Dating a pastor should be a piece of cake, right? I mean, he’s a guardian of your integrity a sweetheart, and dating him should be an absolute blast. At least, that’s the dream. But let’s face it, real life doesn’t always fit into that neat little box, does it? Before you decide to tie the knot with a pastor, you better think twice, just like Aretha Franklin said – you better think. Because let’s be real, dating gives you a sneak peek into who he truly is and how he’ll handle not just you but potentially other women in the future. So buckle up and get ready for a rollercoaster ride of emotions because dating a pastor isn’t always as easy-peasy as you might think. Here are things I wish I had thought of before marrying a pastor and some advice I’d give.
It’s a shame that I have to say this, but when you date a pastor – HE SHOULD BE SINGLE. I’ve so many women who have fallen victim to some unscrupulous men of the cloth. Don’t be one of them.
Back to the subject: questions to ask before marrying a pastor.
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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. All this plays a part in your thought process before marrying a pastor.
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: preparing to be a pastor’s wife or church’s First Lady is hard. I wrote about it here.
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 before marrying a pastor: 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?
Listening to a boring preacher can be a test of patience and focus. The minutes may feel like hours, as the monotonous delivery and lack of engagement make it challenging to stay attentive.
The struggle to connect with the message becomes apparent, and the desire for a more dynamic and captivating presentation intensifies. I can imagine what that must be like. Yes, hear that man preach before you agree to marry him.
Consideration 4 before marrying a pastor: Could I see myself in his church adhering to his denomination?
Different denominations interpret the Bible and Christian doctrines in different ways, influencing worship styles, rituals, and community involvement. Understanding his denomination helps ensure that your spiritual journey aligns with the teachings and traditions of his church.
Denominations also have different approaches to governance, leadership roles, and theological perspectives, which shape your experience and participation in the church.
Considering the denomination beforehand ensures his denomination aligns with your spiritual convictions and provides a supportive environment for personal growth and worship.
Questions to ask him before you marry him:
Question to ask before marrying a pastor
“Would you describe your church’s culture for me?”
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 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 before marrying a pastor:
“What is your work ethic?”
For sure, you can count on him replying, “I believe in working very hard.” Everyone says that.
You’re going after whether or not he practices balance in his ministry life. If he doesn’t do it now as a single man, he likely will struggle with it later, which will surely 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 the late evenings he spent counseling or meeting with congregants. He’s still working on the balance, though.
From time to time, we sneak away to hang out during my lunch hours (now that I’m working outside the home).
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 cannot tolerate before marrying him, Christian Woman. Talk to him about it NOW. Because after the marriage, it is often too late to bring about lasting change.
Sure, change 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?
“What is your philosophy about
interacting with women in the church?”
No explanation is 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.
“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 to learn 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. 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 who 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 a “pastor” or to appear “deep,” but to be a child of God.
“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 he doesn’t mention your gifts, strengths, or anointing in his explanation, 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 why the pastor’s wife is not active because her husband is intimidated by her gifts or favor.
Definitely, talk that out with your future husband and see what he envisions.
“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?