Help! My Pastor/Ministry Husband Works Full Time Part 1

Women with husbands in full-time ministry and who have a full-time or part-time job know life can be difficult. The time with their husband can be described as divided. Divided between the job that will provide for the monetary needs of the family and the job God has called Him to, the church work and ministry. There is no doubt there is a pull in all directions on the husband and a strain on the family because his strength and time can only be stretched so far.

Most of our followers already know, so this is for you who don’t, my husband is working a full-time job and we are ministering beside our pastor and his wife in a church plant in the southwest. When my husband worked full-time in ministry I could only sympathize with this scenario, now I understand more what encompasses this unique situation on both the ministry, marriage, and parenting level. Several weeks ago, unexpected circumstances caused our pastor to leave town on urgent matters. The following week he was scheduled to preach in another church. This meant my husband had to preach Wednesday night, and all day on Sunday one week, and then Sunday morning the following week. Almost all of his free time was devoted to studying and sermon preparation. Our time together was short. Our communication was limited. He had to stay focused to be effective. That was one hard week… I realize there are couples who deal with this for years.

Maybe in your heart, as a Ministry Mama you’re crying out, “Help! We have been doing this for years and I see the toll it has taken on our marriage.” or “Help! My kids need to see more of their Daddy!” or “Help! Our ministry is suffering because my husband is so divided.” Or maybe, you would claim “D. All of the above.” Here are some things to think about.


Respect both of his jobs.

Men find satisfaction and worth in their work, it is not made to be a contest between you and your family vs. his job. Some men struggle with letting go of their work and focusing on family, it’s true. As far as winning friends (husbands in this scenario) and influencing people, you don’t win points for tearing down that thing that is personal to him and his worth.

Respect the job he has that provides you with the funds you need to care for your family even if the boss is not sympathetic or is a harsh task master. Respect the job he has a pastor and allow him to have peace in ministering to the flock and using his time to study the Word of God for teaching and sermons. Thank God for him. Don’t nag him or belittle his failures, he’s burning the candles at both ends. Give him respect and you help him feel worth.

Forsake jealousy.

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary describes the word jealous in three ways: 1) Intolerant of rivalry, 2) hostile toward a rival or one believed to have an advantage, 3) vigilant in guarding a possession. Ladies, I know some of you are either jealous your husband works at his job or you are jealous because of the time he gives to the church. How do I know? Well, sadly, I have been and done both because I like to spend time with my husband too.

Jealousy is fired up because of the amount of time our husbands are spending at one thing or another instead of spending it with us. A bi-vocational pastor loves you enough to hold a physical job to help provide for you and he loves God enough to want to fulfill his calling to Him. Please do not be hostile to your husband and consider either of his jobs as a competition or a replacement for being with you.

Most husbands are not looking to find a replacement for your one-on-one time. They may struggle with knowing how to manage their time or how to say no to another counseling session. In most cases it is not a personal rejection of you that would cause you to need to be jealous. The best way to handle jealousy is to remove yourself from the equation and compartmentalize his time (his ministry and family life will sometimes intertwine within the compartments) between his job, family time, and church time. Work within the compartment of time that you have with him and let him be free not to be worried or stressed about ongoing complaints because of your jealousy… which leads to the next point.

Facilitate communication.

A dear friend’s husband has served in a church and working full-time for nine years. Her advice was: “Accept and be thankful for the time you do have {together}. When it is hard, cry out to the Lord, and not your husband. He is probably doing the best that he can, so there is no need in making him feel bad or guilty. If you want to say something to him about his lack of time with the family, ask God first.” 

If God puts it on your heart to talk to your husband about a conflict between the hours your husband works and the time he is devoting to ministry, then talk to him about it. The type of communication he needs is factual details and requests, not entirely emotional. Considerately speak to him and be honest, “Honey, I feel like we are not getting enough time with you in the day, would it be possible for you to spend __X__ amount of time with the kids every afternoon? and have an undistracted evening meal around the table together?” or “Jimmy is really struggling with some questions he is having, could you take some time to go out with him and talk to him tomorrow?”

Teach yourself the ability to communicate factually without manipulating or causing a fight so you can manage the time you have with your husband the best you can. This doesn’t mean you don’t express how you are feeling, it means you control yourself so you can guide the conversation to accomplish a solution for the problem you are trying to solve.

This concludes the first part of this article, click here for Part 2, to read how we will tackle some of the leftover issues that go along with this topic! There is so much that could be said regarding full-time ministry & working families that it just could not fit into one article without it being too big to chew. I’m praying for you ladies who have been needing someone to acknowledge your situation and give you some encouragements. Don’t give up, find solutions with God’s help to keep on making it work.