I’ve been in ministry for 18 years. That’s a long time—a ‘full-grown adult’ amount of time. I know because I have one of those, too. My eldest child is a senior in high school this year. And like parents often do, I look at him and think, “How did we get here? It feels like we just got started!”
It’s the same with my ministry. It feels like I blinked and the years flew by. I guess that’s a good thing. If time flies when you’re having fun, it means I had some entertaining experiences along the way. I distinctly remember going to Disney World for “research” with my fellow staffers. I recall campus launch Sundays and birthday lunches and tears when interns went off to college.
I look back fondly at the hundreds of instances in which I had the opportunity to lead a child to Christ and shouts of celebration as those same children were publicly baptized. I’m even getting a little misty eyed right now as I type these words. I’ve enjoyed my “job,” because it never felt like a burden. It felt like a privilege.
How to Support Your Spouse’s Career
Don’t get me wrong; it’s not been all fun and games. There were difficult people, passion-lacking seasons, and disastrous situations. But through all the tough times, I had Frank. My husband is both my loudest cheerleader and my ultimate confidante. I try to be the same for him.
Honestly, I think he does it better. Over the course of our 19 years of marriage, we’ve seen many different seasons begin and end. There have been times we worked alongside each other, strategizing, executing, and leading within the same ministry.
There were also instances in which we were on completely different career paths. Whatever the season, we’ve made sure our compass always points north. As a couple, it’s important for us to understand that God brought us together to navigate this journey called life.
However, as individuals, we remain aware that our personal calling and assignments may differ. Over the years, we’ve learned how to support each other’s goals and career aspirations. With that being said, I want to give you a glimpse of how we make it all work. These four principles have helped to shape our conversations and keep us moving forward.
1. Pay Attention
There will be times when Frank is going into detail about a project he’s working on and while the ins and outs of his daily grind don’t always interest me, I force myself to listen intently. The intricacies of his investor call may not be a captivating topic. But if it’s important to Frank, it’s important to me.
Why? Because the entire highlight reel of my life involves him. I make it a priority to listen, ask questions and understand so that he can say the reverse is true as well. Your spouse needs you in his or her corner, but if you don’t even know what’s in his or her corner, that’s going to be difficult.
Pay attention! Your spouse will thank you.
2. Promote Your Spouse Publicly
Everyone enjoys a pat on the back, a word of praise, or an accolade to hang on their wall, but when it comes from the person who knows you best it means more.
My husband is intimately familiar with my bed-head and my pre-makeup pasty face. He knows my personality flaws, my most embarrassing habits and my doubts and fears. He knows the undisguised truth about me, that I’m so far from perfect and put-together it’s ridiculous.
So when the person that knows me best promotes my latest venture or brags about my accomplishments, it means more. If you want to support your spouse’s career aspirations, be his or her biggest fan, their free promoter.
3. Plan A Party
Celebrate good times, come on! When your spouse wins, you win! This is the “for better” of “for better or worse.” Far too often we forget to celebrate the victories of our spouses.
I’m not suggesting you have to plan an elaborate bash every time your husband or wife lands an account or gets a promotion, but there should be a moment of recognition, some way in which you commemorate a job well done. Look for those and plan a party!
4. Passionately Pursue Jesus Together
I have found the health of my marriage and my spiritual walk are directly linked. When I’m in tune with God, I am a more loving and supportive spouse. Resentment, jealousy and loneliness find purchase when I take my eyes off our Heavenly Father.
If Frank and I want to stay healthy, both as individuals and as a married couple, it all starts with passionately pursuing Jesus together.
I hope these principles will help as you and your spouse grow in love and faith and aspire to go further and do more in your careers. Achievement is more fun when you have someone to celebrate them with.
How do you support your spouse’s career?
Jessica Bealer has been leading children’s ministry for almost 20 years. Jessica is a mother of four, published author, and host of the Women’s Leadership Workshop podcast. She is married to Frank, the CEO of Phase Family Centers & Executive Director of Leadership Development at Orange.
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