There is one place more difficult than being a criticized pastor—that is, that pastor’s wife. I assume most men are like me in that you can attack me, but if you attack my wife—well it’s on! The fact of the matter is this attitude usually represents our wives feelings about those who attack us also. Yet, a pastor’s wife cannot fight back. It almost always ends badly or makes the situation worse. At least when we as pastors are attacked or criticized by those in the church, we have the option to defend ourselves. We can fight back. We can argue our case. In most cases, it is a “lose-lose” battle any time a pastor’s wife embraces the task to defend her husband. Therefore, what is she to do?
Pray. Pray for your husband that the Lord would give him grace. Pray for those attackers that God would give them a spirit of grace and love for their pastor, and convict them where they are wrong. Pray for yourself, that you would not grow bitter, but to realize sheep sometimes attack their shepherd. Pray those New Testament passages about suffering for if the Christian is called to suffer for Christ’s sake, why not the shepherd of them even more?
Speak wisely. Be a trusted, discerning voice for your husband. Help him with great wisdom see where the critical comments are mean-spirited and just not true, and where there might be some merit to the criticisms. Some of my most painful, but good growing pains as a pastor were sifting through harsh comments that I later realized (often with my wife’s help) had a grain of truth to them.
Support unconditionally. Do whatever you must to remind your husband of your love for him, your affirmation of his calling, and the gifts the Lord has given him. If you can convince your husband of your unwavering love and support, you will have a better chance to do the previous one (speak wisely).
Press on, dear ladies. You play a most important role in your husband’s life and ministry. Remember the Lord is good, Christ is sweet in difficulty, and any injustice that remains that is done to you or your husband will be dealt with by the great Judge and Chief Shepherd of the universe.