I made a terrible mistake when I married my husband.
I believed that the whole youth ministry racket he had been into for years would eventually wear thin. In a couple of years he would move on to something different, perhaps something that made us more money? I loved him, so I could live with the random schedule, low pay, penny pinching, late nights, and weeks away at conferences or World Youth Day. I would do it for love … it would only be a couple years??
WRONG! I wish I could go back 5 years ago and slap some sense into me. That would have made the first three years of our marriage a HECK of a lot easier. It also would remove the stretch of resentment that I am just so thankful my daughter was too young to remember.
I had a leg up as far as being a spouse of a Youth Minister. After all I had been one for a number of years. Although I loved working with the youth, it was never my dream job or felt like a calling. It certainly was not a career I thought could support a family.
Before Colm and I got married we discussed our vision of family life and what we wanted that to look like. I had always wanted to be home if we had kids. I grew up in a home where both my parents had to work and I saw the strain. I wanted something different for my family. I believed that in order for this vision to come to life Colm would have to make a substantial income. Especially if ‘we’ wanted everything we thought we needed as a young family.
We got pregnant right away, and we were living in a small third floor walk up and that was fine … for now. I couldn’t help but compare our life to that of a lot of our friends who were getting into new homes, buying nice cars, taking vacations. I was really stuck on what the Jones’ were doing and didn’t realize what this was doing to my marriage. I suddenly became impatient with Colm and resented all the time he was putting into his ministry instead of working towards getting a ‘better’ job. I would go to the mall and come home angry at him that I couldn’t buy all the things that I wanted. I would shudder every time we had company over and they had to sit on our hand me down couch with holes. All of this because of his job.
As I write this I am just so disappointed in myself for the time I wasted and how horrible it all sounds. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I realized that ministry wasn’t a temporary job for Colm. I can’t remember long after that realization when I became okay with it. I guess it was gradual. It was a period in my life where I needed to do a lot of self reflection. Nevertheless this is where I am at, and our family is all the better for it.
3 Key Lessons I Learned
- Colm didn’t choose ministry, he fell in love with it. God gave him the gift, not just relating with young people, but with adults. He is able to handle ministry politics like no one I know. While my passion dwindled because of politics his only grows in spite of it. How could I ask him to give up his passion just so that we can have nice things?
- Why is it important to me to keep up with everyone around me? Why do I need the new house, new furniture, new car? What do we have to prove? Not making a lot of money can mean sacrifice. However God asks us to be responsible with the money we do have regardless of how much we make. We follow Dave Ramsey’s financial plan and we work extra hard to live within our means. We are proud to say that we are debt free, saving for things we need to save for, and planning where every penny goes. Because we have been vigilant we have the freedom to do things we may not have been able to do had we made more money but were irresponsible. We are renting still and don’t plan to own a house for a long time. It is a choice as apposed to a burden I put upon us as if it was something taken away. We choose travel, we choose being home with our daughter, we choose ministry. We may be the odd balls … but we are happy.
- Ministry is OUR choice. I finally had to come to terms with the fact that my husband will never be an engineer, doctor, or Ryan Gosling (sigh). My husband will be home during the day when I need him to be. My husband can make time for daddy daughter days. My husband will be fulfilled in his job and therefore happier at home. My husband will never be foolish with money because he knows how much security I need. My husband loves his job, he loves me, and he loves our children. I chose that husband and now shudder to think of what the alternative would be.
Although I still have my moments where I wish, I have now come to a place where I am much more grateful. I’m grateful I didn’t demand him to change; and that I was able to. I am so grateful that my resentment has turned into pride seeing what he has done in Saskatoon, knowing full well the sacrifices he makes. I am grateful God was able to get through my selfishness and help me see. Being married to ministry has been the best thing for our family.