Earlier this week Fiona left a comment on my post about Ten Great Things About Being a Vicar’s Wife. She is looking for advice as her husband begins ministry later this year. Here’s what she asked:
It quite hard as I just would like to to my very best. I have two children and its a second marriage
I totally adore and love him and we all want to support him .
Perhaps if someone was in the same sistuation it would be a great help for ideas and suggestions.
I’m going to give my list of top ten tips below, but it would be great if others could add to the list too. I’m not claiming to speak with much authority, having only been a ‘proper’ Vicar’s Wife for just over a year, but this is what has helped me to date…
- Keep your own relationship with God going – you may have to be creative (on-line sermons, prayer partners, conferences, retreats, support groups).
- Prioritise your family above the parish. Keep on loving and supporting your husband.
- Say ‘no’ more than you think you should – you can’t do everything. Better to do a little in church well than everything badly. Or do nothing apart from being a godly wife and mother.
- Don’t throw yourself into everything when you first arrive – take time to choose the best. Try to do something together – we love having people over – Sunday lunches, barbeques barbecues, tea parties.
- Play to your strengths and don’t feel the need to conform to a stereotype of the perfect minister’s wife. So don’t bake if you can’t bear it, buy some nice biscuits. Avoid children if they stress you, visit kind old ladies. Don’t arrange the flowers, use your best hammer drill to put shelves up.
- Make sure (as far as possible) that your husband has support from accountability partners or a spiritual director. And help him to prioritise his day off. If you’re able, take that day off with him.
- If you live in a Vicarage or Manse, be ruthless with junk mail in the early days. Send it all back with ‘remove from mailing list’ on it or phone organisations up if you don’t want their stuff. Ecclesiastical junk mail has been the bane of my life in the last year and a bit. I mean, how many catalogues for chasubles does an evangelical minster need?! Especially one who wears robes about once a year. In the UK the Mailing Preference Service and Telephone Preference Service are your friends.
- Take time to laugh. We watch a lot of tv comedy. It helps.
- Don’t answer the phone every time it rings. Call screening and an answerphone are very helpful.
- Take proper holidays away from the parish. We have nearly three weeks in the summer (plus three other weeks the rest of the year) and find that we need that length of time to properly unwind.
What are others’ top tips? What have you learnt about doing your best?