If you are married, do you love your spouse? Do you have a good relationship with him or her?
If you answered yes to these questions, I have a follow-up for you: How do you plan to influence your spouse?
Most of the best stuff on ministry, especially youth ministry, these days, is put in terms of “relational” ministry. The gist of relational ministry is that ministry happens in and through relationships we build.
But what is the next step? In more than a few of the books, videos, podcasts, guides, relational ministry is a stepping stone towards influence. We build relationships with people, and then seek to influence then, ostensibly toward God, the Gospel, etc.
But is your relationship with your wife or husband that kind of relationship? Did you build a relationship, then get married, and now your goal is to influence the other is a particular direction?
Is that really what anyone wants in a marriage; to be “influenced” or changed intentionally by another person? Not a chance!
The kind of relationship on which we build good marriages is one of trust and mutuality. Are we changed, even influenced, by the one we marry, the one whom we love and to whom we commit our lives? Of course; we change for the better, and, over the years, in ways we could not have imagined when we walked down the aisle.
But influencing, or changing, the other cannot be the goal of a healthy marriage.
Neither can it be for healthy ministry. A relationship based on one person’s desire to change another person is not a mutual relationship; is not a loving relationship.