Question:My husband is a youth pastor. He loves his work, the kids love him, the parents love him, and he loves them. But it feels as if he loves everybody more than me. He works so hard at being a youth pastor that he has no time left for being a husband. I've tried to be patient and understanding. I am also involved in youth work, but I just can't help feeling as though our relationship takes second place to his career. Is there anything I can do to encourage him to take more interest in me and his home? I keep our house neat, I cook as creatively as possible, I encourage him, but with no enthusiastic response.
First off, thanks for reaching out. It must be tough to be in the place where you are. Secondly, know that you are not alone, unfortunately. People involved in ministry can sometimes be the most consumed and unbalanced people. The ministry, especially youth ministry, can be such an all-encompassing, energy drain. The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way, nor should it ever get that way. We shouldn't ever have the ministry as a mistress.
The first line of action is to openly and honestly discuss the issue with your husband. It may be incredibly uncomfortable, but it is essential. He needs to know exactly how you feel, before the issue gets to the point that it is unresolvable and bitterness becomes all you can feel.
In the midst of that conversation with your husband, you'll want to cover a few things...
- How you are feeling.
- Finding out why he is so busy. Is it the church's expectations or his own lack of control and priorities?
- Have a plan for what you'd like to see be different.
- Work together on what action steps you will take as a couple.
- Pray, pray, and pray some more!
Open and honest communication will be the main thing that gets you back on the right course. You will also need to make specific action steps for real change in your marriage.
Marriage always, always, always needs to come before the ministry. There was a youth pastor before your husband and there will be another one after him - but there will never be another husband to you, or a dad to your future kids (or current children if you have them). This is a major hurdle for the both of you - one that others have gone through successfully!