How to Support A Spouse in Ministry During COVID-19

If you’re a spouse to a pastor or ministry leader, these words are for you! Markey Motsinger, pastor’s wife and mom of three, wants to share three ways you can support your spouse in ministry during this crisis.

As I look back over the last 19 years as a spouse to someone in ministry, I can see that one of my main roles has been supporting my husband. I have preached, hosted fundraisers, prayed, and much more. I’m my husband’s biggest cheerleader and consider myself the luckiest girl alive! But it’s also one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I can’t count the times I’ve felt invisible, misunderstood, and alone. 

When the coronavirus forced my husband to work from home, I was secretly excited. My best friend would be home and could support me! And for 24 hours, it was bliss. Then God began revealing how, even in this season, my role was still to support. It looks a little different now, but I’ve learned it’s equally important to the success of our family’s growth and ministry. How can you support a spouse in ministry during the COVID-19 crisis? Let’s unpack 3 ways:

1. LEAD YOURSELF.

In all honesty, when I learned that my support role hadn’t changed, I was mad. My husband and I were both at home, but he was learning a new way to do ministry, and was reading books, while I was still homeschooling our three daughters and doing the dishes. I was comparing my calling to his and it left me drowning in jealousy.
A jealous spouse can’t be a supportive spouse. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” We end up living the opposite of this verse when we don’t spend enough time strengthening our minds and hearts. To support our spouses, we need to lead ourselves well by developing our calling and what brings us health. To do this, we can daily dive into worship and prayer, as well as weekly video chats with friends that will challenge and encourage us. The healthier we are mentally, physically, and spiritually, the more support we can give our spouses.

The healthier we are mentally, physically, and spiritually, the more support we can give our spouses.

-Markey Motsinger

2. COMMUNICATE OFTEN.

As days have turned into weeks, my husband and I have asked each other two questions: “What do you need from me today?” and “What is God showing you this week?” These questions have connected us, helped us process our feelings, and kept our focus on God.

Chaotic seasons come with colorful waves of emotions that can make us feel disconnected, misunderstood, and fearful. We would all love for our spouses to meet our every need and know what we are thinking without actually saying anything, but I’ve never seen that approach work well. James 1:19 tells us that “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” We can support our spouse by processing our emotions with them and listening as they process theirs. If we can do this, our relationships will come out of this season stronger, and we will come out wiser.

3. FIND A NEW NORMAL.

When the COVID-19 crisis hit, I had several ideas of how our family should connect and grow, and it deflated me when my plans for our “new normal” flopped. Forcing myself to step back allowed my husband to step up and create a simple nighttime routine the whole family loves. (We take a walk, watch Lego Masters, and play a card game!) 

When a crisis hits, our normal traditions and rhythms are uprooted, and panic sets in. We grab for control by pushing our agendas without considering or consulting our spouse. But maybe, for this season, it’s time to look at things through a new lens of faith where we invite our spouses into our decision-making process from the beginning. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 emphasizes this by saying, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor…” We support our spouses when we work with them to find a new normal.

Supporting a spouse in ministry isn’t always easy, but it’s important to the success of our family’s growth and ministry. In this ever-changing season, let’s lean in and support our spouses by leading ourselves well, communicating often, and working together to find a new normal.
Do you and your spouse both work in ministry? Are you juggling kids while both working remotely in this season? Check out this video for some quick tips and tricks on working remotely with kids!

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