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How Grace Shapes the Duties of Being a Pastor’s Wife

This post: Biblical duties of a pastor’s wife.

Ask one hundred people- What are the duties of a pastor’s wife? and you’ll get about one hundred different answers. 

Most of them will address a mash-up of the following: 

  • what she does
  • what she doesn’t do
  • anything else not covered by the above  

Churches and denominations have expectations about the roles of a pastor’s wife. 

Every pastor’s wife has expectationsand probably misgivings– about her duties in her role. 

Today, I want to talk about our “duties” as pastor’s wives.

And more specifically, how grace shapes those duties.

Because, friends, without grace, any leadership role dissolves into nothing more than duty

And I don’t have to tell you- duty is not life-giving. 

But grace is. 

So, my lovelies… here are four grace-full “duties” every pastor’s wife can whole-heartedly embrace.

Pastor’s wife, I’d love to send you a free gift… keep reading for more details.

Bottom line: There are healthy ways to express needs, hurts, and expectations within a Christian marriage.
Love = Respect to your man. (photo credit: Han-Hsing Tu)

Duty #1: Give your husband grace.

Your man looks so close-to-perfect in front of everyone at church. 

But you live with him.

You know his faults, irritating habits, his insecurities.

You know him better than anyone else, and that’s why it’s so important for you to give him this gift.

How does this translate to real life


The parsonage yard needs mowed, but your husband is so busy with church work (including mowing the church lawn) that he has to put it off for at least a few more days.

Your husband is exhausted and over-committed all the time. He works a full-time job in order to supplement the ministry salary, so he rarely has time to spend with you or your kids.  This is not what you envisioned “ministry” would look like.

A deacon informs you after church that this is the third service in a row your husband has started the service five minutes late.  You inwardly cringe at the criticism, since it secretly drives you crazy too.


Sound petty?

These kinds of scenarios have the power to destroy your respect for your husband and damage your marriage if you let them.

Learn to let go of some expectations regarding:

–> your husband’s ministry, the size of your church, his salary, his personality. None of these things are under your control.

Let go and give grace.

Honoring your husband is one of the biggest responsibilities of a pastor wife.

And it just might be the best thing you ever do for your marriage.

The second best thing you might ever do for your marriage is read Boundaries In Marriageby Cloud and Townsend.  

Check out the book —>

Bottom line: There are healthy ways to express needs, hurts, and expectations within a Christian marriage.

Duty #2: Give your children grace.

Growing up as a PK, I always hated hearing the “typical preacher’s kid” comments.

I didn’t even know that a “typical” preacher’s kid acted like, but it seemed pretty awful!

How Grace Shapes the Duties of Being a Pastor's Wife | Kristy's Cottage blog
PKs need a safe place. (photo credit: Jessica Rockowitz)

As the mother of preacher’s kids, give your children the gift of unconditional love, grace, and affirmation.

I’m not talking about letting them act like undisciplined heathens.

But be your kids’ biggest fan, not their biggest critic.


A Sunday School teacher complains about your preschool daughter’s behavior in class, and you react out of embarrassment instead of dealing with the issue in the privacy of your home after church.

Your older kids seem to resent ministry life; what are you supposed to do to “fix” that?

It’s tempting to try to meet everyone’s expectations about your family.

You really hadn’t planned on potty training your toddler yet, but someone made a comment about the fact that he’s still in diapers.  Now you feel insecure.


Sound familiar?

It takes a lot of inner strength to be the mother of the preacher’s kids. We have to be secure in who we are, and who are families are.

I want to raise children who are confident, gracious, and who love people and love serving in God’s kingdom.

Bottom line: It’s going to take a lot of grace-giving.

My favorite parenting book —> 

Duty #3: Give your church family grace.

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of preacher’s wives who have been hurt and basically burned out on building relationships with people.

As a younger woman, I used to wonder why these women “had such a bad attitude” about ministry.

After being in vocational ministry with my husband since 2004, I understand at least a little why it’s possible to get to that point.

Burn out is a natural response to feeling like you’ve given your all and not been loved or appreciated in return.

Years ago, I read the following quote from a passage in Oswald Chambers book, My Utmost for His Highest, and it’s become a mantra of mine:

The mainspring of Paul’s service is not love for men, but love for Jesus Christ.

If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and broken-hearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love to God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men.”


You were up half the night with a new baby and still had to make it to Sunday morning service with all your kids in tow. You’re plain tired of always being the one who never misses, never sits out.

You feel like you’ve been more than friendly and hospitable to the women in your church, but they seem so moody and self-absorbed. You’re starting to think, What’s the use?

If you have to go to the trouble of helping out at another funeral for someone who didn’t even attend your church, you just might scream!

 Why doesn’t anyone ever ask you how you’re doing instead of always venting and complaining?


Loving people must be an overflow of our love for Christ.

Human love gives up, wears out, falls short, and expects something in return.

Bottmon line: we cannot love like Jesus without grace. 

Have you hit a “share” button yet? Thanks for spreading the love. xoxo

Until you receive grace- even from yourself- you simply cannot give it away to anyone else.
You need grace too. (photo credit: Aki Tolentino)

Duty #4: Give Yourself Grace.

This is really the heart of it all.

Give the woman in the mirror permission to be human.

Until you receive grace- even from yourself- you simply cannot give it away to anyone else.


Your husband feels called to ministry and he’s so excited about the prospect of stepping into a pastoral role.  The only problem?  You have NO IDEA how to be a pastor’s wife.  Did you actually sign up for this?

The previous pastor’s wife was well-respected and, apparently, good at everything.  You feel like you might be living under her shadow for the rest of your life. 

You’re an introvert, plain and simple.  How can an introverted woman ever be a “good” pastor’s wife? 


Bottom line: Most of us don’t feel like we’re “cut out” to be great pastor’s wives. 

God doesn’t call us because we’re a cut above everyone else.

God calls us because, for some eternal purpose, He chose us for this. 

Believe me, you are going to be good at this… as long as you give yourself permission to be the woman God created you to be. 

When you feel overwhelmed or insecure or just “not enough,” remember this-

There is always enough grace to be faithful. 

Need some encouragement?


Self-Care Kit For the Pastor’s Wife

1. Click here 2. Drop your name + email.

  1. Download the free kit. Join my weekly-ish newsletter and as a bonus, you’ll get the printable!
  2. Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock would be ideal.  
  3. Use your kit to practice nourishing your heart, body + mind (give yourself some time to grow- self-care is a lifestyle).
  4. Keep your kit somewhere handy- tucked inside a pretty folder or journal, for instance, or on your desk next to your favorite pen.

Here’s a sneak peek inside the self-care kit:

CLICK to Get Your Download Now

Your Turn

Do you find the duties of ministry difficult? Drop a comment and tell me about it.

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  1. Kristy,

    Thank you for these beautiful words that have spoken to my soul today. I was literally googling “expectations of a pastor’s wife” when this popped up online. The key really is grace, isn’t it? I think the hardest part is looking the mirror and granting that mug grace (if you catch my drift). We are not called to fill someone else’s shoes, but often we are compared and contrasted with a previous PW, especially when they were “the best”. It becomes difficult to find peace with who/what you have to offer, when the comparison leads you to blatantly realize the things you DON’T do – or don’t do well. It is key, as I am discovering, to write down what MY expectations of a PW are, and deciphering if they are realistic expectations. Have a blessed day!

  2. Thank you so much for encouraging messages , words of wisdom continue to be a channel of blessings to all pastor’s wife. I’m a pastor’s wife needs God’s grace.

    1. I’m so glad your heart felt encouraged, Teresa! We are all so in need of God’s grace… and it is there for us, abundantly.

  3. Thank you so mich for your wise words! I need this right now. It has opened my eyes and heart to areas I need to improve and what given me a better understanding of the Grace of God in my life. Thank you!

    1. You’re so welcome. Thanks for reading and commenting… I’m so happy what you read here encouraged you.

  4. These are such wise words, again. With your every point, I had dozens of real-life examples. We will be regularly challenged to give grace to people in each of these areas. Learning to see people (husbands included) like Jesus sees them goes a long way in helping us overlook their faults and extend grace. Taking a good look in the mirror helps us have the humility necessary to extend grace. To the young pastor’s wives out there, hold on, Sweeties. It gets easier.

    Thank you for taking the time to write this series.

      1. thank you so much sister. i’ve learnt so much