Help! I’m Married to My Pastor: Encouragement for Ministry Wives and Those Who Love Them – Jani Ortlund

Help! I'm Married to My Pastor Jani Ortlund (1)
Help! I'm Married to My Pastor: Encouragement for Ministry Wives and Those Who Love Them by Jani Ortlund
Published by Crossway Books on January 19, 2021
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life, Marriage, Parenting
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Ministry is hard. And every ministry wife needs--and deserves--encouragement.
A woman marries a man, not his ministry. But all too often her husband's calling complicates their life together. What if ministry life isn't what she bargained for? What happens when her children make mistakes? How does she deal with church gossip, or even slander?
As a pastor's wife of almost fifty years, Jani Ortlund addresses these questions, along with many others, as she offers encouragement and guidance to ministry wives. Jani reminds readers that God works out his delightfully good purposes in and through their sacrifices.

This short book has simple, easy-to-read chapters that pastor’s wives can fit into their busy schedules. Each chapter is full of encouragement and hope, as Jani Ortlund writes from her decades of experience as a pastor’s wife. She shares personal wisdom through Scriptural reflections, anecdotes, and practical suggestions, and ends each chapter with a short letter to the pastor to summarize her message and provide ideas for how he can bless his wife. Ortlund also encourages couples to read this book together, so that they can discuss their thoughts and varying emotions about the challenges that they face.

One of the best chapters, in my opinion, is the one about how to protect and nurture pastor’s kids. Although I wish that Ortlund had acknowledged childless readers and their unique challenges, her advice to mothers is clear and helpful, especially as she details the kinds of church members that parents should be wary of. This chapter is honest and practical, and shares detailed advice where many other books would just give a generalized platitude. Ortlund also address challenges like struggling to remember church member’s names, dealing with gossip, trying to learn more about God when everyone expects you to be an expert, and processing hurt from members who have left the church. She also includes a chapter about depression, and encourages people who are suffering to get clinical help when necessary.

As I expected, Help! I’m Married to My Pastor: Encouragement for Ministry Wives and Those Who Love Them deals with garden variety challenges of marriage and church life. Ortlund writes to women who are in healthy, mutual, and secure marriages, and does not delve into issues related to marital dysfunction or abuse. Someone who is dealing with major marital challenges would be best pursuing a different resource, but pastor’s wives who just need encouragement and practical advice for everyday challenges will find this book helpful. Ortlund’s kind tone and years of experience can help reassure women who feel out of their depth, and can give them hope as they juggle the relationships and challenges that are part of their lives as ministry wives.