by Dennis Wiggs

The one who understands you better than anyone else is probably your wife. She sees you when you are encouraged and when you are down. She married you for better or worse and lives with the real you. She respects you first, not as pastor but as a husband. She should be your best friend.

Key to Your Ministry

The queen of the parsonage holds a tremendous grip on the preacher’s life. She can make him or break him. That’s why it is just as important that she be called to the ministry.

I met my wife Betty at Cragmont Assembly in Black Mountain, North Carolina. She trusted Christ as Savior the night I preached my first sernon. In that 10- minute sermon, I preached all I knew twice. Gertrude (Ma Ballard, as we called her) gave the invitation.

As Betty grew in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, He called her to be a preacher’s wife. Since June 25, 1961, she has been a faithful pastor’s wife. Without her encouragement, patience, toleration, and daily prayers, where would I be today?

I suggest that you take good care of this special woman! Do not take your mate for granted. Treat her like a queen.

Make a Date

At least once a week, give your wife your undivided attention at a restaurant. Hire a babysitter. Schedule this date just as you would any other appointment. When church members want your counsel or assistance during that special time, tell them you have an important appointment. Request to meet them at another time. The restaurant need not be expensive with dimmed lights. An early morning breakfast or quick lunch may suffice. Just make it a date.

Listen to Her

The early evening when the children are asleep is an ideal time to give her a half hour of your devoted attention. If she runs the house like a drill sergeant all day, she needs to share life’s joys, burdens, and plans with her partner. Let her express her feelings without interruption.

Be Affectionate

Your wife needs to feel your tender touch of love—a touch on the shoulder, a smile of understanding, a backrub, or a kiss of appreciation. She needs the attention that only you can give. Remember, she also lives in a glass house.

Surprise Her

Yes, buy her flowers or take her to a nice restaurant for birthday and anniversary. But surprise her with a special gift on a normal day. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money; the surprise will overshadow the cost.

A pastor friend taught me this lesson when I was a younger preacher. While preaching a revival at my church, he insisted on stopping at a local department store to purchase a gift for his wife.

Not to be outdone, I purchased one, too. Been doing it ever since. Thanks, Henry!

Write Her Notes

Anonymous, unkind notes aimed at the pastor may be delivered to his wife. This hurts. And just as painful is the fact that most members never write kind, considerate notes to the pastor’s wife.

Fill that void with encouraging notes. Place a love note on her coffee cup or tape a poem to her bathroom mirror. If she travels without you, pin a note on her clothes in the suitcase or travel bag. Never lose that youthful excitement of pleasing the one God has given you.

Call Her

When I was in graduate school, one professor used the pay telephone in the hall beside my dorm room to call his wife each afternoon. Oh, what love talk! Loudly, without shame, he expressed his love via telephone. Even though he saw her that morning and knew she would be home in an hour or two, you would have thought they had been apart for days.

A short telephone call from the study to say “l love you” can do wonders for a marital relationship. When traveling, a timely call provides comfort and assurance to a wife who is keeping the home fires burning. Today’s email and text messages make it easy to send a quick note to let her know you are thinking of her.

Keep Romance Alive

The day is coming when the children will move out and establish their own homes. Don’t let that catch you and your mate off guard. Keep the romance alive during the years the children are growing up. Then, when they leave the nest, you and your wife will still know how to enjoy each other’s presence.

She is more important to you than your children. If you carefully tend the relationship, a mature marriage can be even more exciting than the “honeymoon years.” Proverbs 5:18 declares: “Rejoice with the wife of thy youth.” That’s good advice!

About the Writer: Dennis Wiggs retired in 2004 after many years in ministry.

Adapted from Contact magazine, June 1997.