In a previous post, I wrote about the pastor’s spouse’s emotions during a time of ministry transition. You will need to read that post HERE for this post to make complete sense.That post resonated with several who are dealing with that issue. My post was to bring awareness to those emotions, but as I expected, it generated questions.
People wanted to know how…how do they help their spouse transition?
Great question. I don’t have all the answers, but I have some.
Here are 10 ways to help your spouse in a job transfer:
Celebrate what she’s doing – Many times your excitement will seem to diminish what your spouse is doing. I was talking to a young pastor recently who is experiencing great success in his new church. At the same time, his wife is watching their children. I reminded him that changing diapers on the children he loves is just as powerful. He knew that, but he needed a reminder to celebrate that fact.
Help her explore…pace herself – Eventually, she needs to find her own identity. It will take time. Allow her the freedom to do so, even if that means you have to keep the children some so she can.
Don’t lock her into your world – Don’t dictate her ministry. My wife and I our partners, but she is not me. Nor am I her. Her interests and mine are different. That’s okay. It’s actually by design. She makes me better. And, in a much smaller way I’m sure, I make her better.
Listen to her – That’s always important, but even more so in times of stress or change. You’ll be busier than ever. But she will need you…more than ever. Listen. The practice will serve you and your marriage in the days ahead.
Let her grieve – She may mourn over the separation from friends. She may miss the old house. She may complain at times that the supermarket isn’t as easy to navigate. It’s a part of the acclimating process. Give it time.
Be conscious – It won’t be the same. It probably never will be. Her role will be different. Your role will be different. You will have different friends. Your schedules may be altered. Your routines will change. Be conscious that this creates stress in people and relationships.
Be present when home – When you finally get home, be fully home. Shut down. Have some times where you quit everything work related and be with your family. Give your family the attention they deserve.
Celebrate your new area – Explore the new city together. Discover the hidden gems and be a tourist for a while. (I wrote a post about how to acclimate to a new city HERE.)
Keep her informed – She will naturally feel somewhat isolated from your exciting new world. Don’t allow that emotion because you’ve excluded her from it. Make her feel a part of things as much as you can by giving her details of your day. I realize this will require even more patience, but during transition she needs to be even more a part of your day that she missed.
Be patient – It may take longer for her to acclimate to the new environment than you think it should. That’s okay. She’s not you. Don’t expect her to respond to change the same way you would.
Those are my suggestions. If you’re in a time of transition, for the good of your marriage and yourself, be intentional!
Have you transitioned recently? What recommendations do you have?