Being a pastor's wife is a great honor that often comes at a high cost. While it can be incredibly rewarding it can also be very, very hard.
I've obviously never been a pastor's wife but I have been married to one for almost 12 years. Much of what I will say has been learned by watching her handle the role with dignity, strength and grace - and while it has been filled with many great joys, it has also not gone without its difficulties.
In a role that is often too much for one woman to bear there is incredible opportunity to serve a pastor's wife in ways that offer her honor, strength and a deep sense of support and encouragement. While the list could be a mile long, here's 10 ways to practically, relationally, emotionally and spiritually serve your friend and fellow church member who happens to be married to your pastor:
1) Offer to babysit…for FREE.
Encourage her and her husband to go out on date nights. Listen for those announcements at church about events that are coming up that he has to be involved with…ask her if you can babysit so she can go with him if she wants.
2) Help her with the kids on Sunday.
Most pastor's wives are single moms on Sundays. Go to her home and help get the kids ready and out the door. Or, at least coordinate a meeting time in the church parking lot and help her unload the kids and check them into their classes.
3) Don't talk about "church business" when you hang out.
Just hang out. Her husbands's career, her home and likely most of her social life all revolve around the church - its people and its activities. Be the break she needs from all of that. Let her bring up church stuff only if she wants to.
4) Accept the fact that she is not perfect.
She is a normal wife, mom, woman and follower of Jesus just like anyone else. Her spiritual life is not necessarily easier because her husband is a pastor - it may actually be harder. She struggles and grows and needs grace just like you do.
5) Let her decide where she wants to serve.
Don't project your expectations on her. Her primary calling is to her family, not the church. Her responsibility is to fulfill that role, and then, like anyone else, be faithful in identifying where God would have her use her gifts and serve the church.
6) Support her husband…your pastor.
Help make her husband's job of leading and serving the church lighter, not heavier - support her by supporting him. He will be criticized, accused and beat up at times - and she will feel it, deeply. Be an encouragement to him, for both their sakes.
7) Stand in her first line of defense.
Guard her from people and things that are life-stealing, not life-giving. She is often pulled in different directions by different people wanting different things from her. Make sure her soul is poured into (not just pulled from) and her time is protected.
8) Be her friend by letting her be yours.
Introduce her to others as your friend, not as your pastor's wife - it helps her feel connected to you, not used by you. She is not defined by her husband's job but carries her own name, identity and desire to be known deeply as a woman and friend.
9) Love her more than you love (or hate) the church.
Many pastor's wives struggle to grow deep relationships out of fear that a friend may eventually leave the church, and in so doing, leave her. Don't let your level of happiness at church dictate your depth of commitment and loyalty to her.
10) Pray for her.
Above all, go before God on her behalf. Her heart and home are uniquely positioned to suffer severe spiritual attack. The Enemy takes her family and church roles seriously, and so should we. Love her well by praying for her regularly.
UPDATE: After posting this article a friend shared a similar one with me that I find to be a very helpful resource on this topic. I had not seen it before but have been blessed by reading it. You can check it out HERE.
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