One of my first memories of my husband was in Speech 101. He got up in front of our small class and I was in awe. Whew! He was so good! He was so natural. He was so smart. He was so cute. If I was going to marry a pastor, I wanted to be married to a preacher like him. After almost 14 years of marriage, I still think all of those things.
Some of you know that my husband just became a lead pastor. For the first 7 years of our marriage, he was a youth pastor, speaking at least once a week. Those years are a blur, but I remember being horrified by some things that would come out of his mouth, and I remember arguments about those things. I don’t, however, remember exactly what he said (if there are any of our old adult leaders that are reading this now and DO remember, please refresh my memory). The only memories that I have are of me glaring at him from the back of the auditorium. If he had seen my eyes, he probably would have ran from the pulpit. Good times.
I really wish I had written those horrible comments down.
I think it would make for a good laugh.
Then for 6 or so years he was a staff pastor, speaking every other month, sometimes less. I remember a few funny things he said, but nothing over-the-top. I do recall, however, acting horrible to him after a few messages. If I could go back, I would change the way I talked to him during those years.
In a controlling way, I would write down every little thing that I thought he should change, and I had lots of ideas. My tone wasn’t nice, and it certainly wasn’t loving. Sometimes if he disagreed with my assessment or suggestion, it would lead to an argument (because I was like a “dog with a bone” as Adam would put it).
As exposing as this next paragraph is, I want to share because I know that I am not the only one. I had a lot of fear about Adam’s messages. I had fear that he wouldn’t do well because I was over-attached to his “success.” I unfortunately attached my self-worth to his “success.” So out of my fear and lack of emotional health, I would criticize and attempt to control. It was extremely arrogant and condescending of me. There is also the inevitability of being embarrassed by a spouse who speaks regularly. It is bound to happen, but I was going to do everything in my control to avoid embarrassment.
I am so glad we navigated our way out of those years.
Now that he is speaking almost every week, I will get a lot more experience in the job as sermon critiquer. I still write my list of suggestions, additions, and subtractions. But I only give it to him if he asks. And he almost always does.
So that’s my condensed story of how we got to a much better place.
Stay Tuned the next blog post… “Sermon Critique: Part 2- Practical Suggestions”