Pastor's Wife, Mom, Writer & Imperfect Seeker of Jesus
Pastors' Wives--Get Outta Town!
August 10, 2015
Okay, the last few Pastor’s Wives posts have been a bit heavy, so let’s lighten it up a bit with some more practical ideas. If you’ve been in ministry for any length of time, you realize that there are ebbs and flows to the busyness. Not that the busyness ever stops—in fact, in 21 years, I honestly cannot remember there ever being a time when I have thought, “Wow, I’m just so bored. There is nothing to do. And I’m really sick of seeing my husband all the time.”
It’s just that there are times when there is CRAZY busyness versus the regular busyness of ministry life. For the first 13 years of our ministry we worked with youth (give or take a year and a half where Ryan was a Music Minister—HA!) so we did almost everything TOGETHER. Even so, there is a big difference between being together ALONE and being together with 50 teenagers!
We realized about 10 years ago or so that we needed to start making time for just the two of us. And while we have not been good about going away EVERY year alone together, we will both admit that doing this more regularly has been the BEST thing for our marriage! It allows us to reconnect without constant distractions from our children, the phone or the calendar.
We started out just by going to a place in the city that was kind of a “couples only” resort. It was NOT the kinky by-the-hour place that all our friends teased us it was! It was actually hospital-clean and BEAUTIFUL!! We usually stayed in a room with a private swimming pool and waterfall. We would go for a night during the week when the rates were really, really low—remember we ARE in ministry.
It wasn’t that we did anything outlandishly exotic or anything. In fact, we usually stopped by Buffalo Wild Wings and grabbed a meal to-go and took some movies with us that we had been wanting to watch for a long time. I know, I know—settle down. It was more just the enjoyment of being together, uninterrupted.
Then we finally bit the bullet and joined a travel club that wasn’t based on a particular location or week of the year. It had lots of flexibility which suited our lives great. And we’ve been able to use it for family vacations as well as for just the two of us.
If money is a concern, well trust me, we do everything as cheaply as we can! And even those cheap experiences have been AMAZING! One place we went in Virginia offered a $5 tour to some local vineyards. Not expecting too much, we were astonished to find ourselves walking through a breathtaking vineyard on rolling hills that was originally planted by none other than Thomas Jefferson. Another place we stayed had two PGA golf courses winding around the hillside. It was late Fall and one course had just been closed for the season, so we spent half a day just walking those beautiful 18 holes, completely alone.
The point is this: GO AWAY! And the further you can get out of your local town, the better. It’s much harder to return for an “emergency” when you are 10 hours away than when you are only an hour away.
Just do small things together to start out if this is new for you. Go to a non-local fair. Visit a flea market. Go garage sale shopping together. Walk a mall. Do a tour of some place new. Just BE TOGETHER!
I know the state of Indiana has several campgrounds that offer stays for pastors and their wives for little to no cost for a few nights. If you take the time to investigate, you will find a plethora of choices!
At first I was worried that our girls would feel neglected if we went on a vacation without them, but instead they have learned to be genuinely happy for us to get away (being spoiled by grandparents while we are gone probably helps). They too benefit from having refreshed and reignited parents return to them.
We all know that Jesus often withdrew from the masses to pray and be alone with the Father. This is, of course, the best thing that we too can ever do to refresh our souls. I just can’t help but think though, if Jesus had been a married man, He probably would have also taken the time to get away with His wife, His “one flesh,” His “suitable helper.” I know that for me, I am a much better, more patient partner to Ryan AND the ministry when we have had sufficient time alone together amidst the chaos.
There’s never a perfect time…so start packing NOW!