The number one question I get from women is “How do you and Josh work together so closely and still maintain a healthy relationship both at work and at home?”
I have the privilege of leading our women’s ministry at church while being married to my pastor, and I really do mean it when I say it’s a privilege. Most look at Josh and I as two type A, strong, and independent leaders, and they wonder how our dynamic plays out in terms of who gets the final say and how we maintain respect and balance as we both lead in our different ministries.
I want to share what I have learned about honoring our spouses and the men we work with, even as we pursue and lead in our giftings.
Be Great At Your Work
One of the greatest nuggets of advice I received from a mentor was to be an expert at my position. Read books. Listen to podcasts. Attend trainings.
Josh jokes that I have the same degree that he has just with an honors sticker beside it. I don’t get to be the ministry leader because I am his wife. I get to lead our women because I’m trained, gifted, and passionate about my work.
Communicate Succinctly and Confidently
Women have a tendency to “lead-in and soften the blow” instead of getting straight to the point. Say what you are going to say. There are times to just talk and to shoot the breeze, but when it comes to working with men, I have learned that I need to clearly state my goals.
Men typically communicate directly. I can help them by purposefully being direct in my communication. I’ve also found that it’s helpful to speak confidently. Because I’m grounded in my knowledge and confident in my perspective, I don’t have to be pushy or overbearing to get things done.
Stay in Your Lane
This is important for everyone, but it is really helpful when you are trying to respect the people you work with. No one likes a backseat driver or a know-it-all. If asked, give your input and help collaborate with the team, but acknowledge that you don’t get to speak into all areas.
There are times where I have an idea or a difference of opinion that I think would be constructive and helpful. The best way to approach this is phrasing it with a question like “Have you thought about coming at it from this angle?” or “I know I’m coming from a place that doesn’t know all of the facts, but what about something like this…?” Then leave the decision-making to the decision-makers. The goal is to provide helpful input from a place of humility.
Wear Thick Skin
I cannot let my insecurities get the best of me. It’s helpful to remind yourself that the men you work alongside respect and value your work. I want to be a person that everyone feels they are able to collaborate with freely without constantly worrying about offending me.
The same goes with Josh. There have been times he has disagreed with my position on an issue. He needs to feel the freedom to make a decision that is best for the church and not be fearful that there will be repercussions at home or within our relationship.
Be A Team Player
I have found that it’s extremely important for those with whom we work to know that I want their success as much as I want to succeed. I don’t come into meetings as “Josh’s wife.” Rather, I come into the meeting as a part of the team.
This can be as simple as offering help on a big event or project that has nothing to do with my area. I make it a point to help promote and celebrate their ministries during and after major events, so they know how much I value their role on the team. Practically, I don’t expect special treatment because I’m married to the pastor. I adhere to the same guidelines and expectations as the rest of the team.
Champion Their Investment
I would not be where I am today without Josh’s investment. He has continually been the biggest cheerleader in my work. He supports me when I have to make hard decisions. He was the first ‘yes’ to cheer me on as I headed back to seminary. He helps me juggle my many hats, so I can work out my giftings instead of laying them to the side.
I honor my husband by thanking him directly and intentionally pointing out to others the ways he allows me to fulfill God’s calling on my life, both in small settings and on social media.
The challenges of working alongside my husband are minimal compared to the joy I receive. With intentional steps toward working together and championing one another in our giftings, I have found that we are much better together than apart, and that is a beautiful picture of the Gospel at work.