Don't discount your anger; your emotions are a barometer that tells you something is wrong. But you're right — harboring resentment won't help you. Instead, use your anger to fuel an action plan:
Before talking with James about what should change in your home, remind yourself of what may have to stay the same. Yes, James needs to spend more time with you and the kids, but his ministry demands that he sometimes be called away unexpectedly, for example. Your goal should not be to "steal him back" from ministry but to help him find a balance between home and work.
If you blurt out, "I hate how much you neglect us!" you will put your husband on the defensive. Say something such as, "James, I feel hurt that we don't spend much time together as a family anymore."
Some ministers find it easier to say no to other commitments when they schedule family time in advance. Suggest that he set aside regular "dates" with you and the kids, as well as times (e.g., nightly dinnertime) for the whole family to discuss the day.
To keep your husband accountable (and you from growing bitter), agree to talk every few weeks about how each of you is feeling about the work-family balance. If over time you are still dissatisfied with the arrangement, discuss again how both of you can arrange your time to make changes.
For example, if James can't keep weekly dates with each of the kids, suggest that he start off by spending one-on-one time with each child every two weeks. Be reasonable and flexible, but remind James that you can't compromise on your commitment to the family.
Ever feel like you need to wear a mask to cover up who you are? Are you concerned that, if people knew who you really are and how you really felt, they wouldn't understand?
One minister, two jobs and the family that's at the top of the list. The number of bivocational ministers, those in full- or part-time ministry who carry an additional job, is estimated by some researchers to be as high as 30 percent of ministers nationwide.
"You should see the church they attend," Lucille said, armed with bulletin and newsletter. Creases formed across my brow as celebration gave way to comparisons a trap that had sprung too many times.