Pastor's Wife, Mom, Writer & Imperfect Seeker of Jesus
Pastors' Wives--Letter to My Pastor Husband #2
August 4, 2015
THE OTHER WOMAN
Dear Pastor Husband,
Ministry is extremely tough on marriage at times, and divorce statistics for pastor marriages prove that. I’ve actually become very jealous in our marriage over the years. But it’s not a jealousy like I understood jealousy as a child or even a young adult. It’s not a jealousy OF anything. It’s a jealousy FOR something. For you.
After all this time in ministry, not only do I comprehend in my mind, but I can truly feel in my heart what God meant when He said, “for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14 NIV) “Be careful not to forget the covenant of the Lord your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the Lord your God has forbidden. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” (Deuteronomy 4:23-24 NIV)
The Israelites had forgotten their covenant and had prostituted themselves away to other “gods,” to something far less than God in His promise wanted to give them. Please don’t think that I believe you are “prostituting” yourself to anything pagan or immoral. I just believe that there is so much more that God has promised to us in our marriage covenant. For Heaven’s sake, why on earth would He include such a beautiful and sensual story/poem like Song of Solomon in His Holy Word if He didn’t want to demonstrate to us the joy and love and delighting in each other that can come from the bond of marriage?
However, we rarely have time to delight in each other. You are way too busy jumping at every bell or whistle shot your way from the church and/or other ministry opportunities. I often see in your life the “if Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy” process. He knows that he would have to work far too hard to drag you down the immoral road. However, since he’s aware of your love and devotion to the Lord and His Church, he just has to lay a plethora of ministry opportunities at your feet and step back to watch you jump all in, sometimes to the neglect of your family.
In fact, there are moments when I feel a little like a woman watching her husband run off with his mistress every night. Yet I am required to be happy and supportive of it because his mistress is the church. SHE is who he worries about. SHE is who he spends every waking moment with. SHE is who consumes his thoughts.
And if I dare let slip from my tongue any frustration in this, even those closest to me or those also in leadership in the church often respond, “Well isn’t that his job?”
I want to scream, “NO. IT’S. NOT!” Instead, I take a deep breath and try to kindly remind them that the Church is made up of a body of believers who each have a role to play. The pastor is not the entire body himself. And if other parts of the body aren’t doing their job, it’s crazy to think that the pastor can step in and do everyone else’s roles as well as his own. But many churches buy into such a concept. This is such a smart, strategic tactic of the Evil One. For if the pastor’s family falls apart, the church he serves usually falls apart and the spread of the Gospel is hindered.
The problem is that you ARE called to ministry, but EVERYTHING you touch could be construed as “ministry.” So anytime I want you to say no to the church and yes to your family, I feel guilty that I’m taking you away from your “ministry.” And hence, the dilemma that I shared with you in the first letter faces me once again.
You are an amazing minister. You touch so many lives. That is part of why I fell in love with you—you touched MY life. And I still need that touch even today. So as you run helter-skelter serving the masses, please just don’t forget me, “the wife of your youth.” (Malachi 2:14 NIV) Please allow me to still be THE woman in your life.