Caring for Ministry Spouses

Very early in my vocational pastoral ministry, I was invited to connect with our local ministerials. There were two of them. One was Baptist. Being in Nova Scotia, where most churches are Baptist, there were many of us! The other ministerial was inter-denominational.  I learned quickly the value of gathering together for fellowship, support, and prayer. It was good for my soul and the souls of my colleagues.

Three times a year, the Baptist ministerial included ministry spouses for a gathering. Although not married, it was a good introduction to the world of ministry spouses and the important role they play in ministry.

I saw that husband and wives were together in ministry. After all, marriage is meant to be two people becoming one!

Research has shown that much of what you feel as a pastor is felt by your spouse. For example, a Lifeway survey of pastors’ spouses revealed that they overwhelmingly feels your congregation is supporting them and their families. However, two thirds of them believe the church interferes with your family life.

Your spouse, like you, (likely?) has a deep sense that you are where God has called you to be. Still, half of all pastors’ spouses are lonely, with few or any close friends with whom they can be themselves. To add to this, about half have experienced a personal attack from someone in their church because of a conflict of some sort, most if not all having nothing to do with you or your spouse personally.

Ministry can deplete those involved in it. This includes your spouse. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Research has shown that two actions are beneficial to ensuring positive mental and spiritual health.

One: The necessity to stay grounded  in who we are. Our identity as a person of God must be clear. We are more than a role, a title, or a set of expectations. We are children of God.

Two: The necessity to maintain strong social relationships with others —people with whom you can be yourself.

CBOQ is aware of the needs for your spouse to connect with others. That is why it has a private, ministry spouse page on Facebook to provide confidential, mutual support and encouragement. Janice Potvin and Dianne McBeth are the administrators. To join, your spouse can send a Facebook message to Janice Allen Potvin. If you are not on Facebook, you can contact her by email at potvinpiano@gmail.com. Please pass along this important information to your spouse!

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