How to Hold Up the Pastor’s Wife

lightstock_80347_small_byrene_haney

Christina captures in these short quotes the fishbowl so many pastor’s wives live under.

1) “I wish people knew that we struggle to have family time.”

2) “Almost every day I’m afraid of screwing it all up.”

3) “Being a pastor’s wife is THE loneliest thing I’ve ever done and for so many reasons.”

4) “It is okay and welcomed to have conversations with me about things that do not pertain to church, or even Jesus. There I said it!”

5) “Sundays are sometimes my least favorite day. Wait–am I allowed to say that?”

6) “It’s hard to not harbor resentment or to allow your flesh to lash out at members who openly criticize his ministry.”

7) “Please don’t look down on me or assume I don’t support my husband just because you don’t see me every time the church’s doors are open.”

8) “I wish people knew that we taught our children to make good choices, but sometimes, they don’t.”

9) “What I can tell you is I have been blessed beyond measure, I have been given gifts, money, love and prayer, so much prayer… by so many.” – Christina Stolaas

In the past few weeks, I have tried to open to church members the stresses that pastors and their families go through for the sake of the Gospel.  I am writing this so church members have a greater awareness of the best ways to care for their shepherd and his family.  In this post, I want to discuss the pastor’s wife.

Often the pastor’s wife is taken for granted.  It is just assumed she has it all together.  People rarely stop and think about the pressure and unrealistic expectations she lives under.  She is expected to be a model wife and mother, with perfectly behaved children who never make a sound in church.  She is supposed to be a master chief, church master organist, and organizer.  Members want her to teach Sunday school while running the sewing circle.  All the while providing for all the needs of the pastor.  It is the loneliest position.  You cannot let people get too close for fear that any struggle you share with people will be used against your husband.  So, any vulnerability is unacceptable.  Any crack in the perfect window’s purity could cost your livelihood.  Stop and imagine what life would be like if you lived under that kind of constant scrutiny.  Imagine the mental gymnastics you and your family would daily have to undergo.  Successful ministry often comes at a high cost, family.

How to Support Your Pastor’s wife.

1)    Don’t expect her to be perfect, every woman is unique.  There is not a job description for this role.

God has created each woman married to a pastor as a one of a kind, unique individual.  They do not all come with the same gifts, nor temperament.   Each pastor’s wife needs to be given the freedom to find their specific ministry place in the church.  One thing that most pastors’ wives have in common is that they have a significant and challenging God-given opportunity to have influence their family.  The family is their top priority!

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.” (Psalm 127:3-4, NIV)

2)    She is a vital companion and champion to her husband.

When all the world may be against the pastor, the pastor’s wife often stands in the background holding up the prophet’s hands.  She hears all the complaints being bandied about him, yet often quietly and respectfully listens even though criticism is killing her spirit.

Respect her by not complaining to her about her husband.  Instead, speak well of him to her.

“An excellent wife who can find?

    She is far more precious than jewels.

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,

    and he will have no lack of gain.

12 She does him good, and not harm,

    all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:10-12

3)    Be a mentor for her.  Pray and encourage her.

If you have been blessed with a young pastor’s family and wife, what an excellent opportunity for the older women of the congregation to share their wisdom and be a spiritual sister to the pastor’s wife.  You have a unique opportunity to bless the pastor and his family in this way.

“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” (Titus 2:3-5)

Above are just a few suggestions, and I am confident that if you take the time to pray about this, you will come up with much more.  I would invite you to share what you find in the comment section of this post so that we can find new and creative ways to support the pastor and his wife.  I encourage you also to share what you have done in the past to be a blessing to the pastor’s wife.  It will serve as a source of encouragement to others.

Other posts in this series:
https://revheadpin.org/2016/11/29/how-to-support-your-pastor/
https://revheadpin.org/2016/11/16/why-you-need-a-day-of-rest/
https://revheadpin.org/2017/03/07/can-you-see-the-real-me/

 

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37 Comments

  1. Oddly enough, I was talking with a church elder about this topic this morning. My pastor and his wife seem to truly enjoy their roles, and the elder (who knows them far better than I do) agreed. She is well-suited for being a pastor’s wife. (God knows I couldn’t do what she does!) Our church has tried to give them time “off” from ministry (sabbaticals, vacation time, the other ministers preach quite a bit, etc.) and set boundaries such that they aren’t expected to do everything or to be perfect. I’ve met many pastor’s wives who were miserable in their position, not only for all the reasons you’ve shared above, but also because they never wanted their husband to be a pastor but they felt they had to go along with his decision. Sad.

    I’ve shared this on Twitter. Great article!

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  2. That is so nice of you to talk about this topic. I’ve known a great pastor here in Norway whose wife is also a pastor (pastora), and they’re just perfect for each other. 😉

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      1. I find it freeing to spend quality time with the Lord daily. I find my place at the den table, without anyone else around. Recently we have had someone visiting who sleeps on the den couch. I can’t go into the den to read, and pray. So I have waited to read, and pray. It is hard to wait for another time. I do have another room that is really my husband, and son’s room. Even though it is messy, it is their study room. I will be going in there to find the Lord, in the morning, and to kneel when I want. I believe the quiet, early time is valuable. It gives me a chance to pray, read, and wait before the Lord. I know when the time is finished. I usually find five passages, and write them in a composition book, verbatim. There is strength in numbers, but I don’t find many to agree with me in prayer. I find that singing to the Lord is awesome. I often make up tunes, and words. I am a pastor’s wife. I love full time Christian work. It comes with a cost, and for me to live is Christ, and to die is to see Jesus Christ. Ministry is quiet. I pray for the church, and keep going. God bless.

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      2. I gave my heart to Jesus for life when I was eleven, or twelve. I was the youngest in summer ministry at 13, but I knew God wanted me to help that summer. We look at age, but God looks at the heart. I taught summer classes ten years, teaching children about Christ. When I went to college, I major in Education, and became a teacher. It is the gift God gave me when I was in the 5th grade. I didn’t know it was also a calling, but I was called to teach also. It is in our responses that God is honored. I gave my life to Him, and taught school, and for many years taught Sunday school also. Adults, and children. God is merciful, and full of hope. I accepted Jesus as a child, but when I was twelve I confirmed this. I believe children need to follow on through with what God is saying to them. “Trust and obey, there is no other way, ” The joy comes when you lead children, or adults or teens to Christ.

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  3. Well-written, brother. The role of pastor’s wife is the hardest and mist rewarding job I have ever held. We often have an unrealistic idea that somehow we are called to do it all and be everything to every one. What a great reminder that no one can or should try to do it all.

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  4. I can’t relate to this as I live in a country where religion is not an important factor into our every day lives. Here, we have both men and women as priests and some of them are even divorced or single. I can see that in your country there is a huge pressure on a pastor’s family.

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  5. This is a beautiful and much needed awareness post! I think we often get caught up in our own lives that we forget to realize that everyone is human, especially pastors and their families. So thank you for letting us to be more caring and consider and just understanding.

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  6. As a pastor’s wife myself, one thing I really appreciate is that one family from our congregation always brings a meal over the week before Christmas and Easter when my husband is exhausted and busy with many extra services. I never realized how much I would feel like a single mom as a pastor’s wife, but many evening and weekend meetings and commitments mean I’m often parenting alone especially at church functions where he is working and it is difficult and sometimes impossible to act as pastor and father simultaneously. This is especially difficult on our children who are too young to understand that daddy can’t always be daddy even when we are in the same room. My 2 year old is a daddy’s girl and really struggles on Sunday mornings with the fact that she can see Dad but she can’t go sit with him during service.
    My other favorite is offering to babysit free of charge so we can go out for a date.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love this! I consider our pastor’s wife a friend and she is often heavy on my heart. One of my greatest joys has been to lift her up in prayer many times. Thank you for sharing this – there is a lot of truth in it!

    Liked by 1 person

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