Skip to main content

Your Marriage: Wherever You Are, Be all There!

Years ago Larry and I brought a youth pastor on staff who couldn't find a house. Rental homes were in short supply in the small town we lived in, so temporarily, we invited their family to move in with us. 

No. I. Am. Not. Kidding. 

This was their first youth pastorate. They were brand spankin' new in the ministry. At the time we had two kids and so did they. So there were eight of us living in the same home, eight is enough and our house was about 1800 square feet.

 We were packed in like sardines but we had some wonderful times. Our families got along splendidly and things like dinner time were especially meaningful. We took turns cooking and we collaborated on other nights and enjoyed great conversations around the table. We played games with the kids. Laundry was interesting...oh my! But we made the best of what could have been an uncomfortable situation and  we actually have great memories from that time. 


The day it all came to an end....

It all came to an abrupt halt when the youth pastor came and knocked on our bedroom door very early one morning and said he needed to talk to us right away. 

He tearfully said that he and his wife loved us as people and respected us as pastors, and couldn't thank us enough for opening our home while they were house hunting. But he went on to say, "My wife can't handle the ministry..." He said, "Living with your family up close and personal has shown us what life is like in a pastor's home. Quite frankly, we had no idea. The phone situation alone scares my wife out of her mind. She sees what will be required of her if we continue on this path of ministry, and she is afraid. She's begged me to resign and move back home and do something else with our lives. We love you all more than words can say, and as far as it depends on us, we'll always be friends. But this living situation, as good as it has been at times, has also shown my wife she is not cut out for the ministry. I am so sorry..."

Larry and I encouraged them and tried to get them to at least consider waiting a little while longer. We thought maybe their decision was a knee jerk reaction to a few days of stress where it seemed we had a lot of emergencies to deal with in the church. But it didn't work. They moved back to their hometown where he has worked in a factory ever since. And yes, we're still friends. :)


Hindsight is 100%

That situation is now almost two decades behind us. As the years unfolded I came to  my own realization about it, and not always what people expect. When some people  heard what happened they said, "how terrible that the youth pastor's wife asked her husband to leave Does she realize she's responsible for her husband being out of God's will?" Well, actually that's not what I think, looking back.

I think about the fact that I wish I had a do-over with them, to be an example of proper boundaries.  

I think about the fact that things might be different if Larry and I had known at the time what we know now.

We lived in a loving home, a fun home. We loved God and each other. We loved others. But we severely lacked in boundaries!  We just didn't know.

I am so grateful I've had opportunity to learn, grow, and change.  

The phone situation the youth pastor spoke of back then was before the days of cell phones and texting! Things went to a whole new level of stress once cell phones came on the scene.

 Until the church sent us on our cruise for pastor appreciation a few years ago, there was hardly a conversation Larry and I had, or an intimate moment we were in the midst of, without one of our cell phones ringing or buzzing. Even at 2 am, they often go off.  I use to tease him by saying, "if you want your phone to ring just take off your pants."  :)

That cruise changed our lives forever.  My husband saw how wonderful it was for the first time in 23 years to be able to focus on one another without interruption. It was literally the first time since our honeymoon that no one interrupted our time away. Until that getaway, people always managed to reach us with something they thought couldn't wait. We never really got the break or the time we needed together. Being on the boat changed all that. (This is why my husband has turned into a cruise-junkie.)


When we got back from that cruise, I also made some changes at home. It was time.

The day I put my phone in it's place...

My phone would totally boss me around if I let it.


I've blogged in the past about my love/hate and sometimes my hate/hate relationship with the phone.  

I want Larry to know, wherever we are, I'm all there. And I want the same from him. 

I wish we would have been at a healthy place to model that for the youth pastor and his wife years ago. We failed back then, but we live it and we can be a healthy example for others now.  


I feel so strongly about it, I even wrote a chapter in my book on time management about this very thing. In JUGGLE, I explain that I let 99% of my calls go to voicemail, on purpose, to enable me to prioritize what to handle first.  

It can work for you, too. 

Wherever you are, be all there. 

On a date with your spouse? Be all there.
In bed with them? Be all there?
At your child's soccer game? Be all there.
Eating dinner with your family dinner? Be all there. 

All there.

 


 Photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net, with the exception of personal family photo.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What To Do First to Make a Profit

Today on Seth Godin's blog, he said:

It's tempting to decide to make a profit first, then invest in training, people, facilities, promotion, customer service and most of all, doing important work. In general, though, it goes the other way.
Yes, it does. If you are waiting to make a profit before you do these things, in my experience you're  not going to make a profit. So many organizations, ministries and churches are struggling with financial issues. I know your pain. As anyone who follows our story knows, our ministry was in a ton of debt four years ago when I came on as director.  Since that time, we've gotten out of debt and turned a profit every year.  God has done amazing things through out team, for which we give Him the glory!

I find that what Seth is saying here is absolutely true, with one disclaimer. For Christian leaders, spiritual disciplines must always be first. Before we started investing and training and all of that, seeking God for his blessing and…

I'm Just Being Transparent...

This year at the Stronger Conference, a young minister stopped me as I was walking out of the room at the conclusion of a workshop and she said, "I want to tell you something..." (I was all ears.) She said, "Do you notice how many of the speakers this weekend are saying, "Now, I'm just being transparent when I tell you..." or "I'm just keepin' it real..." I nodded yes. In fact, I mentioned that I was one of those speakers. I think I probably said a few times in both my keynote message and my workshop that I was just "keepin' it real."

After I affirmed that yes, I had noticed that -- she said, "Do you know why they have to do that? They do it...and you do it, because so many people don't keep it real. So many in leadership aren't transparent, Deanna. That's why all these people speaking here feel an urge to declare their transparency.." I let her know that usually when I say, "I'm just keeping …

Why You Should Never Hijack a Comment Thread
Social media etiquette 101

One surefire way to kill your influence in social media and wear out your welcome fast is to become involved in derailing somebody’s comment thread with your own agenda. Networking and hijacking aren’t the same thing. It’s surprising how many people don’t understand that this is a guarantee for tearing down a platform as quickly as you build it.


Passion is good, even necessary. I appreciate people's zeal for their personal core values. What is not appreciated is the attempt at a redirection of a comment thread when the comment has little or nothing to do with an original post or is twisted at best.

Social media provides ample opportunity for all of us to share what’s important to us on our own platform. Eliciting others’ responses and developing connections largely depends on our ability to communicate and compel. Some people are open to receiving private communication from others although they aren’t always able to answer personally or at length. But hijacking a comment thread no…