Reading time: It’s Lent, so please keep it under two minutes, Darrell! This is directed particularly toward married church workers. I want you and your spouse to have a great Easter celebration and not spend Easter Sunday afternoon and the weeks following in marital recovery mode! There’s a natural tendency among those of us who are “married to the church” to place our ministry lives and expectations above those of our personal lives. When the calendar is overloaded, as it often is during a season like Lent, the inclination to neglect marriage and family becomes an almost automatic reality. I know this to be a fact: with a few (very scary!) exceptions, none of us wants this to happen. Most of you are very concerned about the price your family pays and many of you have good conversations at home about it. Today I’ll offer a little encouragement for your relational wellbeing in this busy time. Very brief! The Lenten/Easter season is our celebration of being brought near to God. Imagine Jesus calling us His friends! What a wonder that God drew near to us, as a bridegroom draws his beloved bride to himself. The best understanding of what that grace relationship is like is in our own married lives. What an amazing analogy God has given us; we’re the bride of Christ! How better to proclaim this wondrous news of God’s perfect love than from a foundation in our own strong, grace-full, loving, caring, forgiving relationships in marriage? Here’s a couple of suggestions to start your thinking. I hope my ideas will stir up even better ideas of your own on how you might strengthen your marriage through the season of Lent. 1. Have a frank talk about what Lent does to church worker marriages. Tell your spouse, “We need to talk about the next six weeks.” Then share how you feel torn between your two loves, how you struggle with guilt, how you’re trying to do your best, but it’s rarely good enough. Talk about it. Get it out in the open. Don’t let the devil get a foothold over this. 2. Set some date nights on the calendar between now and Holy Week and keep them sacred. If you don’t build it in and plan for it all week, it won’t happen. 3. Plan also a time of post-Easter relationship healing time. In your heart to heart conversation time, check your calendars for a few days when you can both get off work and pay attention to each other. Kids in school? Can’t take a vacation? That’s okay. Plan a two or three day stay-cation just for each other. Tell your spouse, “These are days just for you.” Get it on the calendar now. We can never love and serve the people of the church more than we do the people at home. Show your number one just where she fits on your priority list. Thanks for reading.