Fragile Vessel: Handle with Care
- Monday, March 20, 2006
Many of the struggles between pastors and their wives occur when the children are small and the wife feels trapped at home with little chance for adult fellowship. Giving her a ministry to others in some church role gives her a sense of being part of the team and directs her attention away from her own struggles.
A word of caution is necessary here. Do not put your wife in a position in which she will have to assume the role of “enforcer.” If members need to be confronted about their nursery duties or admonished about faithfulness to teacher’s meetings, let someone else fill that role. It is much better for her to be seen as a helper and a comforter, not as a corrector.
Take your wife with you to the pastors’ conferences that you attend, even if you have to hire a babysitter. Think about the refreshment these times have been for you, and realize that your wife can benefit from that refreshment too. It can be a great encouragement for her to meet and fellowship with other pastors’ wives. Making new friends helps her to see beyond the struggles of your local ministry.
Spend Time Alone with Your Wife
Being a pastor’s wife may expose her to a variety of challenges. She may often feel lonely. Because of her role, some ladies in the church are hesitant to include her in their social plans. She feels pressure to be always at her best. She may have to make do without some of the nicer things of life. Receiving special attention from you can make it all seem better.
A pastor may not have a fat bank account, but he probably has a flexible schedule. Take advantage of this flexibility to spend time with your wife. Doing so tells your wife that you appreciate her. Lunch at a pleasant restaurant or a walk in the park takes on special meaning. For both your sakes, develop a real friendship with your wife. Remember that love is still spelled T-I-M-E.
Spend some of that time together planning a family vacation. If you have limited resources, go camping at a state park, spend a few days at a Christian camp, or visit friends and relatives. Such a simple outing can provide a welcome change from routine and create memories that last all year. Yes, the work you leave behind will still be there when you return, but the worker and his teammate will return more refreshed to accomplish the tasks.
Ephesians 5 describes the tender care that my Savior extends toward me. I know that this is the model for me to follow in my relationship with my wife. Resting in His unchanging love, I draw courage to press on in spite of my struggles. So my wife should draw courage from my unshakeable commitment to her. In I Peter 3, I am instructed to give honor unto my wife as unto a more fragile vessel. As respect for the pastoral office diminishes in popular culture, my role as her protector takes on greater significance. My wife is my special helper sent from God. My desire is to be diligent in my protection of her.
Dr. Sweatt is pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Lilburn, Georgia.
Today's Christian Preacher is the magazine for those involved in ministry and those training for ministry service who live in the United States. TCP won't help you preach a better sermon or build a larger ministry. It will help you in your personal life. For more information, call 1-800-588-7744.
(c) Right Ideas, Inc., 2005, www.rightideas.us
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