Have you shown your pastor and his or her spouse how much you appreciate them? Have you ever considered how difficult it must be for them to nurture and care for the health of their marriage relationship when there are so many demands upon their time? Your pastors marriage is important, just like yours is.
October in the United States is designated as Pastor Appreciation Month. At this time, we want to spotlight your pastor’s marriage. That is because not only do we care about their marriages, but so should you. God cares VERY MUCH about this. And because we live in covenant with God, whatever concerns Him, should concern us.
For your reference, for the remainder of this message, we will be referring to your pastor as a “he.” That is because most pastors are men. And it will make it easier to communicate this message if we don’t have to keep referring to “he or she.” But the same principles would apply if it was a Pastor and her husband.
As a representative of Christ, your pastor is in the spotlight quite a bit as a light and shepherd in the community he is placed. He has people who often call at all hours of the day and night asking for help with problems they’re encountering. This has GOT to put a strain upon the private time he has with his wife. And just like with anything else, you have to put quality time into maintaining it for it to keep running as it should. Their marriage relationship —just like ours, is no exception.
The pastor may have a special anointing upon his ministry, but that doesn’t mean that he and his wife are any less human. They have human needs that are important to be met. Many people forget that fact, or ignore it. And that shouldn’t be. To the best of our abilities we really should try to encourage them. We need to help them because there will be other people who will do the opposite —whether out of necessity or selfishness.
They Need Us; We Need Them
And there will be times when WE will need their help, as well. God created us to need each other and to work together to meet each other’s needs. That’s why it would be good if you can try to be as helpful as you can when you can (without straining your own marriage). This will help to lighten their load a bit.
We think you would be shocked by the amount of correspondence we receive regularly from pastors wives who are depressed. They are extremely lonely —feeling neglected by their husband. Many are ready to leave their spouse because of the enormous demands upon their husband’s time. This also happens because their pastor husband can’t or won’t make the time to nurture his marriage and family. There are other pressures also.
Your pastor is a human being and has human needs just like you. He can be discouraged when he’s up against antagonistic people. And he can succumb to temptations just like any other human being when someone approaches him in a sexual way. There are many pastors who are addicted to various substances and images because of their weaknesses. They face the continual temptation to numb their pain.
Strain on Pastors Marriages
Because their family is under such close observation and scrutiny by so many people, there is an added strain. Many people and churches look at the behavior of the pastor’s children as a “report card” for what type of parent and pastor they are. They neglect the fact that even our Heavenly Father has prodigals that rebel. (Remember Adam and Eve?) Just like other children, they sometimes don’t do as they should when they should. We want others to give us grace in not judging us when our children make sinful choices. But the pastor and his wife are often not given the same grace.
Yes, they are held up to higher standards as the Bible talks about when you are a teacher or an overseer. But perhaps if we offered to help and/or pray for them, their children might go through a shorter period of rebellion as mercy and grace is displayed to them. All of this puts an added strain upon the marriage of your pastor if it is occurring.
Some pastors can fall into having a “savior complex.” This is because of the position they are put in at times. And some pastors and their wives can even fall into doing things they shouldn’t. They sometimes say things they shouldn’t, or have attitudes they shouldn’t. Again, they are human just like you. So keep in mind that you don’t always do or say everything right. You don’t always hold back your bad attitudes at times.
Encourage One Another
As sisters and brothers, we are called to help and encourage each other. We are to forgive and be gracious to each other. When someone sins we should “help them up” as the Bible tells us to “gently restore them.”
We’ve come across so many devastated pastors and their wives. They’ve been deeply hurt by those they have tried to care for and serve. And when the pastor hurts, so does his wife. When you hurt a pastor’s wife, you also hurt your pastor. They are to be “one” because of their marriage.
So, at this time, we ask you to pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you how you can encourage your pastor and his wife. Do this, not only right now, but in the future. What is it that you can do to make their lives a little easier and encourage their marriage in some way? Is the pastor working too many hours? Encourage him to work less. This way he can have more time to nurture his marriage and family relationship.
Don’t make so many demands upon his time and energy. And allow his wife to be her own person. View her as a woman of God who doesn’t have to fit into the role that YOU have decided for her. Rather, she should fit into the role that GOD has shown her she is to fulfill. Realize that it doesn’t have to make as much sense to you.
Be Supportive of Your Pastors Marriage
Give both of them time together, grace, and space to spend time outside of church duties. As a church make sure they are paid well enough so they can aren’t so deprived. And make sure they take vacation time and recreation time. They need to laugh together, date each other, and nurture their relationship. Encourage them to do so. In fact, if they have young children, volunteer to baby sit them so your pastor and his wife actually can have some time alone.
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his live, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” (Philippians 2:1-2)
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:9-10)
We hope you will take this message to heart. Encourage your pastor and his wife and work together to make your marriages the best they can be to the glory of God. And just so you know —we have a topic on our web site devoted to pastors and their wives. You can find it at: Pastors and Missionary Marriages. Encourage them to visit our site to receive further help, which is specific for their marriage.
Cindy and Steve Wright
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