Tuesday, 26 June 2012


Deb: For me, being in partnership in mission with Steve has ultimately meant owning the call on Steve’s life and doing all I can to support and release him into it. At this stage and season in our lives I don’t go with Steve on all his trips away – but it does mean that he knows he goes with my support. It means that I do my best to make sure that home is a place of relaxation and refreshment for him to come back to. Steve might be the one going to the meetings and conferences and standing up to lead and preach on Sundays – but I am still caught up in what we would see as very much a joint call. I pray for him, talk to him and discuss with him what he’s doing and I act as a sounding board when he needs to offload.

As Steve’s areas and levels of responsibility have grown and increased I have had to step up too. I am discovering that owning the call and continuing to be releasing and supportive is an ongoing process. It isn’t always easy and it is a choice I have to make each time.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Strengthening your marriage

Steve: Building a great marriage takes time and effort. In a ministry setting it also takes determination to ensure that ministry priorities don’t take precedence. For Deb and me, every time we have seen ministry breakthrough, our marriage has had to strengthen accordingly. Involved in this has been a commitment to talk about the challenges involved and being clear as to what it means to continue to show love to each other. I firmly believe that for church leaders, the strength of our marriages will have a direct impact on the effectiveness and potential of our ministries. This is another good reason to be committed to investing in our marriages.

So much is at stake here. To fall morally can mean the loss of wife, children job and calling. Behind each story of a failed marriage is the pain caused to families, churches and to God himself. I see this clearly lays out a need to take responsibility.

Take responsibility for your marriage. Talk together about how you are doing. Ask your wife if you are meeting her needs and be honest if your sexual needs are not being met. (In talking with others I find that it generally works this way but it is totally possible that it could be the other way round.) As part of our commitment to our marriage and to each other, Deb and I have agreed that we will read a book on marriage every year. We discuss together what we each read – it gives us the chance to look at things from a point of view we would not necessarily have arrived at on our own.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Meeting each other's needs

Deb: In recent years Steve and I have made it a regular practice to read helpful books on marriage and to discuss them together. One that we have found particularly helpful is an enlightening book called ‘The Five Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman. The author identifies five different ways in which people like to receive love – quality time, receiving gifts, kind actions (acts of service), physical touch and affirming words. It’s an easy read, full of stories that encourage and help us to see how important it is to communicate and show our love in a way that the other appreciates.

We came across this book some years ago now, and reading it helped us understand one another to a far greater degree than we had previously done. Knowing each other’s love languages and trying to show love in the way that our partner likes to receive it will help to create a healthy marriage.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

A good barometer for a marriage

Steve: For some years now Deb and I have run an annual seminar at King’s entitled Sex, Romance and God. For married couples only, it takes place on a Saturday morning providing protected time for couples to think about their relationship and to talk together, as well as giving Deb and I the opportunity to address the subject of sex and romance in marriage far more openly than would be possible on a Sunday morning. Some of the questions we have faced have been challenging, some have been fun! When we first ran the seminar we had to repeat it the following Saturday in order to meet the demand!

It goes without saying that sex is just one aspect of marriage – but it would be our observation over our years in pastoral ministry that the quality of a couple’s sex life provides a good barometer for the health of the marriage overall. Where a couple are not communicating, or have problems in one part of their relationship, it is almost guaranteed that the problem will be quickly reflected in the bedroom.

As part of that seminar we spend time looking at the differing needs of men and women when it comes to maintaining intimacy in marriage – as a broad generalisation (and there will always be exceptions) women tend to need to feel emotionally connected in order to be physically intimate whereas a man finds emotional connection through sex. Interestingly, men are wired in such a way that they are often more emotionally open after sex. It is important that men and women understand how they each approach the matter of closeness and intimacy and how each defines and expresses it. Communication – both talking and listening - are vital in this understanding.

Two books I would recommend in this area would be:

- Sheet Music by Dr Kevin Leman
- The Five Sex Needs of Men and Women by Gary & Barbara Rosberg