By Lavern Nissley, Tuesday@10:10 blog post
I've read hundreds of Facebook posts and shares on marriage. "3 steps" of this, "4 tips" on that, "5 ways" to improve your sex life. Many are excellent and insightful, but today I'd like for you to see one of my all time favorites.
It was posted September 15, 2015 by Jeff Cook, our daughter-in-law's father, a former Cedarville University professor and currently working with CrossPurpose Center for Urban Leadership in Denver, Colorado.
Someone asked me recently in an interview how we have balanced marriage/family life and ministry over the years. This was what I told them:
Early in our first church-planting ministry my wife sat me down, looked me in the eye and told me in no uncertain terms, “Jeff, you have to decide if you are married to me or to that church.”
I tried, of course, to bob and weave and make her feel guilty for being an obstacle to me serving God and people. The fact was that I was way overcommitted in ministry, and I was leaving my family in the dust. It was a shot across the bow, and I knew then I needed some boundaries. I listened. She has been the best barometer for how I am balancing those priorities for the past forty years. It’s never easy, and you never are totally “balanced.” But you work at it, and listen to people who love you.
“Take heed to yourselves, and to the flock over which the Lord has made you overseers.” (Paul to the Ephesian elders, Acts 20.)
If you don’t take care of yourselves first, you will have no ministry.
This wisdom doesn't apply just to ministry leaders. It applies to anyone tempted to make an outside allegiance or affection more important than the marriage. It could be work, school, sports, coffee club, kids, parents, a home improvement project--all good, but not to become a higher priority than the marriage.
For the record, "Ronda Nissley, I'm married fully to you and no other entity!"
Thank you, Jeff and Inge, for this reminder!
Jeff and Inge Cook, Denver, Colorado
A weekly post on Tuesdays at 10:10 am that addresses some topic associated with relationship and marriage health. Don't miss it!
Main author is Lavern Nissley, Executive Director of MRCMV. Guest authors will be included in posts from time to time.