Through the years, I have heard many people express themselves concerning what they believed to be the role of a “preacher’s wife.” Since I’ve been pretty close to a “preacher’s wife” for the past 28 years, I thought I would risk presumption and weigh in as well.
So here are my thoughts. The role of a “preacher’s wife” is (drum roll, please) the same as a “plumber’s wife,” a “doctor’s wife,” a merchant’s wife,” or an “engineer’s wife.” What I’m trying to say is that she is no different than any other woman. Her role is to be a faithful Christian wife. To expect more is extra-biblical.
Extra-biblical? Yes, extra-biblical. Consider how many times in a preacher’s life he has had to explain to well-intended, but misguided people that he is not a “pastor.” What would we think of a preacher who embraced the role of a “pastor,” because after all, those are the expectations of the people? We wouldn’t tolerate it. We’d remind him of his proper role, wouldn’t we? We’d teach people the difference between a “preacher” and a “pastor.” But what we wouldn’t do is say, “Oh well, that’s what people have come to expect, so we need to just roll with it.”
So here’s my question, “Why shouldn’t the same rules apply when it comes to the role of a “preacher’s wife?” Where does the Bible outline such a role? What are the qualifications placed upon her from Scripture? Where does the Bible say she is to be a leader, a Bible class teacher, a Ladies’ Day speaker, a model hostess, or an event planner? These expectations should no more be placed on her than any other Christian wife. We must not be guilty of creating an extra-biblical role with a set of self-imposed rules, and lay them on the shoulders of Christian woman who happen to be married to men who are preachers. In fact, rather than perpetuating these extra-biblical expectations, we should be trying to correct them.
The role of a preacher’s wife is to be a faithful Christian wife; period. She should be involved in the work of the church to the extent that her talents allow her, just like any other Christian wife. Because she is married to a preacher, she will face many unique challenges, but let’s not be guilty of adding additional expectations upon her.
So there you have it. What do you think?