He walks in the door. Brow furrowed from a long day at work. The weight of the world on his shoulders. His face carrying the agony and pain of a secret. A secret he cannot tell me. A burden he must bear – alone.
Have you ever kept a secret from your spouse? I’m not talking about a birthday or anniversary surprise secret; I mean a secret you were asked to keep.
Secrets can put a wedge between you and your spouse.
Secrets can damage the trust system in your marriage.
It is true that secrets can drive a wedge and erect walls in a marriage, which is precisely why it’s been difficult for me since we began our first full-time ministry. So, what do you do when it’s your husband’s “job” to keep secrets? Lots of prayer and trust. My husband is a minister and is included in private counseling sessions or conversations that I’m not privy to. In fact, most of the time I know very little of what happens at the church – unless it’s announced in the bulletin or from the pulpit.
Before this ministry, we never had secrets – I mean never. We have always been open and honest with each other in our personal struggles as well as struggles we had in our marriage or with each other. So when we entered this new journey of full-time ministry, I was not fully prepared for all the secrets that would change our marriage and relationship. After 10 years of marriage, I suddenly felt very distant from him.
Most days he comes home fine and ready to be Daddy to our kids. But there are days I can tell something is bothering him. Sometimes he can talk about it and sometimes he can’t. Those days are the hardest for me, even though I’m sure it’s nothing like the burden he’s carrying. I try not to let it affect me, but I feel disconnected from him. I feel helpless. I just want to take the weight and burden from him and at least even it out and share the load. Sometimes that happens as he works through whatever it was, but other times there’s nothing I can do.
The past year and a half in our ministry journey has been one of the most difficult times in our marriage. Not only is the schedule different than what he was used to (graveyard shift at a convenience store as we waited on the Lord’s timing), but our family dynamic changed. I now have a husband who cannot tell me most of what happens in his day. That is difficult. Going from hearing stories of customers he spoke to and conversations he had with the delivery guys about Christ to an almost “secretive” day was difficult. Not that I’m a gossip or even share what he tells me, but the fact that I can not share the load is hard for me.
As a Christian, I have always taken Galatians 6:2 to heart. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (ESV) As a wife, I felt that part of my calling was to help carry the burden and load of my husband. But I soon realized that role also changed. Although I’m called to bear the burdens of my brothers and sisters in Christ, there are times I can’t, especially not alone. Over the course of the last year and a half, I have learned several important things as the dynamic of our relationship has changed.
1. HE is able to carry the load. As much as I want to help shoulder the burdens for our family, I cannot help shoulder the burdens my husband faces as a minister. As a mother, I always want to “fix” things and help make them right. But as the wife of a minister, I am not able to “fix” things. I had to realize that only HE can help my husband carry those burdens. And HE is more than sufficient to carry the load.
2. Pray for my husband – while I have always prayed for my husband, it has become increasingly more important these past 18 months. When he can’t talk to me about the weight on his shoulders from his day, all I can do is pray for him. I immediately begin to pray for the Lord to take the burden from him, but if He can’t, that He will give him peace, guidance, and wisdom to bear the load.
So while I don’t condone keeping secrets in your marriage, there are times and situations that make it necessary. And in those situations, I go to my knees. The past year and a half in our ministry journey has been one of the most difficult times in our marriage – but also the most rewarding.
Read more from the series here…
Annette has been married to her husband and best friend for 10 years. Together they are raising their four children to follow the Lord’s will, no matter what. Annette longs for the day when she will meet her 5 angel babies who have entered heaven before her. She enjoys creating UNIT STUDIES with FREE PRINTABLES for homeschool families and she gets her scrapbooking fix in by making Subway Art for herself and her readers. You can follow her crazy life at In All You Do where she blogs about homeschooling, gluten- and grain-free recipes, homemaking, the occasional DIY projects and maintaining her sanity. You can also keep up with her via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.