Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Making Time for Your Summer-Love...A Marriage Post for Youth Ministry Leaders

It’s here! This is the season of Camps, Fine Arts, mission trips, fundraisers, bonfires, community service projects, and the typical ministry meetings and services. On the home-front, kids are running loose since they aren’t in school, baseball games are most every night, and a vacation week is going to be squeezed in at some point. It is busy! In the midst of all that is happening, keeping your spouse, your “Summer Love”, close and connected is not always the easiest task. In fact, you may feel your only options for time with your spouse look something like this:

1.     While at camp, volunteer to serve as overnight security to get some quiet time together.

2.     While at Fine Arts, meet at the hotel vending machine to have some chat time at midnight since you are currently sleeping in separate rooms with junior highers.

3.     While on the missions trip, get all the students across the border but leave your luggage behind so you can catch a later flight alone with your spouse. Just put a mature senior in charge. I’m sure the parents will understand.

Have you every thought these are the only options? The challenge of having quality time with your spouse during this exhilarating season is real! The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Just take a moment to consider some basic reminders that will reinforce your Summer Love.

In the midst of all God has called you to do, remember that He launched you two into ministry as a team. Remember your spouse in the midst of working for the cause of Christ. Each couple may display their roles differently but it is important to remember each other in the midst of doing the work. There are a hundred distractions right now but only one person that truly needs you the most. Keep each other in mind while working.

I remember a season in my life that my husband, Scotty, was the last person I was thinking about daily. The day in and day out life of raising a family and leading in ministry were taking all I had. He was not in the right place of my priorities. As God revealed this to me, I made small changes that have made a huge difference. Getting help with the kids or delegating leadership needs can take the load off of you so you have energy for your marriage. Keep your spouse as your #1 person while you are in the middle of leading others.

Look for every way possible to do things together. Something that my husband has said to me for years is, “I always want you with me.” No matter if he is traveling, speaking up front, eating a meal, or having down time, I know he wants me with him. He often says, “I would rather do life with you than anyone else.” These statements are heartfelt and I know he means them. Although I don’t always travel with him, speak when he speaks, eat every meal with him, or spend every free moment with him, I know he wants me to be with him every time it’s possible. Look for moments to do life together while you are doing ministry with others.

            Even more so, care for each other during the busyness. Your spouse could be at the top of your list internally but if you aren’t caring for her or him then your summer love isn’t all it could be during this time. Take time to slow down enough to communicate. Do random acts to encourage each other. Give careful attention to your love life especially in the midst of busyness. Set the stage to help each other get the proper (or at least decent) nutrition and sleep because it will affect all you two do. Help with each other’s workload when possible. With all the emotional, spiritual and physical efforts that are poured out in ministry leadership, taking care of each other will help prevent marriage stress. 

            More than anything, God will equip you to be the spouse and leader you need to be. The summer is a wonderful time for your family and ministry to thrive. You are managing much but God is your source of wisdom on how to handle what He has given you. Although you may need those Top 3 ideas at some point this summer, you can have some fun with your Summer-Love by remembering to care for each other as you do life together! 

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