I often have people ask me what some of the hardest things about being in ministry are. While the positives definitely outweigh the negatives, there are certainly some difficult aspects of being a ministry wife. The constant goodbyes, lack of close friends, and distance from family are just a few. But for me the hardest thing so far has been learning to stay quiet when my husband is unfairly criticized.
We all know about the Mama Bear who lives inside us and rears her ugly head when our kids are being hurt. Well, I happen to think that there is a Wife Bear in there, too. A while ago, my husband was unfairly criticized by a former colleague of ours. I will not go into details, but suffice it to say that my husband became the target of several years of frustration on this person’s part. I was on this end of the conversation but could see how my husband struggled to remain calm and respond appropriately when the other person began to accuse him of things that were untrue. I give my husband great credit for not lashing back in anger. I, on the other hand, was ready to march myself over to that person’s house and give the person a piece of my mind!
No one knows our husbands like we do. We see them invest their lives day in and day out into the lives of others around them. We want nothing more than to see them be successful and to hear others share how God has used them to touch their lives. But being in ministry also makes them an easy target for people who are angry, frustrated, envious, etc. So how do we respond?
I think my husband actually said it best when I vented to him that day. He told me that the truth always comes out and it is not our place to prove someone wrong. He reminded me that God judges the hearts and intentions and no good would come out of my complaining about this incident to other people. Wow. Sometimes I am in awe of the man I married.
In Ephesians 5:33 we are told, “Nevertheless, each one of you must also love his own wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” I was challenged by this verse to respect my husband even when others do not. There will be times when my husband is criticized, unjustly accused, etc. The question is, how can I show him how much I respect him despite those things? It means keeping my mouth shut and letting God judge the hearts and motives of others. It means a humbling of myself and obedience to the Word of God as I seek to be the helper and encourager that God has created me to be.