What does “ministry” look like in marriage?

We think that ministry in marriage begins with a heart of thankfulness for the life partner we entered into covenant relationship with when we vowed to take him or her for better or worse, in sickness or health, for richer or poorer ~ realizing this promise would be tested over and over until death parts us.

Having said that, maybe we should consider the word “ministry.” The dictionary defines ministry as, “the work or vocation of a minister of religion.” As a result, there often seems to be a limited understanding that ministry is something one does through a church or Christian organization. However, we are learning that ministry in marriage refers to a way of life that begins at home by being an agent of blessing and service to one another.

In Galatians 5:13-14, the Apostle Paul reminds us, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.”

It was quite a revelation to us when we discovered that, as husband and wife, we are our closest neighbors. There are many opportunities in any given day to minister to each other. Here are just a few ways that have made a difference in our marriage:

  1. We have learned the joy of accepting one another’s differences – and even in celebrating them as we grow in understanding each other better and why God has brought two very different people together.
  2. We have also found keys in how to express our love in serving each other in simple ways through Gary Chapman’s teaching on The Five Love Languages (Northfield Publishing, 2015) – this is practical and do-able with great results.
  3. Time spent together in scripture and prayer has cultivated an intimacy that spills over into every area of our marriage. (Perhaps we can share in more detail on these ways in another “Marriage Moment”).

More important than the “how,” is the motive, or the “why.” There are countless ways in which we can love and serve one another, but unless it is out of obedience to God’s Word, it probably won’t be a way of life. Like any other commitment, it is lived out little by little, day by day, until it becomes who we are.

Looking for a practical way to unpack “Ministry in Marriage”? Click here for “Being My Spouse’s Neighbor” a reflective exercise based on Galatians 5:13-14 or listen to “Marriage and Disciplemaking” Episode 15 of The Apprentice Approach Podcast with Terry and Leah Green.

The Apprentice Approach is about helping every-day people master the art of disciplemaking and grew out of the fact that…. Many Christians struggle with making disciples, they feel busy, overwhelmed and not qualified. We understand this struggle which is why we created a Bible based framework so any believer can master the art of disciplemaking! One of our outcomes is seeing the folks we engage with walk away saying, “I can do that!”

Terry Green

Terry has been on staff with The Navigators since 1995 and is passionate about personal  spiritual growth through Biblically-based discovery. With 55+ years of marriage to his beloved wife Leah, his wisdom continues to be a reliable source for learning, development, and renewal for hundreds of marriages through the Glen Eyrie and Navigator ministries. 

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