Recently, I shared three common challenges of being a pastor’s wife. These were based on conversations my wife has had with dozens of pastors’ wives in recent years. She has also spoke with them about the great things in ministry, the blessings of being married to a man who serves the Lord in full-time Christian service.
When Kaye has asked wives, “What are your favorite things about being married to a pastor?” the three most common responses are:
His love for Jesus
Most of the pastors’ wives indicated that her husband’s love for Jesus is her favorite thing about ministry. She loves seeing him filled with joy when a text excites him. His burden for those who do not know God challenges her. It encourages her to see him serve people because his heart is warmed with Jesus’ service towards him. She grows because he is growing.
Of course, pastoral ministry does not automatically equate to love for the Lord. There are many men who serve the Lord in other professions, who are devoted to Him in all things. There are also pastors whose hearts have grown cold to the Lord. Not all the pastors’ wives gave this response, as not all pastor’s wives can say, “My husband’s love for Jesus challenges me.”
Men – your wife longs for you to lead her spiritually. If you trade your love for the Lord for something else, even for the idol of ministry, you betray both Him and her.
Sharing in ministry together
More than most vocations, ministry allows a couple to serve together. And while a husband must be careful not to saddle his wife, or allow the church to saddle his wife, with unhealthy expectations, many wives indicate they love serving alongside their husbands. She loves the dinner with the couple new in their faith, the hallway conversation with the new mother, and the many “adopted parents and grandparents” in the church that continually offer encouragement to her and her husband.
One of the challenges we faced when we first moved to Nashville was the change of not serving full-time on a church staff. I now serve a local church as teaching pastor and we lead a young couples small group, but at first we were pretty disconnected. Kaye immediately felt removed from the “job side” of me, from feeling like she was totally involved in all of my life. She transitioned from knowing all the staff and their wives, and seeing them regularly, to not knowing many of the people I work with every day.
Men – allow your wife to be involved in your ministry. Do not force her to be who she isn’t, but recognize that God has called both of you to serve Him together.
Days off during the week
A blessing that pastors must not be ashamed of taking is a day-off during the week. And a day-off during the week provides great opportunities with the wife—and with the kids before they are in school. There are less people at restaurants on Monday or Friday, less people at the museums, at the lake, or at the beach. Most people have to hit these spots on Saturday and Sunday when they are crowded. A pastor and his wife can enjoy them during the week. And they should.
Typically on my day-off in Miami, I would take the kids to breakfast. Then during some months we would drive north to the beach or south to the Keys. During other seasons, we would make use of our annual passes to the zoo or the children’s museum. We attempted to enjoy the city as a family, and Friday provided shorter lines, less crowded beaches, and closer parking spots.
Men – date your wife and spend time with your children. Don’t dare use ministry as an excuse to neglect your family. Take full advantage of the days off you are given as a pastor.