Recently I got to catch up with a friend I met at a singles ministry conference. We were both new ministry wives then. Malone Davidson now serves at a church in California with her pastor husband Greg. After talking about some of the challenges of ministering on the West Coast, Malone surprised me with stories of time spent with Pastor Adrian Rogers and his wife Joyce several years ago. Since our discussion revolved around ways we’ve found to love and support our pastor husbands, I asked if she remembered any advice from Mrs. Joyce. This is part of our conversation. If you’d like to hear the rest of the story, click HERE to listen to Malone’s podcast episode.
Malone, you told me that Pastor Adrian Rogers’ wife Mrs. Joyce gave you some meaningful advice about being a pastor’s wife. Can you share that with us?
Yes, it was about eighteen years ago, so I was a new mother. Greg and I had been invited to one of their pastor and pastor’s wife conferences, where Pastor Rogers would talk to the men and Mrs. Rogers would talk to the women. That year there were probably only like 6 women, so I had a lot of time just with Mrs Rogers, which I loved!
When she came in the first day I remember thinking, here’s this pastor’s wife from a monster size church—I don’t even know how many members their church had at the time, probably 20,000—and she’s going to tell us how to be better prayer warriors and how to study the Bible. But the first thing she said was, I’m not going to be teaching you how to pray or study the Bible. Because really, you’re Pastor’s wives and you should already have that down! Then she started talking about loving our husbands, taking care of our husbands.
I asked her about any advice she could give me as a young pastor’s wife. Without missing a beat, she said, I can give you three things. And these three things which I’ll tell you about have completely ministered to me in every season of my life as a pastor’s wife and in different ways.
#1—Give up your rights to God to understand “why”
#2—Give up your rights to God to be understood
#3—Don’t pick up an offense
She also told us about this little tiny stuffed bear they called their Love Bear. They would hide it around the house and different places like the car and the office. She’d pack it in a suitcase sometime and sneak it on trips and and it would pop up different places and that was just kind of a little secret “I Love You!” type thing they shared.
They also used to go for walks together and somewhere in their neighborhood where they walked there was this curve. Every time that they passed this curve, they each would complement one another. They would spend the entire time during that part of the walk saying something they loved about the other person.
And I really love that! Especially if you or your husband’s love language is encouragement that is so vital to filling their cup. My husband’s love language is words of encouragement. Even when I tell him he’s a good husband, he’s like well how am I good? Oh he cracks me up! He wants details and specifics! So I have to be very creative with my compliments of him. I’m always looking up synonyms to help him feel loved and appreciated.
Mrs. Rogers adored her husband, and they kept humor in their relationship. I think it’s very important to laugh together in marriage. We’ll watch clean comedies, which are kind of hard to find these days, or tell each other jokes or stories. We try to even look at hard things in a humorous light.
So much of what pastor husbands deal with is heavy, so humor is important.
It’s also important to make your home be a sanctuary for them. Keep things peaceful and enjoyable as possible.
Here are a few other tips Malone shared:
- Consider timing—timing is everything! If there’s something serious we need to discuss, the time to talk with my husband is not at night when he’s tired. If he’s just gotten home from church or a meeting, serious conversations need to wait until he’s rested.
- Pray that our husbands will have strength and wisdom.
- Wives don’t need to know everything going on in the church, especially the ugliness.
- Take breaks from talking about church stuff, especially during days off and vacations. Remember our kids are listening to a lot of those conversations, too. A pipe burst in our house last year and we had to have walls replaced and flooring and everything. But I remember my son saying, That’s the longest we’ve ever gone not talking about the church!
- Find new hobbies to enjoy together.
If you’d like to hear my entire conversation with Malone, click HERE for her Married to the Ministry podcast episode.
If you’d like more advice from Joyce Rogers on how to be a great pastor’s wife, check out her book Chosen To Be a Minister’s Wife, available from Love Worth Finding. Click HERE for more info on her book. Learn about the foundational principles all ministry wives need. Mrs. Joyce also shares how to lean hard into Jesus when tragedy strikes.
Thank you for spending time with us today, friend. Until next time, let’s keep loving Jesus, loving our husbands, and loving our people!