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.