I’ve worked with my spouse now for 9 years. When people hear we work together, they make either a face or a noise. What they are failing to hide is the phrase “ooh, that must be rough”. And while I understand where they’re coming from, my experience has been far more rewarding than challenging.
Here is what has worked for my wife and I.
If either of you wouldn’t play your role or do your job for free, I wouldn’t recommend working together. What works for us and causes us to extend large amounts of grace to one another is that we both know the other person is deeply called to their role. Work can cause stress, and stress affects relationships. Our marriage has the added understanding of the deep meaning our jobs are to us. That being said, we share a deeper calling...
God has called us to one another and to our kids before our church. There isn’t a formula for this one. You either prioritize your job or your family more. It’s that simple. And there have been times we have failed in this area. But we take our kids to school and pick them up. We coach their soccer teams. We eat our meals together. And we leave our work at the office. If the kids are up, our phones are down.
You cannot blur the lines of spouse and coworker. You need to set rules, patterns and boundaries for who you are to one another in certain moments. Our hard (and obvious) rule is when we’re home we’re spouse when we’re at work we’re coworkers. However, when those lines need to get crossed, something must be in place to request and grant permission to cross that line. For instance, if my wife needs to discuss work at home in the evening, she’ll say, “Hey, can we discuss work really quick?” Or I may need to step into her office and say, “Hey, I’m putting on my husband hat here for a minute…”. You must make who you are bringing to a moment clear and recognizable.
You already share a home, a family and a workplace. You need to find your unique individual interests. We rarely workout together. We split our sabbath day in half and spend that time alone. My wife will go out and be social while I stay home and re-energize by being alone. We have different TV shows we watch, different friends we keep, different moments we share with our kids. Not everything we do is shared. And we have to be intentional about this because we share 50 more hours together a week than the average couple.
And after all of that advice, my best advice is be willing to break all the rules. I still take moments to flirt with my wife at work. We still allow pivotal ministry moments to disrupt our evenings. We still take work hours to clear up a personal conflict. And we still invite our kids into the beautiful mess of ministry.
You cannot fully separate marriage and ministry. And you shouldn’t. @@Full-time ministry with your spouse should be exhilarating, not exhausting.@@