Some Remedies to Make the Life of a Pastor’s Wife Less Difficult and Lonely

Parishioners pray at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church Sunday, June 21, 2015, in Charleston, S.C., four days after a mass shooting that claimed the lives of it's pastor and eight others. (AP Photo/David Goldman, Pool)
Parishioners pray at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church Sunday, June 21, 2015, in Charleston, S.C., four days after a mass shooting that claimed the lives of it’s pastor and eight others. (AP Photo/David Goldman, Pool)

Recently a dear pastor’s wife went home to be with the Lord. She was a faithful wife to her husband for over 50 years and for 48 of those years she was a pastor’s wife. Yes that brother is still faithfully pastoring the same church he planted 48 years ago.

His wife was a loving mother of four children, two of which they adopted. She was a registered nurse for many years and then retired as a schoolteacher. All this she did while being a faithful “pastor’s wife.” This sister was indeed a great example of faithful service to the Lord, her husband, her family, and the body of Christ. She will be missed greatly.

Shortly after I heard of her illness, I began to think a lot about the role my wife plays particularly and role of most pastors’ wives in general, especially as it relates to the church. I thought about the many conversations I’ve had with my wife and her sisters (blood) who are married to pastors. I called to mind the times we’ve shared with other pastors and their wives.

As I considered these times, I remembered several recurring threads making their way into our conversations. Here’s a partial list.

  • Assumed shared giftedness with her husband pastor
  • Backbone to her husband’s ministry
  • Misunderstood and disregarded
  • Expected to be unusually thick-skinned
  • Extra baggage on her husband’s ministry
  • Extreme, sometimes nearly unbearable loneliness

I’m sure I’ve forgotten other items that could go on the list of struggles pastor’s wives have. These represent those that readily come to my mind because they are probably the ones I hear the most.

Of course I’m talking about the downside, brothers and sisters. For sure, at least I’m hoping and praying, all is not doom and gloom for pastor’s wives. As a matter of fact I often hear of the joy and satisfaction sisters experience in sharing alongside their pastor husbands in ministry. Especially when you have members in the congregation who care for the pastor’s wife and are always looking for ways to demonstrate love to her and encouragement. Praise God for those kinds of saints. We all should be on the lookout, making it our aim to show love and to encourage one another.

Yet sometimes the life of a pastor’s wife can be difficult and I think even more so because of the position she is in. I’m sensing many pastor’s wives resonate with the list above because her position makes her particularly vulnerable to the kinds of issues mentioned, leaving her for the most part without any recourse, i.e. helpless. I’m thinking it’s time to take some of the pressure off of the pastor’s wife.

Too many from my little vantage point need some relief. Well, sisters and brothers, here are a few words of relief that I trust will be useful in cutting the sister some slack.

1. Disregard the old adage, “When God calls a man, He calls his wife too”.

This well-meaning motto has caused many a sister undue heartache. My sisters and brothers, God has not called men’s wives to pastoral ministry. To do so would violate His Word. He has called her to be a good help-fit for her husband whether he is in ministry or not. Most pastors will readily acknowledge the importance and necessity of his wife’s role in his ministry. Please know her responsibilities can be done without placing upon her unbiblical requirements.

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SOURCE: The Front Porch