7 Ways to Love Your Pastor's Wife Well

I have the best “job” in the world—I’m a pastor’s wife. I have the honor of seeing my husband live out at home what he preaches up front. I get to attend to the affairs of the kingdom with him—serving, giving, showing hospitality, being there in the greatest joys and deepest sorrows of life as I watch him shepherd the sheep God has given him. What a privilege!
           
Now some would not think this is such a privilege. I heard of one ministry wife who said, “Clergy ought to be celibate because no decent right-minded man ought to have the effrontery to ask any woman to take on such a lousy job. It is thoroughly unchristian!”

Well, sometimes it is hard, but it is not lousy, and it is most certainly not unchristian! 

Do you know a pastor’s wife? Would you like to bless her? After forty-one years in a ministry marriage, here are some ways our people have blessed me.  

Love your pastor’s wife by communicating to her what you appreciate about your pastor.
Leaders are talked about. By virtue of his position, your pastor will be the subject of many conversations. And some of that talk will find its way back to your pastor’s wife. Don’t let it all be negative. Speak to her, write to her—let her know what you appreciate about her husband. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Prov. 18:21) Let your tongue be live-giving.

Love your pastor’s wife by praying for her.
Pray for her on Sunday mornings when she is sitting alone. Pray for her during the week when her husband is attending to the affairs of the kingdom. Pray for her when they are on vacation, that the church will not need to call with pressing needs. Pray for her as she mothers her children and cares for her parents. Pray for her during the Christmas and Easter holiday seasons when her husband’s workload increases. Pray for her spiritual growth and delight. Pray for her marriage, that God would defend and protect it. “Be constant in prayer.” (Rom. 12:12) I thank the Lord for Mary, an elder’s wife who met with me twice a month to pray for me, and for Jen who is ever ready to intercede over my prayer needs.

(Not sure what to pray for your pastor’s wife? Download Revive Our Hearts’ 31 Days of Praying for Your Pastor’s Wife PDF.)

Love your pastor’s wife by taking her out for coffee just to get to know her.
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted.” (Eph. 4:32) Anne and I became lifelong friends through her loving initiative in this way.

Love your pastor’s wife with a little gift now and then.
A candle, some hand lotion, a small plant, a loaf of bread from your favorite bakery, seasonal paper napkins, or a favorite pen with some notecards communicates thought and care to a woman who often feels on the outside of friendships within her church. “I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.” (Phil. 4:18) Lois has been a source of deep encouragement through her thoughtful love gifts.    

Have you considered sending your pastor’s wife to the Revive ’13: Women Helping Women Conference?

Love your pastor’s wife by understanding her Saturdays.
Most pastors need to work on Saturdays. There are weddings and hospital visits and breakfasts with men who can’t meet during the week. Plus the office at church is usually quietest on Saturday for her man’s personal reflection, study, and preparation for Sunday services. She may feel lonely and have the kids to herself when other families are together. Could you include her or any of her children in part of your day? “Take courage, do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” (2 Chron. 15:7) Thank you, Kathy, for all those Saturdays when Dane and Gavin played with Matt and Josh. 

Love your pastor’s wife by loving her kids.
Let them be kids, not angels. Invite them over. Befriend them. I know one church where some ladies whose children were grown and gone formed a “Zoo Patrol” for their young pastor’s wife. Her husband left very early on a Sunday morning, often before the children were up, and his wife was having a hard time getting her four little ones to church on time. These sweet ladies took turns coming over on a Sunday morning an hour before church. They helped get shoes and coats on and hair combed and breakfast finished and kids buckled into car seats. Then the volunteer would follow Mom to church and help shepherd them into the proper classes. What a gift to their pastor and his wife! “In humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Phil. 2:3)  

Do you have a skill your pastor’s wife could benefit from? I’m so grateful for Caroline’s gardening expertise, for Hilda’s red velvet cake, for Patty and Joe housing family members, for Melinda booking flights for our family when Daddy died, for Llew Ann’s help with my wardrobe needs. How they cheered me, helped me, loved me! “Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Rom. 12:10)

Love your pastor’s wife by speaking directly to your pastor if you have a suggestion. 
Don’t ask his wife to be the messenger. It is hard on a ministry marriage if the wife feels obliged to communicate to her husband the desires of the congregation. If it is important enough to mention, spare her the effort and possible heartache of saying, “Mrs. Smith thinks it would be better if . . .” If it is important enough to tell him, let him hear it from you. “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” (Prov. 16:24)

Do you know a pastor’s wife? What do you appreciate about her? What are some ways you have and can love her?

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About the Author

Jani Ortlund

Jani Ortlund

Jani Ortlund, Executive Vice President of Renewal Ministries, loves spending her energies connecting women with the Word of God. Serving Jesus Christ through writing, speaking and discipling are her chief passions in life. Jani and Ray, Pastor of Immanuel Church, have four married children and twelve grandchildren, and minister in Nashville, Tennessee.