One of the toughest jobs in the church is that of being a pastor’s wife. I know I’m biased, but I have one of the best in Cheryl. Cheryl has a full-time professional job, is an excellent wife and mother, but the demands on her as my wife are often overwhelming. There is never a day she’s not asked to minister to someone. She is every bit as much in the ministry as I am. She makes me so much more effective as a pastor. Some days…really most days…the demands are more than her time, but still she handles it with grace and a smile.
I work with pastors every week who are burned out from ministry. Almost weekly, I hear of a pastor or pastor’s wife ready to quit the ministry. My desire is to help you know how to honor and protect your pastor’s wife. In this post, I am not talking on behalf of Cheryl. These are tips to help honor every pastor’s wife, but this isn’t about Cheryl. She would never ask for this (most pastor’s wives wouldn’t either) and frankly we are in the best church environment I have ever experienced, as far as the way our staff and spouses are treated. We welcome the continued support, but in this post, I’m speaking on behalf of the struggling pastor’s wife; the one who has a sense of loneliness and often struggles even to come to church.
Here are a few tips to treat your pastor’s wife well:
- Pray for your pastor’s wife and family daily.
- Do not put too many expectations on the pastor’s wife. She cannot be everywhere, at everything and know everyone’s name and family situation and still carry out her role in role in her own home.
- Do not expect her to take your side on an issue opposing her husband. She will protect him as you would your spouse. In fact, this issue possibly causes the biggest tension for a pastor’s wife. If she feels her husband is being questioned, she may naturally become protective.
- Protect the pastor’s wife from gossip. She does not need to know the “prayer concerns” that are really just a way of spreading rumors.
- Let her have a husband and enjoy her family time. The pastor is pulled in many directions. If you can limit your demands on his schedule to his normal working hours it will help the pastor’s wife have a family life also.
- Don’t demand she have a “position” in the church. She may want to, but her husband may want her free to greet guests with him. For me, I want to see Cheryl in the service as I speak, especially for the first service. I feel more comfortable when she’s nearby. I definitely want her in the halls to meet people. (She’s so much better at that than I am.)
- Include her in invitations without placing demands or expectations on her to attend. The pastor’s wife is often one of the loneliest women in the church. She rarely knows whom to trust and often is excluded from times that are just for fun, but again, she can’t be everywhere; so invite, but don’t get frustrated if she has to say no.
- Never repeat what she says. If the pastor’s wife happens to share information with you about the church or her personal life, keep it to yourself. There will be temptation to share her words as “juicy news”, but you will honor her by remaining silent.
- If your church really wants to honor the pastor’s wife, find ways to give her extended time away with her husband and/or family. That is probably what she needs the most.
Feel free to give a shout-out to your pastor’s wife here on this post and share ways you can honor your pastor’s wife. If you are a pastor or pastor’s wife, I would love to hear your thoughts.
How does your church honor your pastor’s wife?