Some of you are considering marrying a man who believes he has a calling from God to be a pastor, a minister, a missionary, or something similar. I believe that extra care and prayer is wise as you prepare for such a venture. There will be additional challenges that other couples may not face. Of course, most of these things we will talk about would be applicable to any marriage. But they will be even more important for those entering any kind of ministry.
If you are considering marrying a man who is living in submission to Christ and who is following God’s call on his life, I would love for you to study and pray ahead of time about things like:
- If he makes a very modest income
What will you do to support that and to avoid building up resentment? Are you going to be willing to live humbly, frugally, and within your means without complaining? Will you embrace that your treasure is not here on this earth, but in heaven and that your sacrifices are for God’s kingdom and the Gospel and they are worth it? Are you going to be willing to help bring in additional income, if needed, withhout resentment? Are you willing to honor his God-given leadership in your marriage and family even if you also work and make more money than he does – acknowledging that God has set husbands as the leaders in their marriages and that the position of leadership in God’s economy is not based on who earns the most money (1 Cor. 11:3, Eph. 5:22-33. Titus 2:3-5)?
- If he believes God calls him to go somewhere uncomfortable or far away
Are you willing to make sacrifices and to be on your man’s team with God to help him fulfill his God-given mission? Are you willing to go far from your family and not complain about it – knowing you are doing the will of God? Are you willing to move at a moment’s notice and be flexible – ready for a big adventure with God and your husband? Are you willing to learn a new language and culture and raise your children in less-than-ideal conditions for the sake of the Gospel? Are you willing to trust God in His sovereignty even when things are very difficult and you have no other support system but God and your husband?
- If he is in the spotlight at a church or in a ministry
Are you willing to be in the spotlight, too, with all eyes on you all the time? Will you be careful to show respect to God and to your husband in public? Will you avoid saying negative things about your husband or about others that might create conflict and strife? Are you willing to love when others criticize you and your husband – through the power of God’s Spirit abiding in you? Are you prepared to respond gently, kindly, and calmly when people throw hatred at you, your husband, and your family for your faith and stance for Christ? If you have a disagreement with your husband, are you willing to continue to show respect, love, and kindness to him in public – not holding onto bitterness in your heart or lashing out at him to his church members or those to whom he is seeking to minister? You will be an example – either a godly one or a sinful one. Are you prepared to seek to set a godly, holy, pure example in everything as you abide in Christ?
- If he makes mistakes
Are you willing to still honor him as a pastor, missionary, or minister even when he has his own struggles and temptations and he falls at times? Are you prepared to extend much grace, unconditional love, unconditional respect, and teamwork to him – to support, prayer for, and encourage him and to pray for God’s victory in his life?
- If his dream is different from yours
Are you willing to get on board and be his helpmeet with HIS vision from God? Are you willing to set aside your priorities, plans, and desires in order to honor what your husband believes God has called him to do? Will you trust that God will give you a ministry, too, but that it will complement your husband’s ministry – not compete with it?
- If he gets discouraged
Will you continue to seek God and be a source of cheer, joy, peace, encouragement, strength, hope, strong faith, and unconditional love even in the dark seasons your husband may encounter? Even if his faith wavers? Even if he becomes depressed? Will you continue to seek to abide in Christ wholeheartedly and seek to bring great glory to Christ?
- When you don’t come first in his life
Are you prepared for Jesus to be his primary focus, not you? (This is how it should be in all of our marriages, of course, as believers in Christ.) Are you prepared for him to seek to make decisions that will honor God even when you don’t agree? Are you prepared for him to need to give a lot of himself to others even if that means you don’t have as much of him as you would like? Are you prepared for him to need a lot of time alone with God to pray and study? Are you prepared for him to be ready to help someone in need whenever the phone rings and to support him when he feels he needs to go help someone and leave you alone for awhile? Are you willing to respect and honor him publicly and privately even when he leads in ways that you don’t like (if he is not asking you to clearly sin or condone sin).
In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. 1 Timothy 3:11
The verse above is talking about the qualification of wives for church leaders. The passage below describes why it is so critical for believing wives to be godly wives and to honor their husbands’ leadership.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:3-5
My prayer is that we ALL might put Christ first in our lives and that we ALL might be willing to live in the way I am describing in this post, no matter what our husband’s calling might be. May God empower us to become strong, vibrant, godly, Spirit-filled women who bring the greatest possible glory to Him and who greatly bless the Kingdom of God and our men!
It may be helpful to read some biographies of pastors’ wives and missionaries’ wives who have gone before you – to see the challenges and difficulties they faced and how God empowered them to overcome in His victory! Some examples might be Elizabeth Elliott (whose husband was martyred as he attempted to reach an unreached tribe) and Ruth Graham (Billy Graham’s wife). A wife of a man on a mission for God will be called upon to make great sacrifices and to have great faith in God herself.
Being a Minister’s Wife – the beautiful example of my own mother-in-law who has now been a pastor’s wife for over 50 years