When Your Calling Pulls You from Your Marriage

I’m not convinced God calls anyone but Jesus to save the world.

Sure, there are world leaders who can influence the world greatly, and if we all believed our lives had an effect on the world maybe we would see a little more Kingdom Come here on earth. But no one is capable of saving the world except God Himself.

So when I look at front-line leaders who believe they are forced every day to put their vocation before their marriage and family, I wonder what they think they are going to accomplish. No one is indispensable. God can raise up another to do what they are doing. Don’t get me wrong; I admire their courage, success, and endurance, but I can’t help but wonder if there is a misunderstanding of their calling.

Watching friends first hand, I understand that when you are put in a position to make change in dramatic ways you can never really be settled in your spirit again unless you continue to make change. You are a Changemaker. That is who you are. And you have seen injustices that you can no longer ignore in your daily life. A privileged few get to bear that cross to such a degree.

But whether you are ending human trafficking, serving as the President of the United States, revolutionizing education across the world, or sharing the Gospel with tribes who have never heard it before, your calling does not exclude your marriage and family.

When you become one flesh in Christian marriage, it is not simply a role you play when you are home. It is who you are. (The same is true as parents. You don’t stop being a parent when you are not with your children.) Your daily thoughts and decisions are now measured by your identity as a spouse.

God made you with a capacity and gifting unlike that of any other. When you join into a marriage covenant with your spouse, you now have a marriage team with a capacity and gifting unlike any other.

God doesn’t waste these precious combinations. He leverages them.

When God calls you high up in a company or when He calls you to create a world-changing non-profit or when He calls you to up and move to the jungle, He does not call you apart from who you are. It is you the wife He is calling, and you the husband.

There might be seasons when you are asked to prioritize your vocation or calling above your time with your spouse and family, but if season connects with too many other seasons, you are likely skewing your understanding of what God desires. If your vitality is coming from your vocation and you are drained at home, you are not taking care of what God first desires you to care for. If you are too busy for time with God and time with your spouse but still believe you are devoting your time to what He wants for you, you are likely projecting your design for your calling onto His.

Your marriage is a supernatural union that God created for love; it is elevated higher than a vocation. Love always trumps projects. Family relationships trump work endeavors.

Love is the heavenly strategy that we are all called to.
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What your vocation is doesn’t matter if you are not doing it with love. And love begins in your marriage and family and pours out unto others. Love your neighbor as yourself. Your spouse and you are one flesh. Love your neighbor as your marriage.

You might be the perfect fit for the job or vocation that you have, and you might be in it at the exact opportunity that seems good. But if your marriage is not being nurtured by you, you are either in the wrong timing, in the wrong place, or utilizing the wrong strategy. It is worth asking God the difficult question, “Do I need to leave this seemingly perfect fit for the sake of my marriage?” Or has your calling become an idol that keeps you from being fully who God wants you to be right now.

God called the Israelites out of slavery and into the Promised Land, but then He made them wait for 40 years. God asked Samuel to anoint David as king, but then David had to wait in great peril during Saul’s reign before becoming king. Paul was converted and charged with a mission to reach the gentiles, but he took years before starting his ministry. Even Jesus didn’t begin acting in His “official calling” until the wedding at Cana. You might know exactly how God wants to give heavenly purpose to your life, and you might even be tasting it right now in what seems like the perfect opportunity, but if your spouse is not on board and your marriage is not elevated, then God might just be kindly giving you a glimpse of what is to come and asking you to wait. To wait until you are ready, until your spouse is ready (or your kids), to wait until the world is ready…

God can replace you in your time of waiting, and even if He doesn’t and your endeavors crumble in your absence, God can always rebuild them. But your marriage team is part of your calling–part of your identity–and without that first in place and continually in place, you will be redesigning a covenant that God has already perfected.

He does not call married people to forsake their marriages in order to pursue a vocation or calling. He does not pretend that married people have as much vocational capacity as single people do. Paul talks about this tension in 1 Corinthians 7. But He does have in mind for you, the wife, and for you, the husband, a calling that is a fit for you because you are married.

Your spouse will be integral in your calling because your spouse is integral in bettering you.
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What is your marriage worth to you? I believe that marriage is dearer to God’s heart than any endeavor you or I could achieve. If your marriage team is not winning because of your vocation, find a different opportunity, a different timetable, or a different strategy in your vocation. A spouse is who you are. God will call you in your complex and beautiful identity to something unique to you as you are in your marriage team.


Lindsay Hall is a grounded writer and speaker who champions marriage. Having earned her B.A. in English from Yale University, she created the Christian bride blog The Sweet Christian Bride, which offers her free e-book A Bride's Devotional. Additionally, she has published The Purposed Bride, a wedding guide for the mind, heart, and spirit of a Christian bride. She and her husband, Chris, launched the Young Marrieds ministry at their Los Angeles church. Currently they teach marriage seminars with the international organization The Significant Marriage. They enjoy mentoring, teaching, and encouraging other married couples. Outside of marriage ministry, Lindsay engages in the anti-trafficking movement, and in her free time, she loves to travel, hike, eat good food, and date her incredibly hunky husband. Follow her on Twitter @lindsaythall.

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