Profile of a Pastor’s Wife: The Pastor’s Polygamy

I share my husband with another. That other is the church. John Piper called it the pastor’s polygamy. Being a pastor is more than a job, it’s a life. It’s a life that my husband shares with all those God has placed under his care. Dan spends time with the church, his thoughts are on the church, his prayers are for the church.

The same is true of the kids and me. Dan spends time with us, his thoughts are on us, his prayers are for us. And so the church and I share Dan.

Learning to balance church and family has been something we have been learning since the day we married. Early on in his ministry, Dan was spending up to 5 nights a week doing church activities, not to mention full days. At that time I was home with a baby and a toddler. I rarely saw Dan and felt the weight of his absence. Let’s just say it wasn’t good for our marriage.

It came to the place that we realized that as good as church is, there needed to be time boundaries. It would be easy for Dan to spend all his hours with the church. But that would not be good for his family. And I came to realize that I have to let go of Dan and let him serve the church.

Those limits have been tested over the years. There are seasons when Dan is gone more than I would like. And there are times Dan has had to tell the church that he is needed at home. Sometimes, the church has not liked that.

But that’s what it means to share the same man. Compromise. Both sides allowing Dan to do what God tells him to do.

On a practical note, for me that has meant sometimes I am a single parent. I take the kids to church by myself so that Dan is free to minister to others on Sunday. I put the kids to bed at night so that Dan can attend his meetings at church. I stay home with sick kids on Sundays (I think I’ve been to church once in the last month lol).

I am not bitter by these situations. Why? Because by supporting my husband I am serving God.  I know my husband seeks to have a healthy home first, so he can help lead a healthy church (1 Timothy 3:5). I am thankful for the times the church compromises and allows their pastor to stay home with his family. After all, a pastor backed up by a healthy family makes for a healthy pastor 🙂 .

Next week, I’ll talk openly about the inside workings of the pastor’s family and how you can pray for your pastor (trust me, they need lots of prayer!).

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