7 Qualities to Look for in a Pastor’s Wife

I receive dozens of emails from pastors each week. This one caught my attention and I asked permission to use it here.  Hopefully others will benefit from my response and weigh in with their own thoughts. I have changed his name.

Ron,

I hope all is well with you. I frequent your blogs ever so often via twitter, which I do enjoy. the reason for this email is for some direction. It is my belief that the Lord has called me to be a pastor, however I am presently single. I wanted to find out what are some of the qualities one should look for and how should I go about finding a wife as a future pastor. I have been keeping the issue in prayer.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Sincerely,

Mike

Dear Mike,

Most likely you will not be able to pick every expectation or qualification you have for a spouse.  I think is is wise, however, to have a goal. You are more likely to reach a target for which you aim.  With that in mind,

Here are 7 qualities I believe make up the ideal pastor’s wife:

Your biggest supporter. You should be hers too, but as a man in your position it is critical.  People will be less likely to support you if your wife doesn’t. Is she able to respect you in public enough not to criticize you in front of others?  Nothing would be more damaging to your ministry.  Ministry is hard on a marriage. Some days are harder than others. You’ll need to know there is one person always in your corner.

Obedient to the call of God regardless of the costs. Is she willing to walk by faith?  It will be required many times.

Visible and active in the ministry and/or church and looking to partner with you in ministry. I don’t believe the pastor’s wife should be everywhere, especially at the expense of her family, but the church should know she is a real person facing life’s struggles like the rest of the church.  Serving together because of a common love for Christ and a combined vision for ministry will help protect your marriage during difficult days.

Friendly and welcoming personality. Do people like her?  Does she have a genuine love for people, even those who at the time are harder to love?  This will be tested.

Completes you by filling in your weaknesses. Your ministry will be strengthened as “the two become one” and God uses each of your strengths to  blend a stronger team. Do your strengths compliment each other?

Less concerned about the material things of the world and more concerned about things eternal. This is a critical test for the life of a pastor’s wife. It is many times a life of sacrifice. This does not mean you can’t have or even enjoy nice things, but the source of real joy should come from the things money can never buy. There may be seasons of ministry where God calls you to real faith-testing and strengthening experiences with your finances. Will she remain faithful and committed during these times?

Loves Jesus more than you. If you need this one explained you may be in the wrong profession.

The easiest way for me to put this is that you should pick one like mine.  Cheryl is the perfect pastor’s wife. Of course, she is not available, but at least you have my standard for which you can set your ambitions. Praying for you as you have spiritual eyes and discernment.

As to where, that’s a tough one.  I don’t think location is as important as the heart with which you approach the search. When that is right it seems God will be much more willing to be in tune with the process and give you eyes to see. Perhaps my readers will have some suggestions.

Where’s the best place for singles (especially single pastors) to meet people today?

And, do you have any qualities you would add to my list for “Mike”?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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53 thoughts on “7 Qualities to Look for in a Pastor’s Wife

  1. Hello, I believe that if a Pastor desire a wife he must first seek God and delight himself in the Lord so that God will give him the desire of his heart. He must know how to rule his own house well and be sober minded. If a Pastor is doubled minded he is unstable in all his ways and may not find a women of God. He cannot be seeking a wife just by if people like her because if the world hate Christ they many hate the women who loves the Lord. He needs to look for a woman’s fruits not just the outward beauty. He must see if she lines up with what the Bible says a wife should be. Aretha God bless

  2. i am single i have prayed for a wife cos the way pastors are breaking up wit their wife is scaring and making me to ask was it possble they married the wrong person? why are minister who have writen books/teach on how sucesss in married can be obtained be victims of marital failure? personal i think my biggest miracle will be is to marry the woman God created for me pls beloved in christ what do i do? why can i find this woman pls am 29 and am going experiencing 1corinthans 7vs9 from nigeria my number 08037521202

  3. . one day i asked God pls do u want me to be a pastor? 5.30 in the moring God woke me up and spoke to me audible saying read matthwe 28vs19 i did and went back to my business cosi have a shop where i sell provisons . while going home i was waiting for a bus a shadow covered me inside that shadow the voice said go and read 1timothy 3vs16. i got home read prayed like dis God pls do u want me to be a pastor pls dont be upset i sleept 5.30 a hand woke me up/ i woke up two eyes open i sew a television screem opened in my front a pastor was praying over two guys who were cripped one was believing the other was looking at the pastor wit unbelieve . the believing one started and shouting for 18 years i could not walk but i am walking now,i was watching this like a movie in my one room apartment i live alone. the pastor that ministered to them was wearing white garment he was giving me his bible which i collected and a voice spoke to me saying HEALING AND TEACHING OFTHE WORD OFGOD. pls send ur advice to my number am from nigeria 08037521202 OR email me samfranky3@yahoo.com

  4. Thank you very much for opening our minds on certain qualities of pastors wife. I have been in ministry for the past five years not married but praying and looking for an ideal woman but with your help I think it will help me make the right choice.

    Thank you

  5. My name is Abigail am born again christian 33 years years old an Evangelist by God's grace and a virtuous woman(proverbs 31:10-end) live on London single never been married my parents are both ministers too, am a loving caring ambitious, down to earth.
    Like to meet a Single Pastor, Minister , Preacher or an Evangelist for relationship, a man is understanding, prayerful and wining souls for Christ.

    • Dear Abigail.
      My name is pastor stephen who lives in ghana, single and never married. I have always prayed to God to have a woman who has the heart of God to help accomplish the purpose of God on the earth, I read through your mail and prayed and was touch to write to you. As God answered my prayer concerning you so I know shall he also minister to you concerning me if you go before him. I hope to hear. From you and give you details about me and how far I have gone in ministry work.

      Thank you

  6. There must be two “perfect” Pastor’s wives because mine is as well! I had already bern Pastoring when we got married so she became a Pastor’s wife the second we said “I do”. My wife is a tremendous helpmeet to me.

    I would take issue with one statement you made: “most likely you will not be able to pick every expectation or qualification you have for a spouse”. I did, and God gave me exactly what I prayed for–right down to blonde hair and blue eyes and the ability to cook.

    Thank you for this post.

  7. Reall interesting post – I’m a pastors wife and have been for nearly 14 years, though when I met my husband he was not (though employed in Christian Youth organisation) and I was the one leaving bible college and keen to get involved in Christian work. We were a team from the start and for the first 10 years after he went into ministry this was very much how we worked (we have different strengths that compliment). Nearly 4 years ago we uprooted family to a new church that we felt God was calling us too but this new church doesn’t recognise that for many couples the call to ministry is a team effort- and I’ve seen my husband have to struggle on his own with areas that I could support him whilst I am held at arms length. We still work as a team in many things but it has weakened our effectiveness at this church and there have been some dark times to get through. It would be great if more churches recognised that for some pastors at least call to ministry is a team call – its not just another job :)
    Twitter: louetal

  8. What do you do when your pastors wife doesnt like you. Trying to deal with it but it hurts because one of her daughters have made claims against me. She does not separate personal from spiritual.

    • I would pray about it first and if you aren't clear what to do I'd seek out the most godly person you know for counsel.

  9. Isn't it always surprising to us when God uses a person that doesn't match our lists? I've met many PWs over the years as a PK and a PW that I've been surprised to find the wide variety of us. We all look so different and we all follow God so differently… Does she Love God? Love People? Love you? That's a pretty good list.

    • another thought…. is more concerned about eternal things than material code for fiscal and or emotional abuse from the church and anyone else? I agree that we don't become minsters to roll in the dough, but the laborer is worth their wages. Some churches forgo paying someone because the pastors wife can do it (even better than a paid person).. in a 2 for 1 deal.

  10. As for the PW being involved, I would also add that she doesn’t NEED to be the “women’s pastor.” Not everyone is suited for that even if it’s the easy fit. The PW may not be the gifted speaker/leader that her husband is, and really more of that supporting role. Visible? Yes!

    This, spoken by a single young woman in the ministry…

    My big question is, after a year since this post, has this Mike found his bride?!
    Twitter: Churchartist

  11. I'm not sure this is complete. I think we need to be careful at not making our potential wife fit a checklist that we become ministry pimps on our wifes, the wives become the harlot and the church is the John. Going into a relationship saying what can you do for me and my ministry might not be the healthiest place to start. Starting with them your compatibility, your love for god and her love for God are huge. her ability to play the piano and make your resume look better by having her abilities on there so when you go to a church and sell yourself, you treat her like a side dish is wrong. My wife is gifted and called as a Nurse, most churches won't have that position open. She is a blessing in the hospital and belongs there. IT would be wrong for me to relegate her to some church function that she would not fit in.
    I blog for youth workers and helping youth pastors deal with the hurt in their lives and in the lives of their students. I enjoyed this post. I had my wife meet several pastors wives that I knew before we got married so she knew what she was getting into. I'm friends with two stereotypical and 3 nonsterreotypical pastors wives, this has helped her alot.

  12. How to find the parfect Pastor's wife? Love God and desire his parfect will for you in marriage. Ask him for that woman he has specifically made for you. Sounds old fashioned but it is true, God is still in the match making business. This is a personal testimony, ask him and patiently wait for him, He will speak if your mind is made up to obey him. I guarantee you, if you marry God's parfect will for you, every other thing will fall in parfect place. After all He called you into ministry or didn't he?

  13. Olá Ron, sou brasileiro, mas acompanho diariamente suas postagens!
    Isso tem me ajudado muito, inclusive a lidar com a minha família, que está sendo
    muito difícil por sinal!
    Essa lista a qual foi mencionada é muito boa, passei para minha mãe e ela
    está tentando seguir estes passos.
    Deus abençoe sua vida em nome de Jesus.

  14. Thank you so much!Sorry I am just now seeing this comment. Singles ministry can be tough, but very rewarding!

  15. I wonder what happens to women held up as the "perfect pastor's wife" when they aren't having a "perfect day." My wife will soon be a pastor's wife, and while fantastic, perfect she is not. I'm not perfect, and she's not either. We have to give our spouses the space to be fallible human beings. God's grace is for them, too.

  16. IMHO, #1, first and foremost…biblically the quality of the Pastor's wife should be Submissive. If she is submissive, pretty much everything else will fall into place.

  17. It's funny…I read your list and see that my wife truly fits these qualities. I am not a full-time pastor and for the longest time would have laughed if someone even suggested the thought to me. Even after we were married, I never would have dreamed of full-time ministry. But, 4 years into my marriage, my wife and I are very active ministering to His people as volunteers and I believe God has called us to even more. I could have searched with a checklist for what I wanted/needed. But I would probably still be single. It's amazing how different we are today than when we first got married, even. I know that guidance from His Word as well as prayer and trust that God knows exactly what I need is what I credit most. So, thank you Ron for these points and I thank God that even before I set out on the ministry journey, He was working things out on my behalf and the behalf of those my wife and I may serve in the future.

  18. Having been the Singles Director of my church & involved in Singles Ministry for 16 yrs., this subject is fresh on my heart daily! If I may, I have just a couple of things to add to your amazing list.

    1. Law of Attraction-be the person you wish to attract. If you want to have a praying spouse, do you practice this yourself? If your desire is to do missions, how many trips have you either taken or contributed to? Want someone that can help you pilot satellite churches? How many have you supported? Catch the drift? I want someone that is spiritually mature enough to be the priest of the home. This example is lead in relationships, communication skills, leadership development, health/nutrition, community support, etc. I have to personally sharpen my skills in ALL those areas as well. I realize iron sharpens iron and in my weaknesses, a spouse may be strong. Still……We must be the change the world needs to see & set the example for the harvest that is coming.

    2. Integrity, discretion, character- A person can be the greatest prayer warrior reaching heaven, have the community eating out of their hands, and travel the world, but if someone can't come to them in confidence, what is the use? People have drama. If you are a drama queen/king, this will not effectively minister to the body of Christ. A person has to know when to minimize or diffuse situations while efficiently solving the problem. Can they tell you things and know they can trust you with it? Or…..are those things told behind closed doors being shouted from the roof tops?

    The thing I have experienced the worst in church is integrity or the lack of it. Living a double standard will always find you out. Is your potential mate the same person at home as they are at church? Being in ministry is like living in a glass house and they have to be prepared to face that! I have heroes of faith that say, embarrass sin or sin will embarrass you!

    3. 5 Love Languages and 5 Love Languages of Apology—-You could marry Mr. / Mrs. Universal Church and have the worst relationship ever! Know how to communicate your partners love language instead of imposing yours onto them. Arguments will happen, not only in your relationship, but in the church, and knowing the proper skill of apologizing will be a Godsend!

    I appreciate your input and wisdom tremendously!
    Geneva

  19. for me it felt like this is giving so much pressure to what she should be just to be at par with a pastor status. Just pray to God and let His will be done He knows what's best always.

    He might give you someone that is exact opposite of you for his own reasons (remember Hosea)
    and at the end it will turn out to be your perfect match.

    but again who doesnt want a wife with does 7 qualities? ill put "Love Jesus more than you" on top. If she loves the Lord more than you she'll definitely support and understand you.

    • I agree that God sends who He sends and we must be obedient. Hosea was a unique story…much as God only used one burning bush experience…that we know of. I don't know that Hosea is to be a model of the type spouse to look for as much as a model of God's love and our need to be obedient to Him. I really do believe we should set goals for ourselves. The Bible is equally clear about directing our heart, where to place our eyes, etc, not to mention that we are to be "equally yoked". Thanks so much.

  20. You mentioned "visible and active" in ministry. Here's what I'd add to counterpoint that, and Lariann already mentioned it. I say it strongly, if only because I've seen so many churches afflicted by it.

    She needs (and you need) to understand that family comes before ministry. At the bottom line, pastors/spouses who put the church first often lose their family (at least in terms of their spiritual life) – and with it, they lose their ministry credibility. To put it another way, she needs a sense of work/life balance. This is an area where you as a pastor can lead as well. She's less likely to burn out if you're actively leading and developing your family and putting them first.

    Bottom line: if you're not pastoring (serving, leading, developing, loving) your family, you're not pastoring anyone. And a potential pastor's wife needs to understand that and be an active part of it.

  21. I'd add don't marry for the function i.e. "pastor's wife". One of the most important things, i think, would be someone you can get along with… sounds a little uhm "stupid" may be… but what am trying to say is don't let all the great and important qualities that Ron has highlighted be the only ones you go by. what do you want in a spouse as well? for instance, someone who gets or appreciates your sense of humor… i think one of the biggest ways of supporting you, will be on the home front…

    after being on the the field how she receives you or makes you laugh could be what you need… don't overlook the "function" overbear what you want in a wife too… she just may be a bigger supporter for you in not a very public way but that is what you may need more… just a thought
    Twitter: blessingmpofu

  22. Everything you mentioned made perfect sense for the pastor & pastor's wife to be successful.
    Hard to add to it – maybe just to say she should do her own personal study, Bible reading & research so she has something to share or add to in private discussions with you. If there is a family & so many other obligations for moms it is easy to rely solely on your study. But nothing completes a full understanding of the scriptures than sharing 2 minds (male & female) with regard to understanding or reasoning on certain texts. So happy you mentioned not being too visible everywhere else @ the expense of the family…if there's children the saddest tragedy is for them to grow up & feel they were neglected in any way by parents who put everyone else first .

  23. Ron, those are all great and necessary to have as a pastor's wife. I have been a pastor's wife for 14 years. One thing I know that is of great importance (aside from what you listed) is to have the gift of discernment! Often, I believe, a pastor's wife will need to help her husband to see what he may not be able to see when ministering to others. She may not be able to totally pin point whatever it is she sees…but she just KNOWS things because they are from God.

    I enjoy people and ministry and have a great compassion and passion for others! Yes, ministry can be difficult at times and I have heard it jokingly said, "ministry would be easy if it weren't for the people".

    Keeping time for each other is a MUST and when you have children…THEY are your first priority to "minister" to. Our congregation understands that. If you cannot be there for your children…you will lose them as they need to know that next to God and your wife…they are important!

    • Lariann you are absolutely right on that one. It should be on the list. Interestingly, Cheryl and I just had that discussion with another pastor and his wife from Africa this week and it transcends cultures. Our wives are usually better at discernment. Cheryl has protected me many times.

      Thanks!

    • re: discernment, I agree – my bride's is the first opinion I seek – she knows me, she knows my intentions, she knows my weaknesses, and she knows how I come across to people when I say things.

    • Dear Pastor
      Greetings to you !
      This is Esther from India , ministering as a Pastor's wife for 18 years . was blessed to by your encourageing
      and valueable counselling.
      thanks you!
      Esther william