Patrick + Mindy Crowder
Patrick + Mindy Crowder

A friend asked us: “You counsel hundreds of pastor couples. What problem do you encounter most?”

Our surprising finding: Leaders who make their living as communicators, who lead organizations by unifying conflicting passions, can somehow devolve within their own marriages to being:

  • Tellers, rather than hearers
  • Controllers, rather than collaborators

Objective assessments, such as Prepare/Enrich, repeatedly validate that many pastors are failing at healthy marital communication and conflict resolution.

Our sermons may be celebrated on YouTube, while our conversations are contemptuous at home. Why?

Perhaps this happens because our public roles often pollute our personal lives:

  1. Crowds take notes on every word we say. Family members don’t.
  2. We herd churches toward mission, but people often leave feeling they’re not being genuinely heard.
  3. Our strength and persona at church can unintentionally become a strife-producer at home.

My friend asked us: “What helps?” Our answer: encouraging leaders to slow down and really listen.

“You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” (Jas. 1:19, NLT).

Our deepest desire is to be truly known, yet fully loved. That kind of relationship takes courage, time and intentionality. It requires us to turn toward each other, knee-to-knee.

Start there.

Prayer + Reflection

  1. “Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions” (Prov. 18:2). Ask the Lord what you are not hearing at home, at church and in yourself.
  2. Ask the Lord to orient your heart toward your partner, especially as we observe Valentine’s Day this week. Pray that God would reveal to you ways to show selfless love like His.
  3. Let’s also remember to lift up Foursquare missionaries regularly, focusing this week especially on efforts in Asia, where there are more than 1.7 billion souls yet to be reached with the gospel. Pray for God to prepare workers to share His love and reap a huge harvest, for missionaries attending important training, and for the families of leaders there, especially those who are ill.

Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.

are the founders of Healthy Pastors and Leaders Inc., and serve as pastoral care counselors for the Pacific Southwest District of The Foursquare Church.