I started something new on my Peacefulwife Blog Facebook page yesterday! For those of you who prefer to learn by listening – I have posted a few of my first VIDEOS! Now you can be in “my class” – even though you’re not at my church. 🙂 Let me know if you like that medium and if you find it helpful. Thank you!
I have not been a minister’s wife myself. But I have been a pastor’s daughter-in-law for 18 years, and although I was not quite as much under the spotlight and scrutiny that my mother-in-law was – I definitely was close enough to see how wonderful and how difficult it can be to be in the “glass fish bowl” – as my husband likes to say.
A number of ministers’ wives have written to me. I know that being in this position of influence and pressure is a DIFFICULT and CHALLENGING place to be. There is nowhere to go to hide when things aren’t going well. Those who are in a pastor’s/minister’s family, but especially his wife – will be held to MUCH higher standards by those in the church, those outside of the church and also by God Himself. So it is REALLY critical that the ministers’ wives out there become as godly, holy, mature and Spirit-filled as possible.
OTHER PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING
A pastor’s wife is under a great deal more scrutiny about everything than almost anyone else in the church (except maybe the pastor): her attitude, speech, tone of voice, behavior, habits, spending, parenting, modesty, cooking, eating, clothing – EVERYTHING is monitored. She is constantly watched. If she makes a mistake – everyone will know about it. Some may follow her ungodly example, or they may talk about her behind her back, confront her or the pastor about it or her husband may lose his job. If she does something godly and sets a beautiful example, people will model after her, too – especially the women in the congregation.
THE POWER OF A PASTOR’S WIFE TO DESTROY
I have seen pastors’ wives (not my mother-in-law!) use their position of influence and exposure to completely and utterly destroy their marriages, their husbands’ ministries and entire churches. One woman in the position of a minister’s wife can do all an incalculable amount of damage. All wives can cause complete devastation and damage in their husbands’ lives on some level. But for a pastor – his wife’s sins, rebellion, idolatry, discord, hatred, unforgiveness, etc… carry much more weight than they would in most marriages.
How could a minister’s wife destroy her husband and his ministry?
- showing blatant and/or subtle disrespect for her husband in front of church members or other leaders in the church
- gossipping about her husband or other church members
- slandering someone in the church
- using her words to tear down her husband in public and in private
- calling people in the church and trying to handle personality disputes or leadership disputes herself
- being very critical of her husband’s abilities as a pastor, demeaning his abilities, calling him lazy or a hypocrite (even if only in private – that is incredibly demoralizing)
- correcting her husband in front of others
- having hatred, resentment, contempt, animosity, anger, bitterness and unforgiveness in her heart towards people in the church or her husband
- cherishing sin in her own life
- wearing immodest clothing
- flirting with other men
- questioning her husband’s decisions constantly – especially in front of others
- refusing to cooperate with her husband’s spiritual authority in church or in the marriage
- trying to control the church herself or control her husband as a puppet for her own agenda and desires
- having an emotional or sexual affair
- undermining her husband’s spiritual authority at church, in the marriage or as a father
- not having the love of Christ in her heart
- having a critical, judgmental, condemning spirit
- embezzling money or being involved in a scandal
- refusing to go to the church service
- arguing with her husband in front of church members
- bad mouthing her husband to others
This is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully wives can see the idea. This stuff applies to ALL wives – but ministers’ wives must ESPECIALLY be on guard against this kind of disrespect and any attempts to usurp their husbands’ God-given authority in the church, the marriage and the home.
THE POWER OF A PASTOR’S WIFE TO BUILD UP
There are wise pastors’ and ministers’ wives in the church who understand the enormity of their responsibility before God to obey Him and to show respect for their husbands and to cooperate with their husbands’ leadership. They understand God will judge them more strictly. They understand the eyes of the congregation and community are on them all the time. They know that they are co-laborers with their husbands – they are teammates – to minister for the gospel together. They know that their husbands’ ability to do his job depends on their wives’ ability to behave themselves in a Christlike way.
A BEAUTIFUL, GODLY EXAMPLE
My mother-in-law has been an incredibly godly pastor’s wife for about 50 years now. She was able to watch her own behavior, speech, dress, manners and respect for her husband and I have NEVER known her to cause a problem in one of her husband’s churches. The beautiful qualities I observed in my mother-in-law that other ministers’ wives ( and really, ALL wives) may want to imitate:
- She always takes care to dress in a feminine, conservative, modest way (beautiful long dresses or skirts with jackets and a blouse, usually). She knows that she represents Christ, their church, her husband and their congregation when she is at church or even just out in public in town. She makes sure she looks decent and put together because she knows she is a reflection of her husband and she wants to be sure she makes him look good.
- She willingly plays the piano and/or teaches children’s Sunday School classes. She is always a genuine helpmeet to her husband, using her talents and abilities to contribute to the needs of the church.
- She doesn’t complain or argue in front of others. I am not aware of a time when she complained about the church or about her husband or someone in the church to a church member.
- She always upholds her husband’s decisions and cooperates with him and shows a united front at church.
- She does NOT get involved in gossip or drama. It is difficult to have close friends when you are the pastor’s wife – you know so much about what is going on and private affairs of so many people – especially in a smaller church (100-300 people). But she was always SO VERY careful not to create divisions, contention, gossip or spread slander.
- She always smiles at each person at church, hugs them, is friendly to them, welcomes them and shows as much hospitality as possible in every situation.
- She always comes to church to support her husband – unless she was sick or in pain.
- She doesn’t begrudge him the many, many hours he spends away from her and their family (when their children were at home) visiting the sick in the hospital or going to someone’s house where there was a death or counseling people or working on the leaky faucet at the church or someone’s house.
- She is a wonderful cook and always had a delicious lunch and supper ready for her husband each day and enjoyed the time she got to share with him.
- She lets her husband lead the conversation about spiritual things with people.
- She doesn’t do anything that might cause someone to stumble – no alcohol, no working on Sunday, no inappropriate behavior or questionable activities – she avoids even the appearance of evil.
- She is very responsible and takes good care of her home and was (and still is) a great mother to her boys.
- She never tells her husband what to preach or how to preach.
- She trusts her husband to handle his job and calling with wisdom.
- She knows her husband is responsible, capable, dependable, intelligent and able to do his job well and she shows faith and confidence in him.
- She always dressed her children well and made sure they behaved well in church. They also behaved well outside of church, too!
- She stands by her husband when there is strife in the church. She is quiet and doesn’t try to defend him herself. But she is there and offers her supportive presence, showing her respect for him and her belief in him. But she doesn’t take over in business meetings or try to control things or fix things herself.
I lift up all wives who belong to You, but especially ministers’ wives. Help them to choose to live by Your power to be the wives You want them to be. Let them honor You and their husbands in their speech, attitudes, behavior, priorities and choices. Let them point many to You by their obedience to Your Word and their willingness to follow Your design for marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33. Bless these women richly in their walk with You. Satan would like to destroy them. Protect them and their husbands from evil. Keep them close to Your heart. Use them to gather a large harvest for Your kingdom and to teach, preach and live well with Your Spirit of power, love, courage and self-control.
In the Name and power of Christ,