She’s always there. Sometimes in the background, sometimes with a welcoming smile up front, sometimes noticed and appreciated, sometimes being silently judged. Your pastor’s wife: the powerful force behind most church leaders often perceived as a mystery by the rest of the church. If you take out time to talk to this woman and ask her what it’s like being a pastor’s wife, here are some of the things she’ll probably tell you:
1) “I wish people knew that we struggle to have family time.” As a pastor’s wife, planned vacations are a mirage. Family evenings most times have to be rearranged for crises of church members, middle of the night emergencies and regular interruptions. A true day off is rare; even on scheduled days off, their husbands are essentially on call 24/7.
2) “I am not Wonder Woman”: Most people in church are erroneously led to believe that the Pastor’s wife is a super-woman that has it all together. A godly man, perfect home, godly, perfect little kids, and bla bla bla. Truth is, They don’t have it all together. They battle many of the same issues every other woman battles: marriage issues, extended-family difficulties, sickness, and finances, children who make poor decisions, fear and insecurities. Some seasons of life are obviously harder than others; but remember, ministry wives are not Wonder Woman with special powers. Please have a little mercy and extend grace.
3) “It is OK and welcomed to have conversations with me about things that do not pertain to church, or even Jesus: Believe it or not, many pastor’s wives went to a University and had full-time careers before becoming “Mrs. Pastor’s Wife.” They have hobbies, goals, and dreams that may not have anything to do with their husband’s job as pastors, likes and dislikes, and though they often serve beside their husband, they are individuals with their own unique gifts. Do not make the mistake of assuming your pastor’s wife has the same personality as her husband.
4) “It’s hard to not harbor resentment or lash out at members who openly criticize my husband’s ministry.” church criticism is hurtful, offensive and, yes, it’s very hard not to take it personally. It is one of the most damaging things they witness regularly inside the church, whether it is through emails, social media or gossip. They wish people understood how serious God’s word speaks on the danger and power of our words. And how much it injures the pastor’s family.
5) “I wish people knew that we taught our children to make good choices, but sometimes, they don’t.” We really need to back off on the judgmental attitudes most of us have towards pastor’s children. They aren’t perfect and never will be (are your own kids perfect?). They have to learn to walk in their faith just like other children and need encouragement and love to do so. Again, extend grace.
Dear Church people, we need to remember that our pastor’s wife is a human being, a wife and mother like any other wife and mother out there. She faces the same challenges, pains and insecurities like other women. The same grace we expect other people to extend to us and the same understanding we expect, should be extended to her as well.