Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Are they that naive?

Sometimes I wonder if people think my husband and I communicate at all.  I have found this seems to be a common thing with pastors and spouses, and maybe even just with married folk in general.  

A while back there was a problem I had to address with a woman in the church.  Before I dealt with it, my husband and I had fully discussed it as we do most everything.  Not only was he in full agreement with me, but he too felt an urgency that things needed to be addressed.  Although we were both in agreement, I was the one we agreed should address it.  She didn't receive it.  After giving me a few choice words she deleted and blocked me from her facebook.  However it was rather amazing how she instantly became my husband's greatest fan.  For the first time she started pausing at the door after church to tell him, "Wow, that was such a fantastic message!!" or posting things like, "Happy birthday to an amazing man of God!" on his facebook page.  I had to just shake my head and laugh for she evidently had no idea that although he wasn't the one to meet with her and address her issues, he probably felt even more strongly that she needed to be put in check.  (Why didn't he delete her?  Because as a general rule neither Larry or I delete anyone from our facebook, although we do hide some statuses simply to avoid exposing ourselves to toxic stuff.)

Of course, I'm not always "the bad guy."  There are plenty of times Larry confronts things.  There was a man years ago that Larry had to deal with on some things.  I not only saw this man's problems, I believe he probably needs some serious inpatient therapy to ever lead a normal life.  But since it was Larry who actually held the conversations with him concerning his behavior and corrected him, he evidently thought I was not in agreement with the stand my  husband took.   He would say all these wonderful things about me, in fact when he ended up leaving the church he wrote a goodbye letter and spoke of how mean and insensitive my husband was, but went on to say what a shining example of love and grace I am and how he's so grateful for my ministry.   

Do these people not know we are one flesh?  Do they not realize we share not only the same bed but that we walk in unity in leading the church?  "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"  Amos 3:3

I also see that this naivety isn't altogether limited to the church world although I think it flows most freely there for some reason.   I chose to speak my mind to someone who was a friend. This caused a fallout with me, which hasn't been a bad thing.  Although Larry didn't speak his mind he actually feels stronger about the situation than I do.  In fact he warned me about it before I even saw it coming!  The person treats Larry very differently-- but I realize, that's because I was the one who chose to verbalize what we both happen to think.  And that's okay. 

A few observations I have about this:

  • People often mistake silence for agreement.
  • Many people are very child like.  Regarding the church, they may be 40 or 50 years old but spiritual kids are just like  natural ones in many respects.  If Dad corrects them over something, they run to Mom looking for a different answer, for shelter, for an ally, or even to try to manipulate for a different outcome.  
  • Some people actually seem to believe they might be able to get your spouse to come into agreement with them, instead of you.  
I was discussing this once with another pastor's wife and she told me that she actually thinks this is a needed balance in the church.  She believes people who are problematic in the church need to feel that someone agrees with them, (even if it's an illusion) in order to stay in a church.  She sees what I have described here as a positive thing and even thinks it's a good thing if people think the pastor and staff disagree about how people are handled!  I really don't agree with that at all and think it could be dangerous, actually.  

My point is, I find the naivety of people thinking we don't communicate interesting.

Have you noticed this about people?

And...what do you think?

Is it naivety?  Denial?  Manipulation?  Something else?  Let's talk.

6 comments:

Jodie said...

In the corporate world the same phenom exists.. Its called "staff spliting". a customer or patient or client will be upset/offended by one staff member and when then will attempt to "get in good" with another staff member, often times inflating his/her ego one way or another. It is often conciously or sunconciously very manipulative. It can lead to disunity in the company but is often exposed when the staff begin to communicate effectively.

Deanna said...

So Jodie, I find that absolutely fascinating and am delighted to know there is an actual term for this: "staff splitting". I sense a teaching coming on here for our next leadership meeting at CC. Do you have any corporate training materials or anything that you can point me toward that you have used that I could look to as a resource for a presentation?

My husband and I communicate these types of things well and at this time we also have a staff that does so as well. However it doesn't happen by accident and we have to stay sharp. I would like to conduct a training about this so if you have any suggestions about where I can go to get more info on this I'd be most grateful.

Thank you so much for your comment!

Leanne said...

Oh. My. Goodness. We get that ALL the time - not just in ministry!

But we are developing a workshop for married couples who work together - in ministry/business/whatever capacity, and this is definitely a phenomenon I will be adding to it!!

Deanna said...

I would love, love, love to experience that workshop!!! Please tell me an online version or something will be available.

Melissa said...

I have seen this happen in almost every ministry we have been a part of. They (a person(s) like this woman) will pit staff against staff. Or in your case husband vs wife or so they think. I honestly think people like this are just completely clueless! They live in a fantasy world where reality does not exist at all. When confronted they will look to others to agree with their fantasy or issue.
I also believe it is manipulation and whether it is subconsciously or not it needs to be addressed either by you again or by your husband. This person needs to understand that her behavior is NOT acceptable by either of you. I also feel that telling your key staff/leadership people of the situation would be a good idea. This way it stops the constant need for approval.
When it concerns a woman and how she reacts and responds to my husband it throws up major flags to me. I believe it could even be demonic.
I totally disagree that it is good for a church or organization to give the illusion that the staff is split. I would NEVER want to attend a church where it seemed that they were not in unity. I believe that is the first step to the destruction of a church. In our society people are looking for stability, a safe harbor, a place where they can rely on those in leadership. I believe that unless the staff has unity or strives towards it that those under your leadership may be hurt even more than they were when then came in.

Leanne said...

Re: the workshop - something like that COULD be arranged :o).

This is not one of the first and foremost things we are developing, but it is on the list!!

Any ideas for a title? We thought "When Two Leaders Live Together" sounds a little bit like we're giving helpful hints on how to shack up...