Why The Pastor’s Wife Is Essential To The Pastorate

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

pastor cannot do all he can do without his wife, so read why the pastor’s wife plays an essential role in the pastorate.

The Better Half

A pastor cannot do all he can do without his wife, and I mean to show you proof of that, and explain to you why the pastor’s wife plays an essential role in the pastorate. I have told anyone that would listen to me that, “I cannot do half of what I do in the ministry without the love, support, encouragement, nourishment, and prayers of my wife. She is just as much a part of this ministry as I am, and without her, it wouldn’t be “half bad”….it might be all bad!” My wife and I come as a package, and just as the two of us became one flesh in marriage, we’ve become one in the ministry. Many times in my marriage, I’ve sought her opinion on things and ask her what she thinks about this or that, and time and time again, her counsel has kept me from making dozens and dozens of poor choices, and from doing things I would’ve regretted. She gives me the feminine or softer side of things, and I notice, she’s quicker to believe all things (1 Cor 13:7), or give people the benefit of the doubt than I am. She tends to believe the best in people, so I’d be a fool to not listen to my wife and ask her about things and try to see things from a woman’s perspective.

Under the Microscope

As we have seen, the pastor’s wife is clearly an essential part of the pastor’s ministry and the church’s effectiveness, but while she serves her husband and the church, she sometimes falls under a closer scrutiny than most people in the church. It’s as if she’s under the microscope, and like it or not (mostly, not!), she is watched closer than anyone else in the Body of Christ, meaning she’s being held to a higher standard. Any faults she has (and we all have plenty!) are magnified because she’s being held to a different standard than other Christians are, and frequently, those standard are not fair. A standard set too high is a set up for failure for the pastor’s wife, or anyone else for that matter.

Christian Women

The role of the older Christian women in the church is just as clear as it is for the pastor’s wife. The Apostle Paul instructs Timothy in regards to the church that the “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:4-5). Not only the pastor’s wife, but the deacon’s “wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things” (1 Tim 3:11). Regardless, a woman in the church should not expect more out of a pastor’s wife than she herself is doing.

Christian Men

God has certain expectations for men in the church as well, and these expectations that are not only for the pastor, but for all husbands. As husbands in the church, they were instructed to “live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Pet 3:7).  If you’re going to live with them “in an understanding way,” then you’re going to have to ask their opinion on things and ask them what they think about things.  Just as the pastor’s wife is vital to the pastor’s and the church’s ministry, your wife is vital to your spiritual walk or ministry you do, and obviously your prayer life can be affected. God commands all “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” (Col 3:19), so your prayer life depends on your relationship with your wife. Clearly, your prayers can be hindered, and that’s a heavenly source of help you cannot do without.

Single Pastors

Of course not every pastor is married and there is no requirement from Scripture for a pastor to be married, but he still has the option of asking for a woman’s opinion, and I think he’d do well to listen to his mother…and grandmother. A single pastor can still try to see things from a woman’s point of view, and surely it’ll help him avoid making some costly mistakes, but I think I’ve proven the vital importance of the wife in the pastorate. Most pastors I know are quick to praise their wife for their role in the ministry. Speaking for myself, I would not be nearly as effective in the work of the ministry, while recognizing that I cannot do anything without Christ (John 15:5), and only through Him can I do anything of significance (Phi 4:13), so all glory must go to Him (Psalm 115:1), but honestly, without my precious Bride, I would struggle a lot more in the work; I would grow more weary in the work, and I’d probably get down a lot in the work.


Truly God sent Martha to me as a helper, and just as we are one flesh in marriage, we are one flesh in the ministry. That’s why wife’s role is so crucial to the pastor, and of course, to the church. She is a veritable “meals on wheels” for those who are out of work and those who are sick; family, neighbors, and friends.  It doesn’t matter to her; she ministers to saints and “aint’s.”  Don’t take the woman in your life for granted, and please don’t have unfair expectations for her either.  Give her private and public acknowledgement before others and don’t judge her by a different standard than you have for others.  She will stand before God as we all will.  Thank God for her.  She is just as human as anyone else in the church, and just like me, you’re going to find faults. But it’s like living in California; you’re going to find faults….just don’t dwell on them.

Here is some related reading for you: What Are Some Myths About Pastors?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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