March is Pastor’s Wife Appreciation Month. Well, it was a couple of years ago, but I guess the hype wore down, the sexy wore off, and the champions wore out. Now it’s just a sad trail of broken links. Be that as it may, few groups out there are as missionally essential and as massively overlooked (unless something’s gone wrong, in which case we are the first to hear about it) as pastors’ wives. The gal married to your shepherd finds herself in a unique and difficult place.
I find the desire to invest in ministry wives both conspicuously absent and incredibly refreshing. A while ago, I received a text from a lovely friend asking how she could “bless and more adequately care for [her] church staff wives.” I did a happy heart dance after recovering from the shock and then flooded her with more ideas than anyone could hope to implement at a sane pace. I’ll pass those along to you with other resources you might find helpful in loving on these ladies. Let’s bring this month and the women it represents back out into the daylight.
First, read through these eye-opening resources to glimpse reality for the woman married to ministry:
- Christianity Today’s article: “Being a Pastor’s Wife Is Good for Faith, Bad for Friendship”
- Thom Rainer’s article: “10 Unfair Expectations of Pastors’ Wives”
- Church Leaders’ article: “Pastor, Remember Your Wife is the Most Vulnerable Person in Your Church”
Then pick a couple of these practical ways to love on any ministry wife:
- Pray for her. This prayer challenge by Revive Our Hearts is the best I’ve encountered.
- Connect with her. A relaxed get-together for tea one afternoon, a note that says you’re thankful for her and cheering her on, a shoutout on Facebook, a warm smile and a hug, even just pausing in the church hallway long enough to hear if she’s not fine. (Note: create conversation that will feel non-invasive and loving. Don’t ask her to share her most private thoughts or inside perspective of other church members. Just be a safe, life-giving space to let her hair down.)
- Splurge on her. Gift cards for date nights with babysitters provided, a massage, simple presents, a bouquet of flowers, pedicures, little spa day kits, whatever your budget might allow.
- Resource her. If you’re aware of a small group/retreat/Bible study for ministry wives in your area, environments where she can ditch the need to perform, pass along that information. If cost is an obstacle, help out financially as much as you can or get creative on fundraising.
- Champion her. If you hear gossip or complaining about the pastor’s family, enter in as a gentle but firm truth-speaker, covering the issue in love and nudging others to peace. Be a voice on her behalf any time the church has a chance to bless her.
Life in ministry is so hard but so sweet. I pray we can sing fullness and beauty over these precious hearts, and sing it well.