Investing in your marriage is important to your ministry because your ministry will never be stronger than your marriage—so Valentine’s Day is a great day to invest in your marriage. Don’t be cheap about it pastor—prevention is less expensive, and less painful, than intervention or cure.
It is no surprise that I am nudging you toward a date night. Janet and I fly out in a couple of hours to host two Pastor Date Nights in Florida for 140 couples. What a great way to spend Valentine’s week! Lifeway loves pastors and hosts 12-15 Pastor Date Nights in North America each year. These events typically involve a meal, childcare, gifts, and a ministry panel conversation centered on helping pastors win at home and church. I have been encouraged with how national, state, and local ministries are beginning to intentionally connect the health of the pastor to both his marriage and ministry health.
Pastor spouses are deservedly getting more attention, it seems. Lifeway Research just released a groundbreaking study in September, 2017, about the lives of pastors’ spouses. “The representative study of 720 spouses found their lives are complicated and filled with blessings and stresses,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research.
Among the findings:
- 93 percent believe their spouse is a good fit for the present church.
- 90 percent think ministry has had a positive effect on their family.
- 85 percent say, “The church we serve takes good care of us.”
- 83 percent enjoy their ministry work.
- 79 percent are satisfied with their role in ministry.
Still, there are many challenges. Conflict in a church and a sense of loneliness are commonplace. Among the issues:
- 72 percent say their spouse has experienced resistance in the church.
- 69 percent say they have few people they can confide in.
- 68 percent worry about having enough money for retirement.
- 59 percent say church commitments limit family time.
- 49 percent say, “If I were honest at church about my prayer needs, they would just become gossip.”
Everyone is equal in God’s sight, but you and I are not God. Let Valentine’s Day be a reminder of how important it is to invest in the second most important relationship in your life. If Jesus is your first love, then your wife will be your second love. Make her your Valentine all year round and I assure you that the blessing you two receive will overflow into the rest of your family and ministry.