June 20, 2011

A Wife and Life Manual

In August, my son, a pastor, will marry a wonderful young woman. I know she has some questions about what it is like to be a minister's wife. So, I address this to her and others who are asking the same things.

You may wonder what your wife-of-a-pastor job description looks like. I Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:6 say you should be the only wife married to this man. That is the easiest part of the job! Another aspect of the role is being involved in what your husband is doing. Much of Sunday Women is devoted to helping you partner with your husband in his job requirements. For example, we encourage you to support him in being hospitable and bringing up children in the Lord.

In addition, I Timothy 3:11 lists a few specific character traits for wives of men in ministry. One stands out. You are to be faithful in all things. In other words, you are to be faithful to God in being a Christian.  It is comforting to know that you are not required to do more or less than any other believing woman. However, passages like these are sobering because they make us ask, "Who is adequate for these things?" Thankfully, God doesn't base our standing with Him on our own efforts. Instead, He gives us the power to obey and the resources to fulfill our job descriptions.

My workplace distributes the Employee Handbook to new hires. As ministry wives and Christians, we have access to a much better document. I call it the Wife and Life Manual, which is the Bible. II Timothy 3:16-17 tells us how valuable God's Word is in our lives. Among other qualities, it is profitable for instruction in righteousness. As God helps us to obey it, we become competent and equipped for every good work. The Bible is the best pastor's wife training program in existence!

Those of us in ministry listen to sermons, attend Bible studies and hear music based on the Scriptures. And yet, there may be a temptation to take the Bible for granted because it is so familiar. Sometimes, I don't recognize the privilege it is to have God speak to me through His Word. I am inattentive. My Christian life suffers, and I am not the ministry wife I should be. I need to pray that He will give me a desire for His Word.

I pray the same thing for you, future minister's wife. God gave us His Word to equip us. He will help you meet the job requirements as you apply the Bible to your life. Now, go read your Manual!


  1. And when I fail to study The Manual, I inevitably get myself in trouble! Good reminder, Mom.

  2. Dear Almost Mom,

    Thank you for the encouraging reminder that amid all of the (usually good) books on being a wife and being a pastor's wife, the one I truly need to study is the infallible old and new testaments.

    Brent and I had dinner with a young married woman a few nights ago. She said, "When I first got married, I read every wife book I could get my hands on. I ended up feeling crushed and burdened. The problem was, I was trying to be a good wife all out of my own strength."

    I appreciated this woman's comment. As much as I love reading wife books, I needed the reminder that the wisdom contained in such books needs to be acted upon in reliance on the Lord and with faith in him.

    "Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
    In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
    Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
    It will be healing to your flesh
    and refreshment to your bones."
    (Proverbs 3:5-8)


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