Two weeks ago my wife and only daughter, along with her steady beau, called me to the dining room for a meeting after supper. I had been warned by my wife that this meeting was imminent, but alas, I still found myself unprepared. The talk ensued and I was informed by my daughter’s suitor that he loved my daughter, wished to marry her, and would like my blessing to do so. The day I have dreaded since my daughter was born had arrived – another man was sitting across from me asking me if he could have her! I admit that I like this suitor very much; that he is the most suitable suitor to date! Yet, all I can think of at this moment is that my baby girl will be leaving me to be taken care of by another – is he ready for this responsibility? Will he nurture and protect her, love and cherish her, as I have done the past 23 years?
When Penny and I married 30 years ago this past May, I had just graduated from college and had surrendered to a call to ministry. One thing we both knew – we did not want our marriage to turn out (or end up) as many ministry marriages we had witnessed. At the time we were in a circle of churches that lauded the sacrifice of wife and children on the altar of “ministry”. They praised those who neglected their relationship with their spouse and children because they had “more important” obligations. We had observed that the result of this attitude was bitter wives and children who rejected the God their daddy purportedly served. We promised each other that we were entering this marriage and this ministry as a team; or as scripture states “one flesh”. That to lose our marriage or our children to save our “ministry” would be a failure of the highest order.
This week I started reading a book entitled Good Christians Good Husbands? Leaving a Legacy in Marriage & Ministry. The title is intriguing and the introduction eye opening. It broaches the question every minister planning to marry should ask: what biblical and theological convictions should govern how one views one’s role as a minister of the gospel in relation to one’s role as a husband and father? The author, Doreen Moore, states that the purpose of her book is to “help us develop Biblical convictions regarding one’s relationship to ministry in light of having a wife (and family).” I look forward to reading this book and sharing with you insights from it in my next blog post. In the meantime, I have given my blessing to Allison and Aaron and will attempt to be a good father of the bride in the weeks and months ahead before the wedding day!