I actually despise the label “preacher’s wife” and its connotations, but I lack for a better term. So on we go.
The preacher’s wife can, not only make or break a preacher, she can make or break a church.
I have seen preacher’s wives who gracefully complement their husbands and some who eloquently labor beside him in the ministry as a fellow heir. I have seen others who have destroyed churches with their gossip, their public hypocrisy and their lack-luster participation in the work.
I hear from a lot of women who struggle with their role as the “preacher’s wife.” I also hear from a lot of women who struggle with their preacher’s wife.
Why so much struggle? What does the Bible say about our role? Well, the Bible actually says very little about the role of a preacher’s wife.
1. Paul made a case for the apostle’s right to have a godly wife travel with them.
Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? 1 Cor. 9:5
2. Wives of servants of the church have a moral obligation to holiness.
Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 1 Tim 3:11
3. Wives can partner with their husbands in teaching.
Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. Acts 18:26
Why the struggle? Well, maybe it’s because we’ve made an official church position out of something that really isn’t that at all. Maybe we are just Christians, just women and just wives who have had a lot of man-made expectations heaped on us.
If you want to get your preacher’s wife packing keep heaping those created expectations on her. You are sure to make her feel isolated, alienated, unappreciated and overworked.
However, if you want to encourage her in her walk with the Lord, her personal ministry and in her marriage, these are some things you might want to know.
Sometimes my faith falters.
I am not always rock solid in my faith. I don’t always do things right. I don’t always say things right. I make mistakes. And I hate it, but I still sin.
My kids are bad.
Last summer my family had dinner with a Mennonite family that also has 6 kids at home. I was so relieved when those kids ran through the flower bed and broke our hosts marigolds right in two. You see, I had these expectation that Mennonite kids are always barefoot and bonnetted, well-mannered and well-behaved. But guess what? They are actually just regular kids. Mine are too.
Satan wages a daily war against me, my home, my husband and our marriage.
We have dedicated our life to destroying the devil’s strong holds. He hates that. He attacks in our heart, through our ministry, our children and through any place he finds a weakness. He tries every day to knock us down.
Sometimes I get overwhelmed.
Sometimes I want to come assemble with Christians and just worship. I don’t want the pressure to greet everyone, schedule events, answer questions or even to smile at everyone. Sometimes I want to sit quietly and reverently in communion with God.
I want to be one of you.
There was a subtle scene in Moms’ Night Out that made me sad. When the mom’s are out bowling, Patricia Heaton’s character, the preacher’s wife, says it’s been years since anyone asked her to go out. Do you see your preacher’s wife as your peer? Is she one of the girls? Or do you isolate her in a category all on her own. It is a lonely place to be if you have no friends. It is especially hard if you have no confidants.
Sometimes I just want my husband.
I get jealous of all the time my husband spends ministering to the church, taking late night phone calls and leaving home in a moments notice to meet needs. Sometimes I just want him to spend time with me, drop what he is doing for me and spend late nights talking to me. More often I get a man who has spent himself in service all day and falls asleep before his head his the pillow.
So if you want her to bail, keep her walls built or just simply be unhappy, make no effort toward her. But remember this, whether she is married to the preacher or drunk, God says:
Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other… Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them… Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other... keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality… Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. -from Rom. 12