Even though details change, the advice a pastor's wife received in the past can be relevant today. If the advice is based on biblical principles, it could be used by an early American pastor's wife to keep her children reverent in church while they sat facing the congregation. That same counsel could apply to a woman who is teaching her children today that it is not appropriate to text friends in the next pew. God's wisdom is eternal and useful in every period in history.
A paperback book that I read nearly 25 years ago contains this sort of timeless advice. With its abundant references to Scripture and good Christian books, Counsel for Pastors' Wives by Diane Langberg, Ph.D., still helps me in my role. My current copy resides on my Kindle iPad app.
Each of the 14 chapters is based on a question Dr. Langberg received from a pastor's wife. Examples include, "Why Do Women in the Church Keep Their Distance From Me?" and "How Should I Respond to a Husband Who Does Not Practice What He Preaches?." The questions that pertain to common problems, such as Premenstrual Syndrome or rebellious older children, are dealt with in the context of church ministry.
In analyzing why women keep their distance, the author says that some women perceive the pastor's wife as a role with expectations and not as a regular person like they are. She said, "People are often caught between wanting you to be perfect and hoping that they will find a flaw so that they can feel more comfortable around you." Part of Dr. Langberg's advice is to be a servant to the people (based on I Peter 5:1-3) and to walk among them as Christ walked (based on Philippians 2:6). She urges the reader to strive to be like Christ and focus on Him instead of pursuing acceptance with people.
On a personal note, I am inclined to take the counsel of Dr. Langberg because, before she wrote the book, she was a member of the church where my husband was the assistant pastor. I knew her to be a woman of scriptural integrity and loving concern for the pastoral families she counseled. Currently, she is the director of Diane Langberg, Ph.D. & Associates, a group practice, staffed by Christian psychologists, social workers and counselors. Learn more.
Diane Langberg. Counsel for Pastors' Wives (ISBN 978-0310376217) Note: The Kindle version answers the question given in Chapter 1's title in Chapter 11's text and vice versa.