Jeana and I have been married for thirty-nine years. After we’d been married for eighteen years and Jeana would mention to my Mom some crazy thing I had done, she would say, “You have now had him longer than me. I am no longer responsible!”
After being married to one another this long, we have learned so much about each other and marriage. And still the learning continues. Here are a few of the lessons we’ve learned:
1. Walk closely with the Lord individually and together
One of the things that always encourages me is knowing that when I walk down the stairs from my office in the early morning, my wife is up having her time with God. She does not live on my walk and I do not live on hers. We walk with the Lord individually. We each take it seriously.
Yet, we walk side-by-side with the Lord. We talk about spiritual and ministry things regularly. We pray together nightly. We know it is critical for us to do life and ministry together.
2. Do ministry individually and together
Jeana has consistently been involved in the ministry of the church. For years, she served in the worship ministry. She has also served by leading a cancer support group and has done weekly jail ministry. Now, she leads a Bible Study in our neighborhood, which gives her unique influence with women in our community. And she has always assisted as needed in the women’s ministry of our church.
Jeana has accompanied me on many ministry endeavors. I am a pastor who does not do ministry alone. Jeana is with me. We have done ministry of all kinds together through the years from mission trips to funerals to weddings to so much more.
3. Live life together
Jeana and I have noticed something in the lives of many ministers and their wives. Many of them live life alone. The wife goes one way and the minister goes another. I do not get this and quite honestly, it is very unhealthy.
Since 1985, Jeana and I have spent Fridays together. It is rare we are not together on this day. We live life together during the week and on the weekends. When our children were still living at home, our lives were focused on them, but we still did life together.
Live life together. Ministry is hard enough. You do not need to fly solo. Marriage is hard enough. You certainly do not need to fly solo. This is not good for either of you or your marriage. Find a regular time to spend with your spouse.
4. Honor God’s calling upon your life together
Have you considered recently that you have been called to do ministry by God Himself? If you sensed God’s leadership to marry your spouse, and I assume you did, you must believe that God has called you to walk in ministry together.
Therefore, honor God’s calling upon your life together. Do not take it for granted.
You have a holy calling upon your lives, both husband and wife. You have not been called to business, entertainment, or politics, but the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is holy. This is your calling. Live worthy of this call to ministry. Honor God’s calling upon your life together.
Follow Him wherever He leads you to go. He has a great plan for each of you individually and as a couple. Surrender your marriage to Him now in a new and fresh way. He has wonderful things in store for your life and ministry together.
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Senior Pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas for 38 years. He is the author of multiple books, including Forward: 7 Distinguishing Marks for Future Leaders.