The other day my husband dropped me off at a store to run a quick errand while he went next door to the hardware store to pick up an item he needed to repair something at the house. I finished my errand first and came over to meet him at the store. Walking down all the aisles of the hardware store, I realized he was no where to be found which was puzzling.
An employee of the store, a tall burly man, approached me and said, "Ma'am, can I help you with something?"
I said, "Oh, I'm just looking for my husband."
"Well, what does he look like?" the man inquired.
"He's about six foot two with dark hair and he's wearing a Steelers' jersey."
"Oh him," said the man. "...I think I saw him go out the doors and run across the parking lot yelling, 'Free at last! Free at last!'"
We shared a laugh and I said, "Now I know my husband, and that's not true..." as I took off determined to find him. Sure enough he was out in the parking and was just sitting in the car listening to talk radio while waiting for me. I saw no evidence of the screaming man described to me inside the store.
I chuckle when I recall this story however I realize that for many in ministry, "escaping" is a reality. A study done by the Fuller Institute, Focus on the Family and the Barna Research Group shows:
89% of pastors have considered leaving the ministry.
77% of pastors surveyed don't think they have a good marriage.
90% of pastors say they are fatigued or worn out on a weekly basis.
75% feel unqualified or poorly trained.
37% surveyed were divorced or currently in a divorce process.
30% have been in an ongoing relationship or one time affair with a parishioner.
1500 pastors leave the ministry monthly due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
50% of pastor's marriages will end in divorce.
50% of pastors are so discouraged they would leave the ministry if they had another way of making a living.
90% started off with the right call and passion but something happened to derail them.
W ow! Reading that list makes you want to eat a whole half gallon of Ben & Jerry's by yourself. But, my point is not to give you a bunch of depressing statistics about how your husband would not be all that odd if he wants to run away from home. Who says men don't go through menopause? I think it's especially a factor for men in the ministry who are under so much more pressure, but that's just my humble opinion.
The fact is, all of us in ministry know that the pressures are great if we've been in it longer than five minutes. My encouragement to you pastor's wives today is to be your husband's escape. I must be ever mindful that I am one of the few (and sometimes the only) real outlets my husband has, as a confidant, and certainly as an intimate partner. My husband has several other good male friends in ministry but he rarely if ever opens up to them on the leve l that he opens up to me. As much as I would like him to open up to others more, I realize that even if he starts doing that, I will always be his main confidant and source of encouragement. That's the way God made it. I believe when a pastor's wife becomes cold, angry, or unavailable to her husband, it is inevitable that he will look for an escape. At that point he feels trapped, with so much on his mind and no where to take it and he ultimately snaps.
Our role is so important as our husband's chief confidant, encourager, friend and yes...sex partner. They can "escape" in the Word and prayer, and find a strong tower in the Lord, however they also need an escape here on earth and we are that escape many times.
Be that escape for your husband!
Escape on a date, at least monthly but preferably weekly. Every Friday is our day off and Larry and I make it a priority to have a date. Be intentional, and be unconventional! Right now our three kids are a bit older and that affords us a little more freedom. Our oldest two are eighteen and nineteen, and our youngest is eleven. The other night our eleven year old was in bed for the night with the eldest two at home. My husband spontaneously said, "Let's go to the movies!" It was 10:00 pm and off we headed on a late night date. Pretty soon we were snuggling up with some popcorn and soda, and almost had the entire theater to ourselves. It was wonderful!
It doesn't take money to have a great escape, sometimes just being aware of opportunities. The other day we were busy on projects around the house and had a million things to do. But suddenly it dawned on me, all three kids were out of the house for several hours. That almost never happens simultaneously because even though our children are growing older, we always have a full, noisy house of at least one of our kids plus a lot of extras -- their friends! And we don't mind, it's a wonderful thing. But upon realizing we had the house to ourselves, I called to my husband and said, "Come and escape to our bedroom with me!" He was more than happy to stop the project he was working on and spend time with me.
Husbands need to find a refuge -- a comfort, in their wives. It takes time and effort but it's worth it so that you don't become another statistic.
Determine to make a great escape together this week so that neither of you will escape alone.