10 months ago knowing they would fall on our anniversary (it made it easier since our 25th anniversary was spent in Tahiti–so she knows we’re still working to try to pay off the trip).
Ministry calendar can create so much conflict…but, it doesn’t have to. How do you do calendar? Or, what questions does this post create?