Last weekend, my husband and I had the opportunity to talk to a room of church planters and their wives. I was able to read the following letter to the men in the room who were starting a church from scratch. If some of this resonates with any of you wives out there, I pray you would find the right time and place to communicate with your husband in a spirit of graciousness.
Dear Church Planter,
If you’d be willing to listen, please allow me to share with you Four Things Your Wife Wants You to KNOW, but may not be able to articulate yet.
Perhaps I’ll be way off, but these things are things that I’ve wanted my husband to know as he’s gone about the work of starting a church.
1.“I want to know that I’m more important to you than the success of the church plant.”
Please don’t misunderstand. It’s your wife’s job to look to Christ alone for the unconditional acceptance, affirmation, and understanding , deep companionship that only He can provide. She will have to battle this every day.
But, men…Your wife wants to know where she ranks. When it comes down to it, convince her through your time management that you care more about her flourishing than the flourishing of the church plant.
Guard yourself against temptations to make the church better while ignoring the cracks that are starting to form in your relationship with your wife. Give as much creative energy to her as you do to the church plant.
Men, at the end of the day, she wants to know that YOU cherish HER more than a room filled to seating capacity and will sacrifice for her just as much as you would for that.
2. “I don’t necessarily want to be your free second staff member”
Men, please don’t plan the church calendar and with the assumption that your wife will come to and help with everything.
Just like YOU don’t want to be the solution to every problem in the church, your wife CAN’T be the solution to every problem that you have. Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on her part.
This is not to say that she won’t be happy to help, but don’t presume upon this. Let her give of herself freely to the Lord instead of manipulating her and pressuring to serve in the ways you need.
3. “I don’t necessarily want to be your free second staff member, but I still want to feel like I’m part of the team.”
Everything I said in the above paragraph is true. At the same time, your wife wants to feel like she’s on the team. Help her find her God-given gifts and passions. Help her develop them. Encourage her and give her space to use them.
4.“Your decisions affect me.”
Many of your scheduling decisions will affect your wife, so get ready to communicate A.LOT. about scheduling.
When will you spend time reading the Bible with your own family? When will you make sure all distractions are turned off so you and your wife can have time to talk and reconnect?
As your plan your weekly church calendar, be mindful of what it will cost your wife. And remember: you can ask for others to be flexible instead of always being the one to be flexible at the expense of your family.
Men, I understand your work is grueling and somedays every part of your being is stretched to maximum capacity. I also know your wife isn’t perfect and doesn’t always do a good job meeting your needs.
But, I also know the stakes are high.
Beg God to do a work in your heart to love your wife well and cherish her as unto the Lord.