Many wives whose husbands are in the ministry have developed a habit of complaining. When you listen to them talk, they can only complain about all that is wrong. If you listen to them very long, it can be very depressing.
We have been looking the past several months at different ways that a wife can stand by her husband and help him to succeed in the ministry. Remember, these principles apply not only to those in the ministry, but to any man whatever his occupation. As a wife, you are to be your husband’s cheerleader, his chief supporter, and his encourager.
We are going to continue this month looking at some ways that you as a wife can help to make your husband to succeed in the ministry. We have mentioned several in the past issues: please him, don’t possess him, praise him, and protect him.
In the last two issues we have looked at three different ways that a wife can help her husband to succeed. She should seek to please him, putting his needs before her own. She should not possess him—but allow him to pursue the path that God has laid out for him. And she needs to praise him, letting him know that she is his biggest fan and she has confidence in him. Let me say again that these things apply to anyone—not just a wife whose husband is in full time Christian service. This month we want to look at another way a wife can “stand by her man” and help her husband to succeed, no matter what occupation he may be in.
Last month we began to look at ways that you as a wife can help your husband succeed in the ministry. We looked at pleasing him and not possessing him. We want to continue with that theme this issue and look at another area in which you as a wife can help your husband.
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.
So how do we handle expectations? There are definitely some wrong ways to handle them. A wife may passively comply with what is expected of her, trying to meet everyone’s expectations, no matter how unrealistic. But underneath, that woman will have an inner rage that shows up in her relationship with her husband and her children, and in her relationships at church. She is a ticking time bomb.
We started looking in the last issue at the subject of expectations. This month we want to continue with that subject, and consider where expectations come from.
I have spoken to many pastor’s wives all over the country, and there is a common problem that comes up often. This problem can basically be defined as expectations—what others expect of you compared to what you realistically can do and be.
If your husband is in full-time service in some capacity, whether it be a pastor, assistant pastor, teaching in a Christian school, a missionary, etc., you can be sure of one thing—the devil does not like it and his desire is to destroy your ministry. This is also true for any Christian, no matter what kind of occupation you have. If you and your husband are trying to live for the Lord and serve Him with your life, the devil does not like it and he will do everything in his power to disrupt and destroy your life. Since this column is especially written for those who are serving in full-time Christian service, that is where I want to put my emphasis. But many of these truths apply to the lay person as well. Satan is your enemy—and his desire is to make you fall.
I have been asked that question several times over the years. Many women do not know what is even expected of them if their husband is in full-time Christian service. The wife is often told that she has the potential to make or break her husband’s ministry, but there is no formal training for her as a pastor’s wife. A pastor will go to school for 3 or 4 years, and some even longer, but many pastor’s wives have not even had the chance to finish college. Very few have any Bible training at all.
There is a question that has been debated for years in theological circles. That is the question of whether the minister’s wife should feel a divine call from God. On one side you have those who say that unless the wife receives a special call from God, she will never be able to stand up under the stresses and strains of the ministry. Others say that if a woman is being led of the Lord to marry a minister, and is willing to make the necessary sacrifices cheerfully, and take on the many extra burdens of being married to a minister for the Lord’s sake, then she can consider that a leading into the Lord’s work.
What does a “minister’s wife” look like? Well, they come in all sizes, shapes, and styles. Some are tall, some are short, some are skinny, and some are more round. They also come in all varieties. Some are outgoing and boisterous, others are more reserved. Some are the life of the party, but others enjoy being more in the background. Some are out front leading the troops in the charge, while others work behind the scenes. Some like to wear their hair long; others prefer a more short variety. Some like to wear classy clothes; others tend to like the country look.
Way back in September, when all the writers for the Grace and Honor met together, one of the topics of discussion was about new columns that we could start to make our publication more interesting and to appeal to more ladies. One that was suggested was a column for preacher and missionary wives, discussing different elements of life in the ministry. Our fearless editor laughingly remarked that I would be a good candidate to author that column, considering I was the oldest in the group and had the most experience in this area.
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