Monday, March 5, 2012

Surviving the Land Mines of Ministry Marriages

by Carla Adair Hendricks *

I've got a secret Ladies. Come closer and I'll whisper it in your ear.

Marriage is hard.

That's right. Three solitary words. Not rocket science. No "OMG!" response required. I think we'd all agree.

Now I've got another one for you...

Marriage in ministry is harder.

If you don't believe me, just ask the young pastor that attends church alone these days. Without his wife beside him.

Just ask the couple bouncing back from the Pastor-husband's emotional affair, the affair that stripped him of his pastoral title and recording deal.

Just ask any man or woman serving in full-time ministry. Just ask me.

The statistics tell the story:
  • 52% of pastors say they and their spouses believe that being in pastoral ministry is hazardous to their family's well-being and health
  • 57% would leave the pastorate if they had somewhere else to go or some other vocation they could do
  • 70% of pastors don't have any close friends; 56% of pastor's wives say that they don't have any close friends
  • 80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse
  • 80% believe that pastoral ministry affects their families negatively
  • 94% feel under pressure to have a perfect family
  • 75% of pastors report severe stress causing anguish, worry, bewilderment, anger, depression, fear and alienation
  • 1,500 pastors leave their ministries each month due to burnout, conflict or moral failure
Okay, so what do we do with the reality we face? How do we authentically admit to the difficulties of this ministry life, yet remain positive and joyful? How do we ministry wives remain afloat with so many lifeless casualties floating down the river past us?

We stand.

Ephesians 6 says it this way: Finally be strong in the Lord and in his might power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then... (Verses 10-14)

Our real battle is with an invisible enemy. Not with our husbands. Not with that annoying or antagonistic church member. And the battle will not end until Jesus takes us home. So we must stand.

Stand on God's Word. Stand on His promises. Stand in constant connection to Him. Stand in submission to Him first, then our husbands. 

We must stand in the face of adversity and strife and strain. Stand when fellow soldiers fall on the battlefield beside us. Stand as if our very lives depend on it.

I'll end with Donnie McClurkin's Stand. Be encouraged...

Will you stand with me, my Sister?

* Click here to read Carla's previous post and here to read more about her.


  1. While not a pastor's wife, I read this blog to help me know how to pray and support my friends who are. I also know that I can learn from what is being shared. This part spoke to me loud and clear: "Our real battle is with an invisible enemy. Not with our husbands." Thanks for sharing as always Carla. I appreciate you!

    1. Valerie, thanks so much for your words. You're right. I knew this would minister to any married person. Thanks for confirming that. I appreciate you more!!!

  2. amen! the devil sure likes to attack!

    1. Yes, he does, Mountain Mama! Isn't it awesome that God fights our battles?!! Blessings to you, Sister.

  3. Marriage in ministry is hard. Each morning I have to rise and before I can stand I need to sit in the Word of God. Then I have the strength to stand the pressure on my marriage, the loneliness and remember God's call to serve Him with reckless abandon.

    1. Shannon, I hear your next blog post in your comments. Your words are powerful and so true. Thanks for sharing, Sister.

  4. Is so sad, we need pray for our pastors and their families, they don't have a life cause of we! psalm 126.
    my blog is in spanish but i hope bless you

    1. Yes Ruth, these stats are sad. Keep praying for your pastor-family and pastor-families around the world. I will definitely visit your blog. I read a little Spanish!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Thank you for stopping by A Pastor's Wife's Garden! Feel free to tell any ministry wives you know about our blog. Thanks for your kind words.


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