My husband and I both work in ministry. He works on production at a large church and I work in the web department of an international relief and development organization. There is so much fulfillment in being able to say you really believe in the mission of the place where you work. It’s so fulfilling for Josh when he works hard at creating a cohesive church service and he gets to see people make a decision for Christ or take the next step of obedience in Baptism. I love when hard work on a web page or graphic design inspires someone to donate to a project that educates poor students in Haiti or provides water to people in need in Nicaragua or shelters an orphan in Zambia. We are so blessed in our jobs. That being said, ministry is beyond a full time commitment.
In our first year of our marriage there have been countless late nights spent apart because of the requirements of our jobs. While we wouldn’t change jobs for the world right now, it has caused a lot of issues. Our different temperaments, the different ways we were raised, and our vastly different views on how a house should be kept have caused a lot of tension. I was talking with an older person the other day, who has been married for 40+ years and they told me that all the issues I told them about came down to just one issue: communication. All the tension, they said, is based on differing expectations that haven’t spelled out for each other, and our busy schedules were ensuring that we wouldn’t be able to tell each other everything we needed in casual conversation. One issue seems so much more conquerable than dozens so I took the rest of their advice.
They told me to have Josh write down everything he could think of that we should communicate on once a week, and for me to do the same. So we did. Not surprisingly many of the points were the same on both of our lists. So, I’ve taken the lists and created a document. We’ve both agreed to meet every Monday, review the document and the dozen or so question is asks, and together write down our answers. This thing covers everything from bills to sexual expectations to social engagements to household chores to prayer and beyond. We talk about how the previous week was and our expectations for the coming week. Then we will place it in a binder and keep them all there each week adding the fresh document.
This way, we get the business of having a life together out of the way in about an hour each week and then, when we do have precious time together, it can be spent just enjoying each other – as friends, the way we started. We’re only a few weeks in, but I really think if we stick with it – it will be a useful tool. Has anyone else tried something like this?