Being a SUMITE is full of interesting conundrums that can at times lead to much discouragement. One of these conundrums is our commitment to various Christian communities. I use the plural here to reflect both the church we attend plus other relationships (one-on-one and group) that we may partake in.
As we’ve discussed before, sometimes our commitments can have a significant impact on our partners. Frustration, discouragement, isolation and sheer anger are some of the feelings our partners experience. These emotions naturally flow into our marriages and can cause our partners and us much stress.
Lack of Interest
A common refrain we often hear from our partners is a lack of interest in our faith journey. So our church attendance, content shared at meetings, etc just aren’t of interest. There’s a chunk of our lives that is pivotal to us that our partners are not really interested in.
A natural flow on to this is that our partners may not enthusiastically support us in developing friendships with Christian couples, even though we may be keen to do so.
Is this something you’ve found?
It’s another trick of the enemy. For whatever reason it’s part of the continuing blindfold that he places over our pre-believing partners eyes.
This results in the ongoing conundrum of doing life in our Christian communities in isolation to some extent. Certainly we can walk side-by-side with individuals but so much of life is done in a coupled environment, especially as we get older.
We can get caught in up in a lifestyle where all the people we associate with and conversations and so on are all Christian related. My wife raised this with me the other day. It concerns her because a big chunk of my life doesn’t involve and/or interest her.
And I get it. So much of my time, people, books I read, the study and (at present) vocation, are to do with my faith.
So how do we ensure we don’t unknowingly ostracize our partner?
Fix our eyes on Jesus
But aren’t I saying I’m doing too much of that?
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God…” (Hebrews 12: 1b-2 MSG)
Jesus spent a lot of time with His disciples but we also see how much time He spent in the world. He didn’t hang around in a Christian bubble, He went out amongst the people and associated with people that many in church frowned upon: the lepers, the prostitutes, etc.
Further, Jesus will provide us with the wisdom and discernment in our discussions with our partners and in the steps we take to manage this challenge.
It goes without saying that we also need to prioritise our time with our partners. Recently my church held its annual conference and I felt it best to not physically attend so I could be present with my wife. Yes, there were times I popped onto the live internet feed but I had discussed this with her ahead of time.
I’m not sure what changes I’ll make but I’m appreciative that my wife shared her concern and it has stimulated an ongoing dialogue about it and how we can manage a balance that both glorifies the Lord and help honor our marriage in the process.
How do you and your partner manage this balance?
Please leave your thoughts as I hope we can stimulate a really positive discussion on a tricky and at times contentious subject.
Grace and peace dear friends,