I’m currently on vacation with my wife (Catherine) and our three little girls, and in the middle of a wonderful interim time between ministry positions (with my next one starting in August). After blogging here for five years, I thought you might like to hear from someone else, so I asked Catherine a few questions. I come off looking awfully good, but I promise I let her answer these however she wanted!
I hope it’s helpful to hear from someone who’s been on the other side of a worship leader’s ministry, in the hopes that this encourages other spouses out there, and worship leaders too.
1. What has it been like being married to someone in worship ministry?
For the most part, its been great. I grew up in a ministry family so the challenges aren’t new to me and I hoped I could marry someone in the ministry even before I met Jamie. But I will say that it hasn’t been like it expected it to be. I hoped that I would be able to be in ministry with my husband, volunteer at church etc. In reality, I am able to do LESS on a Sunday morning than some of my non-church-staff peers. They can trade off taking care of kids with their husbands. Sunday morning is the one time when my husband can’t do anything to help out with the kids. Its worth it to me and it is only a season, but its not what I expected. One of the major perks is that I always get to be a part of a church where I know the music will be great (or getting better!) and the worship ministry will be focused on God, not the worship leader.
2. What’s been hard about it?
There are always the challenging times when Jamie has to work a lot. When a CD is being produced or a retreat is being planned, there are definitely days/weeks when he works almost every waking hour…and doesn’t have enough sleeping hours! That obviously brings challenges because I miss him, his company, and his help with the kids and around the house. But that doesn’t happen often, especially when compared with the travel schedules and work hours of others I see in the DC area. I’m thankful that Jamie actively works to avoid travel without us and to keep his work hours manageable. Even when he has to work almost every available minute, I can count on him being around from dinner time to bed time. He very rarely misses singing his little girls to sleep.
The most difficult thing for me has been when people in the congregation or leadership of the church have been unreasonably critical towards Jamie. Its one thing for someone to give constructive criticism that can sting for a time but be effective in the end. But just because its the church doesn’t mean that all the feedback is well-meaning and constructive. Jamie has had his share of cruelty from others in the church. The most difficult thing for me is to hear about the cruelty and then to see those who have so harshly hurt my husband when I go to church. There have been several Sundays when I’ve had to bite my tongue or hide away in Jamie’s office to avoid saying some equally mean things back. I think this is harder for me because I want to be in right relationship with everyone, but in this kind of situation it is just not appropriate for me to approach someone who has hurt my husband and try to work it out with them. In the end I’ve had to remember that, just like us, everyone in the church comes with baggage and weaknesses and sin. Jamie and I hurt people in our sin and brokenness. And we will be hurt by others. If I can remember that, it helps me to forgive.