I’ve been thinking a lot about pastor’s wives. About what I want to say to you in this series. About what I can possibly say that hasn’t already been said, a thousand times, and from much wiser women than I.
I decided I can’t share great words of wisdom, because I am still learning. I can’t tell you all the pitfalls to avoid, because I’m still early in my journey.
So I’ll just share my heart.
Looking back over the past nine years as the wife of a pastor, I realize there are a few things I wish I would have known “all along”. Things I learned through difficulties or mistakes. Nuggets of truth I gleaned by learning from other pastor’s wives.
Here are 10 things every young pastors wife should know!
1. You don’t have to be perfect.
You really don’t. Your husband doesn’t have to be perfect, and neither do your children. The day you reject the bondage of “the fear of man” (Proverbs 29:25) is the day you will start to walk in true joy and freedom.
2. You will get lonely.
Unless you live near your family, you won’t likely see your mama on Mother’s Day. Your children might celebrate birthdays without cousins and grandparents nearby. You might look for friendship within your church congregation and realize you don’t have a confidant. Sometimes you will feel misunderstood. Other pastor’s wives may be too busy to listen or connect. Yes, you will sometimes walk a lonely road.
3. You need a mentor.
You NEED a mentor. Ask the Lord to bring one (or three) into your life. She might be an older woman, or even a writer or blogger. Find someone who is a little ahead of you in life’s journey and heading in the direction you want your life to take. Then become a student of that lady.
4. Your husband needs a cheer leader.
Your husband will get enough “on the job” criticism, griping, and opinions. He needs someone who believes in him, and he needs you to be that someone. Yes, you already know all his faults. Believe in him anyway. And tell him so. Often.
5. Your husband’s ministry is only as strong as your marriage.
Satan would like very much to sabotage your husband’s ministry by destroying, or at least weakening, your marriage. Never, NEVER, let bitterness poison your soul! Guard your marriage by pursuing a life of thankfulness, forgiveness, and joy. These are three of the best “boundaries” you can put around your marriage as a pastor’s wife.
6. Protect your children.
Not everyone who darkens the door of your church is trustworthy. Pedophiles exist, even within the church. Don’t be afraid to say “no” if you feel uncomfortable about sleep overs, outings, or anything that raises a “red flag” in your heart. I highly recommend Debi Pearl’s Yell and Tell books for teaching young children about sexual predators.
7. You can’t influence people unless you understand them (and yourself).
A wise pastor’s wife once advised me, “Try to learn the love language of each of the ladies in your church.” I took her advise, and I am still working on that project! Read The 5 Love Languages and The Color Code and become a student of the people in your life. Learn what makes them tick. The power of understanding is life-changing and you will find it easier to extend grace to people in your church family with whom you may not naturally bond.
8. Don’t be easily offended.
Those who anger you control you. Reject pettiness and take the high road when people are rude, tactless, or simply careless with their words. Again, seek a life of thankfulness, forgiveness, and joy.
9. Give your expectations to God.
Expectations often destroy joy, a sense of accomplishment, and purpose. Give your expectations to God! Expectations of yourself, your children, your husband, your church. Surrender and accept God’s grace for the reality of where you’re at today.
10. Sometimes you must lead and sometimes you must follow.
I do not mean sometimes you must lead your husband, and sometimes you must follow your husband. Your husband is ever the head of your home and your church! I mean that sometimes God will take you out of your personal comfort zone.
God may ask you to step out and “lead” the women in your church, teach a children’s class, or organize meals for a needy family. If you are a natural “follower”, this might be hard for you! God may also give you opportunities to take the back seat, to lay aside your great ideas, roll up your sleeves, and support someone else’s agenda. This can be hard for a Go To Gal.
Whatever your personality, resist the urge to stay in your comfort zone. Let God stretch you!
What would you add to this list?
Is there something you wish you would have known early on as a pastor’s wife?
*This post was originally posted on October 22, 2013.
Kristy Howard is a pastor’s wife, second-generation homeschooling mom of five, and a passionate believer in friendship, coffee, and quiet time! Kristy writes about motherhood, ministry and life at KristysCottage.com.