Do you have healthy boundaries set in your ministry? In your marriage? In your family life? Unfortunately, very few pastors and spouses have healthy boundaries set in any of these areas. If you have been in ministry any length of time you know that if healthy boundaries aren’t set at the beginning of your ministry, it is almost impossible to go back and set them.
We deal with hundreds of pastors and/or spouses here at Care for Pastors each year and most of the issues they are dealing with fall into one of the three following categories:
- Empathy Fatigue
- Marital Issues
- Church Conflict
And most of the time each area flows over into the other two areas, and normally because there have not been healthy boundaries set early in ministry.
How many times have you and your husband had a date night, a family vacation or just a day off scheduled that got interrupted because something very important came up at the church and it got interrupted? How does this make you as a spouse feel? How does it make your children feel? Many times the church has become the “other woman” and the more the pastor gives the more she demands. Then the spouse and children get the leftovers.
I want to encourage you to set healthy boundaries in your ministry, your marriage and your family. If you have those boundaries in place, do not compromise them. It is so easy sometimes to give in and think this one time won’t matter if we ignore the boundary we have in place. But it then becomes a snowball effect and can get out of control very quickly.
I am sure most of us have read Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend’s book on Boundaries. If not, it is a must and if you have read it, bring it back out and remind yourself of those healthy boundaries. These two authors have a book and workbook on Boundaries in Marriage that I would highly recommend for you and your husband to work through together. Even if you think you have a strong healthy marriage, this workbook will bring up things you haven’t thought about or may need to think about. Here is a description of the workbook:
It Takes Two Individuals to Become One Flesh
You long for a marriage marked by lifelong love, intimacy, and growth. And it can be yours–if you set wise boundaries. Boundaries are the “property lines” that define and protect each of you as individuals. Get them in place and you can make a good marriage better and possibly even save a less-than-satisfying one.
By the time you’ve completed this workbook, you will know yourself and your mate better than ever before. You’ll also understand and practice the ten laws of boundaries in ways that can make a real difference in your relationship. Step by step, the Boundaries in Marriage Workbook helps you apply the biblical principles discussed in the book Boundaries in Marriage so you can…
- Set and maintain your personal boundaries and respect those of your spouse.
- Establish values that form a godly structure and architecture for your marriage.
- Protect your marriage from different kinds of “intruders.”
- Work with a spouse who understands and values boundaries–or work with one who doesn’t.
Filled with self-tests, questions, and applications, the Boundaries in Marriage Workbook helps you deal effectively with the friction points and serious hurts in your marriage–and move beyond them to the mutual care, respect, affirmation, and intimacy you both long for.
Marriage is difficult enough to manage much less when you add the stress and pressure of ministry on top of it. So ladies, it is vital that we work at making our marriages as healthy and strong as possible. I pray you and your husband will work through this workbook and make a commitment to keep healthy boundaries set in place.
We are here to help any way we can on your ministry journey. Please let us know how we can help.