Loving your wife: a long-term strategy

Be sure to check out our series on how to love your wife in ministry:

  1. Part 1: 5 Ways to love your wife daily
  2. Part 2: Loving your wife: a long-term strategy (Current article)

Cultivating a strong, healthy, and thriving marriage requires time, effort and discipline.

You can have an awesome marriage even while serving in a challenging ministry assignment. In the previous post we discussed the importance of investing in your marriage on a daily basis. I provided a few simple examples of the types of things I try to do daily. These things make my wife feel loved and reinforce that she is a priority. My goal is simple:  I want my wife to feel loved and important regardless of what else may be going on in our lives.

In this post, I’ll share what I do on a weekly, every six months, and three-year basis.

Show care in significant ways, weekly

There are several things I try to do on a weekly basis. I recognize that some women (whom I am not married to) may want something completely different from their husbands. However, the things I am going to share encourage my wife.

1. Date her weekly

“Everyone says” date your wife weekly. I have always agreed with this statement. There was just one problem:

With small kids, how do you do this on a weekly basis? Creativity is the key in my opinion.

We love to get a trusted babysitter and have an evening out. However, that is not always practical each week. So, we improvise with a lunch date or capitalize on any time when the kids will be with other people. For us, if the kids are not present, we make it a date. Get creative by locating a mother’s-day out program, use trusted family or possibly friends to watch your kids. I know of couples that trade babysitting with other couples in the same life stage.

The important thing is that you make dating your wife on a weekly basis a priority. Marriage is too important not to do this.

Plus, dating your wife is fun.

2. Gifts

My wife likes gifts and I have little cash because I am a preacher. This could present a problem. However, with the right approach, it can be no problem. Just because my wife likes gifts doesn’t mean they always have to be expensive. I am not recommending that you give your wife junk…that is a bad idea.

A good gift simply shows you care.

It is not necessarily always an expensive item. A good cup of coffee from her favorite place, a note, or a card are all small gifts. I try to do something each week. Occasionally, you need to spend some serious hard-earned cash on your wife. You might have to save, or sell something, but you will only be married once, right? Why not?

3. Give her break from the kids

We have kids. We love our kids. Mom needs a break from the kids. Make that happen each week, Dad.

Enough said.

Make a significant investment in your wife, every six months to one year

Your wife has dreams too. Maybe your wife is like my wife. She has been following you, supporting you, and loving you through all types of demanding experiences for years. Your wife is your most valuable ministry partner. We must never forget the sacrifice that ministry wives make, especially pastor wives. Their job is hard. So, we need to cheer them on and support their passions.

There will be things your wife likes to do that need your support. For example, my wife loves to design clothing. She also loves to help other women discover their giftedness and employ it for the glory of God.

How can I help her and support what she likes to do? There are several ways to support her interests. Encourage her to take a class, go to a conference (without the kids), or spend some money on the supplies she needs. You will have to make a sacrifice to do this, but it is worth the price.

Three year check-up

I believe even a great marriage can grow. You could make an investment so that your “great marriage” is “really great,” maybe even “really, really, great.” Our goal is to do something that is going to significantly help our marriage every three years.

A few things we have done in the past include events like Weekend to Remember by Family Life. They have special rates (reduced and free) for pastors. I love going to Weekend to Remember events. You stay in a nice hotel. You hear excellent communicators talk about marriage in a large group setting. There is no small group time…it is awesome! You also get to go on a date night…trust me fellas…it’s a good deal.

We have also had the opportunity to attend a Timothy-Barnabas Conference hosted by Pastor Johnny Hunt. This event will bless your ministry and marriage. I LOVE going to Timothy-Barnabas. Your wife will love it too.
Plus, they also host events where pastor scholarships are available. You may be broke, but you can still invest in your marriage.

Did you notice a pattern in these posts?

To grow a strong marriage, you must invest in multiple ways.

I make it my goal to invest daily, weekly, every six months, and every three years. There are times I fail at this, but I’m convinced it is what I need to be doing. Growing a healthy and strong marriage takes time, effort, and discipline over the long haul.

A few marriage resources

Does your marriage need a tune-up? Let me recommend a few books that have blessed our marriage in some powerful ways.

When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey.  I love this book. It cuts to the core of issues in marriage. I also use this book when I do premarital counseling. It is not designed for premarital counseling…but it is so good I cannot help myself.

Strengthen Your Marriage by Wayne Mack. This is another solid book on marriage. Try reading a chapter per week and spending some time discussing the content.

Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp. Have you read this book? You need to. Tripp focuses on the pastor’s heart. It is not exactly a marriage book but many of the implications deal with marriage.

I recommend this book to every person I know who is even thinking about getting into ministry. By the way, even if you don’t agree with all of Tripp’s theological positions, I still recommend reading everything this man writes. You will not be disappointed.

If you missed the part one of five ways to love your wife daily, you can find it here.

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