I have been the wife of a preacher for 32 years. We have walked on spiritual mountain-tops and we have walked through the valleys. We walk together no matter where the Lord leads us. Every day I learn something new about the life of a preacher’s wife.
I know there are a lot of young ladies who are just beginning this journey, so I thought that today I would share five things that I have learned along the way to deal with pastor wife problems.
5 Things a Young Preacher’s Wife Needs to Know
1. You are your husband’s biggest fan
After my husband was hired as a youth minister, I remember thinking that I was not good enough to be a wife of a minister. I began to think of all the minister’s wives that I have known since childhood, and in my mind, I did not measure up at all. I thought they had prayed more, read their Bibles more, lead women’s bible studies better, and they all could play the piano.
Slowly the Lord showed me that I didn’t have to ‘do’ anything.
Of course, praying and reading your Bible is a plus, but the main thing I discovered was that I just needed to be my husband’s biggest supporter. He will face so many trials and you will need to be there for him. Through prayer, and showing him your love, he will be able to get through those challenges. He will also face many victories and you will need to be there to share those praises with him too. Tell him and show him often that you are his biggest fan.
2. Your husband’s job does not come with a time clock
It doesn’t matter if your husband is a youth minister, a worship minister or a preaching minister, his job is potentially a 24/7 job. It will feel like everyone wants your husband’s time and it will feel like you are left always waiting your turn.
You may need to have a discussion with him if it gets to be too much, but as you settle into your church and into whatever ministry he is a part of, it will get better.
This is the one thing we talked about the most, especially after we had our son. We made the commitment that we would have a ‘date-day’ once a week and we have kept that commitment to each other ever since. My husband knows that nothing comes before his family.
It may feel like God is asking too much when your husband isn’t home at night for 4 days in a row due to meetings or hospital calls. If you understand that his ministry is his AND yours, then it will not feel so lonely.
3. Mums the word
There will be times when your husband will be involved in meetings or counseling where he will not be able to share with you what was said. There will be phone calls late at night and he won’t be able to share with you who or what was said. Just like a doctor, a psychiatrist, or a lawyer, there are some things preachers can’t talk about due to confidentiality.
When people put their trust in him, that what they share will be kept confidential, then that is exactly what he has to do. The best thing you can do is to respect their wishes and to respect his ministry.
There may come a time when he may need your counsel so your husband may share something with you that was told to him in confidence, therefore, you to must keep it confidential. One of the things that will kill your husband’s ministry is to have a wife with loose lips. I can’t say this enough – respect your husband when he says, “You must keep this between you and I.”
4. Being the wife of a Preacher does not make you exempt from trials
There may be, for example, financial problems. Not all churches/ministries are in a position to pay their preacher’s the big salaries. Even if he is not paid well, don’t forget to give monetarily to whatever ministry he is involved in.
Trials also can come in the area of making friends. You have to be cautious with your friendships. Find someone you can trust and treasure their friendship. But, be aware that in a few years you may be moving to a new ministry, in a new town, and you’ll have to find that special friend again.
Your trials may come from being separated from your family. Many preachers are called to ministries far from their family. I remember when the preacher and I were looking at leaving our church in Florida, my aunt called me to let me know that Indiana (my home state) could use a good preacher. God did not call us back to Indiana but to Colorado.
I know it is hard on my mother, and hard for me, but we make it work.
5. You will need to be flexible
Your husband informs you that he has invited the new couple over to your house for supper, they’ll be over any minute from now! As a preacher’s wife, you have to be flexible to this types of situations.
I attended a minister’s wives retreat many years ago and that is where I heard a wife of a preaching minister of a large congregation, tell us that when her husband invited people over at the last minute on a Sunday morning, she knew that if there was nothing else to serve for lunch, there would always be peanut butter and jelly. She also told us that although she tried to keep a clean house, sometimes things didn’t get picked up or dishes didn’t get done. So if last minute company came over she knew there was nothing she could do so she just went with the messy house. What she learned was that people felt that she and her husband were real and that her company always felt so comfortable in their home.
As a young minister’s wife I couldn’t imagine ever serving peanut butter and jelly to our guest or even letting people see our dirty house, but after hearing the lessons of a seasoned minister’s wife, I came to realize flexibility was the biggest point.
I don’t always have a firm grasp on this trait, and I’m always asking for His grace, but don’t we want people to feel ‘at home’ in our home?
Final Thoughts for Pastor WIfe Problems
Over the years I have learned so much from my husband and the Lord. Above all, the most important thing is that I decided that where ever the Lord leads my husband I will go with him. There have been times when I have questioned this path, but I have never thought about asking my husband to give up the call that the Lord has given him. I am my husband’s helpmate and where the Lord leads him, I too will go.