Hi, my name is Michelle Anthony. Welcome to Family Ministry Conversations. Today’s topic is How do we keep our marriage alive in the midst of ministry?

You know, this is going to be a little bit of true confessions, because my husband and I, we’ve been married for a little over 28 years now, and we deeply love each other.

We love doing ministry together, and we loved raising our children together. So doing ministry and raising our kids really became the focal point of our marriage, not necessarily the romantic relationship between he and I, at times.

You can have a vibrant relationship with your spouse, and you can do ministry to the family and raise children at the same time.

There were these episodes when we invested so much into ministry or into our children, we’d look at each other at night and say, “Wait, you look vaguely familiar to me.”

Maybe that’s happening to you, or maybe you’re just starting out in marriage and you don’t want that to happen to you.

My husband and I have fought very hard to retain our marriage relationship, because we know that if our marriage relationship crumbles, then so much of the validity of our ministry to families, if not all of it, crumbles along with it.

With our children, we wanted to set up a role model to say, “You can have a vibrant relationship with your spouse, and you can do ministry to the family and raise children at the same time.”

family laughing on couch
Image Credit: Getty Images/Digital Vision/MoMo Productions

Pray and Worship Together

Now, this is not done apart from the Holy Spirit. This isn’t done apart from being in God’s Word together and praying together—this is something that my husband initiated on our wedding night. He prays with me regularly every single night, prays with our children as well, as a family unit.

Being in God’s Word and praying together, and then worshiping together. So often when we’re in ministry, we’re out running the programs of children’s or student ministry, and we’re not really in church together.

My husband made a vow to me that he would come and help and serve in one service, but he wanted me to worship with him in another service. That’s one way that we keep our marriage alive.

Play Together

Another one is just playing together. We had to find things that we both loved. And while we have different kinds of ideas of what a day off sounds like, one day could be his and one day could be mine.

We sort of initiated the even/odd. So if we had a day off, and it was even, it was my day to pick. And if we had a day off and it was his to pick, then we did what he wanted to do.

And that made it kind of fun, and there were times where he had 2 or 3 in a row, and then there were times where I’d cash in a ticket and have him give me one of his days.

We wanted to play together. We wanted to laugh together. And we wanted to find things that, together, we loved.

Communicate Fairly

Aside from the spiritual piece that keeps us together and playing together, there’s also this communication piece. We have to learn to communicate fairly. We have to learn to remember the things that made us fall in love with that person in the first place, and not just the critical things.

One of the things my husband and I have endeavored to do is to start our conversations, including our conflict, with saying things like, “I feel,” or “It is my perception.” And just to keep it at “I” rather than attacking.

I know that’s really basic, but so often when you’re in a heated argument, that can go awry. Or, what’s even worse is when we stop communicating at all, and we just go silent. And then that’s where the enemy can creep in and fill in the narrative for us.

Be Encouraged

So let me encourage you. Be in ministry for the long run—and be in your marriage for the long run. It’s the best thing for our families; it’s the best thing for family ministries if we can model this to a younger generation.

For those of you who are in a younger generation, seek out some of those older folks who have been married for 20, and 30, and 40 years, and ask them.

My husband and I are always ready to share what it is that helped us stay together, and what got us off track. So we want to encourage you here, Family Ministry Conversations, to keep your family happy, whole, and Holy.

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