I am struggling with the feeling that my spouse’s call is his own, and I wonder whether I have to be—or even should be—part of his ministry identity. The church doesn’t hire or pay me, so why should I bother doing extra?
Wanting My Own Identity
Every pastoral couple ministers in different ways. It’s true that ministry spouses aren’t usually paid for the expectations placed upon them. However, look at things objectively: many spouses of great leaders face extraordinary outside expectations and aren’t paid for them either. Spouses of doctors, for example, are expected to share the doctor with all of his or her patients, no matter the time of night or day. Those married to politicians, CEOs, and public speakers—all have distinct obligations that come with the position of their prominent spouses. Few, if any, are paid for their time spent hosting events, talking to people, or attending functions.
Marrying a leader—pastors included—automatically brings a set of obligations that can become a joy if you view them as a partnership and as a service to others. Of course, every spouse needs to create that partnership in ways that are authentic to their own personality and gifts.
Here’s a good way to think about it: how involved and supportive do you wish “regular” church members would be of your spouse’s leadership, events, plans, evangelistic efforts, and so on? Start with setting an example of involvement at a level you wish others would show, and then take it up a notch or two.
Many blessings as you pursue marital unity in ministry!