Being married to a pastor isn’t easy. Most people attend church as a family, they sit together, they get to enjoy the message together. They ride home talking about the church, the music and the message. For my entire ministry of over twenty five years, that has not been the case for Kristin and I. We drive separately, serve in different parts of the church on the weekend and sometimes, we sit with each other for the message part. Not true for all ministers, but for true for us.
When I was asked to share on “serving your spouse” recently, I thought a lot about what Kristin signed up for when she married me. I am extremely grateful that she decided a long time ago to go on life’s journey with me. She is an amazing source of wisdom, strength and grounding. Briefly, here are the four points I shared with the group based off the following scripture:
“…So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” John 13:4-5 NIV
1. “Took off outer clothing” – Be Real with your spouse.
It is easy to put up a facade with people, including your spouse. One of the greatest compliment you can give your spouse is to be honest with him/her. Are you totally genuine and real with your spouse about all topics, including the big three: money, sex and communication. Kristin and I use couch time to do this. We talk almost everyday about everything going on in our life. We are honest and open and it has made a tremendous difference in our marriage.
2. “Wrapped a towel around his waist” – Humility.
What would your marriage look like if you had a new level of humility in it? Would you listen more, do something new, allow your spouse to take the lead in something because they are better at it, and would you be grateful? Best advice I ever got in marriage was from Pastor Stan Lasco. He said, “A marriage will never fail if both people have this mindset…”No one needs to change but me.”
3. “He poured water into a basin” – Empower your spouse.
It is my job to empower Kristin to pursue all that God has created her to be. That doesn’t mean I make it happen…it means I develop the resources and environments for her to flourish in her gifts and talents. She wasn’t created to be in my shadow. She was made to shine in all that God has called her to do. So, I need to find out what she wants to do and then do all that I can to keep her moving forward in that pursuit.
4. “Began to wash his disciples feet” – Do Something!
Serve is an action verb. Do something. Don’t just think it is a cool idea – do it! Do something today for your spouse, knowing that it will change in the future. What works in serving Kristin today is probably going to change as we get older. She will have different needs and she will be doing different things. Let me give examples of serving from our past:
Our 3 kids under 5 – I came home and took the kids out of the house;
Our 3 kids in Elem school – I came home to three kids and Kristin would go out of the house;
Our 3 kids in Jr/Sr High – Kristin wanted movies, date nights
Our first grandchild – I fill up her car with gas every week.
You hold all the power to change your marriage by serving your spouse! Start today!