I am married with two elementary aged children. My husband has always been supportive of my ministry calling. But my ministry career has involved mostly part-time positions in churches. I was recently approached by a church and asked to apply for a full-time position they have open. The position is a perfect match for my skill set, my passions. When they called me, I got so excited and ran in to tell my husband. His immediate response was, “There is no way I would give up my high paying job and go live in that little one horse town.” And his attitude hasn’t changed at all in the last few weeks as I have continued to talk to the church.
Confused and Brokenhearted
Dear C & B,
Marriage is by its very nature based on compromise—joining two individuals with families, histories, hopes, and dreams demands lots of give and take, adjustment and readjustment. In the best of times, marriage requires constant communication and renegotiation. In the hardest of times, the need for communication and renegotiation multiplies exponentially.
You obviously are living in one of those hard marriage times, and communication—helpful, hopeful, loving communication—is crucial. Adding two young children to this equation heightens the magnitude of the situation and makes communication even more essential.
If your conflict remains unresolved, you will be left to make a decision by yourself, and the decision you make (to accept or to not accept the new position) will have long-term influence on your marriage. If you accept the position, you might be forced to be live apart from your husband or end your marriage. If you do not accept the position, your resentment might overshadow all that has been good in your marriage. None of these outcomes are hopeful.
My best advice is that you find a counselor or a pastor (outside your own denominational circles would be best) who can help you and your husband bridge this impasse, someone who can help you talk to one another in helpful, hopeful, loving ways. If your husband won’t agree to counseling, go by yourself. You need to be in conversation—even if he won’t participate in that conversation. For should you decide to stay where you are and not accept the call of this church, you will need someone to help you process the hurt and disappointment. A marriage characterized by ongoing resentment is not a place you want to live!
My hope is that you will find peace in this situation and that your husband will open himself to this conversation.