By Mary Amodu
Every woman wants to get married to a God-fearing man but not many end up marrying a pastor. Some think it is difficult to adjust to their sanctimonious way of living. A number of Pastors’ wives will sometimes agree on one thing; that they are no different than anyone else in the congregation.
They have no special responsibilities, no different obligations, no uniqueness. In fact, when asked what it is like to be a pastor’s wife, they will reply, “I’m NOT a pastor’s wife! I’m just a wife, no matter what my husband does for a living.
In an extensive chat with Mary Amodu of Nigerian NewsDirect Newspaper, Pastor Mrs Alice Halidu of the Revival House Church, educated our ladies on how she was able to cope as a Pastor’s wife. She also shared her challenges and the uniqueness attached to being a pastor’s wife.
How she met her husband
I was a graduate assistant lecturer in the University of Jos when I met my husband. At that time, he was doing his housemanship at the University of Jos Teaching Hospital (JUTH). We actually met in a very funny circumstance; I followed a friend to get a certificate of medical fitness at JUTH. The person we went there to see was not around but a young man came out when we knocked on the door. The young man, who today, is my husband, confirmed to me later that when he opened the door, the spirit of God told him the lady in red (that was me) is his wife.
I did not meet my husband as a pastor but he was just a good Christian brother. As God will have it today, he is a pastor. I see his calling as a privilege to impact a wider community; young and old, men and women, which lecturing has never afforded me.
When I saw his passion for the things of God I made up my mind because at first, I felt I do not have the training to be a pastor’s spouse. I looked at it a having to live a regimented life, just living inside the Church, fasting and prayers… so I took a deep breath and I said within me, “I Do”.
Life as a Pastor’s wife
Basically as a pastor’s wife state my role is same as any other wife in the church – to honor and support my husband. As a pastor’s wife, I utilize my God-given gifts to volunteer in different areas of ministry. My priorities are to God first, then to my husband and children, and then to the members of the church.
Mrs Alice advised youth ladies to take note of the following uniqueness and challenges of being a pastors’ wife
Be a Helpmate
As your husband’s helper, don’t make his burden heavier. There are many ways to lighten his load. Don’t bring dishonor to his name, and the name of Christ by your conduct and speech. This seems obvious, but it is easy to belittle him when you’re with a group of women who may be criticizing their own husbands. You can instead discourage gossip among women about their husbands, in this way serving your husband and Christ as well.
Sometimes you need to be his listening ear as he works through problems in a sermon text, or needs to vent his feelings about a particular pastoral problem he is having. These times, unfortunately, may coincide with particularly busy times in your own schedule.
No doubt the most important thing you can do is to pray with and for your husband. You and he will both be targets of Satan over the years. Ministers have been lost to kingdom service by temptations they have been unable to overcome. Pray without ceasing.
You Are Being Observed
You and your family are uniquely positioned in the eyes of the congregation and the general public. Instead of fearing or resenting this, embrace it! Consider it a privilege to be able to lead by your own example. Your attitude in attending services and meetings, your demeanor in worship, the discipline of your children will serve either as a help and encouragement or as a stumbling block to others.
You might consider it a hardship, or a challenge, to be alone with your children during worship. For example, I grew up with my dad always in the pulpit, so sitting by myself with children seems a normal way of life, but I realize this can be a challenge or cause of suffering to others. Discipline during worship is on your shoulders, although I have heard of pastors who have directed a timely word or two from the pulpit that chastised their offspring—at the same time teaching the congregation a lesson concerning their own children’s behavior. Growing up, I could feel my father’s eyes on me during the service; woe to me if I misbehaved in church!
Be Ready for Unspoken Expectations
What about those unspoken expectations of the congregation? Are you expected to play the piano, lead a women’s Bible study, teach Sunday School, pick up others’ responsibilities that have been “dumped” on you, be in charge of an open house, a gift, a reception because you are thought by many to be de facto in charge? There are some things you will have to humbly admit you just are not gifted to do. My husband felt that anyone else who could serve in the capacity of leadership, organizing dinners, etc., should take precedence over the minister’s wife, because others should first be given the opportunity. There were very few things that I had to manage single-handedly. You may have an uphill battle in fulfilling expectations, but if the women aren’t already organized into service committees, that’s a good place to start. In a well-established congregation, these expectations may not be changed during your time with them, but you can work towards shifting them—continuing to pray for a heart that can have joy in service.
Opportunity to Serve
My encouragement to ministers’ wives is this: By the very fact that you are married to a minister, you have unique opportunities to serve, to sacrifice and sometimes to suffer. But, your husband does not just have any job. He has an ordained office—a position of authority and awesome responsibility given to him through the church by God himself. He carries a heavy burden in preaching God’s word accurately and clearly, and in shepherding the sheep. This is how he’s been called to serve.
Your role as a suitable helper to a minister will include some things that any wife would do, but other roles are unique to the congregation your husband serves—some things, in a well-established church, by way of “tradition” and others by way of necessity. I would encourage you to embrace each of these obligations with a “joy in serving” attitude.
It’s not Only Challenges
I do not want to leave you with the impression that there are no challenges because there is no school for pastor’s wife. Your husband is a pastor, automatically you are given that title as his wife, people just expect you to know what to do. Some seasoned minister’s wife may not see herself at all in some of the things I have mentioned.
There are also great blessings in being a pastor’s wife that others may not know; the joy of having people over, getting to know them, and celebrating their joys. Saying goodbye to dear congregants, keeping in touch over the years and watching their children grow; getting to know the elder saints of the church; being the recipients of the kindness, thoughtfulness, encouragement, and acts of service of various members; listening to your favourite pastor preach Christ-centered sermons week after week.
God is blessing us with these good works to do, will also give us the grace and strength to persevere to the completion of each task. As you encounter difficulties, your pastor-husband can point you to the sufferings of Christ and remind you that you and he do not labor for the praise of men, but for the glory of God. As you labor, your love (the greatest gift) will grow as you grow in the likeness of Christ.