The Couple in Ministry


Today is Valentines Day. Of the various realities that pertain to couples, the joy of partnering in ministry is worth considering. It turns out that the church father Tertullian has something to say about the subject. A former Roman soldier and a lawyer, he converted to Christ as a married man when he was about forty. In a letter to his wife, Tertullian outlines many of the blessings enjoyed by two believers who serve Christ in their marriage:

What kind of yoke is that of two believers, partakers of one hope, one desire, one discipline, one and the same service? Both are brethren, both fellow servants, no difference of spirit or of flesh; nay, they are truly “two in one flesh.” Where the flesh is one, one is the spirit too. Together they pray, together they prostrate themselves; together perform their fasts; mutually teaching, mutually exhorting; mutually sustaining . . . Between the two echo psalms and hymns; and they mutually challenge each other which shall better chant to their Lord. Such things when Christ sees and hears, He joys.1


1 Tertullian, Elucidations, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 4, eds. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1956), 48. Punctuation simplified.

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