How can one’s spouse contribute to his or her ministry with sportspeople? Where are the opportunities for a spouse to enhance the ministry in a significant way? Across my twenty-three years of such service, my service has been greatly enhanced by my wife in several ways. Let’s consider some of the possibilities.
· A spouse can be a tremendous complement to one’s service, in serving sportspeople in the home. In my case, my wife is tremendously gifted in hospitality. She is an excellent and creative cook, thus part of our service of sportspeople includes having them in our home for breakfast, dinner, dessert, or just snacks. As we host meetings or individuals in our home, the hospitality provided by my wife really sets the stage for my service. Her service makes mine better. If she was not willing to have people “invade our space” it would be much more difficult to serve and the setting for some of our most effective service would be lost.
· A spouse can add perspective to one’s service, due to his or her personality, experience, and giftedness. As most couples are, my wife and I are much different in terms of style, temperament, and giftedness. I am an extrovert, she is an introvert. She serves very naturally, I have to think about it. She is intuitive about people and their motives, I am much more likely to judge things by their appearance. I trust her intuition about people and their motives. We compare notes about situations and her counsel leads to better decisions.
· A spouse can be a valuable anchor to a sports chaplain’s busy life of travel. Sometimes a sports chaplain’s life may include travel with teams, to conferences, to training events, or other travel opportunities. In my case, I love to travel, but my wife does not. Some spouses love to travel with their busy sports chaplain husband or wife, but others would prefer to stay home. My wife, after forty-two years of marriage, does not want to tag along with me, just to have me work all the time, and leaving her to hang out in a hotel room. “No, thanks,” she says. The benefit to me is that when I travel in my sports chaplain role, I am able to be 100% on all the time. I spend no time thinking about pleasing her as we travel, nor adjusting to her speed. I am able to be my intense, extroverted, deeply engaged self with total freedom. Whether your spouse likes to travel with you or not, he or she may be a tremendous asset to your service.
· A spouse can be an effective oasis for one’s consuming life with people of sport. In our roles, we often take on the stress, concerns, pain, successes, and failures of others. This can certainly wear one down, leading to fatigue and other effects upon our hearts. A wise, loving spouse can help distract us from the busyness and second hand pain we bear. My wife keeps me engaged in our extended family, helps me see other people in our community, and enables me to serve some of the people behind the scenes of the sports world. She volunteers in the equipment room with that staff during football preseason and then on game days. Her care for and personal connections with these people affords me unique opportunities to serve this often overlooked team of selfless people.
These are just a few of the myriad ways a spouse can be a tremendous complement to a sports chaplain, a character coach, or a sports mentor. I am reminded of the proverb, “He who finds a wife, finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.” I have certainly found a good wife, she is very good, and I have obtained great favor from the Lord. I pray that you find or have found a good spouse, and that you find similar favor from the Lord.