Marriage Tips for Ministry Couples
There are many books that deal with strengthening marriages in general, but very few explore the conflict that occurs between couples in ministry. Unresolved issues with clergy couples not only weakens their marriage and family, it can also destroy their church.
Properly dealing with tension and conflict (before it gets out of control) is the key to keeping your marriage strong. Below are a few tips my husband and I use to minimize the damage when we don’t see eye to eye.
- Ask God to take control. The moment tempers start to rise, ask God to control your actions and give you wisdom to deal with the situation. Prayer will give you the clarity you need in the heat of the moment to make good choices.
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:33
- Resist the urge to scream and yell. Never argue in front of church members or your children, and try to remain calm. It’s not easy, but this is one of the best ways to keep things from getting out of hand.
Scripture: Proverbs 15:1
- Choose to forgive each other. Arguments stir up emotions and memories of past incidents. Forgiveness is a choice. Negative emotions may remain, but by choosing to forgive you begin to neutralize the situation.
Scripture: Ephesians 4:31-32.
- Think about why you fell in love. Meditate on your husband or wife’s positive attributes. This will be difficult in the heat of the moment, but if you think about why you fell in love with them the reasons for your fight may not seem as important.
Scripture: Philippians 4:8
- Say something positive. Instead of saying the first negative thing that comes to mind, say something positive. It’s difficult to find something nice to say when you’re angry, but if you can’t say something productive, don’t say anything.
Scripture: Proverbs 18:21
- Go for a drive or walk away. Sometimes leaving the room is the only way to stop the argument. Most importantly, resist the urge to post on social media, call friends, or text while you are angry. This will give both of you time to calm down and not text or post something you may regret later.
Scripture: Proverbs 15:1
- Don’t do something stupid. After a heated argument we usually feel defeated, hopeless and depressed. Now is not the time to make life-altering decisions, choices or proclamations. Things will look very different tomorrow. Don’t compound the problem by acting on or doing something you can’t take back.
Scripture: Galatians 6:7
- Don’t go to bed angry. After you’ve had time to cool down, approach them with a loving attitude and an apology. Your spouse may still be resistant, but keep reassuring them how much you love them. Controlling an argument is never easy, but the rewards will be great if you are able to keep things from going too far.
Scripture: Ephesians 4:26, Matthew 18:15, Matthew 5:23-24
Having an open line of communication is crucial in any marriage or relationship, especially when the couple has the added responsibility of pastoring a church. Talk about your problems, including the burdens of ministry, and find solutions together.
It’s a lot easier to prevent conflict than fix the damage that occurs after the war is over.