When I met my husband 35 years ago, he was a senior Bible major at Freed Hardeman University. We dated all of his senior year and married the following summer. You may be surprised to know that I had not heard him preach or teach a class until about two weeks after our wedding. At an average of 3 lessons per week plus all the extra speaking engagements, I’ve heard him speak well over 5000 times! Whew! I lucked out on getting a good one! 🙂
Besides never hearing him preach, I had no idea what this “preacher’s wife” thing was all about. I grew up in a Christian home but never heard my parents talk about our preachers’ wives with some different expectations. I never dated another guy who planned to preach. So when we got engaged, little rumblings began. I heard comments like, “Oh, I would never marry a preacher.” “You live in a glass house.” “Everyone expects you to be perfect.” A couple of months after getting engaged, I actually postponed the wedding because I was afraid that I didn’t know what I was getting into and couldn’t measure up.
Fortunately, my love for the man won over my fears. If I had it to do all over, I would absolutely do it again! I feel blessed beyond measure in this journey. Far too often, I hear from other preacher’s wives who seem to do nothing but complain and grow bitter. Are there difficulties? Of course, that’s life. However going through life with a husband that loves the Lord enough to devote himself in service to Him, will provide you blessings and opportunities that will far outweigh any difficulties!
Here are a few things that I have learned through the years about marriage and about being married to the preacher:
- The only expectations that matter are from God and your husband. God’s expectation for you is to live and mature as a Christian woman and be the best wife you can be (James 4:7)
- Find your niche’ where you want to serve and devote yourself to it. No one can do everything, but we all need to be busy in the Lord’s work (Ephesians 2:10).
- When you face criticism from others, evaluate if it has merit. If it doesn’t, don’t own it. Remember that our service is for the Lord (Ephesians 6:7, Colossians 3:23-24).
- Don’t criticize your husband to others or in front of others. That includes family, friends, or church members. Always speak respectfully of your husband (Ephesians 5:33, 1 Peter 4:8).
- Don’t expect or need to be constantly pampered and coddled. Rather, you should spoil him. I know how that may sound, but it is true. It will truly bless you in return (Acts 20:35, Philippians 2:3-4).
- Make homemaking your primary job. It is so easy to be overextended with a secular job and church work. However, God gave the responsibility of being a homemaker to the wife. Make home the comfortable place that he can’t wait to come home to at night (Titus 2:5).
- Learn when to hold your tongue. Being married to a preacher, you will hear things from your husband or others that are told in confidence. Never be the one who cannot be trusted (Proverbs 31:11).
- Don’t put emphasis on material things. Always wanting more is a trap that will put you into debt which will cause stress on your husband and marriage. Be grateful for what your husband provides. Nothing says ingratitude like being discontent with what we already have (1 Timothy 6:6-11, Philippians 2:14).
- Be available with your time and attention. You are married to a man who is a public figure in a respected position. He dresses nicely and shows kindness and compassion to others. There are women in and out of the congregation who would love to have a husband like yours. If you aren’t available to him with your time and attention, there will be someone else who will be happy to give it. Don’t leave any room for temptation (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).
- Be a woman of discretion. Learn when to speak and when keep quiet (James 1:19, Proverbs 17:27-28).
- Be submissive. I know that’s not a popular term, but it is biblical. Submission doesn’t mean that you get to do what you are inclined to do anyway. The true test is when he asks something of you that you are not inclined to do. The more you submit, the more he will love and respect you. The more he loves and respects you, the easier it is to submit (1 Peter 3:1-6).
- Don’t neglect your own spiritual life. Unfortunately, you won’t get a free ticket into heaven because your husband is a godly man. While I have greatly benefited and learned a tremendous amount from my husband, I am required to study for myself (2 Timothy 2:15). I will answer to God for what I did or didn’t do (2 Corinthians 5:10).
- Be your husband’s biggest encourager and cheerleader. I know of no job in the world more important than what your husband is doing. He may work long hours with minimal pay. He may be called out at strange hours to deal with hard situations. He may face unjust criticism from others. He may be distracted because he knows that Sunday is coming with three lessons to prepare and other demands on him. He will get mentally and physically exhausted. He needs you to appreciate his work and his efforts. Rather than complain about his absences, use the time to catch up at home or work on your own projects (1 Thessalonians 5:11, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Proverbs 12:25).
- Have fun. I hear lots of people talk about the “work” that marriage takes. It’s true that you must work to be more selfless and make sacrifices for your husband. However, “work” at having fun! Don’t so over plan your calendar that you neglect time with one another. Plan special surprise dates, do things that are unexpected and enjoy each other (Proverbs 15:13, Proverbs 17:22)!
While there are some who would “never marry a preacher”, I know many Christian women who would give anything to have a faithful Christian husband who spends his life serving God. If you’re married to a preacher, thank God for him every day!