I'll admit it. Early on, when I came to the realization that my husband would also be my pastor, I had a myriad of emotions. I admire my husband and fully affirm the Lord's calling on his life, but I still couldn't help but ask myself, "Will I be able to acknowledge him as my pastor?" Let's be honest, if you boil that question down to its core, you'll be left with one ugly sin issue: lack of respect. The young pastor's wife has a choice to make, will she battle with her husband's role as her pastor, or will she show respect to the authority that God has given him?
Respecting Him in the Marriage
In the marriage relationship, men and women are privy to seeing their spouse's strengths, but they also get an up close and personal view to their weaknesses. As the wife of a pastor lives out her daily life, it can be easy for her to internally grumble and act petty about the things her husband doesn't do: "Once again, he forgot to take out the trash." "Why doesn't he offer to take care of the kids so I can have a break?"or "How can he treat me like that and still get up and preach on Sunday?" These thoughts, if not dealt with, can deter us from being able to respect our husband as our pastor.
The Bible commands us to respect our husbands regardless of their actions:
"However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Ephesians 5:33
The ability to respect our husbands in our marriage directly affects being able to respect him as the shepherd of our church. If we follow this biblical command and honor our husbands, we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and our hearts will gladly receive counsel from our spouse both in our marriage and in the pulpit. If we do not follow this command, we will harbor bitterness and it will inevitably negate our ability to receive the word of God and to be spiritually fed by his sermons.
Respecting Him as Spiritual Leader
Above and beyond the Bible's call to respect our husband in regards to the marriage relationship, God also requires us to recognize his role as spiritual leader of our family:
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." Ephesians 5:25-27
In this passage, the author recognizes the God-given role of the husband to be concerned with his wife's spiritual health. In his daily life, it means he will do his best to imitate Christ. He will honor his wife and family by teaching them what the Bible says, by the "washing of water with the word." He will be tuned to the needs of his wife and family and look for ways to help them grow in their relationship with God so they will be "holy and without blemish."
We need to understand that even before our husband became a pastor, he was already the spiritual leader of our home. For us to be able to respect our husbands as our pastors, we must first respect them as the spiritual leaders of our families. These two actions are irrefutably linked. You cannot recognize your husband as pastor, but deny him as spiritual leader of your family. And you cannot recognize your husband as spiritual leader, then deny him as your pastor. We, as pastors' wives, must affirm their God given authority in both areas.
We, as pastors' wives, have the wonderful opportunity to minister to our husbands by showing them respect. When we honor our spouses in this way, it communicates to them that we value their role as leader and head of household. It also allows us to fully support our husbands in their role as shepherd and pastor. And, in return, we allow the Lord to help us grow spiritually and deepen our walk with Christ as he intends.