Your Spouse Needs Prayer Too

How to Honor Your Pastor’s Wife

Let’s face it!  Most of the people who fill our church pews take their pastor’s wife for granted. This seems to be especially true of the women involved in some type of ladies’ ministry in the church.  The pastor’s wife is there-faithful, ready with a listening ear, giving hugs and words of encouragement.   And so, it may be very difficult to see her as a person with needs and problems of her own.  As a former missionary, D.S.’s wife and pastor’s wife, who has listened to the good and sad experiences of many pastors’ wives, let me share a few ideas that make a pastor’s wife feel appreciated. 

I feel that these dedicated women could all use, what I have called, “Three Special C’s.”

The first C a pastor’s wife needs is CONSIDERATION.  Probably the worst scenario I heard was the one told to me by a fairly new pastor’s wife.  She and her husband had just returned from a short missions trip and the women’s committee had asked her to speak at their next meeting.  She faithfully and prayerfully prepared for this speaking assignment.  When she came to the meeting, fully prepared to speak, she discovered when the offering was taken and the announcements were being made, that one of the ladies on the committee, hearing that a missionary passing through their town was free to speak at the meeting, asked her to speak instead.  This was perfectly fine, except that no one on the committee had thought to inform the pastor’s wife that she was not to speak!  Needless to say, she was taken back by such treatment.

Practical ways to be considerate to your pastor’s wife: 

  1. Do not assume that she has an all-seeing eye; she doesn’t.  It IS necessary to inform your pastor’s wife about changes in meeting times, programs, speakers, her participation, etc.  The adage that she needs to be prepared at all times to “preach, pray or die” is a burden she must not be asked to carry. 
  2. Do not assume that she can be counted on to “fill in” if, at the last minute, there is a “no show.”   An offspring of consideration is courtesy.  Be courteous to your pastor’s wife.

The second C a pastor’s wife needs is COMPASSION.  One pastor’s wife shared with me that their church was going through a period of financial difficulty.  Her husband received a cut in his salary at the same time their son was entering college, and to help with these additional expenses, she took a part-time job, which meant that she could not attend all the church activities she previously had.   Four other women in the church, whose children entered college that same year, also procured jobs outside the home and had sporadic attendance at the meetings.  Everyone seemed to understand their plight, but not hers.  She confided in me: “I became so discouraged that for a period of almost an entire year, I didn’t attend any women’s activities and only a few other church affairs.  When I did attend, I heard remarks like, ‘Well, well-look who finally made it to a meeting?’  One woman, obviously thinking she was amusing, said very loudly as I entered the room, ‘Can it be that our pastor’s wife has decided to honor us with her presence?'”  An offspring of compassion is empathy; empathy heals-sarcasm hurts.

Practical ways to show compassion to your pastor’s wife:

  1. Recognize that a pastor and his wife have special financial needs just as you do.
  2. Just as it is difficult for you to attend all church activities, recognize that your pastor’s wife has these same difficulties.
  3. Have enough confidence in your pastor’s wife to know that if she misses certain events, she has a good reason for doing so.  In other words, “Cut her some slack.”
  4. If there are young children at the parsonage, know that babysitters like to be paid.  This can be a real hindrance to her not attending an activity.  Offer either to babysit or to pay for a babysitter, if the church does not provide childcare for an activity.

The third C a pastor’s wife needs is CONFIRMATION.  Assure your pastor’s wife that you appreciate her and that she is not just a good pastor’s wife, but a genuinely nice lady.  Treat her as an individual-a woman who is an entity apart from being your pastor’s wife.   Don’t EVER COMPARE HER with your former pastor’s wife or some idealistic pastor’s wife you have created in your imagination. 

  1. Confirmation comes in many intangible forms: smiles, hugs, words of encouragement and appreciation.  
  2.  It also comes in tangible forms:  treat her to lunch, a day at the spa (several ladies can share the expense), a haircut, a great cup of coffee.  Sidebar: When I tried to take a pastor’s wife to a really fancy coffee chop, I discovered one didn’t exist in their town.  The only place open where one could buy a cup of coffee was McDonalds.  She told me the two hours we spent over our coffees were exactly what she needed.  Fancy coffee would have been great, but just talking uninterruptedly for two hours was a luxury she seldom had.
  3. Remember your pastor’s wife’s birthday with cards, a book, or a gift certificate to a special activity.  Talk with others and see what ideas they have to make her feel special.

These are such simple suggestions, but they will bless that wonderful lady who has followed her husband to your church and is trying very hard to please, not only the Lord, but you as well.  
Article by: Helen Polding, Alliance Women”s Ministry Contributor