Wednesday, May 27

Appreciate Your Pastor's Wife

The role of the pastor's wife is a very challenging position. Many congregations expect her to be all things to everyone. She is often scrutinized for her choice of clothing, make-up, and hair style if it fails to measure up to the expectations of the cookie cutter model from the past. She may also be criticized for working outside the home especially if pursuing a career is her choice. Do you know that the pastor's wife is the only profession the spouse is often addressed as The Pastor's Wife when being introduced?

Pastor's and their families truly live in a fish bowl. It can be a very thankless and frustrating profession. What other profession publicizes your salary and benefits? How many families in the congregation display their salaries within the church? How often is a pastor's family scrutinized for purchasing a new or additional automobile? Many pastor's wives refuse to open their homes to their congregations fearful of criticism regarding their selection of furniture, decor, etc. Or they fear being scrutinized because of how they live. And the pastor's children are expected to be the perfect role models.

Many years ago I met a retired pastor's wife who was suffering from severe depression. My husband and I went to the hospital to be with the family while their oldest son was undergoing heart surgery. She shared horror stories with me regarding the mistreatment her and her family had received during their many years of ministry. They were treated with such cruelty and disrespect. She spent those years trying to deal with the actions of the congregations while trying to protect her family. There wasn't anyone to talk too regarding her feelings of sadness and loneliness. The result of that treatment took her to a place of counseling twice a week for the remainder of her life. As she spoke to me that day my heart ached for this frail heartbroken woman of God who had served the Kingdom faithfully her entire life.

Pastors and their spouses carry overwhelming burdens for the families they pastor. There are things that are shared in strict confidence that are sometimes devastating. Many pastor's wives have women friends within their congregations but we all know that there are issues we can never discuss openly. In a pastor's home plans are often changed at the last moment due to an emergency within the church. This can also alter vacation plans.

I encourage you to express your love to your pastor's wife this week. It is a very challenging role that many do not understand. It can also be a very lonely and isolated place. Send her a card, invite her to lunch or surprise her with a special gift. And most importantly pray for her and her family daily.

Blessings to you!

1 comment:

  1. Deborah, you did a beautiful job showing the plight of the pastor's wife. I've been a church secretary for 12 years and have seen first-hand the pressure Pastor's wives are under. We should all be much more understanding of her needs. Thanks for sharing!


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