A couple of weeks ago, my husband Mike was called to be ward clerk. (I know that doesn’t sound that exciting, but in our ward, a clerk is treated much like a couselor.) I have mixed feelings about it, to say the least. On the one hand, my uber-responsible husband will do a good job and will have opportunities to give thoughtful and sensitive advice to our huge oversized ward’s bishopric. On the other… he’s rising out of a realm of church service in which we can share and discuss everything. I’m sad about this. One of the things I treasure most in our relationship is the fact that we communicate so openly.
In the past, as a gospel doctrine teacher, Mike would often go over his lessons with me beforehand and ask for and incorporate my advice. Likewise as ward employment specialist, he would ask my opinion and talk about some of the people he was helping. In some ways I felt like we were a team with some of these callings. The same went for my own callings, as Mike would come with me every Sunday and help me teach primary kids or give me his opinions on my humanitarian calling.
Now it’s a whole different ballgame. Mike will be gone three or four hours before church starts every single Sunday. (I’m bummed we won’t have Sunday mornings together and that he won’t be around then to help me with our baby that will be born in a month.) And of course, I’m also sad that we won’t be able to share the same types of things we have in the past. He’ll be in meetings for hours talking about how people can help those most in need in our ward. And from now on, he won’t be able to share these things with me, in the interests of protecting people’s privacy. I understand the reason for this and all, but it’s still sad to know that a part of him, a part that will be consumed in a lot of emotional effort and time, will be cut off from me.
I haven’t thought this out deeply, but I suppose in my ideal world husbands and wives could share (leadership) callings. I’ve often thought this would be great. Spouses could work together to serve people in the ward. They could trade off so that one wasn’t always stuck taking care of the kids. Over-extended men who work 80 hours a week could share their church service burden with a wife who very possibly has much more flexible time to serve. Women with children could step away from that role and really feel like they were contributing in another extremely important realm. Members of the ward could choose to counsel with either the husband or wife, depending on who they were most comfortable with. This seems like a winning idea to me.
What do you all think about my ideal world calling scenario?
And moving back to the real world, I was wondering how other women whose husband’s have been in leadership callings have dealt with this. Was it lonely for you? Difficult? Did your husbands find ways of solliciting your opinion and advice, without betraying anyone’s privacy?
Or, if your husband has not been in such a position, how do you think you would deal with it? Also, have any of you women in leadership positions had spouses that struggled with the time, effort, and perhaps silence that accompanied some of your callings?