By DEBRA WHITE SMITH
Question: My fiancé and I have been engaged for six months. We are on the verge of finishing college. When I agreed to marry him, he was wrapping up a business degree. Now, he is saying he believes God is calling him to be a pastor; and he keeps asking me if I am feeling the call to be a pastor's wife. I keep hedging, but the truth is, I don't feel that call-at all. I am going to be a nurse, and I'm content with that. I feel like that is what God wants me to do. I'm very confused. I do care for my fiancé, but I believe ministry should be something a couple shares. If I don't feel the passion for being a pastor's wife, I'm afraid I will just be dead weight on his ministry efforts. I'm beginning to doubt that we should get married-that perhaps God has someone else for him. But when I think these thoughts, then I feel guilty-like I'm throwing him away just because he wants to be a pastor. But that's not the case at all. I do care for him…I guess enough that I'm willing to release him if I'm not the best life partner for him. I'm really uncertain and don't know what to do.
Answer: Your situation is a prime example of the reason I tell young people not to rush into any marriage. Too many times, young people can meet a special someone, believe they've found the love of their life, get married too quick, and one day realize they don't share the same life goals with their new mate.
Every question you are asking is wise and is very much appropriate for the situation. You are correct in assuming that if someone is going to have an effective pastoral ministry, then that person's spouse needs to be fully supportive and feel a part of the ministry. There are ministry professionals whose spouses are not supportive, and that can be a hindrance to any ministry efforts. In other words, when a person is called by God to be in ministry, then it's best for that person's spouse to share a call — even if it's just to support the spouse's ministry efforts.
If you are not feeling any nudge from the Holy Spirit that supportive ministry is to be your life's calling, then I highly recommend that you honestly share your thoughts and feelings with your fiancé. Make him aware that you just aren't “there” and that the two of you should pray about God's perfect will for your lives. At this point, commit to praying together and alone for several weeks in order to determine the direction the Lord would have you go. As you pray, one of two things will happen:
1. If God has plans for you to enter ministry with this man, you will grow into an awareness of a call to supportive ministry;
2. If God has another mate for this man, then your heart will steadily shrink away from thoughts of supportive ministry, and you will know that God has other plans for both of you.
If it is not God's will for you to marry this man, and the two of you are walking close to the Lord, then eventually, both of you will know that your romantic relationship must end. Even though you call off the engagement, there will be an uncanny peace that stabilizes the effects of the break-up trauma. The parting will be bittersweet, but you will both know it's for the best of your futures.
But remember, there's no need to rush into anything at this point-neither the marriage nor the breakup. Simply honestly state your heart to your fiancé, commit the situation to prayer, and allow the Lord to lead you both. You can rest assured that He will make His plan clearly evident and will give you both the strength to walk in sequence with his bidding.
The author of 54 books, Debra White Smith holds an M.A. from U.T. and is the featured relationship specialist on the Fox News Radio Show, “Plain Jane Wisdom.” She and her husband, Daniel, co-pastor Palestine Church of the Nazarene. For more information, visit www.debrawhitesmith.com. Got a problem? E-mail Debra at firstname.lastname@example.org