Greg and I were married in 1995 and I’ve been a minister’s wife ever since. I can honestly tell you that being in ministry is one of my life’s greatest joys. There was a period of time when we moved to Georgia that Greg was not serving in a church. I so missed it. I have no doubt that the Lord called Greg into ministry and so graciously allowed me to marry him. I know that I am called to follow my Lord in service alongside my husband. It’s a glorious place. That being said, ministry is not without difficulty. Those of us in ministry… the men, women, husbands, wives and children understand ministry… no one else really does. I’m here to give you the inside scoop!
That being said, if you really want to cause your minister’s wives grief… if you’d like to push them over the proverbial edge… if you want to be a total discouragement to your minister’s wife… whether it’s your pastor’s wife, worship pastor’s wife, youth minister’s wife and so on… here are some suggestions:
1- Expect her to be perfect. There are those well intended people who act like ministry wives are super-humans of the religious kind. I have had many Godly woman who have played a role in my life- I’m not making little of that at all. As my Daddy used to say, “She puts her pants on one leg at a time just like you.” It’s true. We are miserable, rotten, sinners… just like the rest of the congregation who struggle with relationships, managing work, children and laundry stains. Invite her out to lunch… send her a birthday card… give her a hug and a kind word when you pass her in the corridors. I had a precious friend in Georgia who was very much a mentor to me. Several times she treated me to lunch at our local Mexican restaurant. I was able to let my hair down and just “be”… what a gift!
2- Bash her husband. I’ll go ahead and lay it out there… I’m a mean woman if you mess with my husband or my kids. It is so hard for us to see the nagging and ridicule our husband’s receive and keep a smile on our faces… after all, we must because we’re super-human-wives. You would be amazed at the discouraging, sometimes hateful things we ministry wives have had to listen to about our husbands. Be kind. Encourage your minister… send him a thank-you note… acknowledge the anniversary of his service to your congregation… give him specific complements on his area of service. I assure you that if you grieve your minister… it will grieve his wife.
3- Expect more from her kids because they are ministry kids. My Father-In-Law used to tell my husband and his brothers to do what they do because they are children of the King- not because they were the pastor’s kids. I think that is true wisdom. Most often, these children get to see the good, the bad and the ugly side of ministry and like their parents are expected to keep smiling. That is a lot to ask of children. Ministry kids are often in the church building 4,5,6,7 days a week. Every church my children walk into seems like home to my kids… and I am happy to see them so comfortable. That being said, I’m not going to fall over if they run or jump or yell. I’m not suggesting that treating the church building with disrespect is acceptable… I seek to enforce proper behavior when church is in session… I’m saying, be realistic. They’re kids… just like all the other kids in the church. Encourage your minister’s children… give them a high-five in the halls… offer to sit them… get to know them. My GA friend would often take my children out to a fast food restaurant. They were so blessed… and boy, was I blessed! If you bless your minister’s children… I assure you it will bless their mother.
4- Expect a 2-fer. I’m not personally offended by those comments… but many women are. Remember that the Lord puts many wonderful combinations of couples together. Sometimes you get a piano-playin-preacher’s-wife… the wife that loves to coordinate VBS… the wife who sings solos… the wife who can balance the church budget… but sometimes you get a wife who’s strengths are more un-seen… maybe she’s a prayer warrior… maybe she sends cards, emails and visits shut-ins… maybe she walks with a quiet strength. Be thankful for your minister’s wife and don’t make unfair assumptions of her.
Whatever stage of life your ministry wives are in, rejoice in their service to the Lord and with their husbands. Love her, pray for her and seek to serve along side her. Ministry is a wonderful, glorious place but one that can be lonely and make us feel isolated. I encourage you to find a way to show love to a ministry wife this week…
She’ll be so thankful!