Let us look further at this role of elder’s wife. By way of definition, this includes a pastor’s wife. Although her husband is usually employed full-time and there other expectations and additional parts to her role, this article still applies to her.
Here is a comment I received that I think deserves a reply.
A good wee writing only problem I had was this paragraph.”who will love him when he comes home late from yet another meeting, who will never begrudge the time he spends on elder-work but rather sees it as a privilege for him to serve the church in this capacity and will support him through the good, the bad and the ugly. This also means helping the children to understand the high calling it is that Dad has been called to serve the Lord and sometimes Dad may have other thoughts on his mind or he may be tired.” Mainly because, If the Church is preventing the Elder from being a husband and Father ,because of “another meeting”. Than there is a problem. 1st calling is to wife,than kids… Church comes a very distant third. If a wife thinks she has to “toughen” up and get through the away all the time elder\Husband because that is what is expected rather than discussing with him the implications of his absence.
To begin with, I totally agree that a man’s wife and family come first before church,(how can a man rule the church if he cannot rule his own household) but to say that church comes “a very distant third”? I don’t think that the calling of being an elder or pastor is that distant. It is part of an elder’s service to God and because we are bound to our husband in marriage and we are one, this, then, is also part of our service to the Lord. To be an elder is a high calling and one that, as wives, we can help our man tremendously, by first, changing our attitudes to how we view our husband’s time away from home on Church business. Do we begrudge the time he is away, or do we encourage him and praise him for the great work he has undertaken. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband very much, and sometimes he is out way too late at elders meetings. I could sit at home bitterly wishing he was home and berate him for not calling an end to the meeting earlier (he is the Chairman) or I could greet him with a smile, a hug and a hot chamomile tea and seek to “soothe his brow” as the saying goes. It has been my observation that most churches (the elderships are men with families of their own) do try to not have too many meetings. Our churches do demand more of elders than many denominations but I do believe that they do a great job. There will be times in a church’s life, that some very difficult issues arise and extra meetings are called for. These can be very trying times for elders and pastors and their wives. It is at times like these, that wives need to be especially understanding as their husbands carry very heavy burdens of difficult pastoral concerns.
Perhaps if wives made home life and themselves so attractive, men would want to end their meetings early. 🙂 Said a little tongue-in-cheek but take a look at what you can do to make your home and yourself attractive and somewhere they can recharge their batteries, renew their spirits, and be ready to take on whatever is waiting for them outside the four walls of your home.
It is a difficult area, because some meetings do seem to go on and on but I have found that as I have changed my attitude, and seen it as a privilege, and encouraged the children to see it as one too, I have eased my husband’s load.
A husband and father still should not shirk his responsibilities at home and use “church business” as an excuse to do so. He is still the head of the household. He is responsible for the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of his wife and children. This may require some creative use of his precious time. It will definitely require some sacrifice of everyone but if eldership is seen as a privilege by all, the family will be working together to serve the Lord during this time. It brings about a special bond of togetherness and a sense of striving together for God.
It is not about a wife having to “toughen up” to get through the time the husband is away. It can be a time that can be viewed as a time of rest and refreshment. I often ring my invalid father on Elder meeting nights as my Dad likes to talk, for ages. Doing it then means I am not taking time away from David or the children (the younger ones are in bed). I love writing, painting, reading, craft. I sometimes use the time to do my ironing while I watch Pride and Prejudice (yet again). Lately, as my children have become older, I have used the time to visit other women, have organisational meetings for women’s groups, or catch up with my adult children. I always use it as a time to think about, and pray for my husband and to anticipate his homecoming, so that when he comes home he has my total attention and care.
Our role as an elder’s/pastor’s wife is an important one, often under-rated, unacknowledged and under-valued. Remember, this is part of our walk with the Lord. It is part of learning to serve the Lord, and Christ’s church. It is part of loving our husband and encouraging him to be all that he can be.