In this life, there are many who never get the recognition they deserve. Some are teachers, coaches, caregivers, rescue workers, parents, grandparents, and even pastors to name a few. One of the most unnoticed, under rated heroes I know is “The Preachers Wife.” On August 23, 2016, my wife Aimee and I will celebrate not just 19 years of marriage, but 19 years of her being “The Preachers Wife”. You may or may not know, but being married to a preacher is far from the easiest task. Ask any preacher’s wife and they can tell you it’s not easy riding the ups and downs of ministry, loaning your husband to everyone else, and standing by quietly when many times you get leftovers.
Back when I was in Seminary (Graduate School) for ministry I recall an award my wife received. After earning my seminary degree the school I attended in Ft. Worth, Texas gave my wife a certificate that said she had earned a P.H.T. Degree. This stood for “Putting Him Through.” Why? Because they understood that without the love, support, encouragement, sacrifice, and prayers of this preacher’s wife there is no way I complete my degree. In recognition of my wife and preacher’s wives everywhere let me just fill you in on just a few things you might not realize these ladies go through.
#1 She Accepted God’s Call Too.
When my wife chose to marry me she too embraced God’s call on “our” lives. She signed up for a roller coaster ride that neither of us really knew was ahead. She has journeyed with me from South Carolina, Texas, to Georgia, and back to South Carolina. From my times as a youth pastor, associate pastor, and now founding pastor of my second church start www.RefugeChurch.org. At every God given assignment we both had to say yes to whatever God wanted us to do.
#2 She Endures Many Hardships.
My wife has often told me that my mood and ministry dictate the tempo and atmosphere of the entire household. If I’m struggling they are struggling. If I’m stressed, they are stressed. She hears about my daily struggles and on top of that has many hardships of her own. For us there are four boys behind the scenes that just want a normal mom and dad to love them and spend time with them. Many times while the pastor is God only knows where that wife/mother is the rock that keeps the family together. Quietly behind the scenes the preacher’s wife makes every second of ministry possible. On top of this, the preacher’s wife has to embrace the impossible expectations many put on her and her husband. She constantly deals with the pressure, criticisms, and feelings of never feeling in control that are often associated with ministry.
#3 She Make Countless Sacrifices.
Most people make their decisions based on where they would like to live and where they have the best opportunities to work. I’ve been blessed with many job opportunities, but we have never made a decision based on finances or preferred location. My wife knows what it’s like to walk away from everything that man holds dear to go wherever God says go. We have actually lived in 13 different homes whether that was for a few months or a few years. If at any point she had said no, I could have never moved forward. Thank God she was willing to sacrifice greatly so that we could continue to follow God’s plan for our lives. Many preachers’ wives have left good men because they could not handle the hardships of ministry, nor were they willing to make the sacrifices that come along with following God daily.
#4 She Is My Cheerleading Captain.
After a long day of helping and listening to countless other people’s problems she is the one God uses to doctor this preacher back to health. The preacher’s wife feels what the preacher feels if their relationship is close. My wife and I talk about everything and she is my number one cheerleader. When no one else cares to understand she listens to my concerns until I fall asleep. She believes in the man God has called me to be. She encourages me to follow with no hesitation all that God leads me to do. Her one vote of support many times is the difference maker between me moving forward versus being frozen in fear. When I don’t feel like I can go on and the feelings of defeat begin to rise she is the one God uses to ignite my passion to weather just one more day. I have learned over time that her insight is priceless and that her vote of confidence is critical if I’m to be even half the man God has called me to be in this life.
#5 She Determines A Pastor’s Effectiveness.
I have never met a very effective pastor who didn’t have behind him a woman who has been right by his side for better or for worse. The most effective pastors I know have behind the scenes a woman with great faith, patience, and character. A preacher’s wife is not only raising children, but with every word or deed she is building up or tearing down the preacher’s ministry. Her words speak life or death. Her commitment or lack of commitment makes the difference between success or failure, integrity or chaos, and effectiveness or total ineffectiveness. The preacher’s wife will determine more about a man’s ministry than even his personal bible study because without her he is only half the man God has called him to be.
I wholeheartedly believe that if I had married anyone else I would never have reached my God given potential. This preacher’s wife makes me a better man, loves me when it is often undeserved, and has been by my side for technically all twenty-two years of my ministry experience. Nineteen of those were under the commitment of marriage. I will always be grateful and point out that she is not just the preacher’s wife, but my partner in ministry as long as we both shall live. Aimee is her name for the many who just know her as “The Preacher’s Wife.”