I could feel a storm approaching. Looking out the windows I saw dark clouds gathering in the distance but swiftly growing closer. It looked like it was going to be a bad one. Suddenly, my wife burst into our home back from the Katie Conference Committee meeting she had just attended.
“How was it?” I queried.
“Good,” she replied.
Outside I could sense the storm clouds growing darker.
“By the way,” my wife hesitantly began, “We decided to do some blog entries as run-ups to the Katie Conference and I was wondering if you would write one?”
“Sure, I would love to,” was my over confident reply. “What’s the topic?”
“How pastors’ wives can better help their husbands … from the perspective of the pastor.”
The lightening flashed and the thunder crashed. The storm was upon me.
All joking aside, how do you write a blog post detailing how wives could be better wives and not sound like a puffed up jerk? I love my wife. My wife loves me. And, I’d really like to keep it that way. In desperation I asked some of my friends. Their reply was a swift, “You should write over how pastors could be better husbands.” Yep, wish I had that one. I have a million ideas for that topic, but alas, that is not what I’m supposed to write about.
This is not the easiest topic to cover. Honestly, what spouse (whether wife or husband) doesn’t wish the other spouse would do more? And how many husbands are insane enough to actually vocalize that? Truly, it’s a part of our sinful nature that we are selfish, and our selfishness leads to us wanting to do less and the other person more. Who wouldn’t want a shorter honey-do list, less times doing dishes, laundry, cleaning house, picking up dry cleaning, and all the other chores spouses share to keep their households running?
But, let us not be chauvinistic or too cavalier about this. This isn’t about house chores. Us pastors are pretty capable of washing a dish and I’ve even been known to correctly operate an iron (actually, I AM the one who does the ironing in my house). No, this is much more. This is about the deep relationship between man and wife and how Christ and His Bride, the Church, are an example to us.
So, how can a pastor’s wife better support her pastor husband?
Give us Your Perspective
The truth of the matter is that before I submitted this for finalization I had my wife read it over. I trust and value her judgment and input. My wife is pretty smart and intuitive (and I’m betting all pastors would say that of their wives). Many times in my ministry, when contemplating an opportunity or challenge, I have sought her opinion.
Pastors are guys, and we tend to approach things like guys (and as pastors, but that is to be expected). We can’t see 360 degrees, have trouble sometimes envisioning other perspectives, and hate asking for directions. Wives can help by bringing a fresh viewpoint. We pastors need the insights and intuitions of our wives.
Be a Cheerleader
I do not know where I would be without the support of my wife. Ministry can be tough. Sometimes we need a reminder that good things are happening. It is easy to focus on the negative things in ministry. Life is messy. Bad things happen in parishioners’ lives, bad things happen to churches, and those things can be a heavy burden.
Wives, please, remind us of the good things. You don’t have to necessarily bring a smile to our face. But, just a gentle word of encouragement can go a long way.
Support and Encourage Us
No matter how confident we appear, pastors are like everybody; we have our insecurities and self-doubts. It is a huge responsibility to look after the spiritual welfare of the flocks entrusted to us pastors. And, while we might look like the most confident guy in the room, often we aren’t. It is a humbling call to be an under-shepherd. I need and am supremely grateful to the support and encouragement my wife gives to me; whether talking to me, listening to me, or praying for me – my wife helps me every day to live out my call.
Wives, by providing your support and encouragement it gives us pastors the confidence to live out our calling to lead God’s people. We are forever grateful. Please, continue to listen to us, talk with us, and pray for us. We need that often more than you know.
Let’s face it; pastors’ wives give a LOT! Their husband’s ministry is not always kind or easy and that can spill over onto them. However, there are many ways wives can help their husbands and create a stronger ministry at their congregations. We need your perspective, your positive attitude, your support and encouragement, and your prayers.