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Married, Spiritually Single, and Called to Lead

Managing tension between marriage and ministry

Here are three suggestions for making the most of your marriage and ministry.

Hope in God More than Your Marriage

Recognize that no man, Christian or otherwise, can satisfy you fully. The temptation for married, spiritually single women called to lead is to assume that the obstacles they face stem solely from their husbands’ unbelief. This simply isn’t true. If you believe this lie, a wedge will form between you and your husband that will probably widen over time. Don’t go there.

Years ago, God spoke this Scripture to me during an especially trying time in my marriage: “For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth” (Isaiah 54:5). When you look to the Bridegroom to meet your needs, you free your husband from unhealthy expectations and make room to receive what your spouse can offer you with gratitude.

Practically, this means your support will often come from sources other than your husband.

Cultivate Intimate Spiritual Friendships

Perhaps the greatest pain a married but spiritually single woman feels is the lack of spiritual intimacy she shares with her husband, which often spills over into a lack of emotional intimacy.

To thrive in marriage and ministry, I need intimate spiritual friendships. At each step of the journey, God has brought seasoned women into my life to meet the spiritual, emotional, and relational needs my husband can’t meet.

A handful of these friends know the intimate details of my life—my areas of weakness, my temptations, and my ugly thoughts. They hold me accountable, helping me guard my heart and my mind.

Take the Initiative

I’m lonely in my marriage, and so is my husband. I turn to God’s Word, prayer, and others to meet my needs, but where can he go for support? Because we have different interests and values, he often feels alone.

To make our relationship work, I’ve learned to take the initiative—to pursue him and to express my love for him in tangible ways, even when it’s inconvenient.

I’ve learned to invite him out on dates—lunch on a Saturday afternoon, a movie, or even a walk through the neighborhood. He enjoys being pursued.

I also recently accompanied my husband on a 5K walk for charity, sponsored by his employer, in 19-degree weather. He woke up uncertain about whether he really wanted to go, and I playfully urged him to give it try. Getting up and going out in the cold at 8:30 on a Saturday morning isn’t usually my idea of fun, but it was something my husband and I could do together. So I pushed. He enjoyed introducing me to his colleagues, and not surprisingly, we had a lot of fun.

April13, 2015 at 8:00 AM

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