Questions to ask if you are dating a pastor and before marrying a pastor.
Dating a pastor is somewhat simple. He guards your integrity, he’s sweet and life dating him is fun. At least that is how it should be. He should not touch you or allow you in any compromising situations. Remember, dating him is a “sneak peek” into who he truly is and how he will handle you (and potentially other women) in the future. Yeah, dating should be easy-peasy and a joyous time. But, as you know dating isn’t always what real life will be like. Before marrying a pastor, you better do what Aretha Franklin said. You betta THINK!
Dating a pastor is the easy part of the process.
However, after he pops the question, things get a little complicated.
That “real life” stuff starts happening. The stress of ministry. The people pulling and tugging at you both and yes, the thirsty, desperate, silly women who lust after your husband not even knowing who he truly is as a person. Not to mention the lonely seasons when your husband is doing the thing He called your husband – NOT YOU – to do. Oh, Christian Sister, it’s a lot to take in. It’s a lot to manage.
Full disclosure: in my opinion, you can’t really prepare for being a pastor’s wife or First Lady of the church. The main reason is that God’s purpose for you in the role is like no one else’s. This means only He can prepare you for it. Secondly, you can’t actually prepare because every husband is different and approaches ministry differently. No one size fits all exist. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t.
Still, I’m listing a few questions and thoughts you should consider before you accept the ring and start shopping for wedding dresses.
Questions to ask yourself before marrying a pastor:
Prayerfully and honestly consider the following and ask yourself these questions:
Consideration 1: Is he a good preacher? Honey, this matters more than you can imagine now!
Consideration 2: What sort of pastor is he?
If you’re like I was when I dated my husband, you haven’t been to his church yet because you have no interest in being such a public dudes “chick” without a solid commitment. I told my husband I didn’t want the label of being a pastor’s “girlfriend.” As a result, I waited until I had a concrete proposal. Actually, God sort of guided me in that direction. I didn’t know what I was doing. Ha!
Consideration 3: Can I trust him with my heart, my financial future, around other women?
Consideration 4: Could I see myself in his church adhering to his demonimation?
Questions to ask him before you marry him:
Question 1 for the pastor. “Would you describe your church’s culture?”
You want to know how he views his ministry. Then, when you visit, you’ll have a way to contrast his reality from the actual reality.
He may say “people are super friendly”, but really they are not. In the end, it doesn’t matter much because God will give you the grace to handle whatever is ahead of you. Just pray for favor with His people now.
Nevertheless, a “reality” check is always a good idea, so go ahead and ask him to describe the church. Also, it’s best to visit after you’re engaged AND no one knows who you are, if possible.
Question 2 “What is your work ethic?”
For sure, you can count on him replying “I believe in working very hard”. Everyone says that. What you’re going after is whether or not he practices balance in his ministry life. If he doesn’t, he likely will struggle with it later and it is sure to affect you. Trust me!
Probe his initial response to find out if you’ll spend most of your evenings and weekends alone while he is performing his version of “working hard”.
Granted, it’s likely you will be alone a lot because pastoring a church is a huge undertaking. Still, he has to make time to spend with you and the [pending] kids. A wise and compassionate pastor skillfully balances home with the ministry. After all, if a man can’t manage his home, how can he manage God’s people? My husband used to come home during the day to see me. I liked that. It made up for his late evenings he spent counseling or meeting with congregants. He’s still working on the balance though.
From time to time, we sneak away during my lunch hours (now that I’m working outside the home) to hang out.
All in all, I’m not one who requires a lot of attention, so that little bit works for me.
As women, heck, as people, we are all different.
You may need more time for your husband. Think about what you need and what you cannot tolerate before you marry him, Christian Woman. Talk to him about it NOW. Because after the marriage is often too late to bring about lasting change. Sure, it can happen, but it will be difficult and take longer because he will be in the throws of being a new husband and pastoring the church. All that adjustment can create friction. Talk about it now while it’s still “sunshine and rainbows”. Ready for the next questions to ask before marrying a pastor?
Question 3. “What is your philosophy about interacting with women in the church?”
No explanation needed. This is a “biggie” that could lead to many tears later. I think the wisest men do not interact with women one-on-one or alone. Just like doctors, they will have someone else in the room. Other pastors will hug women in the church. This doesn’t bother me, but that could be an issue for you. Ask him about it. Will other women have his cell number? Will they call the home number? Inquire. Again, be upfront about those things NOW.
Question 4. “What role does God’s Word play in your life?”
Many pastors view God’s Word merely as a tool to deliver sermons. Did you know some pastors don’t spend personal time with God on a daily basis? Indeed.
They just study for the sake of learning the content they intend to deliver. I don’t care if he’s a plumber. It’s dangerous to marry ANY man who is not in love with Jesus and devoted to studying God’s Word just to get closer to God.
A man who doesn’t pray regularly. Worship. Read His Bible and excitedly share new nuggets with you just because He’s exhilarated by it is a candidate for the “frozen chosen”. You know the type: people who know the Word, but it’s dead inside them.
You want a husband that knows how (and desires to) lay at the feet of God in prayer and worship – during prayer time – when no one is looking. Not to be “pastor” or to appear “deep”, but to be a child of God.
Question 5.”What role do you see me playing in the ministry?”
Find out his expectations of you so you can begin praying and seeking God to ensure you’re in alignment with God’s plan for your life.
Honestly, I was madly in love with another man who was a minister (years ago). Although the relationship taught me so much and brought me closer to the Lord, his goals and mine did not align. God showed me that reality and I’m so glad He did.
Now, that Godly man is married to a beautiful woman and I’m married to my husband.
Also, some men are threatened by a strong personality as their help-meet. Listen carefully as he describes how he sees you serving in the ministry. Listen with your spirit and not your love-stricken heart. If in his explanation, he doesn’t mention your gifts, strengths, or anointing, you might have a problem in the future.
I’ll be honest. Some folks criticize pastors’ wives for not being active in ministry. They don’t know the reason the pastor’s wife is not active is that her husband is intimidated by her gifts or favor.
Definitely, talk that out with your future husband and see what he envisions.
Question 6. “What do you believe about Jesus, salvation, the Holy Spirit, and sin?”
Don’t assume you and he agree on these cornerstones of our faith.
You’d be surprised (shocked) at how many pastors associated with mainstream denominations have twisted philosophies about salvation and faith. I’ll leave that there.
Just know, it will be very difficult to listen to sermons you do not support or believe to be true. Ask. Ask. Ask.
Check out his family structure. How does his family interact with one another? How do they treat you? Are his parents rude, bitter, and mean? You better know that how he was raised affects his ministry, parenting style, and how he will relate to you behind closed doors.
Watch for any sign of familial dysfunction.
That’s it! Hey, if you’re a pastor’s wife, what else would you add to this list?
Did I miss anything?