Whoever said being married to a pastor was easy – hasn’t been married to a pastor. Let me explain and in that explanation, tell you why I chose (and liked) Jared’s book The Pastor’s Justification – a book for pastors (not pastor’s wives).
When I went to seminary, I went for the purpose of getting further training so I could do what I wanted to do: disciple. If marriage came with that, great. But, at 23, that was not my main goal. I was there to learn how to do ministry and engage in ministry. I did meet girls there who said they were there because they knew they were called to be a pastor’s wife and seminary was the place to find single men entering the ministry.
Now, 14 years almost after entering seminary, having been married to a pastor for almost 2 years, I can tell you that there really is nothing glamorous about being a pastor’s wife. And that is why I chose to read Wilson’s book. And it’s a good one.
Don’t get me wrong: I love my husband, I love being married to him, I love serving him, and I love being his wife. I love ministry, I love doing ministry – but it is hard. It is hard to see your husband get beat up at work (not currently or literally, no black eyes yet). There have been times when ministry is hard and there are more times when it is a joy. It is hard to see him discouraged at times and wonder why the church would do that to him (because the church is full of sinners), and sometimes you just want him to be able to worship in church with you (but have to wait until vacation to be able to do that). As a friend who is also a pastor’s wife said, “Sundays make me feel like a single mom”.
Wilson, a pastor in Vermont, writes a very personal, very relatable, and insightful book for pastors. But, I also think it can be useful for pastor’s wives as well. Wives: if you want to know some of the heartache, pull, weight that is in your husband’s heart at times, read this book. Know how to encourage your husband in the gospel of Christ when he is discouraged. When your pastor husband feels like a failure and you don’t know what to do, this book might be insightful for you. Wilson takes many of the struggles that ALL pastors face and puts them up against our sinful spirit, and the grace and cross of Jesus. Our husbands aren’t successful because the numbers of the church increase or more people get baptized or the giving is on the up: they are successful because they are in Jesus.
Here are some ways you can read this book:
1. If you have multiple pastor’s wives in your church: read this book together. I think it would be great to have a monthly gathering of pastor’s wives, sip coffee or tea, eat a cookie or fruit, and talk about this book – be real, be vulnerable, and share what God is doing in your marriage.
2. Read this book with your husband. It will strengthen your marriage more than you think. You need to be in constant dialogue with your pastor husband. He needs to know where you are struggling and you need to know where he is struggling. Who else has that much insight into her husband’s heart?