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Supporting Our Pastors’ Wives/Families

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ADMINISTRATION NOTE:

From today through January 6th – I still plan to post and will try to get to comments as soon as I can –  but I would like to take a bit of an email vacation so that I can focus more on my hubby and children while they are home for Christmas break.  So – if you are able to hold emails for me until after about January 6th – that would be helpful for me. Thanks so much for your patience and understanding!

CORRECTIONS and REPENTANCE ON MY PART:

***   I am concerned that I may not have been completely scriptural in my post Respecting Current Husbands and Ex-Husbands.  If a couple divorced for an unbiblical reason – marrying again would be adultery.  Scripture would not support that new marriage.  Please seek godly counsel if this is your situation and study God’s Word to see what to do to properly repent and be restored to right relationship with Christ.  I don’t EVER want to mislead anyone!  I repent for not recognizing that many new marriages may not be scriptural, and may constitute adultery in God’s sight in that post.  I should have mentioned that!

If you are in a remarriage – I do not believe I am qualified to tell  you what to do – please seek God’s wisdom and biblical truth.  There are many interpretations today.  Ultimately, you will answer to God.  I am not an expert in this area!  And I don’t trust my own wisdom at all.

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From a pastor’s wife.  Thanks for sharing!

These are my thoughts in response to your questions regarding women in the church being a support to the wife of the pastor.

First of all, pray for her.  I mentioned this once to a friend who attended a different church and she looked surprised.  “I have daily prayer lists and our Pastor is on my Monday list.  I always mention his family when praying for him but I never thought to pray specifically for her!”  This is ESPECIALLY important during the two “busy” seasons in the church – Advent and leading up Easter.  A Pastor’s schedule can get so busy that his family rarely sees him which can infringe on Holiday activities and planning.  That can also mean that any extra running around that has to happen – shopping for gifts, getting kids to concerts early for set up, buying groceries for the big meal – falls squarely on the shoulders of the pastor’s wife.  If she is involved in the Holiday happenings at the church in any way, things just got busier.  I am a stereotypical pastor’s wife in that I play the piano and sing.  This has, at times, meant that I have extra rehearsals at church, programs to participate in or plan . . . it makes things crazy!  The weirdness of a job that has the pastor on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week is intensified during the holidays, especially at Christmastime.  In my own experience and conversations with other pastor’s wives, Christmas is the time of year that we are MOST in danger of resenting hubby’s job and *gulp* even the people in the church!!

Can I vent for a moment about Christmas Eve?  I did not grow up going to services.  I know others did.  Each year, I looked forward to Christmas Eve with my family.  We were allowed to open one gift.  As we grew older, my sisters and I convinced our parents to let us exchange our gifts on Christmas Eve (that meant we each got to open two!).  And then my favorite moment of the whole holiday season!  Dad would open the Bible – my sisters and I INSISTED on the KJV for this moment – and by the light of one small table lamp and the lights on the tree, he would read Luke 2.  It was, in its own way, a very sacred moment each season for us.  Even when he was a pastor himself, my dad did not hold Christmas Eve services.  That time was for families.  He once told a parishioner who asked about the absence of such a service – “God did not need organized religion to step in and plan the night his son arrived, I’m pretty sure individual families can celebrate the night just fine.”  I am now in a church that has a Christmas Eve service.  I live 10 or 17 hours away from my extended family.  Which leads me to my second suggestion.

Make the pastor’s family a part of your extended family if they are living a long distance from their own.  Like I said, we have a Christmas Eve service and one part of my extended family lives 10 hours away in Michigan and the other lives 17 hours away in San Antonio, Texas.  We are in Iowa.  The distance and reality of a Christmas Eve is a problem for me since I have to choose between (1) telling my family that we will NEVER be with them on Christmas morning unless they are willing to travel to us OR (2) spending Christmas with my extended family minus my hubby since he would not be able to catch a flight to get him there in time for the morning gift opening, traditional brunch, etc.  Neither option appeals!  As for celebrating some other day of the holiday break, that’s risky with three different school districts involved whose schedules have not yet synced up well in the four years we have been in Iowa!

Is your pastor’s family is far from extended family? Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, July 4th, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas . . . all of those holidays than can find families getting together can be very lonely when your extended family is spread across the country.  Doing a cookout for Independence day?  Invite the pastor’s family over.  I would bet they would even be willing to bring a dish to share.   Dinner out on Mother’s Day?  If you are old enough, adopt the pastor and his wife as honorary kids for the day.  Or honor her role as the mother of his children.  You get the idea.

Assume that her husband is a lot like yours.  That image you see in church may have been put on seconds after he walked in the door.  For all you know, he might have been rude with his wife and kids on the way in to the building that morning.  He might leave his socks on the bedroom floor, or forget to rinse the milk out of his cereal bowl, or even hog the covers in bed!  He might say mean things to her.  He might be insensitive to her needs.  He might neglect her, giving the best of himself to those in the church.  There was a moment not so long ago when hubby was under some stress and it showed.  We had talked so I knew what was going on in his head and it had nothing to do with me.  But an older woman in the church joked, “What did you do to upset our pastor?”  First of all, don’t assume it was me.  His stress was due to an unpleasant conversation that had become necessary based on the behavior of another person.  Secondly, he is my husband first, your pastor second.  Learning to respect that hierarchy will go SO FAR in helping to support the pastor’s wife.

Most of all protect their relationship by verbally encouraging him to spend time with his wife.  Let him know that it’s okay to step away from his desk and take her out on a date.  If you see them out at a nice restaurant and it’s rather obvious that they are indeed on a date, wave hello and tell them you hope they have a great time.  My husband will gladly turn on pastor mode and start working the room.  He thinks it is what he is supposed to do to keep the church family happy.  Encourage him to get away with his wife or his family.  There is a simple equation that many church people don’t get –

Pastor “dates” wife and makes time for family fun

Which leads to

Content wife who knows she is loved and is her husband’s priority

Which leads to

Wife who fusses less at hubby for time spent in ministry endeavors

Which leads to

Pastor who is feeling fully supported in ministry and knows he has the full support of his spouse!

I have met too many Pastor’s wives who feel as though they are just supposed to take a back seat to the church.  Sadly, I have met even more church members who feel the same way.  If church members would encourage their Pastor to set healthy limits on office hours, hours spent visiting, etc. AND encourage him to actively plan for time with his wife, they will find that he is more effective in ministry!  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not excusing the wife from making Godly personal choices.  But I have known many, many clergy wives who felt that they were fighting to save their marriages alone.

RELATED:

Pastors Are Human, Too

Being a Minister’s Wife

9 thoughts on “Supporting Our Pastors’ Wives/Families

  1. April, Although I know you love doing this blog and blessings us wives who are so dependant on your morning posts, your place is with your hubby and babies during the holidays. I already can’t see how you have the time to respond to my emails so quickly both when I’m having a meltdown and when I have a praise to report. I know it is God working through you or you couldn’t possibly do it! You have been such a blessing to me over the past ten months. I never could have gotten through this without your teachings and prayers. I pray for you and thank God for your never tiring help and support. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and very Happy New Year. I plan to work on that journal for you during the holidays as I reflect on the past year and my journey with the Peaceful wife and my disrespected husband. Prayers are requested for a dear friend of ours who was just served divorce papers by his wife of 13 yrs. Both are Christians and she gives no reason and has no emotions. He told me he would have laid down his life for her which made me remember what I have learned about husbands. Very sad situation. Much love to you and your sweet family April and enjoy your break!

    1. LTL,

      Thank you for your support! Both of our children also have birthdays between Christmas and January 5th. So we are extra busy celebrating during those two weeks of the year!

      I do tend to invest a LOT of time in the blog and in emails. I believe it is “storing up riches in heaven.”

      But – I want to be sure to put my family first while we are all off together.

      Merry Christmas to you and your family as well!

      I think the journal is a fantastic idea!

      How I pray that God might give you an opportunity to minister to your friend’s wife. But of course I will pray. That is an extremely sad situation.

      Much love to you, as well, my friend!

  2. April, I’m so glad you will be spending wonderful time with your family, and wish you all a very merry Christmas, happy new year, and heartwarming time together. Please know how deeply indebted we all are to you for your help and ministry, and how grateful we are for the huge investment of time and love you’ve made in us. Much love, Elizabeth

  3. Another really important reason to pray for pastor’s wives is because of the HUGE burden they carry for the women, marriages and families in the church. Most women find pastor’s wives to be a safe place to go with their problems. She often gets pulled in by the pastor when a couple is involved in a problem. It can get overwhelming and,frankly, discouraging. For the most part, they are hearing only the burdens of their church members. I realized this when I took my own burdens to mine-who was also a friend of mine stemming from kids being in the same class at school. And then once my marriage was restored, I became a resource for broken wives. (Like peaceful wife!). So I know how others’ loads can weigh you down. And they have these loads without some of the “glory” that the pastors get (hey great sermon buddy, great alter call, etc). So, yeah, pray for pastor’s wives! And anyone in ministry really. Because you see miracles but you see so many trials too.

  4. I hope you have a WONDERFUL time with your family over the next couple of weeks. I will be praying for a RESTFUL break for all of you! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! For all you’ve given (and given and given and given. . . .) here!!! May Yahweh bless you and yours!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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