The pastor's wife - 'Not an easy road'
Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life." - Proverbs 31 : 10-12
Entering into a marriage is a commitment that comes with challenges to make the union last. But for the pastor's wife, it is particularly hard as she has a lot more to deal with than some other wives. Her life is a reflection of her husband; she is held to higher standards and if she is having issues in her marriage, she has to be careful who she shares this with.
Family and Religion reached out to Leana McKoy, a pastor's wife who shared that the challenges are varied.
"For one, you have to always bear in mind that you are representing not just yourself, but also the ministry of your husband. That in itself is a tough task. This simply means it limits what you do, who you interact with on a personal level, and even the places that you go," she said.
An added challenge, she said, is that you are held in high esteem and some even put them on a pedestal that they really don't want to be on.
"As a pastor's wife, not everyone will like you. There are those who, sad to say, will envy, not you, but the position you are in. When you want to vent or need someone to talk to it is good to have persons who you can trust, persons who you have known and who knew you even before you were the pastor's wife," she said.
McKoy said that wives often have to deal with the unhealthy habit of keeping their concerns to themselves and leaving it in the hands of the Almighty.
"Truth be told, most times, when pastors' wives want to vent, it's mostly about the marriage and issues in the ministry," she said.
Without a few good loyal friends around to vent, the option, she said, is to develop a good relationship with your partner where you can talk to each other openly.
Being the pastor's wife, McKoy said it is important to stay by his side and that means being supportive mostly on the home front.
"Your support is not tied to being on stage with him or going with him on ministry, it is more of being there even after he is home. Ensure he is taken care of physically, mentally, sexually, among other duties," she shared, adding that one crucial element is to support him with constant prayers and to do it in his presence.
"It is a big boost for him as a man and minister. That must take priority even over your job. Your responsibility at your work is just to ensure that you do your work in such a way, that at the end of the day, your boss is satisfied with the work and you get paid," she said admitting that juggling both can be hard at times.
For McKoy, there is one important thing that all women who are cast in this role should be cognisant of and it is the fact that they are the wives of pastors first and foremost.
"You were not born into the title of a pastor's wife. Being a wife is a God-given responsibility and that supersedes putting on a face or a show. You must also bear in mind that though you are in the public, your private life must not also be on show. Family comes first before ministry, and as a wife of a pastor, you must realise that and ensure that he, as a minister, is reminded of that as well," she said.
In dealing with church conflicts which may crop up, she said it should be handled in the same manner that any conflict would be dealt with, being supportive of your husband, because before the conflict he is your husband and that kind of support must be evident and made known to him as well as to the congregation.
"So, as a wife, you are either bound to do two things - stand by him in the thick of things and let everyone understand that; or stay away from the situation so as not to cause a conflict of interest, but still be supportive behind the scenes at home," said McKoy.
She cautioned wives who are insecure or feel threatened where their husbands are concerned. She said they should understand that there will be women who also admire and desire their husband.
"Look out for that and don't give your husband a reason to stray. You must also be aware of the fact that if his ministry is being threatened by anything or anyone, that you, too, will be attacked by those same people or forces. Once the two become one flesh, all the negative things that may swarm him will also take you in as well," she said.