Today I read a shocking statistic. Forty percent of pastors surveyed admitted to having an extra marital affair after entering the ministry! 40%! How does that happen? Of course, it is common knowledge that there have been pastors that have had moral failures, after all we are dealing with human beings. But to have a whopping 40% admit to an affair? Is anyone else shocked or am I just naive? What, if anything, can we do to help affair-proof the marriages of our ministry couples?
It is my belief that a man, or woman for that matter, doesn’t just decide on the spur of the moment to engage in an affair. There is a process involved, a process that might have been years in the making. Isolation, lack of accountability, stress, feeling unappreciated, and money problems, to name just a few, are common denominators that can drive a man to seek solace somewhere other than his marriage.
As a whole, the church hasn’t been very good about protecting its leadership. Rather, the opposite has been the case. As a pastor’s wife, I felt like the moment I said, “I Do”, and my husband slipped my shiny new ring on my finger, a shiny new bull’s-eye was placed on my back! The expectations placed upon a ministry couple can be crippling! Ministry, while fulfilling, can also be one of the loneliest jobs on the planet! Pride, embarrassment, lack of trusted advisors, and feeling overwhelmed or defeated might be the reason a ministry couple doesn’t seek help when they are experiencing difficulties in their relationship.
So, I’ll ask the question one more time. What can we do to help our ministry couples affair-proof their marriages? Well, a Standing Stone retreat is one great way to help. We offer many locations throughout the US, with many outstanding mentors. It is amazing the transformation that can take place in a marriage after just a week away from the cares and demands of the job. Another suggestion is to ask your pastor, or better yet his wife, for ways that you can bless them and care for them and their marriage. A weekend away from the church is a good place to start. Offering childcare for a date night is another idea. Be creative. A healthy pastor with a healthy marriage will result in a healthier church.
We’d love to hear your suggestions on ways to help and encourage your pastor and his wife. Look for future posts on this subject. It is a very important topic!