It was my wife’s birthday this week. And it gave me an opportunity to tell her how much I appreciated doing life and ministry together with her. I did it in writing because the words don’t always come out right when I try to speak. And this was something that I wanted to get right!
Before we were married, my sponsoring diocese gave me a grant to purchase ministry resources. Technically it was called a book grant. But I preferred the broader definition. That way it gave me permission (in my mind at least) to spend it on the most precious ministry resource I could ever ask for; Rosslyn. I took her to the Tate, lunch and the Phantom of the Opera as part of an extended campaign to persuade her to marry me! It didn’t clinch the deal. But it got me a foot in the doorway!
One day I’ll get round to spelling out the unique joys and challenges of being a Minister’s wife. But for now I want to draw your attention to this helpful article. I came across it by luck, as Calvin would say, on the 9Marks website. It’s all about the role and responsibilities of the Pastor’s wife. And I like its flavour. I like that the author gets the pressures that the Minister’s wife faces. Not many people get that. I’ve actually had people tell me how much easier it is for Rosslyn being a Minister’s wife than having a husband with a normal job because I’m around so much more. How I kept my words to myself and my cool and at that point is a miracle of God’s work in me. I’m just glad that Rosslyn wasn’t there to hear it. It’s true that there are treats to being married to the Minister. But there are not inconsiderable costs. And I’m not just talking about being married to me. I’m talking about being a Minister’s wife with a husband who rarely switches off because he’s always thinking about church related issues, the one day weekend which is’t even sacrosanct, the three or four nights a week out of the house, having to drop the family when congregational crisis hits and so on. In describing what life for his wife will be like when he returns to pastoral ministry, the author of the blog post writes, ‘life and ministry will become more intense on every front. Pressures will increase to fight pride, forgive quickly, ignore criticism, love generously, sacrifice time together, and so forth’. He’s right. If you’re a congregational member you might like to read it, pray for your Minister’s wife and send her a note of appreciation.
I’ve always been adamant that I married Rosslyn because I loved her not because I thought she’d be useful in ministry. I stand by that. I was won by her beauty (in every sense of that word) not because I needed an unpaid female curate! However, there is no way that I could have served at CCB without her unstinting support and encouragement. Like many minister’s wives, she receives far too little appreciation for what she adds to church life and endures as a result of being married to the Minister. I don’t get, or at least take, many opportunities to express my appreciation for all that she is and does. But today, I thought I might. In Proverbs 31:10 the writer asks ‘A wife of noble character who can find?’ To which I must answer; I have. By the grace of God. And no one is more grateful than me.