As pastors’ wives, we have a special set of stressors that don’t affect most women in the church. Our husbands often have stretches of preaching one funeral after another or visiting folks in the hospital day after day for weeks on end. Or happy occasions fill his (and our) time, like six graduation parties on the same Saturday or a wedding a weekend for the next month.
No matter the reason, our husbands’ busy seasons mean we wives are left with most, if not all, of the responsibilities for home and family care. We have to mow the lawn, clean the house, shop for groceries (and all those graduation, wedding, sympathy, and get well cards/gifts), work our own jobs, take care of the kids, and handle anything else that might come up…all by ourselves. How can we possibly do it all with a godly attitude?
- Suffer long. If we step back and put things in perspective, we realize that these seasons of extreme busyness are typically short (though they may feel long at the time). Usually, I can better tolerate cleaning up after three kids with the stomach flu if I remind myself that my husband only has two more three-hour meetings this weekend before he comes home to help.
- But not too long. When we feel our nerves stretch to the breaking point, we have to tell our husbands how we feel. Self-sacrifice for the good of the church can only go so far before that very sacrifice damages the church and our family. If we allow our marriages to break, all those hours as the martyr pastor’s wife are wasted. In other words, when I feel myself on the verge of snatching the hair from the heads of those women slandering my husband in the ladies’ room or when I’m ready to pack my bags and move home to Momma, leaving husband, children, and church behind, I’ve waited too long to speak up.
- Ask for help from church leaders. If the too-busy seasons have stretched into too-busy months or too-busy years, we and our husbands have to talk to the church elders or deacons about getting him some help, either by restructuring the ministry roles of others or by hiring an associate pastor to share the load. If things reach the point where my kids no longer set a place for Daddy at the table because it’s been so long since he’s been home for supper, it’s definitely time to make changes in his schedule.
- Seek God. In stressful seasons, it’s easy to let our responsibilities pull us away from personal times of Bible study and prayer, yet neglecting God is the worst thing we can do. God promised to be our rock and fortress through all the storms of life. We must seek Him in the crazy times as well as the calm.