But from our private conversations and our day-to-day life, I am fully aware that he also gets weary and needs pastoring himself. In those moments, he needs encouragement, rest, and faith spoken into him. And I know I am the primary person who can do that, sometimes the only person who is doing it regularly. I am the one who can pastor him, the one who can champion and celebrate his strengths, as well as the one who can gently bring blind spots into view.
My influence can be positive or negative; I help or I hinder.
I know what it is to hinder my husband. I've spoken bitterness into him concerning people in our ministry who have offended me. I have manipulated him in my discontentedness. I have been emotionally unrestrained. I have too confidently trusted my own wisdom and discernment and pushed it on my husband. I have failed to recognize his need for encouragement and support. I have harshly spoken my resentments at what his job has required of me.
I've received many gifts through church planting and one of them is this: I now fully recognize just how much influence I have on my husband, and I also recognize how much this influence indirectly affects our church. I really, really want to be wise with this influence that I've been entrusted with by God.
I've learned a thing or two about myself, using my influence wisely, and helping my husband. I try to celebrate the victories, no matter how small. After church on Sunday, I give him specific positive feedback about his sermon without him having to ask for it, but I only give him constructive criticism when he asks for it. I speak highly of the elders and staff that he serves with. I pray for him and tell him I am doing so. I tell him I'm proud to be his wife. I walk with the Lord and let Him help me sort out my emotions before going to my husband with them. I verbally celebrate his strong character and integrity. And, most importantly, I constantly work at joyfully embracing this calling on my husband's life and what it means for me.
You are an extremely influential person, too.
At least that's what your husband would say if I asked him who most affects his attitude, his spiritual growth, his leadership, his courage, and his decisions both inside and outside the home. You have powerful influence in the life of a man who influences a whole host of people through preaching, leading, counseling, and decision-making.
You influence the influencer. Are you helping him or are you hindering him?
Readers, how do you practice helpful influence in your marriage?
This post was inspired by a talk Kathy Litton gave at the Velocity Conference I recently attended. Kathy is a pastor's wife and heads up Flourish.me, a place of encouragement for ministry wives. She has been a source of blessing and encouragement to me personally. I hope you'll jump on over to Flourish and find the same wisdom and refreshment that I've received from her. If you'd like to grow in this area, I also highly recommend the book Sacred Influence by Gary Thomas. And of course I wrote about helping our husbands in my book.