Literally my whole life, I have been around preachers’ wives. My mom was one for more than 30 years. My sister is one. And, of course, I am married to one. I have also had the privilege of being around many other preachers and their wives throughout the years, and these couples are some of the finest people on earth.
Being a preacher is wonderful, yet stressful. But being the wife of a preacher carries a weight that few can imagine (I guess, maybe, elders’ wives can relate, but that’s about it).
Today, I want to share with you some of the things that precious lady carries on her mind constantly, so that you can pray for her and encourage her. I would venture to say that most preachers’ wives ask themselves the following five questions almost daily.
“Am I Doing Enough?” Very few, if any, preachers’ wives do not ask this question constantly. They are wondering if they are teaching enough classes, helping with enough programs, hosting enough people in their home, and so on. While few other ladies stop to ask this, the preachers’ wife wears this question on her shoulders with every decision. She does not want to disappoint others, but she is also weary from what she is involved in.
“Are We Going to Have to Move?” Even if they have been in one location for 10 years or more, this thought goes through her mind. Because she’s heard all the stories of preachers who were fired “out of the blue,” even after many years at a congregation. She loves making her house a home, but she lives with the constant thought that one decision, one influential member’s hurt feelings, or one change in the eldership could mean she’s packing it all up…again.
“What Do People Think of Me as a Mother?” Trust me: if your preacher and his wife have children, she wonders what you think of her. She is thinking that every decision (to take the child out and spat his little hand or not; to homeschool or to send to public school; to let kids play ball or not) is going to be critiqued, and those who do not agree with the decision will think less of her. Whether or not this is true, she carries that with her the whole time the kids are under her roof.
“When is Our Time?” Preaching is demanding on time. He needs to prepare sermons and classes, of course, but “ministry” also needs to happen, and it’s not always 9-to-5. Sometimes, that’s in the evenings. Other times, it is late at night or early in the morning. She knows where her husband is, but she sometimes wonders how long he’s going to stay out. And while he’s out, she carries the responsibility of the home, and a feeling of loneliness.
“Can I Have a True Friend?” You may not think this is a real concern, but it is. Many preachers’ wives are worried about getting too close to anyone, for fear of how others might perceive it. She thinks that if she is close friends with one person, then someone else will feel slighted. Also, she wonders how much she can share about the stresses of her life without sounding like she is whining, or without coming across as a gossip.
I am grateful for preachers’ wives. I am grateful to be married to the finest one on earth, but I also know the struggles that come with that role. While it is not an official position, many people place expectations on the preachers’ wife nonetheless, as if there were some handbook somewhere that she is to follow.
For each lady who stands beside her husband as he faithfully proclaims the Word of God, I thank you.
And to my wife who supports me in prayer, thought, and action daily…I love you.
AUTHOR: Adam Faughn