As StuMin Wives, we all come from different backgrounds with different job titles and different responsibilities. Personally, during this season of my life, my husband and I have the opportunity to work together in ministry. It’s an incredible blessing, but it has also come with some challenges along the way.
My husband and I are two very different people, so when we first started working together, we both had different strategies, personalities, and styles through which we approached ministry. It wasn’t easy at first as we navigated the rough waters of working together as a team; however, the more we grew and developed, we started to find an effective rhythm to our ministry together. This has definitely been a process, and we are still learning and working at it! But while we continue to grow, I wanted to share some key ways we have learned how to work together as a couple in ministry.
- We Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. One of the biggest tools that makes any marriage, job, or ministry position successful is communication. So, when you combine marriage and ministry together, communication becomes even more important. We engage in discussion, get rid of multi-tasking when we talk, and we make sure that we are on the same page, even if it takes time to get there. We communicate through text messages when we aren’t together and use Google Calendar to sync our busy schedules. Sometimes it feels over-the-top, but doing the legwork up front to communicate prevents so many arguments from happening in the long-run.
- We Work From Our Strengths. Once we realized the daily and weekly tasks we needed to accomplish, we sat down and divided our tasks up based on who had the personality strengths to complete those tasks most effectively. Once we found our strengths, our work become way more enjoyable and easier to accomplish. When we engage those strengths, we can accomplish more, and we can do it with enthusiasm and excellence.
- We Never Criticize Publicly. We are human, and even the best communicators aren’t on the same wavelength 24/7. The biggest thing we need to do when conflict occurs is to not air each other’s problems to the people around us. Yes, we often joke around and pick on each other. But to work together effectively, I can’t badmouth my husband to the people around me when he makes a decision that I don’t agree with. We work as a team, which means we must approach everything we do with the attitude of a team. I will always have his back to the public eye, and he will always have mine. We agree to always work out our conflicts in private discussion.
- We Know When to Fight and When to Concede. As his wife, I believe and trust in my husband as the leader of our household and ultimately the leader of our ministry. When we disagree, I am willing to submit to his vision and his leadership. However, I also know that one of my strengths is my ability to see things (relationships, conflicts, issues, and details) that my husband may not see. If something is really important and really a problem, I trust my gut and use discernment to fight for those things. I pick my battles wisely, which lets him know what I am fighting for is really important to me. This is a road that works both ways and is best accomplished through good communication (see number 1!).
- We Ask For and Give Forgiveness Regularly. When all else fails (and at times, it will!), ask for forgiveness regularly and offer it in return genuinely. There is no perfect person who works with their spouse in a perfect marriage to minister in a perfect church. Problems happen, attitudes must be kept in check, but our hearts cannot become hardened toward our spouse or others when conflict ensues. Seek God continuously and pray for your spouse earnestly. Forgiveness takes effort, but is always worth the outcome of a healthy marriage and ministry.
We are still in the process of growing stronger and getting better at working together in ministry. What things have you implemented in your life, marriage, ministry, or both, that have helped you grow as you work together with your spouse in ministry? Feel free to share them in the comments below!