When Couples & Leaders Need to Lessen Church Involvement

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By Mike & Trisha Fox , CP Guest Contributor
January 2, 2012|10:40 am

Perhaps you know of couples, co-employees or spiritual leaders that are so busy doing either spiritual-related "Kingdom-minded" activities or success-minded work that they spend very little time together as a family? They usually say‚ “I’m doing God’s work" or, “I’m doing this for my family.”

In marriage, however, there is no such thing as doing the wrong thing for the right reason. If doing or saying something in a certain way negatively affects your spouse, you need to try a different approach.

Unfortunately, our church lifestyle can also take up an enormous amount of our time and energy that should be devoted to and for our spouse.

From being early to church, to pre-service prayer meetings, to work days, to fundraisers, to ministries, to supporting other ministries on top of your own, and so on. Where is the time you have promised to give to your spouse?

We have witnessed untold amounts of solid leaders within the church, even high profile leaders, who‚ for the sake of God, the church, the Kingdom, have sacrificed the very existence of their own marriage for a taste of success.

Leaders in any capacity – whether church, corporate or on the job – that spend an extensive time on the road, in counseling, or even ministering to others, have even more of a responsibility to ensure the needs of their own spouse is met first.

There is greater capacity and temptation for highly active leaders to allow a slow, inch- by-inch death of their own marriages.

One unsettling factor is that the real motive for ministry has changed from being solely a burden for souls into a way to fill a void that their partner is not meeting. Since they are not receiving their worth of credit and appreciation from home, they seek to fulfill their needs through ministry.

Paralleling secular workaholics, schedule and activities that are church- or ministry-related take the place of family time.

If they are not careful, they fall prey to the alarmingly high statistic rate of ministers that have fallen into having affairs.

No result or reward is big enough to break your partner’s trust

I distinctly remember in the past when there was a good-hearted Christian who worked in an office that also had prominent, well-known Christian leaders who administered the company. These were renowned leaders who would be instantly recognized if named.

One day, this person was deeply hurt by some remarks made by her boss and she ended up crying and running into the bathroom. During this time period, her husband called the office and left a message for her. After she cried some and felt a little better, a co-worker had asked if she already had spoken to her husband about what went on. This worker said, “No,” and that she didn’t want to upset him by telling him what happened.

The co-worker immediately told her that if there was anyone on earth that needed to know what had happened to her, and to know that she was hurting and upset, it is her husband, her spouse, not friends or co-workers.

This couple has since been separated and divorced.

A healthy marriage would have prevented this couple, and the children they have, from becoming yet another statistic of marital disaster.

Spiritual involvement is good – if your marriage is on track

It is imperative that we learn if our own marriages are really healthy or unhealthy. Just being married does not classify it as automatically healthy. We truly must evaluate, or in light of Scripture, we say “judge ourselves.”

We must first start with the evaluation process to see where our own marriages are at. Here are a few starting questions:

• Is your marriage in a state of co-existence or intimacy? In other words, do you feel like you are living separate lives even though you’re married?
• Is your intimacy drastically lower than when you were first married?
• Are you constantly drifting apart for any reason? (Spiritual or work-related)
• Are you best friends with someone OTHER than your spouse?
• Do you confide in, or share your emotional ups and downs with your friends BEFORE or OVER your spouse?
• Is there a large amount or increasing amount of bickering, arguing, or conflicts?

If you have answered yes to one or more of the above questions, you are either in or in the direction of living in an unhealthy marriage.

It may come as a shock to many in the religious world, but our marriages are not automatically healthy simply because we are religious, or that we stand on having a healthy, loving marriage. In fact, it is being attacked now more than ever.

Religious or not, your marriage is what you make of it. In fact, for those in the Christian environment, the marriage itself can be an unhealthy one, all the while both partners are anointed and appointed, and used mightily by God. The anointing, acts and displays of God, do not in any way measure your right standing with your spouse!

In fact, in many cases as we have seen in recent years, the ministries have flourished while the marriages have crumbled.

Scripture is clear when it states, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29 KJV)

One can live in total sin and disobedience, and still be blessed! Remember Moses? Did not God command Moses to smite the rock once? Yet Moses, out of anger and frustration smote the rock twice.

The result not only brought immediate repercussions on Moses’ disobedience and his punishment, but it also brought the miraculous power of God. Water still came out of that rock, even though Moses was in disobedience.

In terms of marriage and relationships, don’t allow the twisted, non-biblical teaching that if God is pouring out His blessing, financial spiritual, miraculous or otherwise, that your marriage relationship is right and straight. You can be at complete odds with your spouse and God, and still things will happen for you in the “Kingdom.”

In other words, if your marriage is unhealthy, than it’s unhealthy; regardless of how active and anointed you are. Yes, your spiritual life and walk with God will affect your marriage, but you cannot overlook the simple fact that if you do not love your spouse and make your marriage a priority, it will not survive.

Increased Church involvement can destroy your marriage –really!

To some this may sound blasphemous, but it’s true nonetheless. Far too many couples have allowed the “Church assembly” to become their God – instead God being their God. And if understood correctly, participation and involvement in church-related activities are an extension of their walk with God. Yet many couples and individuals “base” their relationship with God on their activities – essentially making their relationship with God a “performance-based” relationship. This is never advocated, nor taught in the scriptures.

If our marriages are healthy, then adding involvement that supports God, the Gospel and an overall help for others will definitely bring enrichment, depth and a satisfaction to the entire marriage.

Being busy in a healthy relationship brings rewards that actually benefit both partners. When healthy couples are busy, they are usually busy doing constructive activities that can add or strengthen their lives. They do not participate in activities that promote separate, individual ideas, goals and visions.

Couples that live in CLOSENESS that have hectic lifestyles do not allow the busyness to overtake their relationship. They know when to draw the line on the amount of busyness they allow, which in turn could become a temptation to bring a wedge in their relationship.

Mike and Trisha Fox are Christian marriage coaches and authors of Marriage For Today: A Practical Guide for Couples. foxfamily238@yahoo.com To find out more visit: http://www.marriagefortoday.com/
 

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