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10 Things the Preacher’s Wife Can Give Him No One Else Can

As no one else can, she can call him back to earth and speak the unvarnished truth in love.

4. She can encourage him as no one else can.

She knows his hurts and sees his pain. She feels his fatigue and knows about his sleepless nights. His pain is hers. And because she understands him as no one else does, she can lift him up like no one else.

Because she is also his lover, she can comfort him with her arms, her sweetness, her touch, her kisses. She knows when he needs to be left alone and when would be the best time to make that delicious blueberry cobbler he loves so much.

5. She can protect him.

To give him a little peace, pastor’s wife Rita answers his cell phone from the minute he enters the house until he leaves. If the call is important, she hands the preacher the phone. Otherwise, she takes messages or relays them. Pastor’s wife Jerilyn insisted early in their marriage that one day a week would belong to the two of them, no matter where they pastored. By holding to that, she has blessed her husband’s ministry and enhanced their marriage.

Some pastors are hesitant to take the rest they deserve and need. The wife can see that he gets it.

Pastor’s wife Maggie protects her husband from temptation by loving him and treating him as her lover.

6. She can enhance his ministry and make him more effective.

When Margaret found that my “primary love language,” as taught by Judson Swihart in How Do You Say I Love You?, was “being on the same side,” she began doing all she could to support my pastoral ministry. At various times, she taught a Sunday School class, more than once team-teaching alongside me. She led “Experiencing God” classes, worked with drama teams and even ran a television camera. She encouraged me to invite committees to meet in our home where she served as hostess.

As a result, the congregation came to a greater appreciation of my wife, of our home and of the ministry to which God had called me.

7. But there is another side. She can hurt him as no one else in the church can.

She’s “in close.” The husband drops his guard when he’s at home. If a wife misuses her closeness with him, she can wound him severely and destroy his effectiveness. By calling him demeaning names (“stupid” or even using profanity), by accusing him of sin (“I saw you making eyes at someone in the choir”), and by speaking of him disparagingly to church members, she may destroy his confidence and ruin his ministry.

In one church with which I am familiar, choir members could look into the congregation and see the pastor’s wife with the scowl on her face. The look she gave her preacher husband as he tried to expound the Word of God radiated pure disgust. To no one’s surprise, their marriage did not last. At last report, the former pastor was out of the ministry altogether and working at the newspaper.

True, no one but the two of them knows what went on between them, but to this observer, the preacher was brought down by the very person who should have been his champion, his wife.

8. She can interfere as no one else can.

Any member can cause trouble in a church, but the pastor’s wife is perfectly situated to cause the greatest disruptions if she chooses. That’s why she has to exercise great care in the things she says and in whom she confides.

Woe to the pastor whose wife prides herself on her plain-spokenness. “If I think it, I say it,” said one. Not good.

Let the pastor’s wife pray the prayer of Psalm 141:3, “Set a guard upon my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

9. She can help him relax and laugh.

There is a time to discuss heavy matters about the disobedient children and the broken furnace, and a time to lay them aside. There is a time to complain about some matter the preacher-husband promised to do but has forgotten, and a time to put it on the back burner.

One of the hardest things a wife will ever do is to stifle the urge to unload on him when he enters the house. She has been dealing with the problems all day by herself, and finally he is home. Except—as she is to learn quickly enough—he’s not “all there” yet. Give him time. Let him unwind. Be his lover, his sweetheart, his best friend and confidante.

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Joe McKeever has been a preacher for nearly 60 years, a pastor for 42 years, and a cartoonist/writer for Christian publications all his adult life. He lives in Ridgeland, Mississippi.