If you make that decision in order to honor God, you’ll probably make it just fine. The mantle on your spouse is HUGE and you better be the one to help them carry it. You’ve got to decide not to be miserable and lean into the challenge with a gusto! He’s using you in the midst of difficulty and you’re going to be just fine.It’s OK to be yourself, it’s OK if people don’t like everything you do, and it’s OK to boldly go in the direction that God has intended for you, even if the crowd is shouting to go the other way.So I’m writing this document to explain to my friends and family -- and the general public— these rules are in place, and why, increasingly, observers of religion and sexual abuse awareness organizations say that pastor-parishioner relationships should be forbidden.One more quick point: I’m not the kind of person who frequently tells people how they should behave in their sex lives.My responsibility is not to the ministry or to my spouse…my responsibility is to Jesus Christ and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.If I live for Him, the rest just all falls into place…It was even harder for the people around me to understand why particular pastor’s behavior was improper, because the classic gender roles were reversed: I’m a man, and the minister is a woman.Nonetheless, she was trained in seminary not to make advances at parishioners, and denominational officials and various outside organizations all eventually said that she had violated the basic rules and ethics of ministry.
And here’s the kicker…if you make the decision to do the right thing just to honor your spouse, you will resent him or her for it one day. There’s no person on earth who needs more encouragement than a pastor. And trust me, those few minutes on a Sunday morning where he/she is preaching is the most important few minutes of his/her week. Too many people I know are miserable in ministry…that’s because it’s hard!If you fight with your pastor, you’re going to start hating your church. If being part of a stable religious community is at all something that matters to you, then you don’t want to get on an emotional roller-coaster every time you walk down the aisle.This is particularly a problem if there’s only one church you can go to in your town—or, in my case, the was basically the only English-speaking Protestant congregation in Paris, and the theater of the misconduct. No matter what you do, your pastor is going to have at least some charismatic power over you. Ministers are, by definition, experts on God-related stuff.Pastors, like everyone else, don’t want to have their sex lives examined by their community.Especially if that community is paying their salary, and holds them up as a model of moral behavior. But when someone in a congregation finds out that a pastor and a parishioner are dating, the news is wildfire, and the questions never stop.
It’s worse than being on the cover of the National Enquirer, because it’s your that’s curious about your sex life, and they’re all spiritually invested in the pastor’s emotional stability.