You Can Be Your Spouse’s Superhero
Christopher Reeve: Superman
Christopher Reeve portrayed Superman and Clark Kent in the four Superman movies between 1978 and 1987. In some ways, this series launched the superhero genre, now Hollywood’s top genre. (I’m listening to John Williams’ great Superman soundtrack as I write this.)
Christopher Reeve had a significant impact on my life.
His life changed in 1995, at age 42. Although an avid horseman, Reeve was thrown from a horse. The impact left him completely paralyzed. By 1999, he and his wife, Dana, started the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. (The foundation has distributed over $37 million in grants toward funding and researching spinal repair.)
On October 8, 2004, the foundation’s leadership held a routine planning meeting. They considered an action plan if Christopher Reeve died unexpectedly. One of the staff noted how morbid it was to discuss this. After all, besides his paralysis, Christopher Reeve was a healthy 52-year-old.
Two days later, Christopher Reeve died of a heart attack.
A Chaotic Scramble. . .
You also know of co-workers who died unexpectedly through accidents or a health issue.
A chaotic scramble follows a sudden death. A spouse tries to figure out what the future holds or even how to produce a letter to pass this news on. They may be missing critical information such as logins and passwords, financial accounts, newsletter lists, et cetera.
All couples choose who does what, BUT… when one person does it all and the other is clueless, that’s a risk. Suppose one person handled key things like managing the household finances or doing ministry partnership development (MPD). Then, their sudden death brings grief. . . and chaos.
A long illness is a similar situation. If you were laid up for months or even died this week:
- Would your spouse know how to keep raising personal support?
- Could they produce your monthly newsletter? Or the first letter about your passing?
- Would they know how to submit payroll forms or reimbursements?
. . . Or Your Planned Steps
In Cru, we’re encouraged to create “The Red Folder,” primarily for personal finances. Store your important family financial information in this one safe place. When one (or even both) spouses die suddenly, those left behind should be able to find and address your financial needs.
Consider how difficult it would be for your spouse. Can they continue with MPD and communication with your ministry partner team, while under a lot of emotional distress? Can they make financial decisions and complete tax paperwork while keeping up with reimbursements, et cetera?
Be your spouse’s superhero by engaging them in your regular partnership development now. At least expose them to how to do the basics. Show them how to submit a reimbursement or clear their staff card.
Ideas for Action
- Annually review and edit your Red Folder.
- Can you think of other emergency information suggested by the Red Folder, such as your spouse’s prescriptions?
- What skills should you learn that the other spouse does?
- Around the home? (laundry, weed-whacking, cooking, . . .)
- For your car? (maintenance and how often)
- From this post:
- Where are your MPD names and addresses?
- What steps do you take for printing and mailing a prayer letter?
- Consider composing an obituary and a prayer letter announcement ahead of time.
Guest Post by Bob Mac Leod
Bob serves as the financial controller for Cru’s Global division. He and his wife, Kathy, live in Orlando and have two grown sons. Bob’s personal ministry is financial stewardship coaching. He has coached more than 700 Cru staff members.
- The story about Christopher Reeve is one Bob recalls from memory, but, that was 20 years ago… his recollections may not be perfect.
- This blog post came out of a conversation several years ago between Bob and Sus. We are still concerned and will address these needs in eQuipping for eMinistry.
- Sus has Bob’s permission to repurpose his blog post for eQuipping for eMinistry. See his original thoughts at Can you be your spouse’s Superhero?
- Photo by Yulia Matvienko on Unsplash