Before I’m labeled as an egalitarian heretic, for those of you who don’t know, my wife has been on staff at a church as a children’s minister for the past 6+ years. She’s not ordained, isn’t a pastor, and has no intention of becoming either of those. So, rest easy. With our recent move to Nashville and current status as “expecting parents” (whoohoo!) she’s staying home until after the pregnancy. But for the better part of the past decade, I have been what many would call “a minister’s husband.”
So a few months back I was asked to write a brief article on that as part of a series for Facts & Trends magazine. Below is that article:
- Don’t think my wife works one day a week. While Sunday is typically “game day” for ministers, the rest of the week is much busier. The worst question to ask me is “What does your wife do the rest of the week?”
- Don’t complain to me about my wife or her ministry. If you have an issue, go to her. I’m not your emissary.
- Keep me informed. Communication differs from church to church, but don’t assume she tells me everything. If you need to get a message to me, come to me, not my wife.
- Encourage my wife. When my wife is encouraged, I am encouraged. Ministers hear complaints nearly everyday, and it’s hard for them not to take it personally. Words of encouragement can seem few and far between. Every exhortation makes a difference.
- Keep conversations confidential. If I confide information or a prayer need to you, please keep it close. Gossiping churches are not healthy churches.
- Don’t hold our kids to a higher standard. Our kids will sometimes do dumb things just like your kids do. Extend the same grace toward them you would want to be shown toward your children.
- Volunteer and serve. If you are breathing, you are qualified to serve. A ministry can never have too many volunteers. I’m usually called on to fill the gaps in my wife’s ministry. I can only fill so many gaps.
- Respect our family time. Unless it’s an emergency, your call, email or text can wait until tomorrow.
- Offer to keep the kids. Ministry is hard on families. A random offer of childcare often provides a welcome respite from the hectic schedule ministry requires.
- Pray for our marriage. Ministry is not easy. Pray for our spiritual growth. Pray for our family. Pray for us.
For those of you who are a spouse of a minister, what would you add to the list?