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I’ll Never Marry a Preacher

“Never Going to Marry a Preacher.”

JeannaLynn said that before she met me.   Apparently, she’s not the only one.  Ben Mandrell (“Finding Timothy,” Preaching, vol. 26, no. 6) observes that “most young women are scared to death by the idea of becoming a pastor’s wife.”  He believes, “the common caricature of the sweet-hearted, VBS directing, piano playing pastor’s wife makes most girls want to turn and run.”  He wrote this regarding the shrinking population of preachers.  Some men, who might otherwise choose to preach, choose other roles in ministry because the dating pool is deeper for men pursuing those roles.

There are still some young women who know have a pretty good idea about the life of a preacher’s wife who, not only would consider marrying a preacher, but actually want to marry a preacher.  There are also still some young women who trust the caricature Mandrell mentions, but don’t run, believing that they could pull it off or that if they change it up that will be OK.

Many preacher’s wives, though, are finding their role much more difficult than they imagined.  Some have realized that, where they are, the caricature of the sweet preacher’s wife isn’t reality.  She’s sweet, but others wouldn’t portray her that way; and it is typically true that if someone doesn’t like something about the preacher’s wife, they believe it is OK to share that with others in their private conversations.  Others PWs have discovered that if they don’t want to spend their energy in some particular ministry, somebody will make them feel guilty about it.  Still others may passionately pursue a ministry for which they are gifted, and somebody will accuse them of being too involved.  I can’t tell you the number of preacher’s wives who constantly feel trapped between those who want them to get more involved and those who demand that they back off.  Many feel that the pricks – as in jabs – outnumber the perks.

Much more could be said about this, but I’m going to stop now.  I hope that since I’ve got 25 years of experience being married to a preacher’s wife that you’ll consider me an authority.

What I’m asking is that you do something nice for your preacher’s wife.  Don’t wait until her birthday.  Do it soon.  These suggestions are primarily for ladies, but if you are man reading this, collaborate with your wife or girlfriend for this.

  • Send her a text that says you are thinking about her.  Don’t know her number?  Spend the energy to find out what it is.
  • Cards with some words of appreciation are still really encouraging.
  • Friend her on Facebook and put something nice about her on her wall.  Don’t message her.  Put it on her wall so that others can join in on the appreciation.
  • Tweet that your church has a great preacher’s wife.
  • Take her out to lunch for gab.  Don’t ask her advice on this outing.  Certainly don’t needle her for church information.  Don’t discuss the elder’s wives.
  • If you are married or dating, take her out with her husband.  She may not get too many lunch opportunities out with him.
  • Take her to a movie.
  • Find out anything that she likes to do and engage with her in it.
  • If she’s sitting alone sometime at church, go sit with her.
  • If she has children, offer to babysit for a while.  If you’ve got kids, offer to trade babysitting services.  She probably doesn’t mind helping you in return.
  • By the way, the wives of other staff members would really appreciate these things, too.

    What would you add to this list?  Leave a comment!

    2 Responses to “I’ll Never Marry a Preacher”

    • Sheila:

      Hey, great thoughts! I’ve known many wonderful women who filled this role very gracefully, and your wife is one of the best!

    • My spouse and i still cannot quite believe that I could always be one of those reading through the important guidelines found on this blog. My family and I are truly thankful on your generosity and for offering me the advantage pursue our chosen profession path. Many thanks for the important information I got from your web site.

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