Home Pastors Articles for Pastors What Not to Say to a Preacher’s Wife

What Not to Say to a Preacher’s Wife

That was her list. Did she leave out anything? 

Marlene fairly well wrote this article, didn’t she? But, in the interest of covering the subject, I put the question out to our rather extensive family of Facebook friends. Here are some actual things people have said to a preacher’s wife…

1.”You really need to be in church every Sunday sitting in your usual spot on the third row where people can see you! I know you are really sick but you need to be seen or people will think there are problems in the pastor’s marriage or with our church.”

The PW who wrote that added, “You cannot use my name.” Bless her heart.

2. “I don’t know…I just cannot see you being a good pastor’s wife.”

3. “Could you sit with your children on the back row so the rest of us can enjoy the sermon?”

4. “He’s putting on a little weight, isn’t he?”

5. “I know we terminated your husband, but we love you.”

6. “I know we terminated your husband as pastor, but we would like you to keep working in the nursery.”

7. (Saturday morning early at the front door.) “Good morning! My husband (chairman of deacons) said it would be all right if I showed my sister from Seattle the renovated parsonage. We’re so proud of it.”

8. “Your husband has nice legs.” (PW: “I forget how I answered that.”)

9. “How can you afford to live in such a nice house?” (Answer: “Because I work and my preacher-husband is retired from a 20-year career.”)

10. “The last pastor owned his own home, and we haven’t actually used this pastorium for the past seven years, but it’s here for you.” (PW: “Its condition was deplorable. Completely neglected for seven years.”)

And, all the rest of the submissions…

1. Where were you last night?

2. You’re the pastor’s wife. You should never (or always)…

3. You need to dress better. You don’t want to go around looking like a church mouse.

4. Do you plan to quit your job now that your husband has an income?

5. Does your child always act this way?

6. I thought all preachers’ wives played the piano.

7. Smile!

8. No, you cannot paint the walls of the parsonage. (When she had a baby, she did it anyway, she says.)

9. It must be nice living next door to the church.

10. Tell your husband he needs to visit Mrs. Henshaw today.

11. Why can’t you be more like your husband?

12. What exactly do you do with all that money we pay you?

13. God told me that He wants you to…

14. What Sunday School class do you want to teach?

15. Have you or your husband called Mr. and Mrs. Crenshaw? They’ve not been to church in a while.

16. Since your husband doesn’t have a real job, could you…?

17. I can’t wait to help you decorate your home for Christmas open house. Do you want it to be for three days or just two?

18. It must be wonderful to be around all that wisdom (or godliness or holiness or whatever) 24 hours a day.

19. What is your role in your husband’s ministry? (The PW answered, “Ummmm. Being his wife.”)

20. And my favorite of all: “Sweetheart, you may want to keep those moving boxes handy. Just in case.”

A late submission from a pastor and wife included the following:

–“You need to know that I just don’t like you.”

–“When you are on the praise team, I do not worship because I can’t stand
you.”

–“I can’t imagine what your husband sees in you.” Yes, this was said
numerous times to my wife by a “godly” woman at our present church.

–“You need to tell your husband [this is what he said wrong in his sermon].”
I was right, by the way.

–“I just want you to know that I defended you when [insert name] said
[something nasty about you].”

–“The way you and your husband are so in love just makes me gag.”

–“Now that we’re friends, I can’t handle knowing that you and your husband
aren’t perfect. I’m having a real problem with it.”

The list seems endless.

Marlene, who started all this in the first place, suggested we compile a list of positive, helpful things to say to the wives of preachers, and we intend to do that. But first, we’ll send this out and let it do its work.

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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.