Life In A Preacher's Home,
“I Didn’t Know Preachers
Did Things Like That!”
seem to be curious about life in a preacher’s home. I really
think that people think we walk around in a praying stance and use
thee and thou when we speak to one another. Once when we were
first married I mentioned to my mother we had been playing
Scrabble. Her response, “Oh, I didn’t know preachers did things
like that!” That was my first introduction to the fact that some
people have grave misconceptions about what goes on in the
The Man I Loved And Love The Man I Married!
I married the
man I loved, who by God’s calling was a preacher. (I had never
even heard him preach until the night before we married). I had
agreed to marry him because he was the one with whom I wanted to
share my life and with whom I wanted to grow old.
I did not
expect our home life to be anything different than if I had
married a ditch-digger, a doctor, a mechanic, or what ever
Life In A
Later I became
aware that a lot of responsibility and expectation is attached to
the life of a preacher, and consequently, his family. I learned
that you live in a glass house and that much---often too much---is
expected from them.
Preacher Does Not Guarantee A Happy Home
compelled to state that just because you marry a preacher does not
mean you will have a happy home. The preacher, his wife, and
their children are human. They are sinners saved by the grace of
God but still living in the flesh that contains the old nature,
capable of gross sin just like anyone else. However, because of
the calling of God on the preacher, their knowledge of His Word,
and their experience in seeing God work in the lives of others,
they are, and should be, measured by a higher standard.
You Marry A Preacher, Be Sure He Is A Man Of Character
Sadly, I know
women who attended a Christian college, met and fell in love with
a man studying for the ministry, thinking he was the epitome of a
man of God. After marrying the man of their dreams, they found
that he was controlling, an abuser, perhaps an adulterer, or
guilty of other character flaws.
I challenge you
young ladies to learn about the man you are considering as a life
partner;--- his character, his integrity, his honesty, and his
values, before you make a commitment. Just because he is studying
for the ministry does not guarantee he is such a man.
We have a home
that God has blessed beyond measure for over 55 years. I feel
that is due in part to the foundation that was laid before we were
even married. Here are six rules we established for our marriage:
Christ is the head of our home
The Word of God is our “how to” manual.
Divorce would never be an option.
Each lives for the other, and both for the Lord
practice daily private and family devotions
are “above-board” and transparent in all our actions and
Tom and I would stand united before the children---if we
disagreed, we would discuss it in private.
Our home is
characterized by fun and laughter. We work, study, play, eat,
talk, enjoy and support one another.
Day In Our Lives
A typical day
at our house means getting up early (5 or 6 am). I have personal
devotions, dress, do my hair and we breakfast together before
leaving for work. I arrive home around 3 pm with thoughts of
dinner---the keynote of our whole day.
always at 5:30, and everyone was expected to be there. We
normally spent about one hour at the dinner table, fellowshipping,
sharing, and then having our family devotions. After cleaning up
the kitchen, Tom would be found in his study (unless there is a
meeting). I would either read or watch “Murder, She Wrote”
(sometimes both). When the kids were home, they would be off to
school or church activities.
Love Is The
Oil To Keep Down Friction And Discord
There is a
permeating spirit of love in the household that is as oil to keep
down friction and discord. It is reflected in respect and
courtesy for one another.
When times of
discord come---and they do come---there is a spiritual maturity in
dealing with them. There are acceptable actions and attitudes,
and there are certain actions and attitudes that are totally
certain actions that were just not permitted, such as yelling,
name calling, rudeness, among others. The children were taught to
be loyal to one another, and treat one another with respect.
Our son, Dan,
has two daughters. The only time in his life he spanked one of
them was for sassing their mother. He considered that a terrible
offence and I know where he learned it.
SO HOW IS
LIFE IN A PREACHER’S HOME DIFFERENT?
How is life in
a preacher's home different from that of non-preachers? I find
that very difficult to address for two reasons:
first, I only know about our own home, and
second, each preacher and each home life is different.
There is no
One things that makes our household different from most is because
I am so totally involved in the very same ministry as my husband.
Even our children are involved to some extent. I under stand
Tom's commitment to God because I share that commitment. I am
knowledgeable about his calling from God and his position as
pastor. I can appreciate his burdens even when I don't have them
on my shoulders. Women married to doctors, lawyers, teachers and
other professionals and lay-workers are not necessarily as
immersed in their husbands vocation.
Our common faith is another bond that makes our home so special.
Each knows that we are second to God in the life of our partner
and there is no jealousy. My life is far better because of Tom's
relationship to God, and I trust the reverse is true.
Our faith is a
support through trying times. When I am tempted to weaken, Tom's
strength encourages me. When he may have doubts, my faith in him,
and in God challenges him. We feel that both gives a positive
example to our children.
Living in a preacher's home colors the picture of church
attendance. Going to church is as routine as getting up in the
morning. There is never a question about whether or not we
There have been
times when I felt I should examine my own motives for going to
Would I really go to church if I were not the wife of the
preacher? Do I go for the right reason?
searching my heart I know because I love God and I want to hear
His Word. I love hearing it preached and I enjoy the fellowship
with God's people. On the few occasions I have missed for
sickness my mind is always on the service.
Tom and I have both tried to live the Bible principles of
behavior. There is never any shouting at one another in our
home. Each strives to treat the other better than we expect for
ourselves. He constantly fills my car with gas, just so I
don't have to. The first one up brings coffee to the other. If I
have to scrape ice from my car windshield, I try to go a step
farther and do his windshield too. We have a little game of
trying to out-do one another with little acts of kindness.
Those who know
us are aware of the manners and courtesy that Tom extends to me
daily. He always seats me at the table (even for breakfast);
opens the car door for me--even when I am the driver; opens doors
and allows me to enter before him. He holds my coat, carries in
the groceries, checks to see if I have cash on hand. I know it
sounds unreal, but it is true. I'm spoiled and I love it!
SPECIFIC TO A PREACHER’S HOME
in a preacher' home is endless. I will describe some of the
pressures that must be faced, such as time, social, and emotional.
The life of my
preacher, and most preachers, is not a nine-to-five job. In
today's terms, it's 24/7. Crisis can happen any time, day or
night. I remember more than once we were packed and headed for
the car when the phone rang. I remember once when I sat on the
steps in tears because the few days vacation we had anticipated
were canceled because of a crisis in the life of one of our church
There is always
the juggling of personal time, time for family relationships and
the responsibility of the ministry. It takes self discipline and
balance to keep everything in perspective.
Pressure – Differing Opinions of Others.
This can cause a lot of grief to a preacher and his family. The
extreme pressure to conform to standards or practices from those
in your congregation or your fellowship of believers is
relentless. Most of these concern outward appearances, activities
and behaviors. Though a congregation encompasses those from
various sides of many issues, each feels the pastor and his family
should conform to their point of view. It is impossible.
One lady said
to me “If I ever see you in a pair of pants, I will be extremely
disappointed!” I said, “Well, get ready to be disappointed,
because when the occasion is appropriate, I wear pants,---without
both our sons were severely reprimanded for their hair style in
their younger school years. One because he had parted it in the
middle, and the other because an "authority" felt it was too long.
(He had just passed a hair check minutes before).
With The Word of God
We learned that
though we wanted to respect the opinion of those who might differ
with us, we were obligated to give our children a consistent stand
that we could point out in the Word of God. My husband was
criticized as being "too soft", but we taught our children to
please God and not the opinion of continually changing leadership.
(From the Membership)
complain and criticize. Remember Moses and the children of
Israel. All too often people are afraid to go to the preacher, so
they complain to his wife.
personally of several wives of preachers who have suffered
mercilessly at the hands (mouths) of criticizing members of their
One form is to
complain to the wife all the gripes about the preacher. I think I
know why, but this has never been a problem with me. This was
once a subject at a meeting of preacher's wives. I was appalled
that wives would allow such things to happen. Later I mentioned
the topic of the meeting to my husband's secretary, stating that
no one comes to me to criticize my husband. She said, "Jeanette,
they wouldn't dare!" She's right. If you want to criticize my
husband, I am NOT the one to talk to.
The Bible is
clear in the 18th chapter of Matthew, that when you
have a problem there is a definite procedure to be followed---and
that is NOT complaining to the preacher’s wife.
The pastor, his wife, and many times his family are obligated to
attend an unbelievable amount of social functions.
Banquets are fun and exciting,---at least the first few
Weddings are very tender and emotional,---the first ones
Father's Day celebrations,
Other Speaking Engagements
and the list goes on.
It becomes a challenge to anticipate such events in an excited
positive attitude. Sitting at the speaker's table presents the
option of being very bored, nervous, or just relaxing and enjoying
everything. Tom and I have opted for the latter.
Perhaps the most difficult pressure preacher's face is emotional.
They are always expected to be "on top of the world". If they are
discouraged, down-hearted, angry, tired, or upset, it is not
supposed to show.
meeting at church Tom and I come home feeling mentally and
physically exhausted. The emotional drain involved in
interactions with people takes its toll.
We all have problems. That is life. We have our own family
crisis from time to time, but we also feel the weight of those of
our extended church families. At any one service, one family may
share the pain of divorce, a life-threatening surgery; or a
gravely ill child. On the other side of the coin, we rejoice with
the young couple at the birth of their baby; an earned degree from
college; a wedding anniversary or a special birthday. Each
emotional swing takes it toll. Tom and I have actually left a
wedding and gone directly to a funeral.
I could add
other pressures that many preachers face in the ministry:
financial, medical, temptations, but perhaps at some other time.
I have outlined
those above to help you get an idea of the reasons some women say
they would never marry a preacher. My response to that is this:
if they were married to a preacher like mine, all those pressures
are nothing compared to the joys of living and creating a home for
a man of God.
Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.