How important is it that a pastor love his wife more than his ministry?

There are many reasons we should always love our wife more than our ministry.  It’s biblical.  It is a mark of qualification for the pastor.  It will do nothing but enhance your ministry.  It will be an example to your flock of what is to be the priority of a Christian husband.  I’m sure you are thinking of others.  However, there is one reason why this is essential in our lives as pastors and aspiring pastors that I don’t think comes to our minds as much as it should.  

“If we love our ministry more than our wife, it is likely we could lose our wife.” 

Some of you may have seen this recent article in the Towers of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary written by an anonymous seminary student who made the mistake of loving seminary more than his wife and it cost him his marriage.  Because he was only an aspiring pastor in school, we might be tempted to dismiss the relevance.  However, trust me brothers when I say his thoughtful and heart-felt insights are very similar to many pastors I know who put their ministries in front of their wives and family and it cost them the same.  Read a portion of his well-written piercing insights and be reminded of how our hearts as pastors are tempted to love our ministries and neglect our wives:

 

To my shame, I could spot the subtle ways heretical worldviews creep into the church, but I paid little attention to the subtle ways resentment crept into my wife’s heart. I jumped to unpack the mysteries behind Christ’s tears as He hung alone on the cross, but I left alone the mystery of my wife’s tears as she, once again, went to bed alone because her husband “needed” to study. After all, I was in seminary, and shouldn’t she support God’s calling on my life? She should be stronger, trust God’s plan more, and be more understanding of the demands of my calling, right?  Wrong.  At the end of the day, I gave heart service to my time at seminary, but only lip service to Ephesians 5, and it cost me my marriage.

 

If you have not read the full article, you need to read it here.  I commend it to you as one of the most well-written, thoughtful, and transparent perspectives on the issue I have seen in many years.  For those who question the sincerity of this brother’s “anonymous” piece…don’t.  I know him.  I am not his pastor.  Just a friend who watched at a distance his marriage subtly slip away in his many “noble” pursuits.  I can affirm the genuineness, maturity, and humble brokenness that has resulted from it and reflected in his writing. The Lord is His grace is allowing us to be warned through this brother’s honesty and service to us.  So, be warned dear pastors and aspiring ones, that we never question how important it is that we love Christ first, then our wives more than seminary…our ministry…our reputation…our children… quite frankly everything else.

Posted in Home and Family, The Pastor's Soul, Training for Ministry
12 comments on “How important is it that a pastor love his wife more than his ministry?
  1. Eric says:

    Excellent points! Absolutely essential things for any pastor (or husband) to consider. Unfortunately, however, it seems like the links to the full article are broken. Any way you could help route us to the current location for the piece? Thanks.

    • briancroft says:

      Sorry you are having problems linking the article. I just went there and it came right up.

    • Ian says:

      I don’t think the link is broken. It can just take a long time to load because you have to download the entire issue of the magazine in pdf.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Brian,

    Thank you for posting my article. Your words mean much to me. Thank you for your friendship, prayers, and love–even at a distance. Much respect.

    Sincerely,
    me

  3. Thanks for posting this, Brian.

    A good reminder for seminarians, pastors, and all husbands. The points apply to those in the workforce, in the church, in the government, in the academy, in the…

  4. Jerry Locke says:

    No marriage = no ministry

  5. John T. says:

    Wait, “No marriage = no ministry” – that comment rules out single men and women who can devote all their love and attention on Jesus in their single state (you know, Paul’s admonition in 1 Corinthians 7). I don’t agree with that comment, but the article is really good for those of us who have been blessed by God with wonderful wives. I think it would branch out better to keep in mind that many responsible men of God are reaching later and later ages to marry, and it shows in many cases their wisdom instead of lack of responsibility. Too many singles these days are grouped into the latter assumption, and yet there are many single pastors who pour their lives out faithfully for the Lord. Anyway just my two cents, thanks for the article!

    • briancroft says:

      John,

      You are so right. That statement was made in the context of those pastors who are married. I would heartily support the ministry of a single pastor. Those who are married, however, and do not care well for their wives and lose their marriage, will lose their ministry with it. Thanks for the comment. A good clarification that needed to be made.

      • Sharon says:

        Thank you for that confirmation . My husband has said he rather lose me than the ministry and our marriage is broken . Please pray for us.

  6. Peccatori says:

    Maybe the Catholic church is on to something, by not allowing priests to marry? We can not have two masters after all.

  7. 1st Lady in need says:

    Wow this really hits home for me too. I am a pastor’s wife and he is allowing the congregation to constantly disrespect me. Every ministry that my husband appointed me to do they undermine so they can take over. They are now appointing themselves to ministries and he is not doing anything about it. He even went so far to tell me I can’t do anything in HIS ministry. They have conjured up so many schemes and they have him believing I am the problem. The only thing I can do now is attend church, nothing more. His friend convinced him that the church comes before his wife. He is now unemployed and he’s not getting any salary from the church. How do I show him that God is very disappointed in how he has treated me. I believe that’s why he is not working. Btw,he used to take money from our account to pay church bills please somebody help us. I love him and I believe in marriage vows. I also believe what the author said about if your marriage fails so will your ministry. I believe God is trying to show him but he is blinded by the people who are supposedly helping him

3 Pings/Trackbacks for "How important is it that a pastor love his wife more than his ministry?"
  1. […] and relativizes all other loves; it gives right priorities to all other loves. Brian Croft provides a warning against getting these priorities wrong: If we love our ministry more than our wife, it is likely we […]

  2. […] Brian Croft on Making sure you love your wife more than your ministry […]

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