October 23, 2017

The Life of a Country Pastor’s Wife

Gloria Arnold

A pastor’s wife-ugh! What a drab, dull life! They never have any excitement or good times. They’re perfect, and I feel very uncomfortable around them. That was my concept of the life of a pastor’s wife-uneventful and humdrum. I never wanted to be one.

Well, here I am, a pastor’s wife in a small town of 600 people. Our ministry is the joy of sharing the Gospel with adults and children of the surrounding hills and valleys. Although most of our people are Pennsylvania Dutch and do not show their emotions, they have the same physical and emotional needs as city people. They have the same temptations, sins, and results of sin as folks in the city, but they also have the same Bible and the same Lord to give them the power to overcome sin and temptation.

I’m glad the Lord saw fit to call my husband into the ministry and to call me to be his wife, because it isn’t a boring, humdrum, uneventful life. It is the most exciting life there is. I’m a wife, mother of three children, and co-laborer for the Lord, and the Lord has given me more good times and opportunities for service than I ever would have had living as I pleased.

I know the delight of watching a new-born babe in Christ grow, the thrill of seeing a prayer answered after fasting, and the excitement of a trip to Israel. I can enjoy the fellowship of godly women as we can vegetables and bake bread, baby-sit for one another, go soul-winning, cry and laugh together. My life is full of excitement: seeing God supply a way for a small church to start a Christian school, working with our young people, watching my children accepting and growing in the Lord, seeing my handicapped son gain confidence as he learns to walk, marveling as a church grows from 40 members to more than 500 in seven years, and knowing of a weak marriage becoming strong because Biblical principles are being followed.

As with any work, though, there are adjustments to make. For example, after our third child was born, I became very frustrated because I was no longer as free to work for the Lord. But God very lovingly showed me that my first responsibility was to take care of our children and to provide a pleasing and godly atmosphere in our home so that my husband would be free to do the work of the ministry. I help where and when I can. When I cannot help, God has another person to take my place.

Of course, there is the problem of adjusting to criticism. The pastor and his family are criticized no matter what they do. Some people will leave the church because things didn’t go their way. It takes soul-searching and grace to overcome these things. In times like this it is especially important to keep looking to God and not to man.

As a wife, I try to follow the description of a virtuous woman given in Proverbs 31. I also endeavor to be kind (Ephesians 4:32), to submit myself to my husband (Ephesians 5:22), to reverence him (Ephesians 5:33), to pray always (Ephesians 6:18), to be content (Hebrews 13:5), to have a meek and quiet spirit (I Peter 3:4), to trust God (Proverbs 3:5), and not to stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1).

If your husband is about to become a pastor, determine in your heart to go willingly wherever God sends him. Don’t worry if he’s led to a small town. Trust God; He will take care of your needs, bless your ministry, and give you peace and happiness. This He has promised. Be a sweet, gentle, God-fearing woman, make sure your husband is the head of your home; never criticize him in front of others; and pray constantly for God to give him strength and wisdom. Your attitude and actions can help your husband’s ministry or destroy it.

Believe Romans 8:28: “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” When people got angry and left our church, I thought that was the end of our ministry. We no longer had a vision and were very discouraged. We tried to leave, but God shut every door. Soon after that He started to bless the ministry. People are getting saved and the church is growing. I learned that God allows everything that comes into our lives for a reason.

I shudder to think that we almost quit when blessings were around the corner. Yet I shudder even more to think that I could have missed God’s best for me by not being a pastor’s wife. It is well worth remembering that if God be for us, no one-not even ourselves-can be against us.


Gloria Arnold, wife of Pastor David Arnold, served with her husband in the ministry at Bible Baptist Church, Kreamer, Pennsylvania.

This article first appeared in Faith for the Family, July/August 1975. It is republished here by permission.


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