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The Ruches: The Too-Easy Decision

Hard Fact No. 1: The ministry never has been and never will be a nine-to-five job.

Hard Fact No. 2: Ministers who do not give attention to their marriages come to regret it.

Those two facts, of course, do not mesh very well. Both are true; both are acknowledged by husbands as well as wives. Neither fact is going to change. Pastoral couples simply have to accept them.

Most pastors find their own natural ambition heightened by what is at stake in the ministry: eternal destinies. One pastor tells an early experience that typifies the conundrum:

I was a youth pastor, and one day I had an impulse to stop and see a certain teenage girl. I didn't do it—and that night, she ran away. After that, whenever I'd get an impression to do something, I was afraid not to follow through on it. I don't think I did very well at taking a day off for seven or eight years. Finally, there were a couple of times at home in bed when Barbara said, "I don't know you" or "I don't feel a part of you. You're doing a great ...
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