by Paul D. Johnson
As a pastor, I watch my wife navigate through the gauntlet of a Sunday morning service. I am constantly amazed by her grace and willingness to engage members of our congregation. Sometimes, she does so well that I assume that it’s easy. I can hear her joyful laughter across the lobby and I know all is well.
There are other times, though, when I see cracks in her armour and it reminds me that she probably has the toughest job on the planet. Yet, I have taken her for granted. God has convicted me of this sin. I’ve had to learn some things the hard way. Here are five things that I would encourage you to remember, as you seek to love your wife well:
1. Remember that She is Vulnerable
While you have a job to do on Sunday Morning that demands your undivided focus, and allows you places to hide, your wife is open and exposed to congregants. She fields crazy questions about you, your ministry and about the church. She is expected to know everything and everybody. Many will treat her as if she is in every board meeting and has learned about every staff decision. They’re not afraid to ask her to pass along their thoughts about you, to you. This is a very vulnerable place to be.
2. Remember that the Congregation Has High Expectations of Her
There seems to be an inexplicable paradigm in churches that demands that the wife of a pastor be pretty near perfect. She is supposed to wear the right clothes for every occasion, say the right things during every encounter, and raise perfect children. Many think that she is automatically the unofficial leader of a women’s ministry and at the very least, is expected to be at every luncheon and tea. In other words, she is in an impossible situation. These demands can cause even the godliest woman to shutter.
3. Remember that Her Radar Usually Works Better than Yours
I’ve learned to listen to Wendi because she provides insights that I miss. When she meets someone, she can usually get a good read before they even say a word. She can normally sense whether a decision is good or bad before I’ve even given her my five best arguments to make it. God has gifted her with insight that men usually ignore. In simple terms: Trust her gut.
4. Remember that the Strength of Your Marriage May Very Well Define the Breadth and Length of Your Ministry
Ministry can be the worst possible antidote for a successful marriage. Long hours and pressure can cause any couple to experience strife, no matter how grounded they are in Christ. But don’t ignore your marriage. Your wife is to be loved more than any other person-period. Ephesians 5:25 states, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Don’t ignore this command. You can be the best preacher anyone’s ever heard, and God’s gift to your congregation, but if your marriage falls apart, you’re toast.
5. Remember that She is Your Best Asset
Marriage is hard, but don’t ever forget that God gave your wife to you as a gift. Don’t ever see her as a nuisance or a block to doing ministry. In truth, she is your ally, friend, lover, and guardian of your family. She is the best thing that’s ever happened to you. Treat her like it. Tell her that you believe it.
Your wife needs you to love her well. You are called to protect her. You are her “knight in shining armour.” Pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to put aside your selfish needs and love her in a way that will cause others to do the same for their wives. God will be pleased. Your ministry will flourish.