Balancing Marriage and Ministry

Table of Content

Marriage can bring happiness and satisfaction to an individual’s life. Nonetheless, incorporating ministry without proper equilibrium can also result in difficulties and tension. If God summons someone to serve in ministry, gender is not a determining aspect. Both marriage and ministry were established by God, who understands their potential for harmonious coexistence. Problems arise when people disregard His divine plan, ignore His guidance, and lack balance. Women often face the expectation of successfully managing both marriage and ministry.

Women are held solely responsible for the success or failure, with failure being attributed to their perceived inappropriate position. They are burdened with multiple responsibilities and face the dilemma of choosing between being a homemaker or a minister chosen by God. Married women in ministry often face criticism for neglecting their family duties and satisfying their husband’s desires. When they take on leadership roles or engage in ministry work, they are viewed as overly assertive and labeled as contradicting biblical teachings.

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There are conflicting viewpoints and interpretations regarding women in ministry, particularly those who are married. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that God has called married women to nurture His people through love and the teachings of His Word. Both ministry and marriage come with significant challenges, but they can be fruitful and successful with the right elements. These endeavors require extensive prayer, prioritization, and a shared mission to fulfill God’s purpose. Achieving this also involves finding a harmonious balance and integration of both roles. Importantly, God has chosen many women for ministry despite the difficulties involved, and there are numerous rewards for obeying His will.

Despite being married, women often face stereotypes that limit them to the role of home caregivers. Society expects them to prioritize their responsibilities as housewives, ministers, and caregivers for their husbands and children, rather than being involved in ministry outside the confines of their homes. This controversial topic has sparked debates among both men and women. Some argue that women have the right to work in ministry, and that household duties should be shared between spouses. Meanwhile, others believe that ministry should be solely left to husbands, with women focusing on learning at home. These conflicting viewpoints have led to turmoil and divorce in many marriages.

They never learn the art of balancing marriage and ministry. According to Jeanna Floyd, author of 10 things Every Minister’s Wife Should Know, the tension of balancing time, family, and church will always be present in ministry life (Floyd, 2010) (p. 69). Both marriage and ministry require significant dedication and time. Combining the two can be challenging and exhausting. However, with proper balance and God’s guidance, marriage and ministry can be successfully integrated (Markland, 2009) (p. 83). This paper will discuss the issues faced by women in ministry, God’s expectations for women in ministry, and strategies for achieving a balance between marriage and ministry. Women in ministry often face controversy and complications due to societal perceptions that women participating in the ministry are out of order. This topic is complex and polarizing, with even like-minded individuals holding differing opinions.

According to Doriani (2003, p. 15), women in ministry encounter numerous challenges. In our culture, traditional teachings have always posed threats and obstacles for women interested in ministry. The controversy and division that emerged during the early church continue to persist today. Grenz (1995, pg. 9) states that Evangelicals are divided into two distinct groups: egalitarians who believe all aspects of ministry should be open to women, and complementarians who believe women should only serve in supportive roles. Consequently, women are either fully accepted or accepted with limitations, often restricted to supportive roles. In some cases, women were even prohibited from speaking in the church.

The incorrect support for this belief comes from a single verse of scripture in the Bible. When faced with a situation of conflict within the church, Paul used a verse from the Bible to address and resolve confusion. He stated, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law” (1 Corinthians 14:34, KJV). This misinterpreted verse has led numerous religious organizations to prohibit women from teaching, speaking, or engaging in any form of ministry. Walter Elwell aptly explains this by saying, “The reason that women rather than men are mentioned here may be due to the fact that in Corinth women were the primary disturbers” (Elwell, 2001) (pg. 1284). This issue revolves around maintaining order within the church, rather than establishing male authority over women as commonly believed. Unfortunately, this perspective has been passed down through generations and still persists today.

The portrayal of women in churches often depicts them as disruptors or weak leaders, resulting in the expectation for them to remain silent. This leads to ministerial duties being exclusive to men. Moreover, women are commonly restricted to traditional gender roles and prohibited from participating in activities outside their homes. This belief originates from the notion that women are inferior and should only fulfill the roles of wives, mothers, and caregivers. However, there is no explicit mention in the Bible regarding confining women to their homes. In fact, there are instances where women played crucial roles alongside Jesus and Paul, indicating their involvement beyond domestic boundaries (Doriani, Women and Ministry: What the Bible Teaches, 2003) (p. 98). Both men and women, as well as husbands and wives alike, are called by God to engage in ministry without any form of favoritism. The Apostle Peter’s statement emphasizes this: “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34 KJV). Ultimately, God intends for ministry to be carried out according to His divine plan. These requirements reflect God’s expectations for women in ministry.

God has the same expectations for women as He does for men in ministry and desires that they support each other in their work. According to Holmes (2008), in their original design, men and women were meant to support and protect each other, complementing each other’s strengths and awareness. They were also called to fulfill God’s will in bringing souls to Him. Married couples were specifically called to be spiritually united for God’s purposes.

In their book Singleness, Marriage and the Will of God: A Comprehensive Biblical Guide, authors Robin Maxson and Garry Frieson discuss how Aquila and Priscilla from the Bible exemplify God’s intention to unite marriages for the purpose of working together as a team to fulfill His will. The authors emphasize that Aquila and Priscilla are always mentioned together, highlighting their unity and partnership in a shared mission. Instead of just being soul mates, they can be seen as “mission mates” (Maxson, 2012, p. 113). It is important to note that God’s requirements apply universally to all individuals.

God desires devotion, unity, and willing hearts. There are no gender or marital status requirements for delivering His message. He called both male and female disciples and commanded them to go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He also instructed them to teach all that He had commanded and promised to be with them always until the end of the world (Matthew 28:19-20, KJV). This command does not discriminate based on gender or marital status.

According to Dr. Jack W. Hayford (1994, p. v), it is vital for Christ’s disciples to understand the importance of their mission and ministry as servants of God. He emphasizes that gender should not limit the significance or scope of living for and serving Christ. Dr. Hayford also mentions that women in ministry can help balance their responsibilities at home and in the ministry, and achieving this balance is a challenging yet possible goal.

In his discussion on balancing marriage and ministry, Dr. Hayford references the description of a woman in Proverbs 31. He highlights that this woman’s industrious nature is not the focal point, but rather her character and how she interacts with the world around her. According to Dr. Hayford (1994, pg. 1), at the core of this passage lies a powerful truth: a woman who fears the Lord has access to a blessed life filled with joy, appreciation, love, and contentment. Ultimately, a woman must prioritize God and place Him first in every aspect of her life.

The key to obtaining balance in the ministry for women is understanding that God is the absolute. His divine direction and guidance enable women to manage their marriage, children, and ministry for His service and Glory. Women must demonstrate selflessness in both ministry and marriage while also taking care of their needs. To combat selfishness, women must follow the admonishment of the Apostle Paul to esteem others better than themselves, as written in Philippians 2:3 (KJV). By doing so, selfishness can be destroyed, and spiritual balance and serving one another can be promoted. Women in ministry succeed when they exude selflessness, practice time management, and prioritize effectively. Balancing ministry and marriage requires proper time management and setting priorities to prevent neglecting or overcompensating in either area.

But to glorify God in their service to their family, their jobs, and through ministering to others. Next to individual relationship with Christ, marriage is the next most important relationship a woman can have. Therefore, women need to cultivate spiritual intimacy with their spouses just as they develop spiritual intimacy with Christ. “Developing spiritual intimacy means that believing couples seek to help each other deepen their relationship in Christ” (Thompson, 2009) (p. 95). Women in ministry will involve their spouses as they seek to please God in service to Him.

To have a successful marriage and a healthy family, it is crucial for both spouses to participate in fulfilling God’s call as a united family. This entails involving their children and ensuring that everyone comprehends the significance of this commitment. Additionally, expressing love for her family and God is pivotal for a woman. She must undertake the responsibility and accountability of sharing her devotion to both her family and her ministry. It is also her duty to guarantee that her spouse and children feel loved and cared for, without feeling neglected or prioritized below her ministry.

The involvement of the family in a united mission that demands sacrifice and understanding in every role is crucial. Consequently, a woman’s marriage, family, and ministry can all partake in her and in the love of God as she serves Christ and His people. Love forms the foundation of both marriage and ministry and is expressed through acts of service. Instead of conflicting, competing, or causing conflict, marriage and ministry should blend harmoniously. Both involve serving the needs of others while also reaping the rewards of that servitude.

We need to recognize that God is the essential factor in achieving balance. He does not create confusion and is not pleased when marriages and ministries face difficulty, pain, or hardship because of unbalanced conflicts. Women can effectively handle their marriage and ministry by seeking God’s assistance and relying on Him, instead of relying solely on their own capabilities and understanding. Proper management contributes to establishing a strong and prosperous marriage and a successful and gratifying ministry.


Doriani, D. (2003). Women and Ministry: What the Bible Teaches. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
Doriani, D. (2003). Women in Ministry. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
Dr. Jack W. Hayford, I. (1994). Biblical Ministries through Women: God’s Daughters and God’s Work. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
Elwell, W. A. (2001). Evangelical Dictionary of Theology-Second Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academics.
Floyd, J. (2010). 10 Things Every Minister’s Wife Need to Know. Green Forest, AR: New Leaf Press.
Grenz, S. (1995). Women in the Church: A Biblical Theology of Women in Ministry.

The following books are cited with their respective authors and publishers:

Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity.

Holmes, R. S. (2008). The Balancing Act: A Guide to maintaining a Healthy Marriage. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse.

Markland, D. E. (2009). Women! Be Silent No More. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Maxson, J. R. (2012). Singleness, Marriage and the Will of God:A Comprehensive Biblical Guide. Eugene. OR: Harvest House Publishers.

Thompson, D. D. (2009). Twelve Biblical Steps to a Successful Marraige: A Simple Explanation of God’s Principles for Husbands and Wives. Nashville, TN: Xulon Press, a Division of Thomas Nelson.

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