We've all known the proverbial pastor who seems content in the ministry but the next time you run into him, he's selling real estate. A mutual friend explains, "His wife just wouldn't support him. She said his call was hijacking her future."

Then there's the wife who is willing to support her husband's call, as long as it doesn't affect her preferred way of life. So she constructs boundaries that look more like the Great Wall of China than a pleasant white picket fence.

Yes, a married couple is called to love one another, and marriage vows are at least as important as ordination vows. Most of us in church leadership believe that God calls couples together into ministry, and God's true call is considerate of each partner's needs, fears, and aspirations. How this works itself out at home and at church is as individual as the couple. There are many lifestyle options that successfully answer that call without trampling on one partner's needs.

The following stories of called husbands and hesitant wives illustrate what helps and what hinders two partners toward agreement. (Names and some details are changed. And please accept my apologies for stereotypically referring to the one with the call as the husband and the one who has doubts as the wife. I do comprehend the extent of women in full-time ministry today, and also the vast majority of couples co-existing happily in ministry. But my contacts with denominational leaders and clergy counselors have indicated that it is almost exclusively the husband who feels constrained by the wife's resistance. So that's the situation I address here.)

Case 1: "I didn't agree to this!"

Sandi grew up in a troubled ministry home. Her parents' example led to her bitter vow never to marry a minister. ...

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Fall 2003: The Calling  | Posted
Calling  |  Expectations  |  Fear  |  Marriage  |  Pastor's Family  |  Self-examination  |  Stress  |  Women
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