Sunday, September 19, 2010

Difficulties of being a pastor’s wife

  1. Life in a fishbowl. People notice your parenting, your actions, everything you do. You can’t have a bad day.
  2. Husband devoted to his first love – Christ’s church. He’s on 24-hour call.
  3. Few real friends in the church in whom you can confide due to rampant gossip in the church.
  4. Financial concerns – pastors don’t typically make all that much money. Many pastor’s wives have to work to support the family.
  5. If you make close friends in the church others feel slighted.
  6. If you make close friends outside the church, women in the church think you think you are too good for them.
  7. Expected to be the right hand person to the pastor but may not have any call to ministry yourself.
  8. Your pastor is also your husband – you can’t count on him to give you the sort of compassion that he gives to his average parishioner.
  9. You may be spiritually starving – having to listen to a preacher every week that doesn’t feed you.
  10. Husband has grown apart, you married him when he wasn't a pastor and you don't feel like you signed up for this.
  11. Pastor’s spend years in seminary (in real churches, not CC) and their wives attend seminary social events. Very few “real-life” training for pastors wives. And I blame seminaries for their ineffective help of training wives on how to be a pastor’s wife.
  12. Spouse may feel isolated since the church they are serving may be far from their family.
  13. [Added by suggestion] It is particularly hard on the spouse when the pastor is criticized. He or she may feel they cannot say anything to defend their spouse. On the other hand female spouses are increasingly professionals themselves and quite busy. Sometimes far too busy.
  14. [Added by suggestion] Another issue for the schools is that some women do not want to be a part of a spouses group. Our Partners in Ministry Program has been more effective in some years than others depending on the leadership.
  15. [Added by suggestion] One final thought: the smaller the church the bigger the problem!

This is all much more common that you might believe.

Suggestions

  1. Denominations need to think harder about these things. Find the decision makers. Many seminary Presidents are former pastors themselves but they don't want to "interfere" with this subject. Encourage them to encourage the organizations they already have in place that ministry to pastor's spouses needs to address the issues listed above.
  2. Invite pastor's wives to speak to these organizations, especially ones that are frank about the problems they had in ministry.
  3. Let your pastor's wife know you love her. Her husband probably already gets enough praise from people.
  4. Denominations need pastor's spouse retreats where the spouse can meet others with the same issues who can help them work through the issues. They will learn they are not alone and find someone safe to share their issues with. This has to happen at local denominational level. There needs to be child care because the excuse the wife gives is that she can't go to a retreat because she's a mom and dad is not able to do the job she can.

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