6 Thoughts for the Pastor’s Wife

Ron.Cheryl

This is another guest post from my wife Cheryl. She’s amazing. (Except she only did six :) )

Here are 6 Suggestions for the Pastor’s Wife:

You aren’t the pastor…don’t try to be

Ever had a church member complain to you about the lack of parking? The worship center is too cold or too hot? The choir never sings their favorite song? Not enough doughnuts (which are actually donated by a church member)? Or, that the sermon should have been about…? And the fact is…if it is something within my control…I’ll do whatever possible to help solve the issue or find someone who can. The problem for me is even when the situation is out of my control I carry the burden…I won’t let it go…it bothers me…continually. I don’t like conflict and want everybody to be happy…all the time!!

I’ve had to realize that there are always some complaints…some issues…that are not within my control and I don’t need to carry the burden as if they are. In our situation…my husband has been called by God and our church congregation to be the pastor…the one ultimately accountable for issues at church. Don’t misunderstand, I believe we equally accepted the calling, but my greatest role in the church is to support my husband…who just happens to also be my pastor.

Find your place…be visible in the church

A friend, whose husband is also a senior pastor, recently shared with me that even though they had been in their current church several years…most of the congregation did not even know who she was. She doesn’t feel a part of the church or even want to be there most Sundays. How sad…not only for my friend and their current church, but equally sad for her husband. God not only calls our spouse…He also calls us. And I fully believe that it is not God’s will for a couple to be pulled different directions. His will is to create unity…oneness…in a marriage. All that to say, I think it is very important for me to be visible…as a supporter of my spouse’s ministry and as his biggest fan. I need to play an active role…fulfilling my God given passion…serving in God’s church. If your marriage is as it should be…the calling is for both of you. You would want to be doing life together. My encouragement is not to live by other people’s expectations, but find your place and learn to love the church. Ask God to give you a heart for the people equal to your husband’s. You’ll also better balance each other better on the good and bad days of ministry that way. (I wrote previously that the role you play should be unique to you.)

Protect your family…above all

Protecting our family is equally important for both spouses. Our children are watching and learning as we model how to handle issues within the church. Being on staff can be difficult at times as you are often exposed more to people’s issues and problems. There are things to share with your family and then there are times for the protection of the other family…or even your own…that it is best not to share. Every family has struggles…and there will be opportunities for you to use situations as teaching moments…but not if it was shared in confidence or will put your family member in an uncomfortable situation.

Be his biggest supporter…his safe haven

Without a doubt, this is one of our most important roles as a pastor’s spouse. At the end of the sermon…or end of the day…our spouse needs to know we are their number one supporter! This is whether it was a good day at church…or a not so good one…whether the church is meeting budget…or attendance is up or down. Our spouse needs to know that home is a safe haven. A place of rest…not to be lazy…but a place to no longer feel the weight of the church…and be loved & respected for their most important role as a husband and father.

Let your hair down…you need friends…yet have to be careful

We need to be careful as pastors’ wives not to build walls of protection around our lives and families’ lives that we don’t allow any one into our lives. No matter your spouse’s occupation…we all need friends. Yet, because our husbands are in the ministry we are often exposed to issues and challenges the church or another person may be facing. We need friends that can be our friends because of who we are as a person…not as an inside source of information. And honestly, I have learned the hard way to be careful who I can “let my hair down” with and who is just pumping me for information. A rule I have tried to strive for is to surround myself with friends who 1) Encourage my relationship with Jesus Christ, 2) Encourage my relationship with my husband and family, 3) Are not afraid to speak TRUTH in love and 4) Enjoy having fun and laughing as much as I do! I need friends like that. We all do.

Continue to grow spiritually…protect your walk

This is the number one most important thing we can do as a pastor’s wife and more importantly, as a follower of Jesus Christ. I NEED to strive daily to grow in my spiritual walk with Christ. It is so easy to get caught up supporting our spouse, raising our family, working inside or outside the home, or even “doing church” business, that we neglect to protect our own walk with Christ. I can’t support my spouse…my family…or our church if I am not striving to grow closer to Christ. A good friend once shared with me that “BUSY” stands for “bound under satan’s yoke”. The enemy wants nothing more than for me to be too busy to do that which is most important. Isn’t that what Jesus shared with Martha? And no one is accountable for my Christian walk but ME! Not even my pastor who just happens to be my spouse!

Those are just a few thoughts on being a pastor’s wife. Any you have to add?

(And, this note at my husband’s request, please be kind in your comments. The last couple of guest posts are simply my opinions, but have triggered a couple of unkind remarks. And, as I said, I don’t like conflict. Plus, I guess that could be number 7…be nice. :) )

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

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8 thoughts on “6 Thoughts for the Pastor’s Wife

  1. I could add at least two points to that…1) Be yourself. Do not fall prey to thinking that you've got to uphold some ideal "perfect" image – either by our own self-imposed expectations or someone else's. Yes, there are certainly times when you 'play the part', so to speak – but within reason, just be you. Your church knows when you're trying to be something you're not. And it does not matter what the previous pastor's wife did – yeah, you will forever be compared to her, good or bad. Get over that, and just be you. And 2) don't live in fear for your husband's job. It's been my observation that too many pastors/pastors' wives live in constant fear that they're going to say or do something that's going to get them canned. If you live that way, you will not be effective in your ministry, because it's not ministering! Rather, be smart in how you deal with the things that come your way, pray to God for discernment, and leave the rest in God's hands. Either we trust in our God to provide or we don't – it's where the rubber meets the road. And, it's insanely liberating when you realize that you really don't have to worry about his job/paycheck – that's when real ministry thrives, and you can really hear the Spirit speaking to you! God's got this!

  2. Thanks for sharing Cheryl! :-)
    You're awesome, and a blessing to those around you.
    Love especially how you remind that God has called both husband and wife towards the same direction (purpose of unity) – Ultimately everything is for God's glory. :-)

  3. Thanks for posting that Cheryl, they are great points. I like your recommendation to ask God to give us a heart for his people equal to our husband's. ill be doing that starting today!

  4. As someone who was a pastor's wife and is now a pastor, I know how very difficult it can be as a spouse. somehow, people in the congregation (well, not everyone) seem to think that a spouse knows EVERYTHING that is happening in the church. I remember one congregation in which a member always came to me (the pastor's wife) to explain why she gave nothing to the building fund. I learned (or guessed) that she simply needed to confess that to someone, because I did tell her that I really did NOT know who gave what! I encourage all spouses — be involved in the congregation, using the gifts & graces God has given to YOU! Not every spouse plays the piano or cooks or has the gift of teaching. You are a unique child of God. But, I agree with this article — it is important to be a part of the congregation, demonstrating your support for your spouse.