Long before Mrs. John Wesley dragged her husband around the house by his hair, Christian pastors had found that among the most difficult persons in the world to live with were their own wives. No other area of human endeavor so dramatically and quickly brings to the attention of the pastor his own humanity and sinfulness as his relationship with his wife. The minister who is successful at helping other people solve problems of relations with others may still fail to have a happy and warm relationship with his own wife.

Why is it hard for pastors and their wives to live together peaceably? Several reasons suggest themselves.

First, the pastor is likely to have a strong, aggressive personality. He is more used to creating and promoting ideas and programs than to accepting and implementing the ideas of others.

Second, the pastor is deeply committed to his work and gives it his best time and energy. Other responsibilities tend to take second, third, or even fourth place in his scheme of priorities.

Third, the pastor is constantly giving his attention and energy to others. He may come to use his home as a refuge from the demands of people, perhaps as an opportunity to work with things, thus giving himself an emotional rest from the pressures of relationships. In fact, he may separate his work from his home life to the point that he refuses to discuss the work at home. His wife may thus infer that he thinks she could not comprehend his problems and ideas or at least would be unable to make any valuable response. This reduces her sense of worth and contribution to the pastoral ministry.

Fourth, the pastor’s time is not his own, or at least it seems that way. He is often gone from home, and his income hardly permits him to offer his ...

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