What should an Ideal Pastor’s wife Be???

Came across a post today by Ron Edmonson on the Seven Qualities to Look for in a Pastor’s Wife.  He lists seven characteristics that he believes are in the ideal Pastor’s wife:

Your biggest supporter.

Obedient to the call of God regardless of the costs.

Visible and active in the ministry and/or church and looking to partner with you in ministry.

Friendly and welcoming personality.

Completes you by filling in your weaknesses.

Less concerned about the material things of the world and more concerned about things eternal. 

Loves Jesus more than you. 

He expounds on each point, and I disagreed with some of the gist of his points in that I replied:

I’m not sure this is complete. I think we need to be careful at not making our potential wife fit a checklist that we become ministry pimps on our wifes, the wives become the harlot and the church is the John. Going into a relationship saying what can you do for me and my ministry might not be the healthiest place to start. Starting with them your compatibility, your love for god and her love for God are huge. her ability to play the piano and make your resume look better by having her abilities on there so when you go to a church and sell yourself, you treat her like a side dish is wrong. My wife is gifted and called as a Nurse, most churches won’t have that position open. She is a blessing in the hospital and belongs there. It would be wrong for me to relegate her to some church function that she would not fit in.
I blog for youth workers and helping youth pastors deal with the hurt in their lives and in the lives of their students. I enjoyed this post. I had my wife meet several pastors wives that I knew before we got married so she knew what she was getting into. I’m friends with two stereotypical and 3 nonsterreotypical pastors wives, this has helped her alot.

He posted right after that he wanted this to be qualities and not a checklist (and that he agreed with my sentiment).

Here are some other considerations:

Marital Fit

Is this the person you want to marry?  What are the things that you see in the bible that should fit in the marital equation (Prov 31, 1cor13, Eph 5-6, etc).

Her Calling

What gifts and talents does your wife have?  Is she called to something else, perhaps greater than being a “help-mate” (not saying that isn’t a great calling…)  How will you handle it if God gives you a spouse that doesn’t fit that cookie cutter image of a pastor’s wife?  I’ve recently heard many disrespectful things about pastors wives who do not fit a certain mold… is that right?  perhaps if you want employment in a certain church… but is that really what God’s call for your wife is?

Full Disclosure

Does your wife know what she is getting into?  Can you help her discover what it means to be a Pastor’s wife?  Before we got married I had my wife meet with several pastor’s wives (both traditional and non-traditional) so she could understand “before she signed on the dotted line..”

One more thought….

is “more concerned about eternal things than material” code for fiscal and or emotional abuse from the church and anyone else?  I agree that we don’t become ministers to roll in the dough, but the laborer is worth their wages.  Some churches forgo paying someone because the pastors wife can do it (even better than a paid person).. in a 2 for 1 deal.

That being said… I’m happy that my wife is compassionate and generous… I think that it is a good quality to have in a Pastor’s Wife.  But it has to come from her heart and not be a demand from the church…


8 Responses to What should an Ideal Pastor’s wife Be???

  1. neely says:

    Good thoughts Matt! THanks for standing up for the ladies!

  2. Leya says:

    Good thoughts. I also know traditional and non-tradition “pastor’s wives.” All of them amazing people and best able to be who God created them to be when they’re not forced to be something they’re not. I’ve noticed that it tends to be the congregation that has more expectations than the rest of the church leadership (if you’re not the lone pastor).

    Here’s my question… would the list look the same for the pastor’s husband?

    • mattmurphy79 says:

      I don’t want to make this a complimentarian/egalitarian debate, so I’m gonna say that I think Men, in general, are expected to work more… In many churches I know of, stay at home dads would probably be frowned upon. There might (guessing) be more of an expectation of the man to overrule or take the role over for his wife by some people in the church. (my stab in the dark at that problem).

      • Leya says:

        Admittedly I was testing the “women in leadership” waters, but I didn’t intend on creating a debate either. I am honestly curious, if there are readers that find themselves as husbands of pastors, would the same list exist… or do women have similar desires in a potential husband?
        Quite honestly, as a single woman (leader or not), these are qualities I look for in a potential husband… particularly the, “Obedient to the call of God no matter the cost.” Could these qualities simply be wise guidelines for Christian?

        • mattmurphy79 says:

          That’s a fair question. Admittedly, I’m ignorant on the subject of Pastor’s husbands and the church’s expectations on them. These guidelines definitely fit any marriage. I think the ‘does she know what she’s getting into’ for a pastoral spouse would be the biggest hurdle or think I would make sure of. I’ve seen pastor’s wife get into the fray and jump ship because of the vocation of their spouse, or shrink away from the church because of the looking glass it puts them under.

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