Within the church there are many faithful, godly men.  They have various means of employment for supporting their families. Although these men are engaged in secular employment, they are not inferior because of such.  We NEED men in these places to be seen as a “light on the hill”.  But still, their employment is secular.  The preacher, however, is in a unique position, in that his means of livelihood and his spiritual life are tightly entwined together.  Because of the occupation of our husbands, we as preachers’ wives also find ourselves in a very unique place in life.

Before becoming a full-time minster, my husband was employed as an electrician.  I strove to be a good help-meet to him by making sure he had clean clothes to wear to work, feeding him a good breakfast before he headed out for the day, a tasty lunch for him to take to work and having a meal ready when he came home from work. His work days were rather long and so I would try to do what I could to lighten his load at home. I wanted him to tell me about his work, so that I could better relate to what he was doing throughout the day.

When George transitioned from electrician to preacher, my role as his help-meet took on a whole new meaning.   As an electrician, I never recall my husband asking me advice about how to wire this or that, but I can not count the number of times he has asked for my input on sermons he was preparing.  He never needed me to accompany him to his electrical job (although on occasion I did, just so I could spend the day with him), but there have been many times when we’ve gone visiting church members or on Bible studies together. He never asked me to critique his electrical work, but you can be sure that he’s asked me to proofread articles, letters, etc.

There are times in the life of a preacher when duty calls – literally.  A phone call comes and he must unexpectedly run out the door, perhaps because of a dying church member or a tragedy in a church member’s family.  Maybe a woman needs counsel and because it would be inappropriate for your husband to meet her at the church building alone, you must either go with him or  she must come to the house.  You had other plans, but for his sake, you will change them.  There are many other examples, but I think you get the picture.  How do you, as a preacher’s wife, react to these situations?

On the other hand, preachers must learn to balance work and family.  Too often we hear about a preacher whose wife left him or his children have left the faith.  Is it possible that preachers contribute to such tragedies by failing to minister to the needs of their own families?  The congregation for whom the preacher works does not own the man.  They do not have the right to dictate what he does during every waking hour.  Sometimes he needs to say “no”.  His family needs to see that they are a priority in his life, and every once in a while, in an ever so gentle way, the preacher’s wife may need to remind her husband that his undivided attention is needed at home.

Some preachers’ wives are significantly detached from their husband’s work.  She has her own life, her own job and is consumed with her own affairs. However, the preacher’s wife who chooses that course not only fails to be a help-meet to her husband, but she is inviting trouble into her marriage.  When one is in the business of ministering to souls, there is felt the added weight of responsibility. The preacher bears many burdens upon his shoulders and he, in turn, needs someone to help him bear his burdens.  Yes, preachers are human, too. If we not there to comfort and console him, he will be tempted to look for for his needs to be met elsewhere.

There are also some preachers’ wives who hinder their husbands because of their unwillingness to “bloom where they are planted.”  By this I mean that they are unwilling to be happy if they must move away from their preferred locale.  There are preachers who are fortunate enough to be able to stay in the same place for many years, close to family and long-time friends. Others, due to various circumstances, may have to move far from home.  A preacher’s wife must learn how to be content, regardless of locale. Flexibility and adaptability are a must. If a preacher’s wife habitually complains because she does not like where they are living, not only will her relationship with the members of the congregation be strained, but she will hinder her husband’s effectiveness.

The preacher’s wife has her work cut out for her.  I’m not speaking of work that a congregation thinks she should be doing “because she is the preacher’s wife”, as if they’ve got a “two for one” deal. No, I’m speaking of the personal, emotional and moral support that her husband needs from her.  In reality, my life revolves around his.  My schedule is determined by his schedule.  Many times I must drop what I’m doing in order to help him.  I’ll be the first to admit that is not always an easy thing to do. Sometimes I get frustrated.  This is probably more of an issue for those preachers with their office in the home.  However, even with the frustrations, I would much rather be with my husband, giving him the knowledge and security that “we are in this together.”

I am reminded of the New Testament characters – Aquila and Priscilla.  Whenever they are mentioned in the New Testament, their names are always together.  They made tents together, they labored with Paul together, together they hosted Paul in their home for an extended length of time, they fled Rome together, they worshiped together, they studied with other people together, and together they opened their home to the local congregation for a place to worship.  When I think of all that they did for the cause of Christ, I also think of the work Priscilla must have done “behind the scenes”.

As preacher’s wives, each of us has the opportunity to share our husband’s life in a very unique way. We have the opportunity to be his sounding board, his confidant, his shoulder to cry on, and the list goes on. What greater service could we be to our husbands and to God than working by their side for the kingdom’s sake?