In my previous post, I looked at different ways the Enemy attacks the family of a pastor. Among those ways was pastors who have affairs.
Too many families of pastors are torn apart because of these affairs. And too many churches are left reeling with the consequences in their own congregations.
What can a pastor do to affair-proof his marriage? I've had the opportunity to talk with a number of pastors whose marriages seem to be healthy. They are certainly long lived; the most recently married of the pastors to whom I spoke has been married 31 years. The longest marriage in my sample group was 41 years.
From them, I learned some important lessons. Here are their eight ways for pastors to affair-proof their marriages.
- Put your family as the highest priority of your ministry. Don't create a dichotomy between family and church. View your family as the church members with the highest priority for your ministry.
- Pray with your wife. You pray with and for church members every day. Make certain you take time to pray with your spouse daily.
- Pray for your wife. It's not easy being a pastor's spouse. Expectations can be high, and the glass house syndrome can be real. Pray for her daily.
- Date your wife. Make every effort to have a date once a week. There will always be ministry to be done and members who expect your time. Make certain you make time for your wife on a regular basis.
- Don't have unreasonable expectations of your wife at church. She probably has a fulltime ministry taking care of the family while you are taking care of the church. Let her do what she desires to do in the church, and expect nothing more.
- Discern and discuss how much your wife wants to hear about church matters. Some wives like to hear as much as possible. Others like to be shielded from some of the ugly side of the church. Find out where your wife is, and try to communicate with her with that need in mind.
- Defend your wife. Unfortunately, many pastors' wives are the recipients of hurtful criticisms. Defend your wife. Never let her think you are putting other church members before her.
- Converse with your wife. You may have had a long, tough day. But you still must take time for your wife. Take time to talk with her every day. Make a regular phone call to her. And in your conversations, do more listening than talking.
I am blessed with a great marriage and a fantastic wife. I do not take either my marriage or her for granted. It is a gift to be cherished and protected.
Pastors, many times you get too busy for your wives. You are treading on thin ice. Every pastor I know who has had an affair never expected it to happen to him.
Love your wives. Cherish your wives. And do everything you can to affair proof your marriage.