7 Ways To Create A Healthy Marriage Culture
By: Gail Mayes March 5, 2013
Ministry is more than a job. Ministry is a calling and lifestyle that often requires church staff members to spend time away from their family on nights and weekends. This around-the-clock reality can detract from a healthy marriage. You can help your married team members pursue a healthy marriage by creating a culture that encourages them to consistently invest in their marriage.
Create a healthy marriage culture on your team by implementing the following:
• Encourage your staff to eat lunch with their spouse. Many pastoral events occur in the evening, so it’s important to encourage your team to connect with their spouse each day, even if that means taking an hour out of a busy schedule to have lunch with their spouse.
• Remind your staff that family comes first. Encourage them to leave at a moments notice when their family needs them. If the school nurse calls or the hot water breaks, your staff needs to know that they can take care of the emergency without penalty. Be sure to praise those who lead their family well through emergencies publically.
• Invite spouses to staff events (and pay for them)! Not only does this support the morale of your team members, it allows your staff to share their experiences with their spouses. Being a spouse of someone in ministry can be isolating, so intentionally including spouses in staff events shows them you care.
• Give staff members the day off on their anniversary. One key to a healthy marriage is celebratingteam members’ anniversaries. Encourage your staff to spend quality time with their spouse, especially on their special day. Perhaps you could even pay for an anniversary dinner or grant them with a gift card for a night out.
• Write a thank you note to a staff spouse. Thank them for their support and encouragement of your staff member. Intentional written words of encouragement are a simple yet profound gesture to show your appreciation. Make it a habit to write at least one thank you note a week to one of your staff member’s spouse.
• Allow and encourage the spouse to serve where they feel called, even if it's in a different ministry from their spouse. Sometimes spouses may feel trapped into a stereotypical role to serve alongside their husband or wife. This expectation can come from the staff, the congregation, their spouse, and even themselves. I [Tara] have enjoyed being encouraged to serve where my passion is, which ultimately leads to a more healthy marriage and a better ministry.
• Consider inviting the spouse into the conversation when making major decisions for the ministry, church vision, direction, etc. They often have their pulse on the congregation and needs of the church that can be overlooked by those serving in the trenches. The spouse is often more accessible to the congregation before and after services, which means they usually get the insider info on thoughts about the church – good or bad. They are also typically more available during services to observe and discern areas that need attention, prayer, change, and growth.
The team you lead is much greater than just those who receive a paycheck – it includes your staff’s support system – their family. Encouraging them and thanking them for their continual service and support is essential to keeping your staff focused, committed to their ministry, and committed to a healthy marriage. Building a staff of individuals pursuing a healthy marriage will help you build a healthy church.
How do you help your staff members pursue a healthy marriage? Do you implement any of these tips on your team?