In This Issue...
- A Theology of Humor by Cheryl Taylor
- Ministering With Humor by Stephanie Nance
- Christian Leaders Having Fun? by Pam Morton with Kathy Jingling
- The Health Benefits of Humor and Laughter by Dwenda Gjerdingen, MD, MS
How to Add Value to Your Husband
By Deanna Shrodes
If you were to ask every ministry wife if she wanted to add value to her husband, most would say yes. I don't think anyone sets out to purposely negatively impact the effectiveness of their spouse's ministry, but the fact is, many do. I would like to give you some thoughts on how to positively impact the value of your husband and his ministry. What I speak of in this article is not his value as a person, but as a minister.
Be a Helpmate
Believe it or not, the first thing that God called you to in Scripture was not motherhood. Most people quickly say, "Being a mother is the highest calling." That sounds good, and even as much as I love being a mother, I have to admit, it doesn't come first according to the Word of God.
The first thing God said when He created the first woman is that she was made as a helpmate to her husband. He didn't say, "And behold ... I have created a mother." He said: "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him" (Genesis 2:18, NIV). Motherhood came along later, after the call of being a helpmate was proclaimed.
Many married women are so busy with other things in their lives, including their children, that they forget their first calling (after their personal relationship with God) is to be a wife. A wife is called by God as a helpmate to her husband. There is just no way around it, although I know many ladies would like to believe it's only for a select few that "sense the call." I have had women tell me, "That's nice for you, but I really don't sense that I am to be my husband's partner." Stop waiting for a prophecy, or a word of knowledge. God has already spoken to you through His Word.
Most churches, when looking for a pastor, ask, "How involved is your wife?" What they really mean by this is, "Is she with you'? " Most of today's churches don't really expect you to play the piano or sing alto anymore. But most do want a wife who is a helpmate to the pastor. They want to know if she is a helper not only in the home, but by your side. When a wife is missing and can never be found by her husband's side, it does subtract value from the pastor in question. If he is married, it can be downright dangerous. What does it communicate to the women of the church or community, some who may even have wrong intentions toward your husband, that you are never found alongside him? If they don't see you there, someone will try to fill your place. I've been right by my husband's side for 21 years, and amazingly, there have been a few women who have still tried to move in my place. It's essential for a lot of reasons that a wife be alongside her husband.
Many say, "I am his helper by taking care of the home and children." That's very important, however, remember that your husband's world is more than his home and his children. In fact, it's often stated by psychologists that a man's two most important factors in their self worth are their job performance and their sex life. You cannot fully be a helper to a man without understanding his work world, and offering to help wherever he may need you.
I have friends whose husbands are doctors or lawyers, and they are excellent helpmates. They make sure that at specific times they are by their husband's side, accompanying him to important events. Some help them to decorate their offices, or host gatherings such as Christmas parties or appreciation dinners for the staff members. Being a helpmate is not limited to the role of pastor's wife. Some will say, "I'm just a behind-the-scenes person. I'm not called to be up front." It's not about being on a microphone. There's nothing wrong with working behind the scenes; however, if you are working so hard behind the scenes that you can never be at your husband's side, actually accompanying him, it's a problem. The issue is not whether you speak publicly, but the question is, are you standing — actually physically standing — with him? What is important is not what roles you fulfill in the church, but can you ever be found on the scene, walking together with him in ministry?
Set Him Free to Work
The Bible makes it clear in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 that if we don't work, we don't eat. The Bible extols the virtues of hard work. In fact, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-8 even tells us, "Keep away from any brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it." Unfortunately, I think some pastor's wives believe that the ministry should be a profession whereby their husband's time is all their own. Many ministers and spouses live in such a way that they believe the ministry is held to a much lower standard of diligence than that of secular work. How much more should we give due diligence to the work of God?
Effective ministry is very hard work and it takes a lot of hours. Many wives resent those hours and not secretly. Part of the problem is they view it as "his work," not "our work." One reason I've really never resented my husband's hard work is because it's not just his work, it's our work. We both have ownership, and I realize how important the work is.
Men whose wives do not take ownership are at a disadvantage. They are always on the tightrope walking between work and home. I don't believe things should be always kept in a rigid order of priorities: God, family, work, church, etc. Priorities are different, depending upon what day it is. Sometimes it is more important that I be with my family. Other days, something in the church takes precedence. Much of success in life is knowing what God is calling for at that particular day and time. I have learned that in ministry, we can't always have a balance, but we do have to learn to juggle!
We are in the middle of a sanctuary remodeling project, and my husband is going to work longer hours for the next 2 weeks. I realize this is a time when being at the church in the evenings will be more of a priority, but once the project is over, the balance will tip in the other direction, and for the following few weeks he will be at home more with the family in the evenings. It will frustrate him to no end (and probably stall the project) if I call him on the cell phone every few hours and ask, "When are you coming home?" My goal is to set him free to focus on this crucial project.
Encourage His Dreams
Your husband has dreams. Many are God-given dreams. Some he may be afraid to share with you because he might fear your reaction. In other words, what would the pursuit of his dream mean for you? Perhaps it will mean sacrifice, a change, a move, or something else. But every man craves a woman who will dream with him and encourage his dreams. This absence of this in marriage is exactly why a lot of affairs take place. A man finds someone who listens to the dreams in his heart and actually believes he can accomplish them.
Do you encourage your husband to succeed? Do you energize him, or do you make him tired? I've always wanted my husband to be the most excited man in the world to arrive home. I don't want him to fear walking through the door, but I want him to feel so excited to get there and tell me what's on his heart. When something is going on in his world, I want to be the first person he calls.
Be Generous with Compliments
I recently spoke with a pastor's wife whose marriage was strained. I quickly realized the root problem when she said, "I'm a person who is very guarded with compliments. I don't give them easily, especially to my husband. He has to really earn them!" She said it like it was a badge of honor.
Your husband needs your encouragement. It means more to him than words from anyone else. Others can compliment him, but if your words are missing, it's a huge problem. I talk to many wives who say, "But I don't know of much that I can honestly compliment him on. He has so many issues ...." Everybody has something of worth to compliment them on. Even when Larry preaches a message that isn't one of his best, I find something great to say. Sometimes it's as simple as, "Wow, you looked like a million bucks this morning. I think you're the most handsome, and the best-dressed pastor in Tampa!"
What are you doing today to encourage? First Thessalonians 5:11, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up."
Perhaps your husband is going through a trying time in ministry. Maybe he is just starting out, and like many young ministers, may have a hard time boldly stepping out in what God has called him to do. The Bible gives you a mandate. First Thessalonians 5:14 says, "Encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone." This is a proclamation from God as to how we are to treat everyone, but don't you think your husband should come first?
Take Care of Him
God has called those of us who are wives to be a helper in all things. For me, this extends to everything from helping him with his wardrobe, making sure his regular medical checkups are scheduled, to taking care of him sexually.
Okay, okay, I hear some of you saying already, "What about me? This is all about him!" Well, that's what this article is about — how to add value to your husband, not how he can add value to you. We have a mandate from God to care for the man who has been entrusted to us.
Proverbs 18:22 says, "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord." So, I ask you, has your husband found a good thing? Keep in mind, the scriptural definition of wife is "helper." Has your husband found a helper?
Proverbs 31:10 (The Message) says, "A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds."
More than ever, a good woman — a true helpmate —is hard to find. If you are adding value to your husband, you are a hot commodity. If your husband has found you, he has found something worth more than precious jewels.
Proverbs 31:10 (The Message) goes on to say, "her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it...she treats him generously all her life long." Does you husband secretly think, "I could accomplish so much more if it wasn't for my wife." If you have a doubt, it's not too late to turn things around. You can start adding value to your husband today by being generous, as the Scripture says.
Be generous —
In helping him ...
In setting him free to work ...
In encouraging his dreams ...
In being generous with compliments ...
In taking care of him in all ways ...
In doing these things you are setting your husband free to soar.
What about you? I said I wasn't going to get in to that, but let me just say one thing. The Bible says in Proverbs that what you make happen for others, God will make happen for you. I've seen this happen in my life over and over. As I add value to my husband, and make things happen for him, God does things in my life beyond my wildest dreams.
Determine today to add value to your man.