by Dana Spence
What does it look like to be an “Elder’s Wife”?
I used to think being an elder of a church just meant you were recognized for your faithfulness and your opinion and that your insight mattered to help steer the church. Not to say that that is a wrong statement, but there is so much more to the role. It requires a lot of time and energy. It’s not always fun and rarely easy. I learned that pretty quickly once my husband became an elder eight years ago. We share and discuss everything with one another in our marriage. Once he accepted the role to be an elder at our church, he explained to me there were going to be times he wouldn’t be able to share things with me. So much is discussed and brought to the elders that is private, personal, and confidential. I had to accept and become comfortable with the fact I wasn’t going to know everything that was going on behind those closed doors. He wasn’t going to be able to share everything with me.
It’s difficult to see him carry heavy burdens, have his mind be preoccupied with issues he can’t share and talk about with me. This was new territory for us. I was so used to asking how things went, or telling him I could tell something was bothering him, and then converse about it. There are certain issues he can’t openly talk about with me. I’ve learned to turn to prayer. When I see him burdened, I pray for God to give him wisdom and discernment. I pray for him to have peace and unity with the other elders. Not only do I pray for my husband, but I pray and ask God to help me to be the wife and partner he needs.
There are also times where he needs to talk through something and it’s important to be a confidant while not allowing the struggle or conflict to overtake my own emotions. Trust plays a big role in being an elder’s wife. The company I work for is named after Proverbs 31, so I’ve read through it many times. Proverbs 31:11 says “Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.” If he opens up to you about concerns he has, you need to listen in confidence. Proverbs 31:12 continues: “She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” It’s natural as wives and women to sympathize with our husbands, but it’s important to not react in a way that might make things worse. It’s important to support, love, honor and trust your husband always.
Praying for our husbands and our marriage is something we should always be doing, but turning to prayer has especially helped me be an elder’s wife.