There he is standing up on the platform behind the pulpit. Every hair is in place and impeccably dressed as he proclaims the word of God you love so much. He has the perfect marriage to his lovely wife and they seem to have it so together and you think to yourself, “If only I could find a man like that my life would be perfect.” So you decide I am going to marry a pastor just like him.
Stop and take a deep breath of reality before you decide to marry a pastor.
The role of a pastor’s wife is an unenviable position. It is not the place of eternal bliss and perfection that many imagine in their minds. Your pastor and his wife may look great on the outside but if they will be honest with you and allow you a look into the real life of a pastor and wife you will find out that what looks like a bed of roses is in fact a bed of roses with big thorns. Please allow me to take a moment to try to clue you in on what you can expect.
You better make sure you are marrying the man you love not the position you are desiring.
A pastor is just a man. Yes God may have anointed him to lead a flock of His sheep, but he is still a man and you will be faced with that strange dichotomy of seeing the anointed man of God on Sunday only to find the all too human man on Monday. He still likes his eggs a certain way, his house kept at a certain level and usually because of circumstance it has to be at a higher standard than most since people come and visit at any time of the day or night. He will expect you to be an exceptional hostess and to set a standard of dress and conduct for the women of the church. You will have to deal with the fact that he will still have human desires, emotions and failings. He will have feet of clay. If you marry a pastor just so you can have the perfect lifestyle you imagined it would be like, you will be severely disappointed. Contrary to popular opinion, being a pastor is not all that glamorous or easy. It is normally a job that asks for great sacrifice and little reward. Please consider that before you marry a pastor.
Make sure that you understand that when you marry a pastor you are marrying a man who puts Jesus before you.
You are marrying a man who has a call on his life. That means that where God calls he must follow. He has made a commitment to follow Jesus no matter where that may be. You may end up in the inner city, the rural countryside, or even in another country. Your nice little suburb lifestyle may be stretched beyond your wildest imaginations. You cannot imagine how many ladies have said “I don’t think so” when confronted with this reality. They want the man of God but not the call that goes with it. If you marry a pastor many times he will be asked to get up at 2:00 am and go minister to a family in need. He may have to work a secular job and pastor a small church and you will have to be willing to let him go when your personal time is very limited. You will feel many times that he is putting the church over you. He is not but he is being obedient to the call that God has placed on his life and you knew that before you married him. He is God’s first.
Understand that if you marry a pastor that you are a reflection on him.
People normally love their pastor but not always do they love the pastor’s wife. You will be held to a higher standard than anyone else in the church. I am not saying that this is right but it is reality. What you say, what you do, how you dress, how your children are taken care of and behave, how your husband looks, and how you conduct yourself in public will all be looked at with a nuclear powered microscope and the Hubble telescope. You are literally placing a target on both your forehead and your heart. That is why I believe it takes a special and unique woman to be married to a pastor. It takes a woman called to be a pastor’s wife.
Are you called to be a Pastor’s wife?
I would encourage you, before you even consider dating a pastor let alone marrying a pastor that you seriously get alone with God and seek his face about this. I believe that where God guides, He provides. I believe that if He calls then He enables. So if you are called to be a pastor’s wife you will be able to handle the immense challenge and responsibility before you. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. The cost is great but the rewards will be greater. Not only will you be privileged to love on the sheep that Jesus died for personally but you will be that place of refuge, that calming influence, that voice of wisdom and the gentle caress of love to a man who God has chosen for a special purpose and together you will stand before Jesus on that great and glorious day and hear the words “Well done good and faithful servants. Enter into your rest”.
Disclaimer I just realized that I wrote this from a male perspective. I am male, and a pastor, and single. I wrote from that perspective but that does not mean I am against women in ministry including pastoral ministry.