I write a lot to and for preachers but often hear talk about or have the opportunity to talk to preacher's wives. I’m not a preachers wife, nor do I play one on TV. But I’ve watched my share of preacher’s wives both up close and from a distance. There is one secret - be a good, godly wife to YOUR husband!
Stop trying to be a preacher's wife - be your husband's wife. Stop trying to live up to the unrealistic model of the 1950's preacher's wife - live up to the model of the man you committed your life to. Stop trying to meet the unbiblical expectations of a fickel congregation - meet the biblical desires of your mate. Stop trying to meet the needs of every person in your congregation - meet your husbands needs. You don't have to be involved in every program of the church, or show up for every event or teach every quarter but you do have to show up "big time" in his life. You are incidentally a preacher's wife (you "just happen to be one" because your husband preachers), you are called by your promise before God and witnesses to be your husband's wife. You don't have to be a super saint in a "woman's suit" - but you do have to strive to be faithful with what God has given you and to His high calling.
I wrote this to Melanie a few weeks ago and want to share a slightly edited version for your eyes:
"It's 5:30 in the morning - or getting close to it - and for some reason I can't sleep. I haven't been asleep all night. Tonight I'm thinking about you. About what makes you, you. And it dawned on me in these wee hours that it's actually pretty simple. Before I go into it grant me this: I want guys who do ministry to be good - I want them to be the best - I want them to have the joy and successes and the life that I'm blessed with. Yes, there are rough days and I get really down at times - but I'm blessed, major league. I mean, look at you, look at our life, look at the people we get to be a part of their lives, look at our kids, even our town and our home - we - I am blessed! I have a life better than I am. I know God is why, but He works through others and through you.
"So, I'm thinking about ________. He's good. He is an A. He has it going for him. If he doesn't rise to the top and beyond it will be because of ______ - she's special. She's has a lot going for her. But I've seen it before, guys who have it all but then who don't "pop up" because of their wives. I can remember dad talking about that one time - I sure wish I could remember more about it.
"Now, back to you - what's the secret? I got it finally - it only took me 30 years :). It's never about YOU. You are the most selfless person I know! You can listen to others. I'm not sure how - but that's it. At work - it's not about you - you think of others schedules and if what you do, take off, etc, affects others. In your friendship - you think of them. With our boys - you didn't seek validation, commendation - it was about them. And with us - you move, you adjust, you listen to me grip and complain, you put up with my neurosis.
"It's what our daughter-in-laws need. It's what _______ needs. Shot, it's what I need.
"Thank you - I love you. There is no one else like you. Thank you for being the best wife I could have."
God, thank you for letting me fumble my way into the life of a beautiful women, who is so much more than what I was seeking, so much more even than what I thought I was getting. Thank you.