Practicing the Principle of Partnership

February 06, 2012

A preview of Dr. Witmer's forthcoming book, Shepherding in the Home

Rev. Dr. Timothy Witmer will soon publish his second book, Shepherding in the Home.  At the Shepherd Leader's blog, he gave a preview of one of the topics he will cover in this book:

A couple of blogs back I began to share some thoughts on how we can grow in the knowledge of our wives. One of the best ways to get to know someone is to do something together with them. Marriage was designed to provide help in the tasks of life. From the very beginning, the Lord gave Adam and Eve work to do together. They were tasked not only with taking care of the garden but were given the expansive cultural mandate to fill the earth and have dominion over God’s creation.

God’s design for your marriage is that you leverage your mutual and complementary gifts and strengths in his service. You grow in your knowledge of one another when you express your partnership by working on things together. For many couples the focus of this partnership, and rightly so, is on raising children. Unfortunately, when the empty nest stage arrives, they lose the focus of their partnership. For eighteen to twenty-five years their partnership has focused on Jack and Jane. Now that Jack and Jane are out of the house their empty nester parents sit and stare at one another. This can be a time when couples drift apart; when the husband immerses himself in his work and when he gets home settles into the comfortable role of couch potato. His wife, on the other hand, goes about her business at work or at home. Is this the reason that increasing numbers of middle-aged marriages are breaking up? What do you do together with your wife now that the children are out of the house?

Of course, a very good option is to be engaged in ministry together. How many husbands and wives are busily occupied in ministry, but not together? It shouldn’t only be ministry, either. What about some projects around the house? Take up a new hobby or interest together. Practicing the principle of partnership will help you grow in your knowledge of another and will maximize the gifts of two people whom the Lord has called to serve him together.

From the upcoming book The Shepherd Leader at Home