I thought I’d take a break from writing about my personal struggles going on at the moment and write a post that has been brewing in my mind and heart for a while that may be a help (or at least give some insight) to someone else.
I am by no means trying to present myself as an expert on the topic, but I do have a few years of experience from which I can draw.
My husband began pastoring a month after we were married.
This is something we always knew was a possibility. After he was called to preach, he often felt God may be preparing him and leading him in that direction.
We were a bit surprised that it happened so quickly, but as I have learned, God’s timing is not our timing. The Lord worked everything out so perfectly and put us at a wonderful church, full of people we love and who love us. We wouldn’t have things any other way.
That being said, a pastor’s wife is not something I ever dreamed of becoming. In fact, the thought of marrying a preacher was something that I really struggled with.
I knew several girls in high school who had that as a goal in life. A preacher was what they were after.
Some even went so far as to say they felt “called” to be a preacher’s wife.
Not me, buddy.
I’m not bad-mouthing anyone who said those things or felt that way, but I do honestly believe they were only seeing the glamorous side.
They imagined their husbands being the center of attention (with them right along side) and everyone loving and “Oooo”ing and “Ahhh”ing over their man.
They imagined traveling all over the country or perhaps settling down and him pastoring a great big church with big offerings and a big salary.
He’d preach and everyone would love him for telling them the truth and everyone would love her and their children because they belonged to him.
That may be “the dream,” but reality is far different…and I knew that.
See, I didn’t grow up in a preacher’s home, but I’ve been in church and been around preachers all my life.
Yes, there were those popular evangelists or pastors that it seemed like everyone loved, but I was around enough to see the other side.
I saw people bow up and get mad at the preacher because the message God gave him stepped on their toes.
I heard disgruntled whispers behind closed doors.
I saw congregations shrink in size as people got mad and left.
I saw people lash out at the pastor’s family because they knew that would injure him more than if they just came at him.
I saw the number of people who were willing to endure sound doctrine dwindle away while those who only wanted to fight it and water it down grew in number.
I didn’t want to see and hear the man I loved torn apart by men and women whose real problem was not with the preacher, but with the message he was sent to deliver.
I didn’t want that.
Not only that aspect of it, but I also realized that there is a lot riding on the choice of a wife for a preacher.
She can be his help-meet and encouragement as God intended, or she can be his undoing.
She can be there for him behind the scenes and further his ministry, or she could literally disqualify him from the ministry God has called him to if she fell into sin.
I realized the weight of this reality.
I didn’t want that kind of pressure!
It took a while for me to surrender that area to God and trust Him that if this was His will for me, He would give me the grace to fulfill my responsibilities, not only as a wife, but as a preacher’s wife.
As I said, I didn’t have time to adjust to my new role as a wife before I found myself a Pastor’s wife. I was 23 years old, a new bride four hours away from my family, and scared to death.
Thankfully, ours is a wonderful church that did and continues to do everything they can to help me feel at ease.
I realize ours was an unusual situation, but if you happen to be a pastor’s wife, you may be able to relate to some of my feelings and concerns.
If you aren’t a pastor’s wife, but are a church member, let me let you in on a few simple ways you can encourage your pastor’s wife that will go a long way to help her.
Give her lots of hugs and smiles. Even if she is reserved and doesn’t show a lot of emotion (I am not a big hugger myself), she will appreciate the gesture and see the love behind it. Knowing that the ladies of the church love her does more for her than you can realize.
Remember that she is not perfect.
She is human, just like you.
There will be times when she’s sick and won’t be at a service.
There will be times she’ll seem distant because of things going on in her mind she can’t share.
There will be times she doesn’t make it around to shake your hand and forgets your birthday.
Please remember she’s only human and show her some grace. She isn’t being malicious or cruel, just forgetful. She still loves you, I promise. 😉
*Also, for the pastor’s families that include children, the same goes for them. They’re going to be kids. They will mess up and get into trouble. They’ll make mistakes. Please remember they aren’t going to be perfect either. Have patience and grace for them as well.*
Don’t expect more from her than she’s able to give.
Many times, the pastor’s wife is expected to jump in and take the reins of all the extra stuff. You know what I mean: the church dinners, flower arrangements for the communion table, church decorations, church cleaning, teaching or starting a Sunday School class, organizing a “Ladies Day Out” or a trip to Six Flags or Carowinds with the youth… You get the picture.
Your pastor’s wife may be a natural-born party planner and enjoy taking on all those responsibilities and activities….or she may have the kind of personality where she’s gladly willing to do whatever is necessary, but isn’t about to jump in and take over.
It was a good day for me when my husband reminded me that my responsibility is to take care of him, not everything going on at the church. That’s his responsibility.
Either way, please don’t be too disappointed and upset if she fails to reach the “Pastor’s wife” expectations you may have. She can only be what God made her to be, not what you may want her to be.
Pray for her.
She’s fighting battles and carrying loads that you know nothing about. The pastor’s family carries not only their own burdens, but yours as well.
She is also a target for the enemy. She’s the weaker vessel, and Satan knows that.
Those days when you’re too weak and defeated to do much praying for yourself? Yeah, she has those days too.
She needs your prayers.
Love her husband.
This is probably the single most important thing you could do for her.
This man of God was given to her and she loves him more than anyone else on this earth. She loves that he stands for what’s right and that he is willing to tell his family and your family the truth, even when it hurts.
You wouldn’t want to know that someone tore your husband apart over Sunday dinner, would you?
Neither does she.
If she sees that you love and appreciate her husband for who and what he is, that’s all that matters to her. The blessing she receives from that is more than you can know. ❤️
It is an incredible honor to be the wife of a pastor.
The days and nights we spend alone while our husbands are visiting members or studying or laboring in prayer are more than worth it!
We love and pray for each and every individual and family in our churches.
Please pray for us too.