One might say that my wife and I are a bit all over the place. And one would not be wrong. Holly and I have often wondered how did we get here? How did we get to a place where we both are in ministry, we have teen kids involved in everything they can get their hands on, we own a farm and we often experiment on our farm with new ventures: Airbnb’s, Wedding Venue, we even bred golden doodles last year. (Don’t bring that on up to Holly—that was a bittersweet process for her. One that we will not be repeating on our farm).
Sometimes I feel like Holly and I need a good lesson in FOCUS. But other times, I find we LOVE this. We love the life we have built. And it’s not chasing things for us. We are not in a race with anyone (except maybe our own energy levels), we have no expectations on the impact we are trying to make. In fact, it was several years ago we exchanged the mantra of, “let’s impact the world” for “let’s impact OUR world.” And the size and scope of our world is NOT up to us. We are not striving to change the size of our world. We’re just focusing on changing it, however small or big that might be.
What we have learned about ourselves in this “a little bit all over the place but a lot settled in our souls” is what we would offer as marriage advice: We are a bit all over the place because Holly and I love the camaraderie found in doing things together. We love the bond in helping the other learn something new that they’ve always wanted to learn. We love the risk in trying something new together and being nervous about it, having to drop to our knees and pray for the courage to just do it. Our souls are wired for camaraderie and the best marriages are made up of two people who work hard to build that with each other. Someone you can call when you need you help on a presentation you procrastinated on, or who can run and grab you paint for the project you underestimated…we are wired to have a "go-to", and Holly and I realized that our toughest season in marriage was when we let someone else besides each other to be that "go-to" for each of us. There is great gratitude and admiration toward someone who helps bail you out all the time or gives you some of their legwork to help you succeed. Hear me, I don’t think it is wrong to have this person outside your marriage, but I do think it makes marriage harder and I do think boundaries must be TIGHT. Especially if your go-to person is an assistant, boss or co-worker of the opposite sex. We admire those who consistently help us and admiration can turn to affection quickly. SO BE CAREFUL and better yet, consider your spouse the one worthy of your greatest camaraderie. The one you talk to about your work stress, the one your dream with how to turn a hobby into a side hustle, the one you start that non-profit with.
Camaraderie is something to protect. It is often the language we use when we need to set new boundaries that help us stay the other’s "go-to".
Recently, Holly told me, “I feel our camaraderie suffers when I’m out of town for ministry and I come home to a messy house." It had nothing to do with her trying to be in control, it just had everything to do with, we are team and when I’m away, I’m assuming you are running Team Home and I am running Team Ministry in that moment. And we are both giving it our all in whatever role we find ourselves at that moment. Now when Holly comes home and the house is tidy, I notice it energizes her, and it’s not the clean house that gives her energy. It’s what the clean house says to her: "I’m coming home to my teammate. I slayed it on the road and he slayed it at home. We work good together.” Camaraderie energizes two people. It multiplies efforts and it reminds us why God said two are better than one. Be each other’s "go-to" and watch the intimacy that builds as you make camaraderie with each other a priority.