Every man that has been called into full-time Christian service needs 3 things if he is going to be successful in that ministry: a vital relationship with the Lord, a conclusive call to the ministry, and a joyous and satisfying marriage. Therefore, as his wife, your husband is your biggest ministry. You are his wife. You do yourself a magnificent favor when you get your focus off of yourself, and instead do all you can to multiply your husband’s fulfillment in ministry. Here are some pointers on how to help your husband who is in the ministry.
You are to seek to please him, not everyone else. Every wife ought to make pleasing her husband the number one priority in life, second only to pleasing God. We see this truth in Genesis 3:16, where God told Eve, “Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” So this is true for all wives. God has planned that a wife’s fulfillment comes through pleasing her husband. He has made us so that no matter how successful we might be in other areas of life, we desire more than anything else for our husband to be pleased with us. If we fail to please our husbands, we feel defeated.
A minister’s wife will be asked to take on many responsibilities, all the way from directing the Junior Department to planning the ladies retreat. Instead of just assuming that you must do anything you are asked to do, you must learn to use these two replies: Let me ask my husband about it. Let me pray about it.
Those two replies will save you much frustration and grief. Remember that God will not ask you to do anything that is contrary to what your husband would desire. Your husband knows you better than anyone else. He knows your strengths and he knows your weaknesses. He knows whether or not you will be able to handle a task, or whether it will overwhelm you. Learn to trust his judgment. It will bring freedom from constantly trying to please everyone in the church. If your husband is pleased with you, he is the one that matters most.
Don’t Possess Him
Some women whose husbands are in the ministry—whether it is in the pastorate, in evangelism, or in missions—suffer a great deal from the green-eyed monster called JEALOUSY. They are jealous of every minute he spends away from them, jealous of every young woman he counsels, jealous when people demand his time, jealous of the time he spends studying and preparing.
A preacher’s wife needs to learn early in the ministry to joyfully give her husband to the Lord’s work. What someone takes away from you, you will resent. But what you joyfully give to God will bring you great joy. Many men who are called of God will be hindered in the ministry because of a wife who is possessive. The possessive wife constantly complains about the time he spends away from home. She fusses at him continually about how much she needs him and how he is neglecting his family. She constantly nags at him when he spends time studying, and wants his full attention. She gets upset when he buys books or other items needed in the ministry, because her needs are not being met.
Learn to be flexible. I saw a little poster once with this saying on it: Blessed are the flexible, for they shall never be out of joint. How true that is! Having been a pastor’s wife for 23 years, I have experienced first-hand the great need for flexibility. And I am finding that flexibility is needed as a missionary’s wife too! A woman whose husband is in the ministry must expect many interrupted meals and loss of sleep and rearranged schedules. It just goes with the territory. But remember that God rewards a preacher’s wife who is a helpmeet to her husband and stays by the stuff just as He rewards her husband for faithful service.
Next time we will look at some more ways that you can be a help to your husband in the ministry. For now, ask yourself these questions: Am I seeking to please my husband first, or am I more concerned about pleasing everyone else? Have I given my husband joyfully to the Lord to fulfill the calling that God has given to him, or am I jealously holding on to him and jealous of every minute that he spends serving the Lord? Remember—your actions and attitudes as a wife can make or break your husband’s ministry.
Beverly is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She and Doug Hammett have been married for over 35 years. Since her father was a pastor and her husband was already a pastor when she married him, she is well acquainted with the blessings as well as the problems of the ministry! Bev’s favorite things to do are read and spend time with her family.
In Autumn of 2010, Doug stepped aside from his position as senior pastor at LVBC to reach and train men in Botswana and South Africa. Beverly continues to write for our ladies publication, giving her unique perspective of life in the ministry, and now life on the mission field. You can read more about their ministry here.