pastors-wives

I am especially grateful to have the opportunity to hear from pastors’ wives since much of my focus is on pastors. Our recent, informal survey simply asked the open-ended question: “What do you wish you had been told before you became a minister’s wife?”

Thank you to the pastors’ wives who were willing to give us such great feedback. And thanks to Chris Adams for doing the survey and to Amy Jordan for assembling the data.

The responses are in order of frequency. A representative comment follows each response.

  1. I wish someone had told me just to be myself. “I am a people-pleaser by nature, so for me, not being prepared to handle being a pastor’s wife with my personality was a heavy burden to carry early in our ministry.”
  2. I wish someone had prepared me to deal with criticism of my husband and me. “It was hard to deal with negative experiences, conflicts, or criticisms, especially in relation to my husband and our area of ministry. So I would harbor feelings of resentment when it came to ministry and my man.”
  3. I wish someone had reminded me that my husband is human. “I wish someone had told me that my husband could not be God for me. I was disillusioned at first to find out that he indeed is just a man.”
  4. I wish someone had told me that others were watching us (the glass house syndrome). “Even though they are watching us, we don’t need to be controlled by what they expect of us.”
  5. I wish someone had told me there are some really mean people in the church. “I was really surprised. I had to learn not to pay too much attention to them or they would get me down.”
  6. I wish someone had told me how much my husband needs me to build him up. “I need to be his cheerleader. Dealing with critics in the church is difficult. He needs to hear that I respect him now more than ever.”
  7. I wish someone had told me that my schedule will never be normal again. “Your husband will be very busy. Expect that. But come alongside him in the areas of time management and organization.”

One pastor’s wife told us that her role was like getting a job for which she never applied. She wrote this funny script in her response:

Husband: “Honey, I got you a job today.”

Wife: “Really? Okay, but I wasn’t looking for a job. I have plenty to do here running the household and raising the kids. That was our plan, right? Me stay home with the kids so you could fully dedicate yourself to the ministry.”

Husband: “Yeah, yeah. But I really need you take this job for me.”

Wife: “Well, okay, just tell me what to do and when it needs to be done by, and I will do everything I can to make it happen.”

Husband: “Well, right now there are no specific responsibilities. Basically, it’s just doing anything at church that no one else steps up to do or wants to do.”

Wife: “Oh my, that is a tall order. Okay, I’ll do it. I guess we could use the extra money anyway. Things are always tight around here on a pastor’s salary.

Husband: “Well, actually honey, there is no salary . . .”

What do you think of these seven responses? What would you add?


Pastor to Pastor is the Saturday blog series at ThomRainer.com. Pastors and staff, if we can help in any way, contact Steve Drake, our director of pastoral relations, at Steve.Drake@LifeWay.com. We also welcome contacts from laypersons in churches asking questions about pastors, churches, or the pastor search process.

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Comments

  1. Jessica G says

    Those are all true! I’ve recently realized the time management & organization after 3 years of being a pastor’s wife. I think what I wish I would have been told is you will be lonely & how to do deal with that. I’m surrounded by women often at church, but there is a certain boundary or closeness I can only attain with some people. At times, people can be very stand offish because I am the pastor’s wife. I think they forget that we are human & imperfect that we too long for friendship & enjoy everyday things. My husband and I are in are early 30s & when people,who we do tend to do things with, introduce us it is always as pastor & his wife not as friends. Ministry can be a lonely place. I wish I had been more prepared for that aspect.

      • Shanna steps says

        I have been a pastors wife for 8 years and I still am lonely. We came to a new church 2 years ago which has a membership of 1500 and a senior pastor that has been here for 25 years. The town is a clicker town and very closed to new people. I felt that this was a great fit and that the senior pastor was really looking to help my husband and then the ball dropped. I feel like my husbands ministry is in jeapordy. There seems to be a lot of tension and is have gotten to the point of blaming myself for being myself. Maybe I should not speak up maybe I should just not go or volunteer. But then I am even more depressed. Is it me? Can I e the reason we don’t get invited to a dinner with the staff and a guest speaker?

        • Kim says

          Shanna,
          I have been a minister’s wife for 25 years and a senior pastor’s wife for the last 6 years. We are not serving currently in a church that large but as a youth pastor’s wife for 7 years we served in a church of almost 3,000 members. The staff was so large they were a little clicky theirselves. I know what it is like to think another pastor supports your husband’s ministry and then it not be what it seemed it would be. My experience has been that some, not all of course, pastor’s let their egos get in the way a lot. I could tell you stories that would blow your mind. In a church that large you kind of have to find your niche and find your own personal small group/church within the larger one. Now I am going to be perfectly honest with all of those out there that are lonely as pastor/minister wives. I have recently come to the conclusion that you should not ever have a close confident or friend that attends your church. As a woman that is very difficult because we really need someone to share our feelings with. Unfortunately, a woman in the church is not ever a good idea. Even someone you love dearly has pre-conceived ideas of how a minister’s wife should act/respond/feel. I have a really difficult time with this because I am a very open and direct personality and most church members want to hear and see the Sunday School answer out of their pastor’s and their wives. What you see is what you get with me and sometimes that gets me in trouble. I still have not found this, but finding another minister’s wife in your area or even online/phone that is similiar to you is my suggestion. I work for a Christian organization and I still find it hard to find someone here to be close with because there is always that possibility that they would visit or join our church and I don’t want that to affect anything. Really, no one ever tells us just how lonely and sad it can be. When you have concerns or issues/feelings you don’t want to lay them on your husband and bring additional stress so you are just on an island. I have to do a lot of talking to the Lord because He is really the only one I have right now. Don’t get me wrong, I have some girlfriends in our church that love and support us but there are things I could or would never share with them. I would actually love to find someon on this blog that lives close enough to meet or call.

          • Mary says

            Kim I identify so much with what you have written. It was only two days ago I said to my husband if I had to do it all over again I would never marry a pastor.” We have been actively involved in pastoral work for the last 16 years and I believe I have met the worst of humanity within the church. There is so much pre-conceived ideas of who/what a pastor’s wife ought be and what she ought to do. Thankfully, my husband puts no pressure on me to be or do anything. We allow the Lord to do the leading in this area. I have great difficulty in finding a trusted confidant cause I am so afraid to trust. While I can discuss any issue with my husband I feel the need for a godly female confidant who can come along side me to help pray. Whole there are those I have relationship with I have never felt release to confide in. Sometimes my husband does not fully understand and appreciate the issues I grapple with as a pastor’s wife. It’s like the pastor is on a pedestal but his wife is in the dumps. I am made to feel like I don’t matter not directly but sometimes indirectly. Thankfully, I do not conform to people’s norms and expectations of a pastor’s wife. I am my own person and allow no one to fit me within a box; what you see that’s what you get and indeed like you Kim sometimes it lands me into trouble. Thankfully, my family is very close and my husband and I share a friendship. He also works at a secular job so the hustle is huge. I keep an eye on how he balances his time and for the most part despite his busy schedule he is very involved in the life of his family. This keeps me sane. I would marry the same man over but not as a pastor, any other area of ministry.

          • Kim says

            Mary,
            I feel the same on the marrying a pastor thing. I grew up as a pastor’s daughter and everyone in our church thought it ironic that I would fall for a minister. I thought being a minister’s daughter might have prepared me but not really, because my parents have had awesome expriences in ministry and never dealt with completely evil people in their church. Never issues that could not cordially resolved. My mom has not idea how to comfort me as church members have always loved and respected her as much as my dad. We are dealing with some serious issues right now and my husband comes home feeling like a dog that has been kicked around every time he leaves a deacons meeting now. It is breaking my heart because my children are so happy where we are and I just wanted to stay long enough for them to graduate but I don’t know if God is actually going to work it out. If certain things happen my husband will not be able with good integrity to stay as the pastor here. It’s effecting my family in such a profound way and my heart aches every day. I can’t really can’t confide in anyone because when I get upset with my husband he does not feel supported. I am so used to him being so solid and confident in the Lord that when I see him beat up I don’t know how to respond other than wanting to confront the wolves within our flock. I am starting to have those feelings that we are doing this for nothing because the good guys just don’t win within the church when there are such nasty people claiming the Lords name and doing things that are so unchristian but using the Lord as an excuse. I don’t trust anyone anymore and I am struggling not lose my trust in the Lord. This church we are in has gone through this cycle 4 or 5 times and the good guys have never won. I was just praying God would use my husband to break that cycle. I feel like my heart is here but trying to trust the Lord. Maybe it is for us to leave. I am to the point I can’t pray with friends because I can’t keep it together. Would be great if you lived close.

        • Tanya says

          Find a friend that had absolutely nothing to do with your church or denomination. I’m serious. Find a woman or group of women somewhere in the community that doesn’t know about “church politics” or the people that are in your church. There are people out there who will like you for you and you can be yourself. The only caveat I had was I didn’t talk about people from church to my outside friends and I didn’t discuss my outside friends with my church friends. It can be done. You are the only you you have, take care of yourself.

        • says

          Hey Ladies,
          I have been in ministry and married to my husband for almost 21 years. The first 11 of those were in youth ministry and the last 10 have been as the senior pastor’s wife of a church plant we started 10 years ago. I have learned over the past 10 years (as the lead pastor’s wife) that I cannot really open up completely to my female friends at church. No matter how dearly I love them and they love me. Many of our people are young people or older “baby” Christians. They are all looking up to us and while I don’t pretend to have it all together, I can’t always share the darkest corners of my heart, especially if it is about frustrations with the church, a church member or heaven forbid, my husband! As a church plant we don’t have a lot of older, mature Christians, my husband and I are some of the oldest!

          Because of this, I have learned that when I need to unload, (And I can’t always do that with my husband, because sometimes he is the reason I’m upset!) I will need to pay for it. By that, I mean I have developed a relationship with a godly female counselor that I meet with periodically. This has been a huge benefit to me and my marriage and our ministry together. Having a safe place to go and dump or process information is invaluable to anyone, but especially to us as women. What’s safer than a counselor I pay to listen and keep her mouth firmly closed?

          Another thing I have had the blessing of being a part of is Bloom, a ministry by planter’s wives, for planter’s wives. Over the past 10 years via conferences and retreats I have built up a solid network of godly female friends who are planter’s wives as well. I don’t have to call on them often, we are all busy, but when I do reach out, they are there to encourage, lift me up, pray and comfort. No one knows the life of a lead pastor’s wife like fellow lead pastor’s wives do. So let me encourage you to find godly female friends who are also in ministry and to make the effort to connect and protect one another.

          I had to be very proactive in this. I had to convince myself to spend the money on counseling. (How can I fit that into our already tight family budget?/Many counselors have sliding fees.) Believe me, if you find the right counselor, and it may take a few tries, it is totally worth it. Making time for this important self care allows you to be the best wife, mother and pastor’s wife you can be.

          Blessings to us all as we fight the good fight!

          • Leslie says

            Anne
            I appreciated your post especially the part about being proactive in getting help and finding friends outside the church. In the past 25 years there have been many times when I desperately needed a counselor to just listen but was not in any position to pay anything. I think for many, finances are not just tight, but impossible. Years ago we left a church because of outright persecution & bullying, then spent the next 18 months unemployed. For the women out there in equally hard situations, I can listen in a completely nonjudgmental way because I have been there. I don’t claim to have all the answers because some scars run deep, but time has made me more assertive and accomplished. Anyway, I think I and many others would be good listeners. Does anyone out there have ideas on how to connect women with each other? Trained counselors would be ideal, but caring, sympathetic ears would be helpful too.

            Leslie

        • Andiswa says

          I’m in a cortshp with the pastor & am getting married soon,so which things i have to know befor I become a Pastor’s wife?

    • Desiree says

      Jessica,
      I totally understand where you are coming from! I never realized how lonely ministry would be. My husband and I were just discussing this last night. It’s hard and it hurts. It was nice to read your comment and know that I’m not the only one feeling this way!

      • Kim says

        Jessica – not sure if you’ll even see this post however I’m posting out of a heart that knows exactly where you’re at – lonliness. My husband is lead pastor I am worship pastor, our church is apx 1500. We have many sweet friends & acquaintances here at the church yet I live a fairly “alone” life. It’s rare that I’m invited to lunch by someone in the church, very few remember my birthday, they call me friend but never invite me (us) to their home or event(s) and the list goes on. At one time I took all of this personal but have reached the conclusion that they see me as “busy” and perhaps having very little time for them. That is NOT the case, however, perception is reality. I have a burden for other pastor’s wives who live in this same mind set as myself – it’s time we unite and facilitate events for women in ministry apart from the local “women’s ministry” of our own churches. After all, our women’s ministry is to bring women of our church together….as great as they are, it doesn’t do a thing for me. Praying that void will be filled by someone who loves you and cares about you as a woman rather than a pastor’s wife.

        • Tonya says

          Oh my goodness, you ladies are so right on it. I thought I was feeling this way all by myself. I thought I was thinking this on my own and no one else had the same thoughts as me or had experienced what I was experiencing. I am thanking The Lord for this site!!

          • Kim says

            Mary where do you live? I am in North Carolina but originally from Texas. All my family and my husband’s family is in Texas so we are out here alone. There are a few sweet ladies that I know love me and are praying daily but you really can’t share your complete heart. Don’t have too much of a heart to offer these days. In our previous experience even those who we thought loved us did not have our back when it really got nasty. I even asked my husband to think about looking at working outside the ministry. Of course he would not be happy not doing what God called him to do and he is a gifted pastor/preacher.

        • Gailyn says

          Kim, I am in North Carolina/Virginia area and would like to get in touch with you and anyone else in this area, because we do have a Pastors’ Wives and Ministers’ Wives Ministry. I am also a Pastor’s wife and Co-Pastor. Our ministry is reaching out to be a support to anyone looking to join us. Email me at 2blessd@cox.net. We are praying with you all! Hold on and God Bless us all!

          • Kim says

            I actually asked my husband if we could file bankruptcy so we did not have to depend on his salary and then him take a secular job where we are just long enough for my children to make it out of high school. Of course if we got out and I could choose what church I attended I may never go back to giving up everything for church members who really don’t care and have no clue what it means to give your life to ministry. I don’t know what we are doing this for anymore. My husband would be unhappy doing anything else but I don’t want him to continue living with the stress and nothing but people complaining some of the most asinine things. A chair on the stage, a picture of what looks like Jesus from the 1970’s removed from the wall for painting purposes and not put back the correct place! REALLY These are the type of people calling themselves christians and doing nothing but complaining. Why would anyone who is lost want to come in to a house full of those kinds of people. I sure wouldn’t and I’m forced to be because of my husbands position. I don’t even feel comfortable asking good people, even though I know that my has such and annointed gift that would bless them, to attend or visit the church because I know eventually they will have to come in contact with people like that. Some of these people that have tried cause trouble are former pastors that devoted their lives in ministry! How does someone who was a pastor and pastor’s wife do such things to another minister! It is hard to fathom! This person has lied to run people away from the church who now are no longer attending anywhere but he won’t seem to go away! I am so ready be done with this. I no longer look forward to Sunday and going to church.

          • Gailyn says

            As I occasionally browse thru the many comments I feel your pain and I take nothing away from the reality of the hardship to stand as a Pastor’s Wife. But I would also want to encourage you all to be encouraging to others by way of sharing the Word of God and interseeding in prayer for and with each other. I too am a Pastor’s Wife, a Co-Pastor and a Woman in Ministry. I have been rejected and not accepted as a Women in Minsitry when my husband and I have worked in ministry together for years. I have just sat and watched and not been permitted by leaders to participate in different areas of ministry. I have overcome all that because I know that I have been called by God and not by man; therefore man can not hinder the plan of God. Regarding being a Pastor’s Wife – God also called me to be a Pastor’s Wife, prepared me and equipped me for that so the things that people do does not hinder my position. Before I became a Pastor’s wife, I was a wife! and that is what I encourage you all to remember — just being his wife! Take off the Pastor’s Wife title and the Pastor’s Wife hat and enjoy being his wife. Pray for your husband and love your husband, but be his wife first. Remind him that you are his wife and you want to go back to be treated like his wife. Please remember the great time of being a wife and allow your heart and mind to go back there when the hardship of being a Pastor’s Wife comes up. Then remember that you are a Woman of God — one that knows the word of God, one that has on the inside of you the Spirit of God, one that is equipped with the mind of Christ; so operate out of who you are, not what others are trying to make you be. Because them people will cause your soul to be lost! It is important that we stay in the Word of God and allow the Spirit of God on the inside of us to speak on our behalf when we are faced by the ignorance of people. I cannot allow ‘churchfolk’ to run my life and to always be the topic of my conversations. Yes we have to acknowledge what we deal with and yes we do need to get it out but when that has been said it is more important that we go back to the Word of God and be replenished that we may be able to stand. and when we have done all that we know how to do – we can still stand. So remember who God is to you and be empowered by His love and His Word. Remember who you are – you are your husband’s wife and a great woman of God! I encourage you all to be encouraging to one another and praying one for another and Stand for truth and Stand for God. He really is on our side. When we trust Him and acknoweldge Him in all our ways He will direct our paths. (I pray that I have not offended anyone) Continue to be Blessed!!

          • Elyse says

            Gailyn,
            Thanks for you encouraging input. My husband & I have been married for 26 years. We both have been youth pastors for 2 years, but have been serving in the office for 5 years now. As a wife, my husband and I are very close. He and my now adult children are my only friends. Therefore I am limited to what I can talk about to them. I must say they have been raised as P.K’s (preacher’s kids) so they hold me to a certain standard as a pastor/woman of God. Yes, at times it can get lonely but bless God when I find sites like this one, and find people wise Godly ladies giving good sound advice to help our walk with Our Lord a better and more fulfilling one. For He truly does love us for choosing Him, and in His love He understands and cares. He said in His word, “Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart! Unkike people, thank God He will never lie to us. So thank you ladies for your post.

    • Sheree says

      Jessica,

      My husband and I have been married for almost 2yrs, but our ministry is able 3 yrs old. We are in our early 30’s too. So I feel your pain. It can be hard and lonely. I pray for God’s peace, joy, and love to cover me everyday and help give me strength. I pray you the same.

    • Grace says

      I’m relieved to see others who are having the same struggle as I am. I thought I was the only one who felt lonely. I’ve recently graduated college, gotten married, moved and started ministry with my husband. We are about 6 months into our ministry so we are beginning to settle down and become more familiar with the new ministry. However, I have not had an opportunity to develop friendships besides the casual conversations at church. My husband is a youth pastor so I’m always around youth and parents, no one my age which is early twenties. I believe I am doing my best to reach out to others and be supportive of my husband’s ministry. But I feel like there is something missing…friendship. I pray every day that God will give us strength to pursue this time of loneliness. It’s been very hard for me to move away from friends and family and live somewhere where we know no one. I know God has a purpose for us here and I know it will improve with time. It’s difficult for me to see friends and families at church always hanging out outside of church and we have not once received an invite to spend time with them. I’m new to ministry and I know this must be a common thing among pastors and their wives. Any encouragement would be appreciated.

    • Jessica says

      Hey. I feel the same way. I’m a youth minister’s wife. I am the wife that is trying to pick up the slack in the youth and children’s department. I didn’t know it would be this hard… good thing …!

    • sandy says

      I have to say I agree with you 100%… My husband and I are also in our early 30s and him being at the office all the time and us living 4 miles out of town noone wants to come visit.

    • Kim says

      It is definately the loneliest place to be as a pastor’s wife. You can’t really have a close friend because you can’t share your true feelings about anything. There really is no one to talk to. My father is a pastor as well and you would think that I could speak to my mother but she has not experienced some of the horrible things that we have experienced. Their church truly loved them. Not those church members who say they love and support you and then through you under the bus the first time they don’t agree with you. She is dealing with so much being a pastor’s wife now that I just don’t want to burden her with my issues. No only do you have things going on in the church that you can’t share, you can’t ever talk to a girlfriend about your husband because you don’t want to ever tarnish their view on their pastor! We are on an island! And sometimes I just want to scream at the top of my lungs! We are dealing with staff issues and God is possibly opening a door for them to leave to another job on their own which is always healthier for the church body! Pray that God works it out becuase my husband needs to be able to hire staff that support him totally! That has not been the case making being his wife that much more lonely! No other staff wives to talk to either.

      • Mary says

        Kim I am also on an island. Feeling so distant from the Lord right now, too weary to pray, too weary for more battles.

        • Kim says

          I feel the wearyness myself. I just had to email a sweet friend that keeps calling me. It’s not that I am trying to ignore her but I am too weary and too emotional to really talk right night. I work where we have devotions every morning before work and pray with each other. I have started leaving right after the devotion because I can’t pray with friends here without bursting into tears. Right now the only praying I can do is between just me and the Lord. It is hindering me being able to minister to others because I am feeling so beat up by ministry and christians that I can’t give any more.

          • Marjorie says

            Wow, I have been there, and have been going through this off and on….mostly on lately, again! Sometimes I don’t even want to go to church. I have such a heart for women and friendships and can’t act on it. This is after 24 years of marriage and ministry. Besides, I’ve found that everyone is too busy to be in touch or visit, etc. It has become only God and me. I know He’s enough, but that only makes me want to be with Him even more in heaven and not here. What are we to do???

          • Tonya says

            Yes Marjorie….that is the question…what do we do?? My husband & I have been in ministry for years but we just had a 1 year church anniversary….I thought this was just a phase the ladies at our church & I were going through but from what I have been reading…this is an ongoing thing & it is not going to get any better. Our church is small because we started from the ground up & the ladies already think I am devious & trying to hide things from them & that I am intentionally not inviting them to other churches women functions….I am in no way what they said & I challenged them on it & asked the lady closesest to me how come she didn’t have my back & how come she continued to let the gossip about me continue…she said she did but they continued to talk about me….it hurt me so bad…I think it’s a small issue but I think it was just that little thing that caused all the other little things to just become one big thing…the ladies will walk in a room & not even speak to me…they won’t speak until I speak to them…when we are at functions they don’t recognize me or speak to me….is this normal??? I don’t understand. Please if someone has some encite please please let me knw…I need guidance…I don’t like telling my husband everything…I really try to uplift & support him & not bring him down…what should I do?

          • Rachel says

            No, this isn’t normal. I’ve found that women in congregations are much like women everywhere: some will be outwardly friendly but nasty behind your back, some will be be cooler but basically supportive, and some will really care for you but not want to be “too familiar.” My closest friends during my husband’s ministry have usually been strong Christian women from other denominations.

      • Kelly says

        I am not a wife yet but I have been dating a youth pastor for awhile, we are close to getting engaged and these post are pretty frightening. Have any of you ever went to see a therapist or councelor, that may help? I love this man, but I don’t know that I want to go through all of the things that you all are blogging about. Any good things that come with marrying a pastor?

        • Rachel says

          I married my husband because I loved him and knew I’d never meet another man like him. The fact that he was a pastor frightened me. though. I married him in spite of his calling, even though I was terrified. My dad had been a pastor and so I was aware of the “fishbowl” part of the life but not so much about the other parts. What I really regret is that I didn’t continue working after my marriage, because the pastorate is not the stable “career” it once was. My advice to you is to concentrate on your love for your fiancee and how you can help him through your life together. Make sure that you don’t lose yourself in church involvement or aim to please people. Look for friends outside of your congregation and denomination. Having another pastoral couple (again, from outside your immediate area or denomination) is good. Guard your life together. Make communication a priority. Take every break coming to you both and encourage him to keep his day off, off (many ministers take Mondays). Lean on God for everything and don’t start asking “Why me?” or “Why us?”. Every life has its difficulties, all of which we learn from. Use every trial as an opportunity to understand better the Lord’s will for you. These are some things I’ve learned in almost 20 years of marriage.

        • Kim says

          Kelly,
          All I can say is, being the youth minister’s wife was a piece of cake to this ride. Of course I had some really horrible things happen to me as a youth minister’s wife as well. I am sure there are some out there that have had really good experiences and had people love them and treat them the way they should, I just have not met anyone. My mom is a pastor’s wife and they don’t know how to encourage or help me because they never had anyone treat with anything but love a respect. They served in the same place for 30 years and then came out of retirement to pastor again and have had the same experience. It is a really lonely life to lead and in all honesty not sure I would recommend anyone do this. But, even now when we have gone through some really ugly stuff in church work, I know that God intended for us to be together. I guess it comes down to, has God put a difinitive call on you or not. I really believe that God calls both of you and God will prepare you to live life as a minister. I don’t feel like God prepared me for all the ugliness that I have experienced but during these times I think He is growning us. During our 25 years in youth I had a lot of fun and built some great realationships with some young people that still have today. It is really neat to see when you minister and shape a kid into what God wants them to be. That is really cool. I would just say get on your knees and really make sure that not only has God called you to be his wife, but has He called you to ministry as well.

        • Rachelle says

          Kelly, YES, there are good things to being a pastor’s wife! Although a pastor’s wife goes through much difficult and suffering, it brings much joy as well. God uses the difficulties and trials to make us more like Jesus, which is His ultimate goal. I join Paul in saying, “I am confident in this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
          Our salvation is a work in progress, which is called sanctification. God is always working in us to make us more like Jesus. You will come to love and appreciate God in a much stronger way than you do now. What you know of Him will become more than head knowledge; you will know of His lovingkindness, longsuffering, companionship, and compassion from the depths of your soul. You will know Him as Jehovah Rapha, Jehovah Jireh, El Shaddai, the Balm of Gilead and all of the other names He has. Your faith will increase in such a way that you can be still and know that He is God in the midst of the most treacherous storm. You will come to say, God is good, when you feel you are in need. And then you know Him as the All Sufficient One, El Shaddai.
          Yes, there are many good things that come to those living in the shoes of a pastor’s wife. They may not come in the form of silver and gold on earth, but they will come in forms of silver and gold in heaven. God bless you on this journey. You can do it by letting Christ do the work through you. Galatians 2:20

        • Sarah says

          Kelly. Hi! My handsome youth pastor husband and I have been married for 4.5 years now. There are totally good and bad things about being married to a man in ministry. Girl, I wish I could talk to you in person instead of this whole thing… but I’ll take what I can get. I won’t lie… when I first married Michael I didn’t know all that I was getting into. Everyone knows who you are and that can be a good or a bad thing. I quickly found out (mainly through talking through some older women who had been married to pastors way longer than me) that I needed to put some boundaries in place. I’ll share a couple that I believe have made my experience as a pastor’s wife a good and healthy one.
          First, Michael and I talked and came to the agreement that he wouldn’t pressure me to volunteer in his ministry. If I felt like my gifts were best utilized in his ministry then great, but if not, then I needed to serve where God has gifted and called me. In the beginning I was pretty involved with the youth group and had a couple girls that I developed close relationships with/mentored. But, as time went on we had a kid… then another kid… and God was clearly pointing me away from youth ministry to serve in another area in his church. I still think it’s important for me to support my husband in his ministry… but for us that looks different than simply serving in his ministry. I’m his cheerleader and biggest fan. I go to youth group functions every once in a while which serves two-fold: my sons and I get some extra time with daddy & the teenagers have another example of a healthy marriage and family life.
          Second, I make it a point to not know everything going on in his ministry. I have found this quite helpful when a parent or student asks me for the 50th time how much a retreat costs or when their forms are due I can truthfully say… for the 50th time… that I have no clue. :) I say that jokingly, but I believe this is super important. If I was taking on the responsibility of knowing and communicating for my husband it would stress me out.
          Thirdly, I believe it is so important to have a support network… specifically outside your church. This takes time… obviously… but I believe this is one of the most important pieces to being an emotionally healthy pastor’s wife. I’m sure this looks different for everyone, but here’s what mine looks like. I have a couple friends from college/growing up that love me dearly and know me as Sarah, not Michael’s wife. I don’t live near any of them anymore, but we talk on the phone and support each other that way. The first church Michael and I were at was super unhealthy and if it wasn’t for the prayers, encouragement & advice of those girls I’m pretty sure I would be in the nuthouse, haha! I attend a MOPS group in a nearby town that has a bunch of moms that don’t know my husband, my church or anything related. It’s such a refreshing time for me to be surrounded by women in the same life stage as me. This could be a bible study at another church or even a community group that puts you in contact with women outside your church family. I also have a pastor’s wife down the road and a couple girls from church that I get together with… but I make it a point to not discuss church issues with them.
          Finally, since Sunday is a workday we take a Sabbath on Saturday. This isn’t something that is popular among many church leaders… at least not many that we interact with/know of… but it has been invaluable for our whole family. We don’t do any work on this day (or whatever day works for you). Instead, we spend time as a family… go to a movie… hang out at home… play at the park… watch a sermon by a pastor other than the one at our church (we LOVE Andy Stanley out of North Point Church). This is by far my favorite day of the week.
          Ultimately I believe that a lot of being a pastor’s wife is how you handle what is thrown your way. Just like being a christian… or a wife… or a woman. Not to say that it’s not hard. I’ve only been at it for 4.5 years and there have definitely been nights when I wonder how a church member could say something so cruel to my husband… or how the church could expect so much from one man when they want to pay him so little… God forbid he be able to support his family! It’s hard, but it’s good. There’s nothing like having a front row seat to all that God is doing in his church. It’s beautiful to see your husband doing what God created him to do. If I hadn’t received the wisdom I listed above from older & much wiser women who had gone before me I might not think this same way. But, thankfully I did. In the end, Kelly, God created you for a purpose regardless of whom you marry. Sure, your husband and his job/calling will help form how you live your lives. But, his calling isn’t necessarily your calling. You’re called to support him and love him in his, but you have your own unique purpose. If you choose to marry this man then I’m sure that God will provide you with the wisdom, grace and courage to be the best wife and woman of God you can be… regardless of his profession. :) p.s. doug fields & his wife Kathy have some really great stuff on self-care, marriage & family in ministry… you should check it out!

    • Michelle Ray says

      Loneliness would jave been number one on my top 7 list. Lots of surface friends, but no heart friends– not even among staff wives. It is a constant subject in my prayer times.

      • R says

        I find it telling how many of these comments mention loneliness. I agree, Michelle. It would have been my first answer too. Your description of “surface friends but no heart friends” is right on. I wish there was a way to educate church members about the realities of PWs in multiple ways simultaneously. It sounds a little silly, but make it a theme in conferences, feature and publish new books, write articles in leading magazines, etc. This group of women are literally scattered, often overworked, overlooked, and even sometimes neglected. And they are precisely the women in pivotal positions that either make or break their churches by either supporting or discouraging their husband-pastors.

        • Kim Guenther says

          I completely agree! I don’t really have any really close friends. You need someone to be a sounding board sometimes and there is no one. If you talk to anyone in your church they would start treating people differently or become jaded in some way if they knew what goes behind the scenes or if you talk to someone outside your church it could change their path to possibly attend. Either way it is not good so there is no one. I think they need to pay pastor’s enough so the wife did not have to work. Juggling a full time job, kids, husband and doing bible studies and teaching Sunday School is a bit much sometimes but no one sees all that happens behind the scenes. Many times I want to give up and tell my husband to do something else with his life besides giving it to everyone else but we can’t do that. Church members have no clue what it is to the PW.

          • R says

            Kim, I’m replying to your post below. I literally live on an island in Southeast Asia (see super-long post way below), so I know what you mean about feeling isolated away from your loved ones. After three years in this church (that third year was very depressing), God sent an American couple to our church. It was too random to be coincidence – it was completely a God-thing! I think my mom and another close friend back home had been praying for a friend for me, and this woman was a HUGE answer to prayer! Each of us needed each other’s encouragement with difficulties we were experiencing at that time in our lives. Our conversations were amazing and beautiful. She moved here just over a year ago, and a month and a half ago, they moved back to the States. That one year was like an oasis in a dessert. God gives, and he takes away. He has a purpose, even though I may not feel up to it. Two things get me through:
            (1) My husband knows how much I struggle, and he has verbally agreed that we will not stay beyond x number of yrs. We both believe God gives great freedom in Christ to make big and small decisions, and that leaving for another place will not hurt God’s kingdom. Thankfully he sees his marriage covenant as a higher priority than trying to teach and disciple people who don’t share their lives with us.
            (2) My temptation is to despair, but… “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Cor. 10:13. There are moments when I think I’m on the verge of losing my sanity. Really. Perseverance has been a key (and often much despised) lesson for me. I remind myself that I am here because God wants to teach me this lesson.

          • Kim says

            I can’t imagine being in Asia! That is definately an island! I pray you perservere until God releases you and your husband.

        • MB says

          Loneliness……….after 23 years, I still struggle with this. It’s so ironic that God made me desire a heart friend (close friends, even just one), and yet, no. Sometimes I think I might have one, but then it’s over. It has been one of my biggest heartaches. There really needs to be a support group and/or counselor in each county for several churches & their minister’s wives for help/support. I know too many who have dealt with serious depression, myself included. It really is hard.

          • Kim Guenther says

            I am going through that depression right now. Not only do I have no heart friends but I have followed my husband states away from all of our family so I really feel like I am on an island! Our last church it took us 7 years and we finally found a couple that we could be close with and we actually travel each year on vacation with them but she is over 5 hours away and has a group of ladies that she hangs out with so we don’t have the oppotunity to remain very close! I actually work in a christian organization but all christians have their preconceived ideas about the way a pastor’s wife should be and act. I don’t fit any of those molds and don’t really want to. I agree that there should be support groups and possibly prayer groups for minister’s wives.

          • rene says

            Thank you women, for all your messages and God bless you all, I am a single young man in the church, I’ve never thought about what the preachers wife through. I’ll be more considerate of her from now on.

      • says

        Ladies,

        I read all these comments and I must tell you, you are not alone in how you feel. These things are experienced by the majority and are felt, no matter the age, or denomination, it seems. We’ve been in ministry 37 years. I have a ministry to pastors’ wives…and hear the same stories. I’ve written a book for pastors’ wives, but it seems our worlds are rocked by the same people with different names, in every congregation.

        Unfortunately, antagonists have been allowed to rule in many of our churches. People are petty in their criticisms, and pain exists in the heart of many pastors’ wives.

        Loneliness IS the #1 issue facing pastors’ wives. The others are criticisms, expectations, financial difficulties, and others.

        I care and am praying for you. Feel free to email me anytime.
        Laura

    • Heather says

      I also would say #1 should be loneliness. We have been in ministry for almost a year and I have no friends. I also have 2 babies at home, so I feel like I’m on an island as well. And I’m 12 hours from my family. It’s hard. I am the youth and family pastor’s wife, and I feel like such an outsider. There are women my age in the church with young kids too, but I guess they think I should fit that pastor’s wife mold and don’t want to be my friend. I am also one of the only stay at home moms in our church, so that can be difficult, too. I also have struggled with being transparent. I’m the kind of person that thinks you should be real and talk about things going on in your life, but I feel that as a pastor’s wife you can’t even confess your sins to other Christians in the church. It all just seems so backwards and unbiblical!

    • says

      Dear ladies, I hear your hearts regarding cliquishness in churches. My husband and I were involved in church ministry for years, including when my husband was a youth/assistant pastor.

      I wrote “Cliques in the Church” due to the pain I personally suffered and witnessed others suffer in fellowships that flaunted the sin of partiality. It can be read cost free at Val Lee’s Weblog.

  2. says

    I know the routine well (rather Sherrie does). She was always getting advice intended for me, in the hope that she would run to tell me. In our first church, one lady came to Sherrie and said, “I wish you’d tell your husband to quit preaching in Romans. It just causes the children to ask questions.” BTW, I didn’t stop.

    • Thom Rainer says

      Yep. I’m glad you didn’t excise Romans from your preaching either. It’s a pretty important book!

  3. David Highfield says

    These are excellent points. However, clergy spouses working outside the home and women clergy have helped to dismantle the archaic notions of the expectations for a pastor’s wife.

    • Thom Rainer says

      Thanks for the comments David. As I listened to these ladies through this survey, however, I could see clearly that these expectations still exist in many churches.

  4. Ken Tripp says

    After serving as youth pastor, assoc. Pastor and then pastor (15 years) for the first 16 years we were married my wife has experienced all of these and then some. Our marriage suffered because of not knowing how to deal with this stress. I have been out of the full time ministry for 6 years now. I do not see going back as a pastor because of this. We are very active in our church and I fill in for a couple of local pastors when they need to be out but it would take a lot of convincing to get my wife to take on the role as a “pastor’s wife” again.

    • Rachelle says

      My husband and family went through a very difficult ministry in which people were on the attack and slanderous against us. Upon leaving that ministry I shared with my husband that I could not be a pastor’s wife again. The Lord then led him into the ministry of evangelism for a couple of years. During that time, The Lord allowed me to go through a time of healing while still serving Him in another ministry. When my husband received a call to become an associate pastor, I could not believe my excitement for him. We moved to take the associate pastor’s position and four months later became the pastor. I had such fears and apprehensions, but The Lord has placed us in a wonderful church. It’s not perfect, however, we have adjusted the way we do ministry and are getting along well. Pray for your wife and trust God to do the work in her heart. If He has a place for you to serve as a pastor, He will prepare her as well.

        • says

          I wish somebody had told me that i would always come second best and ministry first.I wish they had told me how my husband would have time for everyone except me.I wish someone had told me how he would only remember me when his testesterone is high.I wish someone had told me how he would not want to work any secular job but serve God fulltime and how it would be strainous to provide and take care of the family alone as a woman.
          Lack of affection and fellowship has made me to recent his ministry.

          • Felix says

            Dear Annon, four pieces of advice for you:
            (1) refuse to be bitter, however hard it seems. Your joy is worth fighting for.
            (2) gently talk to your husband about the issues you have raised here; let him know how you feel about them and pls, avoid words of attack or accusations (3) talk to God about these legitimate concerns; He will listen and help you, even if your husband refuse to listen.
            (4) be patient and hopeful. Things will not always remain the same, better days are ahead for both of you. It’s part of the whole package. Cheers!

          • Rosie says

            I can surely relate to you, Anon. I am replying because I am so greatful for the replies Rachel and Felix. I intend to copy them down and read and reread them. I wish i had some extra little glint of help I could offer, but I am in the same boat right now. I can see I have become bitter in certain areas because of my husband’s ministry. We have a satellite church where he preaches, but it is in a movie theater, so we unpack and unpack each week for ministry. I head up hospitality which is quite a lot, really. We have 6 or 7 ladies helping to brew coffee, set up tables, have snacks, then clean it all up each week. We have been doing this for almost 3 yrs. I also head up the women’s ministry, which includes our meal ministry , for about 2 yrs of that, planned many events, and now plan some as others have taken over. I also feel isolated in that I can’t talk to anyone about these things though I would like to. I feel often that I am expected to do things without being appreciated by him. He has a lot on his shoulders, I know, but then do so I. I told him in June I was burnt out and he said we could take a break in Aug. He didn’t mean it meanly, just that’s what we could do. We did for a day, but it wasn’t enough, really. He is trying so hard to help me while ministering, but sometimes, I don’t think he gets it. We also had been very active in our home church for about 20 yrs. We could really use your prayers too. Thank you Felix for writing your suggestions. They are excellent. And Annon, I will be praying for you too.

      • JH says

        Rachelle, thank you for sharing. I know how you feel (felt). As a child I faced a lot of hurt, rejection and disappointment and at first it seemed I could handle the accusations and hateful actions other church members directed at us because I thought I had developed a thick skin. But it just plain hurts. I run to God for comfort. As an adult I never thought those feelings would return as a result of actions from those in my church. It gets harder and harder to be a pastor’s wife as time goes on. Bruised and battered we continue on, waiting on God to direct our paths.

      • Carmen Rivera says

        I started to searching on google over things that pastors wives go through. I came across your comment and it seems like your describing my current situacion. I been a pastor’s wive for about 4 years. I seen some of the most hurtful things that christians can do to the pastoral family. I have spoken to my husband that i no longer want to be in the ministry. I have been hurt, slander, critize and it seems like i have to defend myself all the time. Im tired and wiry. I dont find joy or the peace at the house of the Lord. I try to pray but i just cant feel His presence. I have told my husband that i dont want to be a burden for him- that we should separate. I just cant take it no more!!! Feeling hopeless!

        • Rachelle says

          Carmen, I understand the hopelessness. Having been where you are, I can assure you that there is hope, and that you will come through this with a deeper trust and a stronger faith in The Lord. When you cannot pray, know that Romans 8:26 tells us that the Holy Spirit Himself makes groanings on our behalf when we do not know what to pray. There were many times when all I could say is, “Holy Spirit, pray for me. I don’t know what I need right now.” God is good and He is faithful to us all. I know without a doubt that He will bring you through this because He did it for me. There will come a day when you look back on this and agree with Paul when he said that he counted all joy to go through the suffering that he went through. You may not feel like the most spiritual person going through it, but you will get through it. And when you feel you cannot walk through it, Jesus will carry you.

        • Rachel says

          These horrible times come and go, Carmen. What you are feeling now won’t last forever. I think that you are feeling overwhelmed at the present time. When we’re in that “place”, we think that things are hopeless and that they will never change. But they do. Is there any chance that you and your husband can get away for some vacation time? Remember that some churches are toxic to ANY pastor. We were in two of them that had a history of trying to get rid of their pastors after two years. We didn’t know that when we took them on but noticed that things changed after that two year mark. I’d sit in church after coming back from vacation and feel like I was sitting on a time-bomb–this before the criticism and nastiness started. However, we were in another church for 10 years without any serious problems. We survive these things and grow through the experience. I’ve learned not to try to defend myself or even answer accusations. I also won’t act as a go-between for people who seek to get at my husband through me. Guard your marriage above all, because your husband needs you.

        • Felix says

          Dear Carmen, Rachel is very right, things do change for the better, no matter how hopeless they seem at the moment. All pastors and their wives go through these testing times, which in fareness to you, are not palatable at all, but, after a while, things improve. This is a certainty. Am a young minister, and I speak from my little experience. For me, it is not all-together completely rosy now, but things are better of. If I may add here, one more thing pastor’s wives wish they had been told, it is this: that ministry is an opportunity to suffer for the Lord (to share in the Lord’s suffering); it is like a Soldier in the heat of battle. So be strong, you’re not experiencing the un-usual, you’re on the right track. Stay on track with your husband, he needs you (your support) to fight on. The Lord will help you. Cheers!

  5. Rachelle Coleman says

    Give six to seven “no’s” to one “yes”. I wish someone had explained the importance of boundaries to me.
    There came a time when the lonlieness issue put me into depreession. I was young, newly married and had moved 600 miles away from my family. I had always had a desire to go where The Lord wanted, however, I was from Ohio living in Alabama and discovered that they were still fighting the war and have a hatred for Yankees. I didn’t even know I was a Yankee! No matter what The Lord allows us to go through, I appreciate that He brings us to a point of need and humility and shows us that all we need is in Him. I can say that I have truly become a woman of faith.
    Also, looking back on 23 years of ministry, I wish I had prayed more and studied more. We often get so busy serving The Lord and taking care of our young families that we do not slow down enough to enjoy Him. With His help, the next 23 years will be devoted to prayer, fellowship and enjoying Him.

    • Kara says

      Thank you for your thoughts… We have been married 7 yrs and we have been in youth ministry since we were dating. I have been learning to enjoy my relationship with God over the last few months. I do believe it has helped me deal with the pains of ministry. With a preschooler in the home, it can sometimes be difficult, but the one thing I want her to learn is that I enjoy my time with Him.

      • Kim says

        Kara definately let her see you enjoy your time with Him. We were in youth ministry for almost 20 years before becoming the pastor’s family. When I was a youth minister’s wife I did not do as much in the church because I had small kids and worked with the students full time. Now as a Pastor’s wife I find my life has become crazier with a full time job, teenagers and a church family that expects you to attend everything and lead everything! Time for yourself with the Lord is sometimes hard to find. Making it priority now will really help later on.

  6. Don Matthews says

    This is such a deep subject. Pastors wives are the most neglected and abused person in the church. Pastors are gifted with a thick skin. They take the slings and arrows of ministry and deal with it. Wives however see their husband hurt and have to eternalize the pain. They have no one to talk with or to be ministered by. There are many areas that could be discussed.
    1. Calling
    2. Ministry
    3. Children
    4. Salvation

    • Thom Rainer says

      Thanks Don. Well said. Not all pastors have thick skin though. I hear from the “others” frequently.

    • RubyG says

      Life coaches help fill the gap both for those who move and are lonely and for those that have no one to talk with and instead internalize things.

      I do understand ministry wives go through this but so do other women. My husband isn’t a minister but his job required us to transfer, I knew no one in the new place. I didn’t even get to be called pastor’s wife or manager’s wife. I had to try to work my way into a church too. When my husband’s last position changed requiring us to sell our house, move our kids and relocate again, I wasn’t allowed to talk publicly about it, nor did the company provide a forum for me, the wife, to express my feelings about how it affected the rest of the family. I hired my own telephone life coach to give me a safe place to vent. It really helped.

  7. Amy Schull says

    After 18 years of marriage & ministry I’ve learned that my husband’s ministry brain is always running and we’re always “on.” Relationships, potential relationships, crisis & sermon illustrations don’t have “hours.” (They can have boundaries) I also don’t need to know the answers to all spiritual and Biblical questions asked of me, I need to be present in my husband’s ministry, but not necessarily in-charge or transparent, and I need relationships with other pastor’s wives outside of my church! They provide a security and empathy and support you may not be able to get at your own church. Leading and Loving It (leadingandlovingit.com) has blessed me & saved me from ministry burnout/bitterness.

  8. John S says

    My wife and I were called to ministry later in life (early 40s) and had plenty of experience in a variety of churches where we served so the transition hasn’t been as dramatic for us. We were well aware there are some mean people in our churches! However, I am not sure I was fully expecting some of the hostility I’ve faced in my first year as a pastor and I know it has taken my wife by surprise also. It saddens us that some (based on their past experience and sour personality) automatically didn’t trust us from day one. Yes, actually had a lady tell me she didn’t trust me and I had only been there a short time. No reason, she just didn’t. My wife has been my cheerleader and already was well aware after 20 years of marriage that I am no where close to perfect or God. I think our seminaries should incorporate some of these issues better when they train pastors, especially the younger couples.

    • Thom Rainer says

      John –

      I had a similar experience as a pastor. A few minutes before I preached my first sermon as pastor at that church, a woman came up to me to tell me that God had told her I wasn’t supposed to be their pastor.

  9. Nick Horton says

    I’m 33 years old and working through school on my way to answering the calling God has on my life. This involves switching out of a well paying career of 15 years into Pastoral ministry. The stress of my wife is far greater than myself. She is worried about much of what is written above. Unrealistic expectations, negativity, criticism, and the ugliness of people towards the Pastor and his wife.

    It saddens me to think that these burdens are hung on the necks of Pastors and their spouses, but I’ve seen it play out as well. As a Deacon I stand as a protector of the Pastor and his family in addition to my service to the church. I also treat him first as my friend before my pastor. He’s got to know he’s more than his job. So does his wife and kids.

    Encourage them often! They get criticism far more than they get encouragement.

  10. Larinda says

    My preacher husband just forwarded me this email. We are new to the scene and I’ve enjoyed reading these posts. I’m excited about our new ministry! Any more hints are greatly appreciated.

    • says

      Larinda, just be your husband’s best cheerleader and prayer warrior. It will be difficult at times and smooth sailing at times. I will never tell anyone that it is easy but I would never trade ministry for anything. When God called your husband before the very foundation of this world, the calling was on you also. My husband told me that he is so thankful that I never asked him to step away from ministry even though at times it was difficult and still can be.
      Praying for you and stick to each other like glue. Be friends with everyone but just be careful whom you share with and what you share.
      My greatest joy was when I learned that I am no different from the congregation. We women need each other and they can go to the throne room on your behalf 24/7. About pastors wives separating themselves from the congregation is a myth, my best friends are in the congregation. Blessings to you my sister and know that the gifts you have will serve well in the body of Christ alongside with those God bring your way. Praying for you and your husband on this wonderful, and challenging journey.

  11. says

    I agree with the 7 listed, but thankfully many of those were shared with us before we were in full time ministry. It didn’t always make the learning experiences easier,however. I went through a time of depression early in our ministry – it can be very lonely and expectations are often very different than you’d think or hope for them to be. I took things personally when things were said negatively of my husband, but the hardest was when someone went off about my son – who was 4. Really? People can be horrible, and it’s hard to love them at times…or even hard to want to want to love them when they say and do such things.
    God nudged me one day and I felt Him saying to me that it doesn’t matter what people say, think, or do. All we (my husband and I) have to do is what He has called us to do – even loving those people who hurt us- and He will take care of us. God has our backs! My front and rear guard. My everything. I take great peace in this. He is what matters…and we get to show others the love an grace that He has shown to us. What an honor.

  12. says

    Thom,

    Thank you for posting this. The loneliness that can be experienced for a pastor’s wife is very real. My wife and I have been in ministry for 12 years now. For these last two years, we are leading our own church. We feel very blessed to have some good examples and opportunities from other pastors and their wives: growing in relationship and support.

    The relational world of the pastor is incredibly complex. The relational dynamics for the wife of the pastor is exponentially more complicated. While a pastor has a position that gives him opportunity to dictate expectations and boundaries, his wife has less power and just as many expectations.

    Thank you for caring for pastors…

  13. Donna Williams says

    As a pastor’s widow, one of my ongoing goals is to support and encourage the pastor’s wife and “inform” the pastor about the challenges of being a pastor’s wife. Though every experience varies, the path is common to all. I just had a conversation with a young, first time PW and the first thing I told her was to continue to be herself. The PW needs a mature mentor who has “been there, done that.”

    • Michelle says

      Hello Mrs. Williams, I was surfing the website and praying to God to lead me to someone that I could just express my thoughts and feelings to. I saw your picture and comment so I decided to reply back. I heard the spirit say this is your spiritual mother. I said Ok lord! I am not one that trust very easy and have a hard time with getting close to people because of all the hurt church people put you through. My husband have been pastoring for about 7 months now. The church we have started are one of the best church’s you could ever want to pastor. I have learned through pastoring that it can ecome very lonely. I have never been the type to do alot of talking and sharing but sometime you do need a lot of guidance, encouragement and rebukes from someone that cares for you and want to see you succeed in your ministry. I just don’t have anyone in my life that has taken me under their wings to do that. I long for a spiritual mother and true friend. My husband is my bestfriend and my rebuker but some time I feel like something is still missing. I have never talk with my mom about my loneliness because I don’t want her to worry about me. I am a mental health case mgt. and I am constantly helping people with their issues and problems but no one never knows and sees how much pain I’m in or suffering from needing a spiritual mother to help me. I have three beautiful children that works and support the ministry. My husband was the assistant pastor of our former church for about 18 teen years. We are well equipped to continue with our ministry but I need some spiritual guidance quick and in a hurry. I am so sorry for the passing of your husband and pray that you are doing well. If you have time please e-mail me back!!!! Michelle

      • says

        Michelle,

        Our ministry Care for Pastors has a program for Pastors’ Wives call The Confidante and that is exactly what we are, a safe place to talk as a Pastors’ wife. I would love to hear from you and make a connection. We also have a facebook private group of pastors’ wives that is a great place to chat back and forth in a safe place. Please email me and let’s talk.

        Blessings,
        Rodetta Cook

    • grace says

      I really need mentorship. Im struggling to find my place as a pastor’s wife and I seem to be tagging along everywhere with my husband but I really dont qualify according to many

  14. says

    This is the first “pastor’s wives” post that comes close to also being applicable to HUSBANDS of pastor’s! If I were to have to add one thing from their perspective as a woman youth pastor who also takes up the senior pastor’s responsibilities when he’s out of town, it would be this: Husbands of women pastors will be constantly asked by people from other churches or outside the church if they are a pastor too. I don’t know why, but that’s the question that comes up when I introduce myself as a minister. I would love to read some more inclusive posts about being the husbands of women in ministry! (my husband is a very private man something I praise him for, but it means he isn’t likely to be the one to write it.). I am alsp surprised that most of the “pastor’s wives” articles uve read have been written by men, but that’s anither issue for another time. Still- Thanks for this post!

    • Thom Rainer says

      Meg –

      Female ministers and pastors are welcome on this blog. My doctrinal
      position is complementarianism, which holds that the lead or senior
      pastor office is reserved for males. I, therefore, speak and write true to my
      doctrinal beliefs.

      This blog has Christians from many doctrinal nuances participating. I
      hold to perseverance of the saints, for example, that, in simple
      terms, means a true believer can not lose his or her salvation. There
      are many on this blog who disagree with me on both doctrinal issues,
      but feel the freedom to interact with other brothers and sisters in
      Christ. Likewise, my view of baptism by immersion will not be held by all who visit my blog.

      That is one of the major reasons I love hearing from Christians of
      many backgrounds. We don’t abandon our convictions, but we do our best
      to come together where we can make a positive difference for the
      Kingdom.

      Thanks for asking the question. It is a fair question to ask in light
      of my responses.

      • Alan says

        Thanks for your example of conviction with grace in response to this lady. Good article too. I confess I often feel paralyzed and completely incompetent to help my wife deal with the stresses of being my “complement” in ministry. Great will be her reward in Heaven.

  15. says

    I met my husband when he was a youth Pastor. I am grateful for his wisdom and direction in leading me before we got married.I had lots of opposition but my husband always stepped in and cleared the air. I also had pastor’s wives who gave me good advice before we got married. Ministry hurts and everyone got to put in their two cents but having a husband who protects his wife is very important. Our first four year of marriage was tough and I resented being a pastor’s wife but my husband ministered to me and I learned to rest in the Lord. God remained faithful. The church we are in now is his first as senior Pastor and we have been here for 15years. God heals and restores the hurt so we can minister to those who is now walking where we once walked.

    • Sheree says

      Thanks Ambica for your words of encouragement. My husband forward me this email. We have been married almost 2yrs and it hasn’t been very easy. I relate to a lot of what you said. But thank you for sharing that healing and restoration will come.

      • says

        Sheree, if you ever need to talk or for someone to listen, please feel free to email me at bicacon@mac.com. We need each other and have to remember that we are on the same side. You are very welcome. Also know that conflicts will never stop but as we grow, we learn to deal with it better. Praying for you Sheree.

    • J says

      Hmmm… Well, my story is a probably a little premature but has the potential to be complicated. I could do with hearing your views. A pastor (man in ministry) is expressing marriage intentions towards me. He is not a preaching pastor but is on the payroll at a large church. He is in charge of initiatives that the church runs in the community- you know, feeding the homeless, foodbanks, caring for the elderly etc.
      Second, this man is divorced with children, and there is still acrimony between he and his ex wife. I, on the other hand, have never been married and have no children.
      Third, I am a career woman. It goes without saying that I am earning significantly more than he is.
      Where do I start to begin to pray about this? Should I just run a mile?
      He is a lovely, kind and God fearing man. I feel comfortable around him – but his baggage and his ministry make him a very scary prospect. Any advice please? Anyone else been here?

  16. says

    It’s interesting, I think the responses would also apply to missionary’s wives or even missionaries in general. I was out in Turkey for a long time, first as an MK and then as a worker and I would probably add this to the responses:

    “I wish someone had told me (earlier) that it is your relationship with Christ that comes above all else, not what you are seen to be doing.”

  17. Connie davis says

    Love this! I wish I had known how lonely it is. My husband has close friends in the church but I have none. It is almost as if the women are afraid to get close to me. I am a reserved person to begin with but finding it extra hard in this church , even after 5 years, to make friends. Depression is also an issue.

    • says

      Connie, I want to encourage you to reach out to the women. I prayed for a long time on how to reach out to the women and God answered my prayer. I have to say and it is all thanks to God, I am friends with each women and know them as my friend. I have learned not to separate who I am as a pastor’s wife and who they are as the congregation. I am a member of the church just as they are and we need each other. When women want to be friends with me because I am the Pastor’s wife, I tell them to get involved in serving so we can hang out, it continues to work, but they also become friends with the other women as well. Praying for you Connie that you will be able to have close friends in your congregation.

    • says

      Connie,
      You are not alone. I bet the majority of pastor’s wives would say they’ve dealt with depression and loneliness. I know I have. Praying for you.

  18. says

    I think a lot of these issues can be avoided if the pastor steps up and reminds the spouse that his/her “job” as a pastor’s spouse is NOT to fill all the gaps of service no one else will.

    I do ask my wife to do things from time to time, but I try my best to let her know I am only asking, and that it is OK to say no.

  19. says

    Being a pastors wife for over 30 years I have come to realize that most women and not just pastor wives are lonely with not many friends. You have to be the one to seek out friends and not just wait for someone to invite you to do something. Plan something fun or ask someone to walk or run with you . There are many women out there waiting for your call.

  20. says

    We planted a church in Olympia, WA in 2003. At first, it was very difficult for my wife (and children), but I’m amazed at the wisdom God has given her. In spite of all the hardships we’ve been through, and as a pastor’s wife, she has learned a lot from others. She is a friend to everyone and a friend to no one. She’ll never repeat what people share with her. She knows how to involve other ladies when they don’t “feel” like doing something in church. I can honestly say that our ministry has been greatly blessed because of her.

    My wife was in the hospital last night, and I sent out a text to our leaders asking for prayers. Their response has been so encouraging, and she woke up this meaning feeling so much better.

    To all the pastor’s wives out there, thank you for ALL that you do. Thank you for putting up with all the stuff that happens in ministry. God chose you because no one else could handle this great calling. It’s great to know that we have our own cheer leading section. God bless!

    • Michelle S says

      In a way I’m a bit late to this blog but still right on time! I’m a Pastor’s wife of 10 yrs and I don’t know if I’ve ever heard that kind of a straightforward thank you from a pastor to pastors’ wives because we sooo need to feel appreciated first and foremost by our husbands. We do want to be their biggest cheerleaders but so often, in their being individual visionaries, they look right past the one who’s always there for them – that’s us…and it becomes “his” work and “his” ministry…. and we continue to cheer because, yes, as you rightly said, Gabriel, that is what we are called to do. In being so strong for him, our children & then ourselves, we still need the reassurance that it’s all worth it and for their appreciation to be shown to us.

      • What-doess-he-expect-of-me says

        It’s still lonely when my husband can tell me how much I do not meet “pastor’s wife” expectations (his and/or theirs???) & that I don’t know what the congregation is saying to him to somehow confirm this… after ten years, I have now resolved to not trust anybody. It seems as if he is siding with “his” congregation & encouraging them to… he does not appreciate me – as if I’m not worth it. Yet we still cheer them on……

        • Kim says

          This is an issue I would have a problem with. I always told my husband if he had wanted or God had wanted him to have a mousy, piano playing, people pleaser as a wife that is what he should have married. Your husband should never side with the congregation or anyone in the church over his wife. I don’t know about you but I work a full time job because the pastor salary will not provide for our whole family. We live in an area that has a high cost of living and we need the second paycheck. Therefore I cannot do all that is expected of a lot of pastors’ wives because I refuse to put that over my family. We cheer them on and stand behind them and they should stand behind us. I have had my husband volunteer for things when I did not have the time or energy to do them. I had to address that with him. At one time I was leading a parent bible study on Wednesday nights, Sunday School class on Sunday morning and then a Ladies bible on Sunday nights and all that that time am working full time outside of the home. I had enough and had to scale back for my sanity. You can only do so much and the congregation and your husband should understand that and love you for who you are in Christ. But sometimes you have to demand that people treat you in that manner.

  21. Bill Perkins says

    My wife has put up with so much and sacrificed so much to be a preacher’s wife. Others have already mentioned how lonely the job is and I really hate that for her. But the one thing that seems to bug my wife the most is that she has lost her identify. She is no longer Elayne, she is “The Preacher’s Wife”.

  22. says

    I really appreciate your blog. I have been a minister’s wife for 12 years and have learned a lot. I have a heart for helping younger minister’s wives and letting them know that they are not alone. Thank you for addressing these topics for pastors, their wives, and families.

    • says

      What a great ministry! I am a newbie and there are several women just here commenting that are very new to the ministry role of Pastor’s Wife. Perhaps you have a blog we can go to and learn more of your wisdom :) I’m a nursing mother so I’m up reading blogs at all hours of the night. I’d love to here more from you about your advice for young wives!

  23. Lisa Nugeny says

    Loneliness is the one thing I never expected. My husband has severed in the ministry full time for the last 10 years. I never dreamed I’d be so lonely. I am thankful how God has used it to drawn me closer to Him. I wonder if I had known, if I would have jumped into the ministry so fast…… And just that thought makes my heart heavy.

  24. Ashley says

    Thank you for this post and to all of those who’ve commented. I’m newly engaged to a youth pastor (6 days to be exact) and I’ve already gotten negativity thrown at me. Praying that I can love them through it. Thanks again to everyone for providing wisdom!

  25. Hope says

    My husband took his first church in June and we were married in December. We’re both young and still getting things figured out. I was talking to him about how I never got to figure how to just be a wife but instead had to learn how to be a “pastor’s wife” right out of the gate. Praying that I can learn from the wisdom of others before me. Praying that God guides me.

    • says

      My husband just turned 30 and we are having our 1yr ministry anniversary as pastor in May. We got married when he was 19, I was 20, and we have a 6yr old, 4 yr old, and twin 1yr olds. I have had such a blessed experience this first year as Pastor’s wife but I am like you, I need wisdom and guidance. I am a people-pleaser (which I ate about myself) and I place that pressure on my husband and children too (which I hate about myself even more!) And I think Good has shown me recently that I really need to focus more on gentleness. That my husband doesn’t need critics so much as he needs a gentle voice that offers him reassurance. That my children don’t need a drill instructor but need a gentle vice offering them grace when they are disobedient and helping them grow in their love for the Lord. Other than that, I have no answers. I pray God will bless your ministry and you’re marriage greatly!

  26. Brenda Parrett says

    My dear husband and I have been in full time ministry 18 years & have experienced a lot…financial…health issues…people attacking us falsley…lonliness… people wanting us to do it all…our children going through things in their lives…and yet the Lord helped us through SOOOO much…the Lord providing through friends, family & strangers…clinging to His word…praying when all we could say was “help Lord”…..learning to forgive and still love people …believe me I could write a book,there still is more to tell…as my dear husband says “People will disappoint you but the Lord hasn’t…we may ask why…but He never changes …We have been shaped…molded..squeezed to where it was so painful…bit yet I can say Praise His name.God’s been good…

  27. Aura Pereira says

    Thank you so much for posting this article !!! All of this is so true ,,,, I grew up as a missionary kid. So I was spared much of the negativity . Then the Lord called me to be pastor / missionary wife. Lets just say , it was not easy to say the least. Several times my husband (the pastor ) had to say do not ever do mind games with my wife again !! When we started , we were 22 years old . Lets just say we were the youngest ADULTS in the church . I also am very blessed !!! My parents are missionaries in the same counrty !! So I able to confirm and talk about things with my Mom .Lord has blessed me and my husband in so many ways!!! We have no children ,,.., Every child I teach and take care of are part of my family !!! I forgot to say how long we have been in the ministry , we started nine years ago in May . We got married in May and on our honeymoon the church voted my husband in as pastor.So as soon as we came back we were it.The church we took over was a church my parents started .Whoever reads this , please don’t give up !!!! It is worth all the heartache !!!! Do not keep stuff from your husband , he will have a better idea to help you !!! I know you get tired and cranky !!!!!! Dont forget that God loves you and he WILL take care of you guys through anything !!!

  28. says

    Oh this is good. You left one off, though: you’ll never go on a date again without “dropping by the hospital as long as we’re in town.”

    Seriously, the thing I wish people had told me was to remember to look for the beauty in the body. I know there are toxic churches out there and that there are a lot of pastors and pastor’s wives suffering from sheep bites. Sometimes we get wounded in the ministry. Yet we also have to remember that Christ died for the church to make her holy and present her to himself as his radiant bride. It’s good to remind ourselves to look and see what God is doing in his people and doing through the church. When we are wounded sometimes our temptation is to look for the warts. We also need to remember to look for the beauty in the bride.

  29. Missy says

    I think that what was most surprising to me as a youth past it’s wife was how hard it is to make friends at church. I’m so involved in youth stuff that I don’t get the opportunity to make friends my age. Also, our church’s set up has the youth in a completely different building, so there are really not even familiar faces. It’s weird to feel so connected with the kids but not the rest of the church family.

  30. Becky says

    I have been around the ministry all of my life! I was a missionary kid, who went to being a missionary wife, to now being a Pastor’s wife in my 38 years of life! I have experienced everything on your list as some point or another in my life, but I have learned through it all that the Best Friend to have is Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior! Life is not easy in the ministry but I wouldn’t want to be living any other life! My husband Pastor’s a Church of about 500 in a small town. I’ve never made friends real easy but my husband has always been my best friend and never felt the need to have any other outside of him. I have learned recently in our marriage and ministry that it’s important to not vent your frustrations on your husband who is the Pastor – He has enough frustrations of his own!! He makes mistakes just like everyone else does and it’s okay! God is still doing a work in us and I’m still learning to be the Woman, Wife, Mother and Pastor’s wife that God wants me to be! Thank you for sharing this with us!

  31. Abby says

    Thank you so much for this! I am engaged to be married (25 days!) to a wonderful man who will also be graduating from seminary in May. This is very useful information and I have bookmarked it to come back to on the trying days! I am hoping to find mentors in our ministry to help both of us through the next few years.

    • says

      Blessings to you Abby. 37 years ago I was in the same position as you are! I’ve often said I wish I had someone to mentor me and help me through the ministry years. About 2 years ago I found just that group. It’s called Leading and Loving It. You should check it out! http://www.leadingandlovingit.com. Good luck and welcome to the fishbowl!!! Keep you chin up and keep a journal- you’ll laugh at thing in a few years!

  32. says

    I’ve been married to a pastor’s spouse for 22 years! I wish someone had told ME how isolating being married to a youth pastor could be. I wish someone had told ME that my spouse needed to be who God wanted her to be in ministry, not who I NEEDED her to be. I wish someone had told me how all-together amazing she is…well, actually, I already knew that! That’s why I married her. :)

    Pastors spouses – thank you. You make or break it!! My wife answers questions about being married to pastors at glasshousespouse.com. Know that we intercede for your families regularly – and thank you for serving God in a role that very few people can understand!

  33. Ashley says

    I enjoyed reading the comments as much as the article! My husband has been in full-time ministry for 16 years. At first I bucked against the idea of being a pastor’s wife. To me they were always meek and mild, and that was so far from my personality. Being myself and being who God wants me to be are a constant struggle because I’m continuing to be transformed by the Him. Putting my foot in my mouth happened more often than not when I spoke. Being willing to ask for forgiveness when I was quick to speak was a hard lesson, but ultimately, living a transparent life has been freedom! Don’t try to hide who you and your family really is! The best thing a congregation can see is that, just like them, you also have the good, the bad, and the ugly. Now I love the role of “past it’s wife”. I cannot imagine life any other way! The church can be a blessing far greater than I had imagined.

  34. says

    I would suggest not taking it personal (the criticism – fair or not), and to understand that some people will think that you’re there just because your family is paid to be there. You can combat both by serving out of love, taking time to share with your family (vacation), and by finding another family who is in ministry to have talks that no one else but a family in ministry will understand.

  35. says

    I’ve enjoyed reading the 7 things and also the comments. I’ve been a PW for 37 years and I’ve often said to my husband “they never told us this when you were in seminary”. Life in the fishbowl as I call it has it’s many ups and downs, and I’ve often said if I had to do it over again, I’m not sure I would. But, then in that same breath I say I wouldn’t have it any other way because being a PW has shaped me and made me who I am today. It’s a challenging life, especially when you are a people pleaser like I am and one that believes and trusts everyone-after all these are people in the church! But, I’ve also learned to make lemons out of lemonade and that this is what God has called me to do and to be! There have been many,many blessings coming out of being a PW- one of which is this life must not have damaged our family too bad since both of our sons have Masters’s degrees from seminary and our oldest is graduating from Yale Divinity School next month. And now as we look towards my husband retiring he will retire out of the church- but not out of ministry for we have embarked on a new adventure that God is calling us to- http://www.venturehope.org. I’d also like to put a plug in for a group for Pastor’s spouses that I belong to- Leading and Loving It- http://www.leadingandlovingit.com – I’d encourage any PW reading this to check it out.

  36. says

    My husband and and on going on 10 years of marriage and his ministry started a few years before we were married. As a people pleaser, after our first ministry/pastoral experience together ended in us getting kicked to the curb and a church split, I was not only left broken and discouraged inside, but overly concerned with what rumors would be spread or what outsiders would say who did not know the full situation. I almost wished I could have posted a banner that read “Not our fault! Horrible people took over church.” Lol I wish I had been told that WHEN you experience horrible situations, criticisms from within and even from without (fellow pastors even), don’t get consumed with lies and what others think as long as you are doing your best to follow the Lord’s will in your life. God is the only One we should seek to please in our ministry.

    I also wish I’d been told how important it is to stand behind your man when he starts getting criticism from members. Another weakness as a people pleaser was not being used to the leadership qualities God blessed my husband with, which is simply addressing problems head on in a biblical way and not stroking problematic personalities. People will get angry and try to get to your husband through you. You MUST let them AND him know that you are with him all the way!

    Thanks Bro. Rainer for all the wonderful articles. My husband and I enjoy and appreciate them!

  37. says

    Grace, thanks for opening up like many of us. I was once a youth pastor’s wife and it was really tough. My husband was and is a strong leader. He didn’t allow anyone to push me around or treat me as though I am second class in ministry. Reach out to the body and make friends with other couples if the senior pastor and his wife separates themselves from you. So sad today because the youth ministry is like an island on its own and it should not be so at all. Show the senior pastor’s wife that you want to be friends and ask her to share her wisdom with you to help you in this new journey that that Lord has you and your husband in. My husband pastors a church now for 15years and everyone in the church are our friends, we don’t make any separation at all. We are a small congregation but even that should never make a difference. Take care and know that you are being prayed for. Do it all for the glory of God and know that you have to continue to be your husband’s best cheer leader, also both of you stay accountable to another couple.

  38. says

    In the 20 years plus that I served side by side with my husband as his wife and supporter, I came to realize that it is never about me. I chose to marry a man in ministry and it was never an option for me to not be in ministry even though I had resented it early in our married life. The Lord showed me clearly that it is not my decision for my husband to step away, in his word, he showed me that he will never leave us nor forsake us no matter what. I really want to encourage each of you, don’t give up the calling God has on your husband, stick by him, no matter how it hurts, how deep the wounds are, trust in God and know that he will bring us through it no matter what. Ministry hurts very much and it is us who will make the choice to be lonely or not. This is the time, that you and your husband should stick to each other like glue. Don’t separate yourself from people because you are a pastor’s wife, just be careful what you share. We are servants serving the body of Christ. As I read all these posts, my heart bleeds for so many of you. I have been through so much stuff but my husband beside the Lord kept me going. I don’t know a stranger and everyone in the church are my friends. Praying for each of you.

  39. Shelley Brown says

    I wish I had known who my true friends were when my husband was a pastor for many years. Since he is no longer a pastor, (he is a chaplain now) I have found out who my true friends are and who were my ‘friends’ only because of my position.

  40. Jessica says

    Thank you for posting this, Dr. Rainer. My husband and I came off the field with NAMB and he is the youth and children’s minister at our church. There should be some kind of training manual for husband and wives or some kind of conference for rebuilding.

    I have seen my husband get clobbered by these youth parents who think that they can bully and intimidate us. It is so hard to keep quiet while someone is being so hateful. My husband (he was not born in America) turned to me one day and asked “Are all American Christians like this … or are these people just especially horrible?” I was speechless and saddened. He has almost left youth ministry more than once because of our church members. Please pray for us. Pray that God will give us direction. My husband feels like God gave him a message for this youth and children’s group before we even got there and he feels so discouraged b/c he feels so ineffective.

    I have encouraged our senior pastor to have a retreat for his staff and their wives. That was 6 months ago. Please pray for our pastor. That he would rally behind his staff and stand up for them when he needs to.

    Pray for us. Pray for our young children (3 and 14 months). Thank you for the mission & ministry of Lifeway.

  41. Jen says

    I am a recent Bible college grad with a degree in counseling. I served as administrative assistant to a pastor and taught Sunday school. I also guest spoke for various events on our ministry campus. I married my husband and 2 weeks later we moved to Arkansas so he could take a position as a youth pastor. Many considered me to be, beyond prepared for the position as Pastor’s Wife because of my education and experiences, however I struggle with every single thing on this list and I would add to the top lonliness. We’re experiencing so many firsts in our life and its so hard without the support of family and long-time friends. We love our church and key people have been incredibly instrumental in being our support system in times of great stress. I still find myself wishing for a different phase of life back and wanting so badly to go back “home.” It’s so difficult to keep your eyes forward and not let past success or failure distract you from where you are right now. This was a breath of fresh air to me to see other women struggling with the demands of ministry. I feel so often like the dialogue at the end of the post. As ministry wives we put out fires without seeing much success or change. Thank you for doing this. It’s helped me.

  42. Karen Conway says

    I have been in the ministry with my husband for 35 years. I do agree with those listed.

    My husband does depend on me to do what others are not willing to do. Eventually the jobs are given to someone else but I always seem to get new ones. A great stretching opportunity to balance work, family and chruch life together.

    One other I wish is that when the wife is working church tend not to offer the pastor the health insurance and life insurance. They assume because she works it is not needed. Most of my life I have worked mainly for having the ability to have the benefits the chruch does not offer. I continued working after he left school so my ministry as a pastor’s wife has not been what I would have like it to be but I am growing and learning how more and more every day. It is a challenge and a balancingn act.

    I have learned that if things are missed, don’t happen or mistakes are made that it is okay. All God asks of us is to be obedient and he takes care of the rest.

    One opportunity I have taken advantage of is the Seminary Wives Instiute at Southern Baptist Theological Seimnary. It is a very practical mentoring for minister’s wives and I have loved learning what I should be doing as a minister’s wife.

    We are never too old to learn how to improve family life, marriage, church and being a Godly example to others that glorifies God. God has been working in my life and is showing me new things everyday. Many of them challenging but I am learning to be content in whatever happens.

  43. Alicia says

    I used to think I understood how hard it was to be in the ministry. My dad was the head of the deacon board and my grandfather pastored a small church. Then I got married and moved straight into ministry work. I wish someone had told me about the long and odd hours. That is where my husband and I struggled at first. Then he actually became the Pastor of a church and I learned that since people have been taught to “respect” the pastor, they turn their criticisms to the family. My husband resigned his position almost 2 years ago and now we are working in a church again. But I will never understand how and why christians are so hurtful to their own.

  44. says

    THANK YOU for bringing light to this issue! AND THANK YOU for those who have shared their struggles. I agree with all of the above. I’ve been a youth pastor’s spouse for over 20 years. The instability of finances, schedule, and even job security compound the isolation and loneliness that spouses feel. I began ministry fresh and excited about doing Kingdom work. Seven years later and three churches in, I felt bitterness closing me off to anything God may want to use me to do. Then, Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God study opened my eyes to the reality of what it means to serve “church people”. In his study, he points to the parable of the wheat and the chaff (Matt.13:24-30). Jesus says that in the kingdom of God, weeds grow up right along with the good seed. From that point on, I started to look at the critical, negative people as people I should pity. Those who have complete exposure to the truth of Jesus without ever experiencing true relationship with Him. Church is about serving the “sick” -that’s who needs a Physician. It would be great for spouses to understand that they are stepping into a messy, heartbreaking, fulfilling, miracle-filled, high-energy adventure sport that sometimes even requires death-defying stunts before they marry a pastor. Maybe your article and these wonderful comments can be the catalyst for more understanding. Thanks again~

  45. says

    I am a newbie Pastor’s wife. We have been in ministry for years but this will be the first year my husband has been senior pastor. (It’ll be a year in May). So far I have loved the way our church family has embraced us but for some reason I keep waiting for the honeymoon phase to end and for all the heartache to begin. I’ve grown up in church and I’ve seen first hand how sin destroyed several pastors and churches I was a part of or knew of. It’s a little daunting to try and picture ourselves being here for many years (which is our goal) without facing major conflict. I just know it’s coming and I hate having that pessimistic attitude. I want to just be genuine and transparent with our people here but at the same time I feel like I need to be guarded and I’m not sure that’s how Jesus would have wanted us to be? I also worry about my children being scrutinized. I have for young children under 6 yrs old, I’m a stay at home homeschooling mother. And I worry so much about what people think of my kids and if they meet that standard that people hold for PKs. And also do I want my kids to have that much pressure!? I don’t want them to rebel our be disillusioned but rather love the Lord and love the Church and ultimately want to serve in the Church someday. Advice?
    Thanks so much!

  46. David Highfield says

    During my years of full-time, local church ministry, my wife and I raised two sons. They mostly grew up in two communities, one in a small town, the other in the suburbs.
    Here are a few things that worked for us as we raised “preacher’s kids.”
    1. We raised them in the church. The congregations provided socialization for our sons, role models, activities, and Christian education.
    2. We involved our sons in community activities like scouts, sports, and music where they would interact with other kids and adults who were outside of our local church sphere.
    3. We maintained high expectations for our sons, not because they were preacher’s kids, but because they were our sons. We encouraged them to develop their own gifts and abilities. Of course there were some trials along the way but discipline never included an admonition to protect my or the congregation’s reputation.
    4. I rarely, rarely, rarely used stories about my sons as a sermon illustration.
    5. Significantly, although we were in a parsonage system, we never had to live next door to the church building, in a fishbowl.
    By the grace of God, our sons, now grown men with families, became solidly Christian. One is in ministry full-time with Campus Crusade for Christ, and the other married a pastor! It’s all by the grace of God, but maybe these comments will encourage the spouses of pastors who have expressed concerns about raising their children.

    • says

      David,
      Glad your sons are serving The Lord. I was simply curious (because of the day and age we live in) if I was correct in assuming one son married a female pastor. Not that I would agree with it biblically, but the other day my husband did come across the “husband” of a local male pastor. You may wish not to share of course.

  47. Glen Robinson says

    I accepted a pastor position in 1997 without discussing it with my wife. 10 years later we were still pastoring in churches in rural KY that no one else would move to. My wife got hurt by members with mean spirits and she quit going to church. After another 6.5 years passing without going to church, she has lost ground with God. If the Lord doesnt move soon, she will be leaving me April 26. I continue to go to church and evangelize alone. I gave God the best years of my life and now I’m losing my wife. I know that fails in comparision to early and modern day martyrs, but for me and our sons it has hurt.

  48. Lindall says

    Excellent article. I note that by the number of posts after the article, a nerve must have been hit! As a youth pastor/pastor of 27 years, I just say Amen and Amen. I would also add one more Amen to the repetitive theme of loneliness listed in a number of the posts.

  49. says

    This is a wonderful list and I could relate with almost all of them. My husband and I minister in Canada (originally from the States). As a pastor and pastor’s wife, we’ve been shocked by a lot of things as well, and have had our share of the ‘really mean people in the church.” That was probably the biggest surprise for us- how hateful and spiteful professing believers can be. It takes a special grace to bear the attacks and loneliness. As a result of what we’ve been through, God has given me a burden to encourage pastor’s wives. I do this through prayer and my blog (embracingrace.com). About a month ago I wrote an article called “20 things every pastor’s wife wants you to know about her” and the response was overwhelming- it went viral. It grieved me to receive the comments and emails that I did- to hear what pastor’s wives are going through. But it also handed me a ministry that I’m passionate about. Thank you for ministering to pastors and wives- it is so needed!!

  50. Peggy says

    My husband and I are in our 50’s. I am so lonely. An outsider. The church parsonage in outside of town, also. I thrive in the monthly Ladies Meetings that I’ve held in our home. We came to the church when it was a few decades-old and the mindset has been odd, here. The “we hired your husband to fill the pulpit and that’s it” syndrome! The church ladies tolerate me. Please understand that I suuport my husband and am giving all I have and more. I play the piano when needed, have BIble and Prayer with my hubby every morning, have published a book, menter the young adults, cook for the sick, send cards, make visits, volunteer in town twice a week, it’s amazing how they simply want me to “look good” but are not interested in spiritual growth! It must be the end times. The silence is deafening towards me…before my husband took position as a Pastor, we were Director Missions in a church for 10 years, and he was the Choir Director, I spoke at Ladies Meetings, taught SS School. Any advice out there? God has truly been good to us! I am astounded at the position we’re in at this point!

  51. says

    I have been a Pastor’s wife for 35 years and can relate to all 7 of those things I wish someone had told me, plus many more I am sure. That is why my husband and I started a ministry for Pastors and their spouses several years ago and it’s called Care for Pastors. We recently launched our initiative for Pastor’s wives and it’s called “The Confidante” and that is what we want to be for the wives, is the safest place they can turn to when they are dealing with these issues and are lonely and have no one they can trust. We are that place for them to be themselves and unload.

  52. mildred says

    yes me and my husband have been in ministry for close to 16 years now in Kenya Africa,. though of late i have had to deal with a lot of lonlines where people are concerned. most tend to keep a distance and i sort of feel lonely. maybe because i like to please them and a time comes when i cant do that . i pray that God will help us all in this. actually I am familiar with the seven things mentioned above but somehow i never used to think its an issue most pastors wives go through.

  53. Bev Sarver says

    Ideally, the pastor will love his wife as Jesus loves the church. And his love will not allow others to continue to mistreat her or use her, and in fact will not allow others to be mistreated in the church either. He will know how to best resolve issues with the love and honesty of Jesus. He is able to speak confidently and kindly with correction to anyone in the church. And requiring his wife to fill all kinds of roles is making a big assumption that all those things are required to “do church”. I’ve been in churches that allow for giftings to surface and be encouraged, rather than assuming all the things you “have to have”. People are attracted to a church where the pastor loves his wife.

  54. Kimberly Joy says

    I wish someone would have told me that not only are there mean people in church but your husband may also have other minister’s and their own staff against them. And wow, if I as a pastor’s wife steps up the gossip will be now that I am taking over! They don’t want to do anything but they don’t want you to do it either because then it looks like they are not doing their job. I can also say as a pastor’s wife and a mother of teens that someone should have told me that my children may be called to support dad in a church that has nothing for them. This is breaking my heart and making me question God’s plan for me and my family. Why would God want my husband to serve somewhere that my kids could not be fed or have the encouragement of other teens who were believers?

  55. says

    Wow, I can really relate to these issues! My husband has not been in active ministry for several years, but I have led ministries, and found out that some churches do have really mean people. I have received nasty emails at times. It seems that the people who don’t want to take the time to lead a ministry are the ones who complain the most. Somebody always thinks they know how to run things better, but they don’t want to actually do the work. Having been on the receiving end of complaints, I have been trying to encourage people in ministry, rather than critique. It is a lot more fun to be encouraging, and puts me in a better mood too.

  56. R says

    Thank you for writing about this. I knew about all the warnings. Even still, loneliness is definitely my biggest struggle. I think it has developed into depression. I am a Westerner, my husband is Asian, & we moved to his home country to take his first pastorate after the founding (& dearly beloved) pastor died. I was a new mother of a four month old, moving into a different culture (& initially living with my in-laws because of sky-high cost of living) at the same time as taking this first pastorate. We’ve been there four years now. It’s a tiny church of affluent members, so we are financially supported (though his salary is much lower than the average layperson’s), but there’s not much other support. In fact, there was a time I felt that the women were afraid I would influence my husband to leave, so I felt that the big gift they gave me was to keep us at their church. My husband & I struggle most with the elders’ & their wives’ judgementalism. In their culture everything is intended to be read between the lines — there’s no real evidence — so I’ve learned to trust what I feel.

    After 4 yrs I still feel like an outsider. I feel pressure to “be” the PW and live up to their unspoken expectations, but at the same time, I try to be involved in simple things but I’m not given the chance. I still feel like they are treating me as the guest and not as one of them. It doesn’t help that my skin is different and in ages past was seen as superior.

    I can’t find kindred spirits in other pastor’s wives here. Most of them are of my husband’s ethnicity, and their churches have a different culture, so they will not understand my needs. If a person has a struggle here, they are seen as weak. Not surprisingly, citizens of this country were recently ranked the most emotionless of all countries surveyed.

    Through it all, I have been myself and said “no” to some things that were their sacred cow traditions but not biblical mandates. (My husband says this makes it easier for the next pastor and PW.) And boy have I felt the pressure then. It’s getting too much for my body to handle. If I go along with their sacred cow, I don’t enjoy myself. In fact, I panic. But if I draw a line & say “no”, my chest is literally tight from anxiety. These church members form most of my world here. There have been so many days & nights of tears. I am miserable here (partly because of the country & culture shock, even after 4yrs!) &, honestly, I’m sticking it out because I love my husband. He is a *very* gifted preacher, so I feel terrible wanting to get out of the ministry. If we leave it will be my fault. I’m doomed if we stay, but I’m doomed if we go.

    Just a few moments ago my husband read me some portions of the book “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse”, and for the first time I’m realizing that my experiences are being validated. I already knew that manipulation is a part of this church, but now my husband is saying that I (we) have likely been somewhat spiritually abused by key members.

    Something that I wish was told to seminarians more often is this: Listen to your wife’s needs. Yes, Christ is ahead of your wife in your personal relationships. But your marriage covenant should ultimately take priority over your ministry calling. Pastors do not always have the same calling for life. But they will never be “called” to a different marriage covenant while their wife is still alive. That is a sacred covenant, and it IS for life!

    One final thing I wish was advised to pastors and PWs ministering in Asian contexts: If you are a young pastor & family looking at a church with a significant amount of people older than you (even by just one year!), please think twice — no thrice — better yet ten times! — before committing to shepherd them. They will grow & be open to growing MUCH more from a pastor older than them.

  57. says

    I try to remind myself that I am my husband’s wife first and foremost. Unrealistic expectations of other pastors/pastors wives can also steal your joy. You kinda expect those “in ministry” to do the right thing, but many times that is not the case. Authority in the church just compounds the effects of their sin and complicates matters. God has taught us many lessons and whether we continue in ministry or not, I am thankful that my husband wants me to focus on our kids and making sure they are okay. :)

  58. says

    I am still amazed after over 20 years of being married to a pastor at how people expect us & our family to be “perfect” and also how mean people can be. When I was growing up my parents taught me to always respect our pastor even if you didn’t agree with him. That went for anyone in authority over us. Some people aren’t that way at all and have spoken so hateful to my husband face to face and about him behind his back. It’s sad but I realize that I can’t act as their Holy Spirit.

    • Rachel says

      We’re living in a very different time today. When I was growing up in my minister-dad’s home, the position of pastor was a respected one in the community. There’s less respect for authority in general, and this is one way in which today’s culture has affected the church. Also, I believe that people in many churches today are afraid because they see attendance dwindling and finances drying up. They want/expect the minister to rescue them from their current situation; but an ordinary human being can’t do that. Fear leads to anger. I understand your pain in dealing with “mean-ness”. Even though people have not abused me, I have suffered in seeing what my husband–a good, Godly man who loves the Lord with all his heart–has gone through.

  59. Christie Crawford says

    I would add to the list that pastor’s wives should be prepared to speak publicly. We will be asked to speak at women’s events or in a Bible study, etc. I’ve learned to ask my husband for help in my preparation, notes and even going through it with him as the audience while he runs a stopwatch!

    I would also say that it’s hard to read these comments filled with so much hurt and discouragement. I do think there’s another side to the coin. I’ve been with my husband in ministry for 10 years and I grew up as a minister’s daughter. I’ve witnessed some of the things other pastor’s wives have mentioned. However, that same spotlight can truly mean that you are loved, blessed & encouraged more than others in the church. We do get encouraging letters. People do random and wonderful acts of kindness for us. Nursery workers develop special bonds with my children. People know my name and care for me and I don’t even know their name! A man in our church recently greeted me and told me he prays for me and my husband every single day. It’s not easy to be in the spotlight, and sinners can be very hurtful, but we have Paul and really a lot of the New Testament to tell us that the glory of Christ and the joy that comes from knowing Him is worth it.

  60. Melinda says

    After 17 years of ministry (2 years of dating & 15 years of marriage), I wish someone would tell churches these things!!! Recently we’ve had some deacons upset with my husband (one of the things was he read to much scripture during his sermons, I’m not joking), yet their wives want to know why I’m not doing the Beth Moore Bible study with them. Although the time is not ideal (5:15 in the afternoon), it’s mostly to guard my heart!

    • Kim Guenther says

      Melinda,
      I think I can one up you on that one. My husband had a women actually tell him she did not like to sing songs about the blood because it was disgusting. Do you ever wonder if some of these people know Jesus? How could you actually say things like singing about the blood or too much scripture is bad? I really have learned that those claiming to be Christians are the worst people toward me and there will a lot less people in heaven than we think. I wonder sometimes if they actually hear what they are saying. I also wonder how so many people can be touched by a sermon and uplifted while God speaks through my husband and someone else actually has the gall to tell my husband, to his face, “I got nothing from that message”. I sometimes question whether or not I really heard God right when surrendering to marry this man and his calling!

      • Rachel says

        I wonder sometimes how many of these abusers truly know and follow the Lord Jesus, or whether they just “said the sinner’s prayer” and thought they were done.

  61. Amy Nemecek says

    I think one of the hardest things I’ve encountered in the almost 12 years my husband has been in ministry was when certain women within the church wanted to be my friend, and I trusted them and opened up to them. Then they got upset over something my pastor-husband said or did or didn’t say or didn’t do, left the church, and disappeared from my life and stopped being my friends. The rare times when I bump into them out in the community, they avoid me. While such instances have been the exception not the rule, it does make it hard for me to let my guard down sometimes.

  62. milly says

    i thought i was alone but i see its all, criticism,jelousy is our food, psalms 68 is the answer. b prayerful and jesus provides best friends

  63. Jorden says

    I became a pastors wife at 19 (now 22) so I could think of A lot for someone that age. However, my main thing would have been that I won’t live up to the churches expectations nor my own! I don’t sing, I don’t speak infront of large crowds, I don’t teach. I felt useless because every time I saw pastors wives they were Doing those things. One day I had a wonderful lady tell me I was a “behind the scenes” person an was always showing love and compassion when people wasn’t looking. You don’t have to be in front of crowds and preaching like your husband. You work together. His strengths are my weeknesses and vise versa! I wish someone would have also told me, the job is 24/7. Late night calls, hospital visits, deaths, people “dropping” in too see you unexpected, having to leave vacation early because of a serious problem at church. Those who are not pastoring don’t understand just how much strain the pastor and his family are under and should really look at the way they choose to treat them.

  64. says

    Well, it’s not just for pastor’s wife. I think it also applies to young mothers joining the church as full time church staff. :) Often, the church staff are the “title-less” folks who also bear the brunt of criticism and receive no thanks for the things they do. I always think at least “pastor” is a title and people do give some level of respect and authority to that…but church staff is the slave to the slaves…(in the words of my own pastor to me when I was working in church). :) I just wished people had told me the above BEFORE I joined the church as staff..LOL.

  65. David says

    Thank you writing this article, Dr Rainer and many of the PW sharing so honestly their struggles. I am a pastor and I thank God for my wife who stand by me and many wives who stand by their pastor-husband. I pray that we husbands will stand by our wives who have made tremendous sacrifices just to stand by us.

  66. says

    I wish people waited to enter the Pastorate after they had reared their children. After all, that is what the Bible says in 1 Timothy 2 about being an overseer or a Pastor.

    • Kara says

      Gary…. Ask the churches why they won’t hire men who have reared their children and are “too old” to be pastor. My dad has been called to pastor and has been looking for a church for over 5 years. It seems that he is overlooked because of his age… Reality?

      • says

        The system is stacked against maturity and love immature leaders. As long as we select people as a result of collecting school rather than experiencing life we will reject the people called “Elders” in preference for educated young people. At the least Seasoned Believers need to demand leads who have kids in college for that particular group and let the immature but educated people preach to others their own age.

      • R says

        Kara, it’s too bad your dad is not in Asia. In the culture of my church, I have heard people “age-drop” (much like name-dropping) about themselves relative to my husband-pastor, who is younger than most members. People publicly try to figure out where a new person fits into everyone’s ranking in terms of age, older being better, of course. It is so much a part of this culture that my husband told me that whenever the time comes for us to move on, he is going to encourage the church to consider pastoral candidates who are older than our church members.

        • David Highfield says

          One advantage of the United Methodist appointment system is that there is so much less age and gender discrimination. For the privilege of receiving a qualified pastor in a timely way, congregations
          are to prayerfully receive and support whoever the Bishop sends. Although every match does not bear fruit, and sometimes congregations are unhappy about the gender or age of the pastor, more often this system is just. One challenge still being faced is to overcome racial bias in appointments.

  67. Catherine says

    Great article… You may be interested to know that I recently compiled and edited a book for pastor’s wives. It is due to be released by P and R in September of this year. I think you will find it to be an expanded version of this article. Contributors include Margy Tripp, Mary Beeke, Betty Jane Adams and 15 other pious women who have lived a life in ministry.

  68. Rachel says

    Re: the loneliness issue: Whenever we move, I always pray that I will meet one lady who will be a good friend to me and to whom I can be a good friend as well. It often turns out that when this woman shows up, she’s often of another denomination than ours and has a greater view of the Christian life than the things that divide us as different organizations. Purposefully, I don’t look for good friends within the congregation where my husband pastors. The last place we were, it was the people who were warmest and most hospitable toward us who turned the knife (so to speak). This seems to be the case quite often. It’s often the people who have lower incomes and are a little less friendly than the “welcomers” who will stand by you when times are tough. Keep in touch with your old friends as well. It’s so much easier these days with phone plans and online networking.

  69. Jane Chase says

    When my husband was a pastor and we had 2 preschoolers, most of our church was elderly people. I joined a Mom’s group at another church where I could have contact with other moms of young children and where I wasn’t the “pastor’s wife.” I was often criticized at our church for what I wore to church (I’m not a dressy person), how we raised our kids, etc. Many people were kind and supportive, but the few people that weren’t really hurt us.

  70. Rebecca says

    Something I wish I knew going in to the ministry, is that the opinions of people don’t really matter as much as God’s opinion matters. Maybe I heard this or thought I knew this being a youth pastor’s wife in church ministry, it wasn’t until after serving the Lord as a missionary in a foreign country, with a foreign culture, with foreign expectations, that I was forced to go through some very painful lessons. I see though how the Lord allowed it, especially since I tend to be people-pleaser, and used these painful experiences to teach me invaluable lessons. #1 WE LIVE TO PLEASE THE LORD AND NOT MAN. We will all stand before the Lord one day and He will reward each of us according to what we have done onto Him. Unlike people who don’t see our hearts, and often are searingly critical and hurtful, God sees our hearts and what is done onto Him with a right heart. He is gracious and merciful. When people are jealous and vindictive, God is loving and kind. He loves to lavish His kindness on His children. When people are unforgiving and gossips, the Lord is a strong tower and protects us from the enemy. When we are obedient to Him to love our enemies, He will work in them to prayerfully bring about repentance and restoration. When people are super-critical of me or my husband or children, this truth has given me great peace and freedom that if we are doing what the Lord has called us to do, then we can rest assured, His opinion is the only one that matters. On that Day, I will stand before HIM, not all those critical people, and hear Him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” #2 LONELINESS, PAIN, AND SUFFERING ARE PART AND PARCEL OF THE CALLING. Yes, it is hard, but again, God has used all these things for good! On one particular occasion, after confessing to my husband about my terrible loneliness, he confessed he was lonely too! I was shocked. God used the physical separation from our family and friends and country to actually draw us closer to one another as a stronger, more open and unified married couple! I believe that those who desire to serve the Lord have a cost to take into consideration. Of course we are going to be falsely accused and misunderstood and we are going to suffer for His sake. His Word says we will! But didn’t Jesus go to the cross for us? What is our suffering compared to His? Have we yet resisted to blood-shed? I believe that as God has called us to be representing Him to a lost and dying world, He will allow us to go through these painful situations so that we can EXPERIENCE HIM as our Healer, Provider, and All-Sufficient One! Only then can we, in turn, testify to a lost world what a wonderful Savior He is! This is real ministry, and it starts with me.

  71. says

    This are all true. I am a Pastor’s wife and I have a ministry to Pastors’ wives. I have also written a book for them, which came out recently. Pastors’ wives are dying on the vine and there are very few resources for them. I come in contact with hurting wives on a regular basis. May God bless us all.

  72. says

    Hello Thom,
    I want to start by saying it was great hearing you a while back in Springfield, MO at BBC Alumni days! You really struck a chord with me that day, and I paged through your book on church members very quickly on the way home.
    I am hoping and praying that this string of comments about the struggles of pastor wives does something to heal my wife and I a little. I am no stranger to the ministry life, as I grew up in a pastor’s home. However, this is pretty new for my wife. We are 16 years into our married life, and about 13 years into our ministry life together. And we can identify with every one of the struggles listed above. However, I don’t want to share details, because you never know who’s looking, who also can put 2 and 2 together.
    But please add us to your prayer list if you will. We feel like we are on the last of our last nerves, looking at Moses and wondering how in the world he lasted 40 years with so many people! We try to keep our eyes on Jesus, but find even that pretty hard these days. But at least we can say we still have each other’s love, and we know our names are written in the Book of Life. Honestly, that is about the only thing keeping us going some days…that, and remembering how much loneliness, pain, and suffering Jesus endured for me. Pray that we will continue looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who, for joy, endured the cross…

    Sincerely thankful for you,
    Chris

  73. LM says

    My husband is now working toward being a pastor. I have the same fears above peoples’ expectations and often feel lonely. I’ve had to come to terms with the depression and loneliness and just trust God that he is in control. I’ve often thought it could be God’s way of preparing me for something…and now i feel like after reading some the blogs above this is why. I’m learning to think of Jesus as my forever, “heart” friend. He’s always there…always genuine…forever loving and caring…and He is the perfect friend.

  74. berryhart says

    My pastor’s wife has a very vindictive (her words) nature. If she likes you, or you do what she needs, you will be spoke to. Otherwise ~ she will walk right past and not speak. Almost knock you down if you walk close to her.
    Her husband totally supports her behavior and says she is under a lot of stress and is not “aware” of those actions. Sure does make the Spirit sad during the service.

    • R says

      There is no excuse for vindictive behavior, but I’ve learned that people with a tough outer shell like that often build that shell because they are hurting inwardly in some way. Your pastor’s wife may not have many (or any) friends, which deepens the hurt. Sometimes a little piece of that shell breaks off when the person is sincerely encouraged. Try writing her a thank you note for something you appreciate about her (if you can’t think of anything else, you can even say thanks for her selflessly sacrificing time with her husband for the sake of the church members, and how you benefitted from something he taught, etc…) and make it as heartfelt as possible – which can be hard, I know. Pastor’s wives simply cannot open up as fully with others like other women in the church can, so they often harbor pain silently. Pray for her; pray for an opportunity to be a blessing to her.

  75. Darcy says

    I didn’t go to church again today. We have been in ministry for 17 years. I wish someone would have told me that I am not perfect and that I might not make it through this journey alive even though I really want to.

    • Rachel says

      Your message “stopped me in my tracks”, Darcy. It sounds so full of pain and discouragement.that I feel compelled to respond. What I’ve learned in my 17 years of being “the minister’s wife” is that the Church, although being the body of Christ, is not Christ Himself. What I mean is that I’ve learned not to look for solace in congregations, but instead in Jesus and His love for me and my husband. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” It can be very hard to hear criticism of our husbands and ourselves; but I think that often, this nastiness can be a reflection of the unhappiness of the persons who say these things. The Lord said that anyone who followed Him would have to pick up his cross and deny himself. Although we don’t suffer in North America the way pastors and their families suffer in other countries, we do suffer from things like social exclusion, criticism, and financial insecurity. This is part and parcel of serving God. Sometimes I have seen that the trouble that congregational members have caused has indeed make me appreciate Jesus’ love so much more. His love is constant and unchanging. He never changes his mind about us or puts us on a pedestal only to knock us off. I also had to take time off from going to church. I ended up in doctor’s care due to the stress we were under and had to take a step back from church activities in order to recover. Now that the stress has passed, at least for awhile, I’m able to go to church again. If you are depressed, which is what I think I see in your post, please consider seeing a doctor. You might need some temporary help until your strength gets built up again. Of course, I could be wrong in what I’m seeing.

      • Darcy says

        Rachel, this is Darcy. You are correct about the depression. I am currently in an intensive out patient program, therapy and med changes AGAIN. Thank you for your comment. I have always been so sure of my faith since a very young child. But now I am not. I think it is the depression talking. I have a new understanding of people who need people and God and cannot reach out or even understand anything beyond the six inches in front of them. I hope that God is the answer but the church has a hard time understanding that I am just trying to function everyday. There is no brain function beyond that. Certainly not prayer. If I have to choose between having mental energy to say hello to my children and saying hello to the Heavenly Father, I am picking my children today. I hope he understands. I sound very sad, but it is not emotional, it is more thought process. If any of you struggle with similar, get help from a doctor. I want to know God. But please understand for yourself and those you minister to that there is a point in mental capacity and depression that spirituality isn’t a choice untill you deal with the disease. I know that sounds like a lack of faith. Maybe it is. But my hope is when, the depression lifts, the ability to know or feel God will return. Rachel, I think you will see that I am already doing better since my last post. Much less suicidal thought. Yay!! Thank you for responding. Anyone who wants/ needs mental health…please use all you have to get it.

        • Rachel says

          I actually went through an agnostic phase while depressed; ergo your “lack of faith” likely is your depression talking. There is so little understanding of these things in many church circles. I was so depressed/anxious about things going on in one of our last congregations that I had to stop going to that church entirely in order to recover. Had to take “baby steps” getting back, but now I can go again. Fortunately I have a very understanding husband. Thank you for replying to my reply. :-) You sound articulate, which is a good thing.

  76. says

    Thank you for sharing this; it really helped my spirit this morning! As an associate pastor’s wife, my biggest struggle is knowing that my relationships are one-sided. People get upset if I don’t check up on them and help with everything, but I’ve never been asked how I’m really doing or if there’s anything they can help me with. It took a while, but I have settled on the fact that I am not there to be exhorted or to strengthen my spirit- I am there to help in the church’s mission. It certainly is a much different mindset than someone who simply attends church.

  77. Rachel says

    I am encouraged reading your post. My husband and I have been pastoring for over 15 years. We are in our early 30’s. I know the importance of a wife that encourages her husband. I have been a cheerleader for him. I have tried to make him see that God is in control even when it doesnt seem like it. We have recently moved from associate pastor to senior pastor in our church. I see my husband worry about everything. The finances, who is here, who is not here, …we attend a church that runs around 200. Not big but bigger than most. Is it normal to worry about those little things? He worries that he will fail and that people will leave the church… We have experienced criticism over petty things…like permission to use van for outreach…or asking board permission to schedule speaker…. I ask my husband…Do you feel it is time for us to move on? He says no I am just depressed! How can I help him?? How can I make him realize that there will be people who criticize him and we have to look over and keep ministering…. Here lately though it seems more and more petty things people are criticizing over…

  78. Sherry says

    Twenty-some years ago I went to my first pastor and wife Christmas dinner. When we left, I told my husband, “If that is what I am going to look like after twenty years in the ministry, I want out now.” We laughed. Twenty-two years later… it is not funny. We never imagined that night how we would literally “suffer” for the call.
    We are one of those pastors that when our church’s tithing decreased for awhile, the church voted to cut our pay after six years of ministry (but keep two full-time secretaries), because the lead deacon used the SBC published church salary listings to convince the congregation that we were making more than someone should in a church our size. (He used an out-dated listing.) We took a $10,000 a year cut in pay. My husband was almost 50. We hung in there for a year–walking in shame and humiliation, but we had to sell our house and a car before we could leave—-that was the purpose, right?? To get us to leave?? Some might find this hard to believe, but my husband is a great preacher and pastor, and he had done nothing wrong—except not patronize those who held the purse strings. Could he have visited more? Yes. Could he have taken up fishing or hunting so to be more in fellowship with some of the deacons? Yes, but he truly believes his first priority is the preaching of the Word. So, he spends 20-30 hours a week preparing for three messages.
    We looked back and saw one thing that we could have done——Return the “raises” we had gotten to cover Guidestone’s increases. One year it was $300/month. Usually, it was around $100. After several years of increases, we decreased our coverage. That was our “moral” mistake. I suppose we should have offered to return the “raises”, and then we would still be living near our friends and family. That place you call—home.
    I understand God’s sovereignty more than most—we are more Reformed than most of the SBC. But His sovereignty doesn’t take the pain away as I sit here tonight 17 hours away from my 2 year-old granddaughter and awaiting her little sister’s arrival this week. It is hard to not be bitter at times. The Lord allowed one man’s leadership to change everything in my life.
    We are now in a church that highly honors my husband. In fact, we have never been held in such esteem before. We have been here three years, and it is a “good land.” They love us (most of our members always have), but I grieve so deeply at times (tonight), because of the miles of separation from soul-mates and a son….and grand-daughters. I have no history here. No one here has walked with me through life. No one can share the pain when I lose a friend to death –from home. They don’t know them. They can’t celebrate with me when Julie or Kathy’s daughter gives birth. Julie, Kathy, Monica, and I raised our children together. I would love to see their grandchildren, but I don’t live there anymore.
    My new friends here can’t grieve with me when a friend from “home” commits suicide—-and if I had been there, maybe…. And, when a family in our last church lost several members in a tragic car accident—no one here knew them…and I grieved, alone.
    Everyone knows that there are precious times in the pastorate. When someone comes to Christ or when a prodigal returns home—those things confirm the calling in your life. The other day I stood with a member as they removed the life-support from her mother. I was glad that I was —here. But tonight as my husband gets ready to depart overseas tomorrow on a mission trip, and my 15 year-old son and I will be here alone next week…..I wish that that deacon would have stopped to realize how his actions would affect our family for so many years. His very extended family lives within five miles of him…and they are all members of the same church–our last pastorate. He calls that place–“home.” Besides the loneliness in the ministry, not having a place I really call “home,” hurts deeply…but His grace is always sufficient, isn’t it?
    “Called before the foundations of the earth”…..to ministry.

    • Rachel says

      This sounds like my husband: “Some might find this hard to believe, but my husband is a great preacher and pastor, and he had done nothing wrong—except not patronize those who held the purse strings.” Believing in God’s sovereignty is a great comfort, I agree. Because we’re Presbyterian, the congregation couldn’t reduce our salary without the approval of Presbytery; instead, well-do-do couples in the congregation found ways to give to the church without putting money in the general fund–the large portion of which is the stipend. They put their money into mission funds or property funds instead.

  79. Shirley says

    I am not a pastor’s wife. I am a woman of God serving the Lord under the leadership of a pastoral couple. I have always had this inner passion to reach out to pastor’s wives, as there are no “blue-print” for becoming one. I have seen ordinary woman who became pastors wives (most of them younger than myself) and I feel sorry for them because they try so hard to live up to the expectations of the “church”. I partly blame their husbands. The husband is the called one – what happened to just allowing your wife to be your wife and the mother of your children? Allowing her to serve God in the gifts that’s within her? Accepting her limitations and not put expectations on her just because the congregation. I have more respect for a pastor who, whenever he is “out there” doing what God has called him to do,1. ACKNOWLEDGES – His wife if she is present. 2. PUBLICALLY APPRECIATES AND RESPECTS HER. In her absence – Makes an APOLOGY on her behalf. 3.
    I respect and appreciate a pastor’s wife if I see her husband is loved and respected by her – sadly I want to share with pastors wives what some women in your congretation thinks of you when they see your husband;-
    If he is not well dressed – they feel sorry for him and disrespect you, because you, in their opinion are not looking after him.
    If you are dressed fashionably – Envy, jealousy creeps in and you using the churches money
    We still sit with the stigma that pastor’s wife must be “chubby and look motherly to get hugs. To them, depending how “old” your congregation is, a young, outgoing; vibrant, beautiful, successful (especially if you have a career), is not easily accepted.
    Pastor: My advice to you: LOVE your wife, for the WOMAN she is – (Call her by her name at all times)
    Pastors Wife: – Respect and treat your husband for the MAN that he is – especially at home.
    ACKNOWLEDGE each other always and stay committed to the calling as a family.
    Pastors Wife: There is ONE woman in your congregation that loves, respects, appreciates, admire you. She just wants the best for your entire family, she has YOUR back, more than that of your husband. She want’s to reach out to you, but because you are so sceptical and afraid, you don’t see her. Just open your eyes and ears and you will hear her pray for you, see her serve you and your family as a whole. She is your Gatekeeper. She is there… you don’t have to be so lonely and here’s the weirdest part… SHE IS NOT A PASTORS WIFE. She’s just a woman, mother, like yourself..

  80. Lola says

    I wish my husband would have included me in his life to be his cheerleader. I wish he would have respected my calling and ministry. I wish someone would have told me that he was going to neglect me and forget about our dreams as a married couple. Now he lives for the church. Birthdays and anniversaries do not exist in this home. I’m tired of eating dinners alone and having anniversary trips cancelled because he has no interest. What does he always tell me? Oh yeah, “The Kingdom of God is always first.” Now even my faith in God is at question How could God give me a husband who is a Pastor and so easily live without me? I feel stuck in this marriage. I am unfulfilled as a woman, wife, minister and mother. Everything he promised me he has broken. I wish someone would have told me it would be this way. Then maybe I would have paid more attention to my gut feeling!

  81. no name says

    I really need help, I am thinking of living my husband. We have been pastors for 5 years, but have been in the ministry since we got married 21 years ago.
    No one told me that: I would be very lonely. We have to work outside the home in a business that we own. The business gives him flexibility to attend the activities, but being that it’s a “Hispanic” business most clients have time only in the evening. So he gets up late, eats and leaves, doesn’t come home until it’s time to go to church. I help him from home in the business, and attend all church activities and tend to two teenagers who also help us in the ministry (worship). We DO NOT have time or resources to even go out on weekends, and the only time off from ministry is two days a week to clean house and do admin work for church.
    I have talked to him about it and says things will change, but he has some very bad habits, (goes to bed late, is not interested in anything, I mean anything except church and God) No he does not like going out on vacation or to the park or anything like that. He kind of says it’s a waist of time of our lives. When we have time together all he talks about is God and the Bible. I really love God, for he has rescued my from a life of all kinds of abuse, but I am starting to be very bitter towards the ministry, God, and him. I really feel trapped, lonely and desperate. I have told him numerous times that if things don’t change I will be living. Although we enjoy the ministry, our marriage is suffering!
    We pay for the rent of the business, our home, and the building of the church because not enough tithes or offerings come in since we pastors a Hispanic church with low-incomes or no jobs.
    My kids don’t get to go to college because we can’t get decent jobs because of the schedule of the church, we don’t have medical insurance or anything like that.
    My family brags about traveling, vacations, and success in life, but I feel like a total failure although I know that my reward is not of this earth, I totally feel dead alive! Please, someone help me!

    • Chris says

      Hello sister in Jesus. Your story sounds really similar to ours. The only big difference is that The Lord has recently brought us into enough of a quiet pasture (psalm 23) that we can breathe a little. In the meantime, know that we will be praying for you both and praying that you God sends you help soon to take some of the burden off.

    • says

      Oh my goodness! Do I relate to your response along with many on this site. We have only been in the ministry for 8 years but have had a lot of ups and downs. I became extremely lonely. I just wanted to encourage you, to let you know that your husband could never do if it weren’t for your strength. I wrote a book called “A Realist’s Guide to Being a Pastor’s Wife.” Because there were no books telling me what my role was, I wanted to provide that for any newcomers into the ministry. I also wanted to write it for people in the congregation to let them know what goes on behind the scenes of ministry so that they would know how to encourage the leaders in the church. I feel your hurt and I know your pain. Ministry is hard. Doing the right thing isn’t always the easy thing. The devil wants nothing more than to rip ministry families apart at the seams. Don’t let him win!

  82. says

    Greetings!! first of all I love being in the ministry and being the wife of my husband. when my husband was called to Pastor our Church, He told me ” I want you to remember you are my wife who just happens to be married to the Pastor! Love my husband. What I wish someone would have told me about being a Pastor’s Wife is that the Church is made up of Sinners saved by Grace, and that someone should have reminded me that as Paul stated so long ago, Of which I am the Chief of Sinners!! I was very surprised to find that People who demonstrated such faith, such Godly outward Character, were nothing but Sinners underneath the facade of Godliness! I think that is the biggest shock of all! for example, I wanted to do something special for the people of our Church, they had done so much for us it was impossible to return the favor. so I decided I would hold a special dinner night for our Church! It was so much fun to plan, I made special invitations and mailed them out to everyone in our Church, inviting them to a night of Dinner and Entertainment. I made the Dinner, my dgt who who was working on her Bachelors of Music at the time, had asked her talented co-students to come and give a concert for our entertainment, which followed a showing of a film. I had cleared out our Sanctuary and had tables brought in, set them up using real dinner dishes, had name tags set out at each place, as I had them RSVP. as the night begun, some people showed up that did not RSVP, I had planned for that incase it happened, my family would give up their table, and we would just sit in the back. but that night when it happened, I forgot about making my family move, and had to move some of our single senior saints to a different table. all worked out and it was a great night! laughter, applauds , fun time. that was on Saturday, then Sunday came, and I noticed some of the women were off Standish to me, I thought what happened? I found out that someone was upset that I did not ask them to make anything for the dinner, as they are known as the “Suzy homemaker” of our church, I tried in vain to explain that if she had helped me than it would not have been from me. all to no eval. someone else told me ” I think I am going to be leaving the church, because no one cares for me here” WHAT??? I found out that this senior saint was upset because I moved her to a different table that night that was not decorated like the others so quest could sit where she was sitting!!!! WHAT!!! WHY OH WHY COULDN’T I REMEMBER MY PLAN TO HAVE MY FAMILY SIT ELSE WHERE!! sadly but in the end over time both these folks have left our Church. I could go on and on about things that are honestly just plain stupid. I prayed tho, that God would do a work in our church, If I had to do over again, I would have really looked at our Church folks. were they out on visitation night? were they at prayer meeting, Sunday services, were they folks that were committed to the ministry. I could go on and on…so pathetic. but I really understand when in Psalm 78:38 Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.
    so much we have to account to when we stand before the almighty….I think that is when God will wipe the tears from our eyes.

    • Rachel says

      Congregational people tend to have a huge sense of ownership over their facilities and what happens within them. Ladies groups get offended if they aren’t asked to help with hospitality, and boards get offended if someone does an odd job without permission.

  83. Stephen says

    I just want to first, give a shout out to all the pastor’s wives out there… to those hurting and to those thriving. You’ve already come this far, don’t give up now. I just want to share a few things that I’ve learnt as I strive to walk closer and closer with God everyday. The number one thing is to trust God in everything! The same supernatural power to heal and deliver, can also provide both physically, mentally and emotionally. I have seen God supernaturally provide physically, move the hearts of men for my benefits and practically manipulate circumstances to bring about His promises in my life.

    Once, while I was going through an anxious moment, God said to me, “I am not in your hands, You are in my hands.” In the midst of your pain, don’t try to use God as a tool to meet your needs. Rather, realize that you are a tool in His hands to meet His needs and if anything stands in your way, it’s His business to take care of it. The bible speaks of a rest that remains for the people of God in Heb 4 and it’s through faith and obedience that we enter that rest. My sisters and brothers, this rest is real and I have tasted it, but it only comes when we are completely surrendered (i.e. no longer living for ourselves but for the one that died for us) and completely trusting. To remain surrendered to God despite the overwhelming trials says that your trust is not based on circumstances, but on who you know Him to be.

    I realize many don’t like hearing scriptures when they’re hurting, but I think this is just a trick of the enemy because the one thing that can really bring us real and abiding freedom and deliverance is what we tend to avoid. Jesus overcame every temptation and trial with the scriptures. The key to making the scriptures work for you is complete surrender and complete trust (or faith if you like). When you are completely surrendered to Him, then God is free to do whatever He wants with you and everything that concerns you because you are now in His hands. And we know we can trust Him because the thoughts He has towards us are that of good and not of evil and to bring us to an expected end. Beloved, it is not easy to stay completely surrendered to God, it requires a daily death. However, if you take the first steps, He’ll eventually take over and carry you the rest of the way. This is not theory, it’s tried and tested and works every time.

    Finally, to be dead to self is to completely loose sight of yourself. Think back to all those situations where we have been angry or bitter or resentful or proud or depressed. Guess who we were focusing on? Now, try loosing sight of yourself completely and look at the situation again. You’ll realize that self is the culprit that has hindered and limited the unbridled expression of love. You’ll realize that in the absence of self-consciousness, when you’re only thinking about the good of the other person, you can genuinely and greatly love even those who have hurt you the most.

    When we keep thinking and meditating on how we’re being mistreated and how we’re lonely and how we’re hurting and how we’re being back-stabbed and slandered, the results should be obvious. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. But we can choose to not focus our thoughts on ourselves and focus on people. Instead of thinking about how we deserved better treatment from a certain person, we think about what could have driven that person to act the way they did. Jesus wasn’t depressed about rejection, He was only saddened that the Israelites were not receiving the good things God had for them. Paul the apostle wasn’t mad at his jewish persecutors, despite all they did to him, he was willing to exchange his own salvation for theirs. They focused, never on themselves, but on the people. This is not a practice we should do at just hard times, but one we should do all the time. It will protect you from needless worries, hurt and pain and in time, you will win hearts.

    I have made the above point to say this… some of us (not all, just some) are going through what we’re going through right now because God wants to break you and get rid of bits of the flesh that are still resident in you. In other words, He’s pruning you so you can bear much more fruit. You never know what’s inside of you until you enter into the right circumstances, then the self and flesh in you comes to the surface. To the person wholly submitted to God, the circumstances God brings your way is like a torchlight that God shines into the darkest places of your heart so that you can see well enough to properly clean it up.

    David said, “Search me, God, and know my heart; TEST me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24 emphasis mine)

    Each time you get rid of a bit, your walk with God becomes closer. Can two walk together unless they agree? The less flesh there is, the more in agreement you are with God, the closer your walk with Him will be.The atonement only provided for the potential of intimacy with God, but to be actually intimate, you must pay the price, you must climb that mountain.

    Start from repentance, repent of all your resentments and bitterness towards God and people (if any), re-consecrate your life to God again and start trusting in Him again. If you can’t really let go of some of these things, then ask God for help. I promise you that God is anxious to come to your aid, and all you have to do is call out to Him. Then you need to start spending time with Him. If this doesn’t seem possible, ask Him for help, He will give you wisdom and show you the way to go. Once you get your relationship with God back on track and you start earnestly seeking Him, things will start working out for you. You won’t escape from troubles, but you will experience a peace that passes all understanding and a love that knows no bounds and the tangible manifestation of the presence of God in your life. You will witness Him manipulate circumstances for your sake and you will marvel at His goodness towards you.

    Remember that, in this life, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. I promise you that there’s nothing prayer cannot do. I’ve seen it time and again in my life and in the lives of those that believe as I do. In many cases, you cannot change the hearts of men by just talking. Yes, there’s a place for wisdom, but you need to go on your knees and earnestly seek God “Luke 18″ style. And please remember that you have a helper and comforter in the person of the Holy Spirit. Although I can’t really go into the practical aspects of this, suffice it to say that you need to ask for His help or He won’t do much. It is important to get encouragement, moral support and the likes from people, but there’s only so much man can do for you, so you need to have that one-on-one with God. Imagine you were living with Jesus, wouldn’t you think, “problem solved!” Jesus said, “It is better that I go away so I can send the Holy Spirit to you.” If it was problem solved with Jesus, how much more with the Holy Spirit? Sometimes, we don’t just realize the immense goodness and mercy that has been made available to us or how to take advantage of them.

    So, fight the good fight of faith my dear sisters, aunties and mummies in Christ that are PW’s. Even though I’ve never met you, I love you and you’ll be a constant mention in my prayers from now on. You will surely experience better days ahead of you in Jesus’ name. God bless you abundantly.

    • Louise says

      Stephen, what you are saying is true but unfortunately you’ve jumped into a den of women venting and sometimes well intentioned advice is not welcomed in this state. Thank you for your sincere advice though. Truth is still the truth no matter if you’ve walked in someones shoes or not. Applying the scripture is always applicable in every situation. We cannot do ministry in our own strength and be effective. We will either burn out or die out. This is a supernatural endeavor and we MUST do it His way depending on His strength. 2 Corinthians 3:5-6
      “5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit;[a] for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
      Marriage: Yes your marriage will be attacked. Satan will get at the weakest link in your lives to bring down the ministry. May I recommend an excellent marriage book. It’s NOT like all the other marriage books. It’s focus is very Biblical and it’s very encouraging yet sobering. It’s called Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? Here’s a link: http://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Marriage-What-Designed-Happy/dp/0310242827
      Seek the Lord my sisters and find strength and encouragement in the scriptures. Find another pastors’ wife outside of your church if possible and meet for coffee and see what kind of friendship will develop. Remember His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Make sure you are not taking on more than He’s called you to do and that you are not trying to do it in your own strength.

  84. Amanda D. says

    Wow, there were so many posts about being lonely that I could not read them all. I really thought I was alone. My husband keeps trying to encourage me to make friends with the ladies as church, but it just never works. I have many tearful nights of prayer about this as well.

    • Marjorie B. says

      Amanda,
      I know too well how you feel. We need a support system…even counselors for just Minister’s wives!

  85. Jill says

    To Stephen,
    I know you’re trying to help. But unless you’ve been a pastor’s wife, you can only preach from the outside. After 29 years as a pastor’s wife, I hear and know this pain. And I know that these women need much more than an unknown man on a website quoting what they already know. Please follow threads that are within your experience.

    To the women of this thread:
    You need to cling to Jesus. You need to talk to your husband. And, you might need a good Christian counselor in order to save your marriage.
    For me clinging to Jesus meant going out into nature – seeing His creation and getting out of the the rat race of church life to rediscover Him in a personal way. It also meant taking a 3 month sabbatical from our church. Everyone needs a break and after 12 years attending every Sunday except family vacations, I sorely needed to see other churches – and how messed up they were. Going to sample the greener grass makes the color come closer to reality.

    Your husband – You need to come to a point of being able to gently explain your feelings – while not blaming him for the situation, or expecting him to fix it. If he is intransigent, you need to find someone else to bring to the table – a denominational advocate, a pastoral mentor, someone who can see the situation clearly.

    Counselor – We have a wonderful Christian counselor who has kept us sane and married. I still don’t have friends to whom I can tell anything. We do have to watch what we say in most situations. But we pay for our friendship. “Bill” has been a part of our lives now – on and off – for the past 18 years. We are currently seeing him because of the closing of our last church. It was tough on my husband and me. We needed that biblical counseling from somewhere, and “Bill” has met our needs. He has accepted my insurance and worked with payment plans throughout the whole time. We’re not the only pastoring couple that he sees. He is invaluable.

    Hang in there.

  86. Louise says

    I’ve been in ministry as a pastor’s wife for over 24 years in three different churches and I’ve seen a lot of abuses in the name of “ministry”.. It is NOT Godly or Biblical to neglect your wife and family for the “ministry”. It is NOT Godly or Biblical to serve others and not serve in your own home. Many pastor’s do not understand how to keep priorities in balance and can get caught up in the tyranny of the urgent. They need to learn they are NOT to be everyone’s Savior and jump at everyone’s beck and call.There has to be boundaries. It may take some time for our husbands to learn this. This applies to us wives as well. We are not expected to live up to others’ expectations of us. We live before God. We are not to be a mini pastor and do what only the men should be doing in the church. Our ministry should focus on our homes, husband and kids: Titus 2. Any extra time we can then serve in our church according to our gifts. Our main ministry should be to SUPPORT our husbands at home in providing an oasis for him to come home to.My husband did not marry another pastor but a woman. We teach by EXAMPLE to the other women in our church not necessarily thu a women’s Bible study. I’m not against women’s Bible studies but pastor’s wives need to be careful they do not feel they HAVE TO provide a women’s ministry. I’ve seen pastor’s wives compete with their husbands over their own ministries and sometimes women’s ministry can dilute the Pastor’s midweek Bible study that he’d like to see built up. We area called to be help mates. We need to ask ourselves “where in scripture do I see this?” Instead of doing what we’ve seen other churches do or what we’ve always done.

  87. The Green horn Up-And Coming Pastor says

    This helped me a lot and has given me invaluable insight to the life my girlfriend is walking in to when we get married. I am not a Pastor/Preacher yet, but God has called me and I will not run away. Thanks ladies.

    • says

      Dr. R. I am overwhelmed by the sadness, burn out and anxiety of so many Ministers and their wives. I will send my paper on Survival for Ministers and Other Servants of God free to any readers of this blog who are in ministry of any sort. gary@sweetenlife.com

      I am a Christian Counselor and Church Consultant.

  88. says

    Hi Dr Rainer,
    Sadly the reality is that many Pastor’s wives are hurting and in need of encouragement and being ministered to, but do not receive this in the churches they are planted in.
    For those who are interested, I coordinate a network for Pastor’s wives called the Radiant Pastors Wives Network. It is still a fairly new network, but our aim is to help Pastor’s wives radiate God’s love to others, by firstly being ministered to.
    More information can be found on our website – http://www.radiantpastorswives.com

  89. Carol says

    “It was only two days ago I said to my husband if I had to do it all over again I would never marry a pastor.”
    I said this a few months ago to my husband, and even while I said it I knew it would hurt him, but I had to get rid of my frustration which has built up over 20 years of ministry. I never wanted to be in ministry, it is something I would never even have considered, alas, God’s will is being done. The resentment, however, is growing I most of the days I struggle with my faith. I had a traumatic childhood and was treated 5 years ago for depression. I feel bad and angry, and sometimes I could scream.

  90. Rhonda says

    I am so glad I clicked onto the website. I had no idea how lonely I would be as a pastors wife. I thought wow I will have so many friends in the church. How wrong I was! It feels like I have a beware sign on my back. It is very hard to have friends that you have to keep at arms length. Nobody to confide in, no shoulders to cry on. Always having to be careful of what you say and who you say it to. It’s getting to the point that I am actually thinking of attending another church just so I will have someone that I can get close to but if I do that there will be more stress between my husband and I. I see a move in our future, one that I am very much against. I know God is in control but I also believe that God teaches us lessons from wrong choices and I very much feel that this is going to be one of those. I would very much appreciate prayer in our situation.

    • Kim says

      Rhonda,
      I know exactly how you feel because I am in almost the same boat. What makes matters worse is when you are worried or against a move because you have children involved. I don’t trust anyone, not even those people in our church that “say” they support and love us. I have had the experience that even when say they love and support you when push comes to shove they are normally about what makes them look the best and is in their best interest and if it means throwing the pastor and his family under the bus so be it. We are currently in a position where the other staff member has been put on Administrative Leave per our Deacon body. Of course my husband did not make this decision but he is the one catching all the blame and trash from those unhappy about it. Unfortunately now there is facebook to add to the mix. Nothing like seeing people you think are nice agreeing and telling lies about your husband on Facebook. Makes it even easier to go along with the crowd and not stand up for what is right when it is on the internet and not face to face. This staff person works with our students including my two teenagers and we are in a place now that this person has done so many things that are not holding to the bilbical standards of a minister. One child will graduate next year and the other is very involved in school activities and very social. The thought of uprooting them terrifies and saddens me. Unfortunately if they let this staff member come back and the ugly, evil people win, then I no longer will want to attend. I will come hear my husband but will not allow my kids to sit under this persons authority again because it would be showing them that a minister is not held to any standards. I told my husband I will take my kids to be involved somewhere else. To be perfectly honest I’m ready to be out of ministry all together so I can go back to church for the right reason and enjoy worshipping without watching for knives in my back. It is the loneliest place on earth to be, I truly believe.

      • Rhonda says

        Thank you Kim for your words and for relating to what I am going through. I wish I could have found this website a lot earlier. My husband is in a yoked position where he preaches at two churches that do not play nicely together. We have heard ” The pastor and his family like them more then they do us” I have not been able to become involved with really either one of them except to do functions where the whole church get’s involved. Now with this potential move coming up, where I will be moved even further away from family. I finally told my husband that If he chooses to move out of state and get a new church then I will only attend his church every other weekend. Once I explained to him that I need friends outside of his congregation, ones that I can get close to and not have to worry about them talking badly about him because they wont be a part of his church then he understood.. Sometimes a pastors wife needs another pastor to talk to besides our own husbands. This is not an easy life at all.. I to sometimes wish that my husband had another job and that we could just enjoy going to church again and just be normal.

        • Kim says

          Rhonda, I know exactly how you feel. Moving further and further away from family is really difficult and then when you do your pastor is your husband! “Conflict of interest much?” My husband is one of those pastors that does not think a minister or his wife should ever need counseling. It is a sign of weakness to him and he is afraid of it getting out and making us look weak. I am originally from Texas born and raised as well as my husband. We have made two big moves to two different states and now we are more than a 15 hour drive from my family. At lease when we still lived in Texas I could always go home to visit my siblings and parents where there were people who loved me with no expectations of how I should act or talk. We are in a current situation that is in limbo because until decisions are made by our deacons on a situation I have no idea whether we will stay here or be trying to move. The not knowing is putting me in a sense of despair like I have never been in before. Mostly because I have high school kids that a move would really affect. But, if the wrong decision is made it will be impossible for my husband to continue to pastor under that environment and it will be kind of out of our hands. I did tell mine that if the wrong decision is made, while he remains and searches for God’s direction to another church that I will, along with my children, be attending elsewhere. This is causing quite a bit of strife. But, I think if he were not the pastor he would go also go somewhere else. I know all too well the loneliness and not having anyone close to really talk to. You can only share so much without making you and your husband vulnerable and that is definately not what you want to do. I am coming up on my 25 year anniversary and that many years in ministry and it does not get any better so far. I will be praying for you and that you and your husband follow what God’s will is for your ministry whether it be where you are or in another place.

          • Rhonda says

            I will pray for you as well. Can I ask what denomination your husband is? I’m in VA and may move to NY. Lord help me there LOL.. I am conservative and will have a hard time keeping my mouth shut. My husband is a PCUSA minister and that is a whole other bag of worms.

          • Kim says

            Is the PCUSA Presbyterian? My husband is and father are both Southern Baptist but I feel like I want to go non-denominational. I think the denominations have messed all up! New York would be a really tough adjustment. I am in North Carolina and I am fairly conservative in my views but I don’t think that our views as opposed to the scripture should divide fellowship. I believe there is only one way to heaven and that is through Jesus Christ. Without a personal relationship with him there is no faith and nothing for the denominations to be fighting over. All other stuff that we disagree on is mostly our opinions and preferences. It’s we go against scripture that we are divided. I will pray for your move. I know it is hard as we are facing decisions like that ourselves.

  91. Louise says

    After reading a lot of the comments here I can’t help but think some of the problems going on in your churches by people (that cause you hurt) are related to the form of church government you have or are directly related to poor pastoring by the lead pastor who should be in a position to weed out ungodly people from being an influence. If the Pastor were to take care of divisive people, carnal people with biblical discipline then the influence of godly people would take root. Churches where the Pastor is too afraid to confront will suffer all kinds of problems. Scripture talks about guarding the PURITY of the Church for good reason.

    • Kim says

      Louise,
      My husband is the lead pastor and has been the first one to stand up to the ungodly people in 20 plus years. That is the difficulty. The last two pastors did not face conflict or address issues and they ran him off. Now, my husband stands up and has no problem addressing issues and people and that is possibly what will make the church finally healthy but the pastor’s family is the one who suffers through all the growth/weeding process. Discipling those members who have never stood up to the these people to finally do the right thing and confront them. That is what is going on and those people don’t have the power anymore and that backs them into a corner and you know what snakes do when they are backed in corner? They STRIKE! It is just the process that has to happen but unfortunately the things being done and said leave some really lasting hurts that is really hard to shake.

        • Kim says

          Rachelle,
          What are you thanking me for? What is your situation? Are you a pastor’s wife dealing with some of these issues? How can I pray for you?
          Kim

          • Rachelle says

            I’m thanking you for taking a stand for the good pastors and for explaining how people can be when the pastors are doing the right thing by taking a stand and weeding out the bad. I suppose I took offense to Louise’s comment because it came across to me that she quite possibly has never been in a pastoral position to experience what all comes with doing what God wants the way God wants it. Sadly, there are some pastors who fear their congregation more than they fear God. I’m so thankful my pastor husband is not one of those. And we are blessed to be in a loving and prayerful faith family right now in our ministry.

          • Kim says

            Rachelle,
            I took a little bit of offense to that as well. As if standing for what is right and calling the ungodly people out is going to be all good and smooth and with difficulty. A pastor can stand up and call out and confront the ungodly people trying to be divisive and draw people away from the church are not going to be there anymore because you use church discipline. This has been really difficult as one of those doing that is a former pastor. You would think a retired pastor would not do such things. I can’t imagine spending your entire life in the ministry and then being a key player in trying to split a church over personnel matters. I want to shout out to people, if you know the Jesus I know, it will not matter if a certain personality does not work at the church anymore because I go to church to worship my Savior not the pastor or associate pastor. Watching some of these ministers build their own earthly kingdoms is really disheartening. It breaks my heart to see christian follow a person like that. Not come to church because someone is not there? Basicly they are boycotting God and what He did on the cross for them in solidarity for a person. Any minister worth his/her salt would be thankful that what they spent their life building and ministering to still remains when they are not there or gone. Ministers/Pastors that step aside and leave their ego at the door are few and far between nowadays.

          • Rachelle says

            Kim, the ministry is a battle between good and evil. Jesus even fought the battle, therefore, making an example for us. Unfortunately, I believe “Christians” as a whole have lost the fear of the Lord. The devil has been so subtle in making people think the ministry is about them to some degree. It never was and never will be about us to any degree. It is all about the Lord Jesus, therefore, we must die to ourselves and our flesh and live through His power and desires. It’s a life of humility.
            I’m sorry you are experiencing problems with a former pastor and the people who follow Him. Know that the Lord will work in this situation and leave the correction and vengeance to Him. Be fearful and faithful to Him in all humility.

          • kim says

            Rachelle,
            You are very true. We are finding that christians also not only do not fear the Lord but do not want to submit to any spiritual authority. Sometimes I have to just steer clear of those people. This is not even the worst thing to happen to us in the ministry. We had a woman spit in my husbands face taking up another minister’s defense without knowing the truth. That truth was sexual misconduct with teenagers. It is amazing to me how many people jump to others defense without even knowing the truth. What would happen if we all had that same passion about the offenses we see every day slung at our Saviour and belief in him?

  92. Staci B says

    I want to say thank you to Jesus. Thank you, Savior, for helping me in this difficult circumstance. Thank you for helping me see you at work in my heart. I know that it is You who has given me strength to keep my eyes on You. I pray for all these ladies who are struggling through similar circumstances of mean people in the church who only want to satisfy their desires and not yours. I pray that you would help each woman to focus on You and what you are doing to change them to make them more like you. That’s what brings You glory…. If you suffered to the point of death, I must walk that path as well. Show me the way.

    Friends, this is a spiritual battle. My husband and I are not in a good place. We’ve been at this church for a little over a year. The honeymoon was over very quickly, and we have managed to focus on why God called us here. Over the last 2 months though we have had many people say very ugly things to my husband about him and his ministry. We have families leaving the church because they don’t agree with my husband. We have people questioning my husband just because people are leaving…almost to the point of “mob mentality”. Most of these people do not have valid reasons for their critiques like many of you have said. We’ve also been betrayed by people we thought were our friends. The gossip in this church and town are horrible. I have had physical symptoms of the stress increase during this time, and I wish it would all go away. Thankfully, Jesus reminds me of the truths in His word to help combat the lies with which Satan is filling my mind. One of the best resources outside of the Bible that has helped me is a book called Well-Intentioned Dragons by Marshall Shelley. Well worth the time and easy to read. Praying for you all!

  93. Pastor's Wife "Thoughts on Facebook" says

    Ok, please tell me that I am not the only one to experience the work of the Deceiver through Facebook Posts? Our church is going through a personnel issue and there have literally been NON-Church Members creating FB Pages and Conversations in support of a staff member that our deacons and personnel committee felt needed to be put on leave for re-evaluating. There are some serious issues that of course non of these people know about but they are jumping in and commenting on things they have no clue about! People have no clue how some of the junk they post or comment on is perceived. Take the time to really have some discernment! That is what is lacking in so many Christians today. They have no discernment! Posting scripture and constant holy talk on your FB status no more makes you spiritually mature or even Christian then sitting in a garage makes you a car! These people are posting all their pitiful me stories with “oh but God will see me through” because they are grasping for people to give them attention and support their cause. Have some guts and actually do these things face to face! It has remained very difficult for me seeing lies posted about my husband and our deacons and even having comments posted about their integrity and spiritual lives all over the web. It is pretty serious to me that someone has the nerve and no Fear of God that they would question someone relationship and motives with the Lord! The difficult thing is to not jump on FB and post that actual truth about these issues that would blow some folks mind and are things this minister would not want publicly known but I pray every day that the Lord gives me the strength and spiritual maturity not to stoop as low as them. I just hate the way FB went from a form of media to connect with one another to using it for causes. I used to like it just so I could reconnect with family and friends and could see pictures of babies, grand babies etc…and enjoy, but it is no longer that way. I know that as a pastor/minister’s wife or minister’s family there is no one to really confide in or talk to but let me assure you Facebook/Twitter is not the place to share your deepest hurts/thoughts or your issues with other Christians. We should be able to confront and deal with each other face to face in love and authority.

  94. Terry A says

    Hi all! I just want to say that I am really struggling right now. Not as much with loneliness in the church, although I do get lonely at home missing my husband sometimes, but with certain issues in ministry of opposition with me doing God’s work because they are stuck on traditions of men and vain chantings (same doxology every single Sunday), and they want their way. This includes problems with back-biting and what feels like people ganging up on me in an unspoken manner (Although, this did come out in the open when one of the ladies–who should know better because her Dad was a pastor–felt it ok to give me a tongue-lashing Sunday for doing children’s church and things that are different than what they are used to). Also, I have a hard time with people saying that I need to support my husband, but how can I support him when I am drowning? It almost seems insensitive when people say that, even though they mean well. That all being said, my husband sent me this link about pastor’s wives saying what they wished they were told before becoming a pastor’s wife. Problem is, I didn’t want to leave our church home and I have come to this church strictly out of obedience with many tears and at times even some sobbing. My ministries include singing and working with children. We came from a medium-large healthy church where the ministries God put me in were thriving. We watched the church grow right before our very eyes. Now, the ministries God has given me are lacking and I feel like I am starving to do them. I loved what we did before and that included evangelizing at other churches. He preached and I sang. I feel like even if we went back to our previous church, which probably won’t happen anytime soon (maybe someday), people there would look at us differently unless we wait a long time to go back. Also, people try to say “Now that you are in the ministry…”, when we have already been in the ministry for many years and I was very much in the public eye. Please pray. Thank you!

    • Terry A says

      I just wanted to add: It’s as if some of those who should, don’t understand/care (?) about all of the people dying and going to hell. They just want to stay in their comfort zone.

  95. Janie says

    I wish I would have know that other women in the church, even (especially) other pastor’s wives, would hurt me more than anyone else. I feel that our lead pastor’s wife takes advantage of me; to be honest, I feel like her personal punching bag. I know it’s difficult for her to “be real” with most women in the church. I understand that she feels comfortable with me, and that she can let her guard down in our relationship. But she reserves her worst character flaws and her worst moods for me. And, most days, that’s okay. Honestly. I’m relieved that she has an outlet. I’m thankful she has at least one relationship in which she doesn’t feel the need to filter her appearance, her words, and her actions. But, sometimes, it really, really hurts. And, yes, it’s lonely, too. I wouldn’t think of ever talking to another woman about it, and I hate to burden my husband with my hurt feelings. What can he do? I sometimes long for him to defend me, but it wouldn’t do any good. It would cause more hurt for more people.
    It’s also confusing. I like to think that she and I are friends; she calls me her friend. But I feel like she’s my superior. Doesn’t friendship feel like equal footing? Give and take? Mutual respect? None of those things describe our relationship or at least the way I experience our relationship. I wish it were different. It makes me so incredibly sad.
    In my former life (pre-marriage and pre-ministry), I felt useful. I felt like God had gifted me with specific talents. I felt like He had a plan and purpose for MY life. Now I feel marginal and little and insignificant. I honestly believe that my purpose in this church is to be her doormat. And, believe me, I know how much that says about my relationship with God these days. It says that I’ve placed my worth in other things and in other people. It says that I’m looking somewhere other than to Him to be made whole. That’s on me. Not on her. I know.
    I feel that I should end by telling all of you that my pastor’s wife loves Jesus. She loves her husband and her kids. She serves our church well. At the end of the day, she’s just a sinner in need of grace, and so am I. I love her, and I want to support her. But the question was “what do you wish you had known.” And this is what I wish I had known.

  96. Janie says

    I wish I would have know that other women in the church, even (especially) other pastor’s wives, would hurt me more than anyone else. I feel that our lead pastor’s wife takes advantage of me; to be honest, I feel like her personal punching bag. I know it’s difficult for her to “be real” with most women in the church. I understand that she feels comfortable with me, and that she can let her guard down in our relationship. She feels free to reserve her worst flaws and her worst moods for me. And, most days, that’s okay. Honestly. I’m relieved that she has an outlet. I’m thankful she has at least one relationship in which she doesn’t feel the need to filter her appearance, her words, and her actions. But, sometimes, it really, really hurts. And, yes, it’s lonely, too. I wouldn’t think of ever talking to another woman about it, and I hate to burden my husband with my hurt feelings. What can he do? I sometimes long for him to defend me, but it wouldn’t do any good. It would cause more hurt for more people. So, I keep it to myself and cry about it when my husband isn’t home.
    It’s also confusing. I like to think that she and I are friends; she calls me her friend. But I feel like she’s my superior. Doesn’t friendship feel like equal footing? Give and take? Mutual respect? None of those things describe our relationship or at least the way I experience our relationship. I wish it were different. It makes me so incredibly sad and confused.
    In my former life (pre-marriage and pre-ministry), I felt useful. I felt like God had gifted me with specific talents. I felt like He had a plan and purpose for my life. Now I feel marginal and little and insignificant. I sometimes believe that my purpose in this church is to be a doormat. And, believe me, I know how much that says about my relationship with God these days. It says that I’ve placed my worth in other things and in other people. It says that I’m looking somewhere other than to Him to be made whole. That’s on me. Not on her. I know.
    I feel that I should end by telling all of you that my pastor’s wife loves Jesus. She loves her husband and her family. She loves and serves our church well. At the end of the day, she’s just a sinner in need of grace, and so am I. I love her, and I want to support her. But the question was “what do you wish you had known.” And this is what I wish I had known.

    • Rhonda says

      Hi Janie. I’m so sorry that your going through this. Are
      you a pastors wife, or does your husband work for/in a church for a
      living? I understand that you care for your Pastors wife, but you
      do not deserve to be anybodys personal punching bag. I will be
      praying for you.. If you would like an email friend I’m here, just
      let me know. As you can see we are all pretty much in similiar
      situations one way or another. Blessings to you, Rhonda

  97. Lindsay says

    I have been dating my boyfriend who is in seminary to be a pastor. We are in a bit if an odd spot because I am really not religious. Reading these posts kind of make me worry of our future together and if we were to get married how would people feel of a pastor marrying someone who isn’t religious? I would not change who I am just to please these ridiculous expectations the church has on the pastor and his wife. I am an artist I gave tattoos and I don’t plan on hiding myself because no one is perfect.

    • Kim says

      Lindsay,
      I don’t think being religious is the issue. The issue will be are you a Christian? Have you asked Jesus to come into your heart and be the Lord of your life? Where is he in seminary? If he is studying to be a pastor he knows that in a marriage the Lord says not to be unequally yolked. Meaning Christian should not marry non-christians or those who don’t share the same faith. There are a lot of religious people in the church and those are the folks that will critic everything you do as a pastor’s wife. I have seen a lot of ministers today that do have tattoos and there are places that can be ministered in, but you need to be sure about God calling you to be married to someone who is comiiting their life to service in ministry.

    • Rachel says

      This is a serious question that you have raised, Lindsay. I think that it would be a good idea to read the Bible, perhaps the early parts of the Gospels according to Mark and Luke, which record the story of Jesus’ birth. Then read more in the first four books of the New Testament to find out who this Jesus, whom your boyfriend is planning to work for, is. Honestly, I see heartache and disaster ahead for both of you if you continue on this course without deep agreement on what is fundamental in life: one’s relationship with God through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to earth with a mission. From the baby in the stable He became a man who lived a perfect, sinless life. Then He offered that sinless life on our behalf on the cross. It’s like we owed an infinite debt on a credit card and He paid that debt off with His life. If we are sorry for the bad things we’ve done and believe that He paid the price for those things, we are forgiven by God, have the peace of His presence here on earth, and live forever with Him in heaven. This is what Christianity is. Your boyfriend, as a pastor, will be responsible for telling other people about Jesus and be expected to live a good life himself as an example of what a Christian man is. People will look to his wife for the same things. She and his children will be watched to see whether they’re living up to what he preaches. It might not be fair, but it’s what people do. I think that you should sit down with your boyfriend and have a serious talk about the differences in what you believe. Is he aware of your feelings about something that is so much a part of his life?

      • Lindsay says

        Well I personally don’t think that is fair to put such unrealistic expectations on a pastor and his family. People are people and people are flawed and religion is flawed as God isn’t perfect. People can judge all they want but neither me or my boyfriend will change who we are just because he is going into ministry. It’s sad how a church can be one of the most judgmental places but the refuse to admit to their own faults.

        • Rhonda Moore says

          It has been awhile since I have been on here but noticed Lindsays post and had to comment.
          Lindsay, I am going to be straight to the point with you as I can see that is what you expect from people. I am not here to judge you at all but I do feel the need to say that if you do not give your life to the Lord and become born again then you will bring your boyfriend down as well as yourself if you chose to marry. He will either continue to grow in his faith and the two of you will grow apart, or he will leave the faith and follow your path of not being very religious, Your words not mine!
          Now being a Pastors wife is not bad if you have friends outside of the church that your boyfriend/husband will be preaching at. It’s when you have no friends outside of the church that life becomes a little lonely. Also, learn to say the word NO. As in realize you have to have time for yourself and your personal life. My husband preaches at two churches. I alternate between the two. One church is slightly jealous of the other and I have heard that they say that we favor the other church. Now I have never said that or showed that and I just let it roll off of my shoulders.. Just consider the source of the trouble and learn to ignore them. Sometimes it feels like you are back in school with some of the people and how they act. People are not perfect but ” God is Perfect ” He will bring you through this if you give your life to him and learn to trust him.
          Blessings,
          Rhonda

    • Chamaigne says

      Lindsay,
      I don’t know if you will see this but I wanted to comment just in case (and for other readers). I’m not what most people on this forum would call a Christian either. I strongly feel that people should marry someone with whom they share the same beliefs about the purpose of life. Otherwise, it’s like trying to build a house together but you’re working off of two different blueprints. I trust you and your boyfriend know yourselves and will make the right decision for you.

  98. Unknown says

    I wish i knew how people are mean and people criticize my husband for their own fault. Its hard to watch. They twist his sermon and take it personally. They don’t like when he preach about sin. But at-least there are good people too and they will cheer you up when you feel down.

  99. says

    I have been a pastor’s wife for 45 years. There have been some difficult times and some really wonderful times. I grew up in a pastor’s home. My mother taught me that if we love our church members, they will love us. I find this has been true in my life. I know there are some difficult churches and situations. We have experienced some difficulties. In these times, God has drawn me nearer and there were times I felt His breath upon my hair and face. I used to try to read the Bible through in one year, now it takes me longer but it is such a sweet Book to my heart. Miinisters don’t raise perfect children but our two do love the Lord and I took the responsibiltiy of reading God’s Word to them at night when my husband was out visiting church members. I played the piano for church when no one else was there to play. I have 3 sisters that played for their church for years…one for 62 years. I have never wanted to feel my position was be recognized as above my husband’s position. I have taught in Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, worked with senior citizens and probably some other areas. Now that I am older, I tell those that ask that I don’t do everything. I pick the things I feel I am able to do and just say no to those I do not enjoy doing or don’t think that is the right thing for me to do. I am myself. I learned from my mother that I don’t have to say everything I think…even to my husband. I know how to knit, crochet, I love to read and can entertain myself. I think this is important. Learn to garden, or read good books, invite people into your home for a meal, or visit shut-ins. There are many ways to not be lonely. This may sound as my life has been without problems. It has not. I have seen my husband become addicted to morphine and pain pills after breaking his leg and be delivered from that. There have been many difficult times in our marriage but God is faithful and will bring you through it. As for friends in churches, my husband pastored 6 churches and we have friends in every church that we still stay in contact with. We have pastor friends and family. I don’t think there is any greater honor in any work than being a pastor’s family or missionary family. I thank God for His calling and am sad to not see many youth surrendering to that call anymore. I pray that each one that posted above find peace and love and purpose in serving God!

    • Rhonda says

      Hi Rich. Where are you guys located at? I will happily be her online friend if she wants to email me.. It can be a very lonely life, so I understand.

  100. Julie says

    I agree with many of the PWs here that loneliness would be #1 or very close. But not just for me but for my husband too. Many people are “friendly” but not friends. Many of the ladies where we are now (2 small churches) are very nice, friendly and probably the closest I have had to “friends” but I know I hold back in fear of saying the wrong thing which might make them look at my husband negatively. I ache for him because he doesn’t have even that closeness here altho he did at the 2 churches we previously served. We serve in a rural area and it’s not easy to find people outside the church to be friends with because everyone knows everyone else. We are blessed here because our churches like us so maybe overlook our “humanness”. My heart really goes out to the PWs who serve at churches with such mean spirited people.

  101. Kelly Conley says

    I want to thank everyone who has shared their feelings, because as many have said..”I don’t feel so alone”. My husband is in his fourth year of pastoral ministry and we just moved six months ago to our new church assignment. Love the new town and the people are much kinder that in our last church, yet – loneliness remains. I am very, very thankful for my new neighbor as she is a doll and seems to enjoy doing things with me as much as I do with her. She’s not very spiritual, but she is special!

  102. says

    For the past twenty years I have spent most of my Family Counseling time helping Pastors and their families. My heart goes out to the women who are writing here about loneliness and difficult relationships. I am offering any and ll of my written materials to church workers and their wives without charge. I also have many teaching videos on my web site about healthy relationships. If you go to my web and see a book or paper you want write me and I will send you an eBook free.www.sweetenlife.com

  103. Jennifer says

    I have read through many of these comments with a heavy heart. The last few months of ministry for my husband has been challenging but has also been worth it for the growth I’ve seen in his spiritual life. As a pastor’s wife, we are to love our husbands, but first we are to love Jesus with all our heart, soul and strength. When the deepest longings of our heart are satisfied in Him, we will begin to experience a proper focus on Christ and identity in Christ. Psalm 25 has ministered to me more than any other scripture lately. My focus must be on serving and waiting for Christ alone. Only then will ministry be a joy. Being satisfied in Christ is the only thing that produces contentment and joy. This year, I am determined to lead others by simply loving Christ and allowing him to satisfy my soul.

  104. Janet Riter says

    Whew. I’m well into the seventh month of being a pastor’s wife and have loved getting to know the people in the congregation of our first position as pastor. There are some really loving and supportive people here. Today, was tough though, I got hit hard with a verbal attack that became a personal attack. I guess my skin isn’t as thick as some expect it to be and my sense of humor has a bit of a dent in it. My husband and I have been involved in ministry for many years and many churches (He did 21 years with the Air Force first) and we’ve seen disgruntled people but today was unexpected. I just want to go back and give big hugs to all the pastors and wives who needed a bit more encouragement and friendship. I didn’t realize until this moment the desire a wife has to have a girlfriend to talk with about the struggles of loving a man who is a pastor. If anyone is in Idaho…please let me know you’re out there. Putting my rose-colored glasses away now! (smile)

    • says

      Janet

      We have a ministry for pastors and their families and woud lve to connect with you. We have also have an initiative called The Confidant for pastors’ wives and this an encouragement ministry among wives that understand and hold each other up in prayer. We send weekly encouragement emails and would love to add you to our list. We also have a private Facebook group just for pastors’ wives which has been a blessing to many. Would love to hear from you my email is rodetta@careorpastors.org

      Blessings
      Rodetta Cook

  105. Barbara Root says

    I have been, rather am a friend of several Pastor’s wives, and yes in the church we both were in. I am sorry that some Pastor’s wives are not able to have a good friend in the same place, but I understand the many reasons that one would do better to find one outside of the church they are in. It is a delicate line to walk…so many lay people expect the pastor, wife and family to be “perfect”…you are looked up to and unrealistic expectations are part of the package sad to say. Just want you to know that are are some lay people out there that will hold a confidence, know that your husband is truly just a man and you are truly just a woman, and that even tho he is anointed to teach and preach or lead worship or youth etc, that you live with him and see all the un-anointed parts……This layperson loves her pastor’s wife, will befriend her, listen to her pain and not divulge any of it…My prayer is that every Pastor’s Wife, find that friend and confidant that is so very much needed in their lives…someone who will pray for them, let them cry and rant, and love them even more! I pray that you have discernment to know a true friend when she comes into your life…they are rare, I know…but they are out there. Don’t walk in fear and even if you get a little singed around the edges sometimes don’t fear the fire…

    Blessings, Blessings, Blessings my “friends”

  106. Kelly says

    I have only just become introduced to this blog but more importantly this blog post. It is so fitting for me at this moment. We have been pastoring 14yrs & I feel so lonely. I wish that someone somehow would understand the feelings & frustrations this role brings. I long for understanding. I long for someone to ask me to lunch just because they want to spend some time with me. I long (& maybe unrightly so) for some appreciation, a pat on the back that I am a good PW or just some sort of acknowledgement. I long for a real vacation where we can unplug without texts or calls. I long for a mentor that I can be real with. I long not to feel like a sore thumb in the room or that I don’t fit it in.

    Overall we have a great church, filled with wonderful people but these longings still exist & I don’t suppose they will ever be filled. Is there hope for that?

    • says

      Kelly

      I understand your feelings. I have been a Pastor’s wife for 36 years and have dealt with all those emotions. We had now started a ministry for pastors and their wives to come alongside them and be that Ally for the Pastor and that Confidante for the wife. I would love to hear from you and come alongside you please feel free to email me at rodetta@careforpastors.org or call me at 352-728-8179. Our ministry is called Care for Pastors http://www.careforpastors.org

      Blessings,
      Rodetta Cook

      • Kim says

        I was so glad to see this ministry offered. I have not found anything like this so far. My husband and I have been in ministry for 27 years and married for 25 this past week. We have now been the senior pastor for almost 7 years and the church is going through some personnel issues that have been there long before we ever came to the church. This church has fired/run off at least 2 pastors that I know of and now I have begun experiencing the same things with the same people the other pastor’s wife dealt with. The loneliness is almost more than I can bare sometimes. These things that are happening are out of his control as the deacons have controlled this church along with a couple of families for more than 40 plus years. I am dealing with resentment, anger, loneliness and heartache. I can’t vent with him because he deals with it enough and needs my encouragement. And when things start happening where people are choosing sides (never seems to be the Lord’s side) the people that you have prayed for, loved and ministered to will turn on you in a second. I actually received a call at work from a woman in the church trying to convince me that I had an abrasive personality and was running people off from the church, she complained that I never really wanted or tried to be her friend, begin pointing out everything she thought my husband did wrong and then ended the conversation by attacking my marriage saying we did not have a loving marriage because we hardly ever talked at work! To be perfectly honest, I am crediting God for the fact that I did not let this woman have it. What wife goes to her husbands office and chit chats and kisses and hugs on him. What did she want me to do to prove my husband and I are committed and love one another, make out on the pulpit! I mean really! I actually thanked her for her input and ended the phone call. I felt like a stray dog that had been kicked in the stomach. This was a lady that I hugged everytime I saw her.
        I noticed there have been a few comments saying that they have had best friend/confidants in their churches but I really don’t believe at this point that exists. They may hold your confidence now, but once you do something or your husband does something they do not agree on all bets are off. I now go to church wondering where the knife in the back will come from next. I know God clearly called me and my husband to ministry. I am also a PK so I knew it would be hard. But, my parents have pastored for almost 40 years and never had these types of things happen to them. My mom actually is at a loss for words. I now am really struggling with God and wanting out of the church. I find myself trying to convince my gifted and anointed husband to find a way to minister in another type of job that is not the actual church. I just don’t want to be lonely and hurt anymore!

  107. Idong says

    One scripture that keeps me sane as a pastor’s wife is Colossians 3:17 – “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” There are nights when I have cried in despair and the only prayer I could utter was: “Lord Jesus, take me, take me now!” But I just have to remind myself that my husband and I are really serving Jesus, despite the conflict, drama, and downright meanness we face sometimes. One song that brings me comfort and hope is “It’s Not in Vain” by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. What we do for Jesus is never in vain, and God is faithful to reward us in due time. Every ministry comes with challenges but joy is not too far behind. I believe that out of every 10 adversities, God gives us one victory that trumps the bitter experiences. It could be that one person who was on the verge of committing suicide, but because of your love and ministry is alive today and full of hope. We have an enemy, and he is behind all the strife and bitterness in the church, because he wants to discourage us from winning souls to Jesus. He knows he cannot steal our salvation, so he aims to quench the fire of God in our souls. Please hang in there with the Lord my sisters. We have a heavy burden to bear, but we are impacting lives that we may never know of until we get to heaven. In closing, I love the Desperate Pastors’ Wives series. It is a work of fiction but so real that you may even see yourself in it (I know I did). Laughter is good medicine for the heart, and I pray the humor behind those stories will bless and encourage you (if you have the time to read). If reading is not your thing, find something you enjoy doing and invest some time in it. Trust God to fight your battles and rest in His perfect will, knowing that you are so pleasing to Him. God bless you, my sisters.

    • Fanny says

      The scripture that the Lord spoke to me recently is Deut.10: 18 ” The Lord set apart ” and we are called by Him to do his work in spite of betrayer, persecutions at times and even on going gossips or lack of appreciations.
      My survival tactics apart from leaning on the Lord is bonding with other pastors wives with a group or at least one or two of them. The bonding helps me to set boundary with negative comments and influence. After praying and fellowship with the sisters that I love, I am more ready to deal with all these Satanic attacks from the enemy. I remind myself that it’s not them that against us, they are being deceived by the enemy as use them as tools to attack servants of God & our family. Then I am not bothered by them as much when I am in lined with God and loved ones having similar background and struggles.

  108. Anonymous says

    Hi everyone, I have been dating my boyfriend who has a year left in seminary. I really would like to see us get married one day but sometimes I worry if I can handle being a pastors wife. How do you handle how busy your husband can be without feeling neglected? I myself am also going to be graduating College at the same time and am working hard to get a career in the arts. I just worry that he may not be around much. I am slowly trying to find my way in all this as I have never really grown up active in faith so it’s an interesting journey. Hope to hear from you all!

    • says

      Dear Anonymous,

      As you and your boyfriend look at marriage and going into ministry, you must set proper boundaries or else ministry will get everything off balance. This is why we have a ministry for pastoral families is to offer an Ally for the Pastor and a Confidante for the wife. You must have people in your life to help keep the balance. Praying for you as you look at entering ministry life together.

      Rodetta Cook

    • Sarah says

      Hey girl! I would echo the whole idea of my husband being my ministry. It’s simple, but it is powerful in that it has helped me make decisions about what to be involved in and where to focus my time. After all, even though his chosen vocation does impact me and the way we do life as a family, I still have my own gifts that God has given me to live out.

      When it comes to feeling neglected… that’s something to be very aware of and intentional about. I know so many people in ministry that struggle to find a healthy balance (and so many women who resent their husband’s calling because they never discussed this before marriage). It’s definitely something to talk about BEFORE you’re ever married. Ministry is tricky. I mean, your husband’s job is to shepherd the church… whether he’s the lead pastor or the head of a ministry within the church. When Paul said it’s easier to be single I KNOW he was dead on when it comes to doing ministry. Adding your own family into the mix makes things more complicated and either sets you up for a frustrated and neglected marriage and family life… or, with intentionality, you can figure out how to balance both and have a healthy ministry and marriage. As for my husband and I, here’s how we’ve decided to approach this whole thing.

      Our family comes first, period. My husband’s list of priorities is as follows: God, Sarah(me), Miles & Silas(our boys)… then ministry. For us, this means that Michael isn’t gone every night of the week doing church things. It means that if someone needs to meet with him that he’ll meet them for breakfast so that he protects his time with us at supper (we got this one from Andy Stanley,,, Doug Fields and Andy Stanley are two men whose family life/marriage that we have learned a lot from and respect… they’re worth looking into). It means that he leaves church at 5pm everyday so that he’s home in time to eat with us and have intentional time with the boys before bed… and me after they’re down. If he has a meeting that will last all night then he’ll take time off earlier in the day to be with us. I’m not gonna lie, sometimes it is hard having the schedule that he works off of. I don’t like having to get the boys ready for church every Sunday by myself. I don’t like when he’s gone a full week at some church event… but I know my husband is called to what he does and God has clearly gifted him to do it well so I want to support him in that. And since we have set boundaries to keep our family life and marriage from being steamrolled, I enjoy my role of being his support rather than resenting it.

      So, if Michael and I were sitting down with you and your bf talking about what the future might look like for the two of you here are some ?s we would probably ask you. Describe to us what kind of marriage you want (don’t think about ministry… just dream here). Talk about what your expectations are with regards to being married while your husband is in ministry (you mentioned pursuing something in the arts…totally my heart, btw… what does that look like for you? how can you make that work within the ministry lifestyle?). Talk about what you NEED in your relationship (eg. I need Michael home at 5pm these days because that’s the time of day I start to lose my mind… thank you toddler and baby :)… I also need him to communicate with me about his church schedule… he always passes the calendar by my and our home schedule before it’s set in stone). This may be in regards to ministry and it may not be. Why are you (anonymous) worried that your man may not be around much if you’re married? Is this because he’s not around a lot right now? What steps can ya’ll take to work on this right now if it’s an issue… or prevent it from happening in the future? What couples do you know that are in ministry that have a marriage you respect? Talk to them… figure out how they do it and ask for their input.

      I love my husband and I love (most days) that he is called to something so special. It’s hard to describe what it’s like to watch your man doing what you know he’s created to do. Such a special thing. But, I think it’s so wise that you’re thinking about all these things ahead of time. I think this stuff is so important so let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help. :)

      • Anonymous says

        Sarah, thank you so much this helps a lot! I don’t have too many people to talk to about this. I wouldn’t mind maybe chatting through email sometime feel free to email me at ldale.1@go.ccad.edu we are a bit different then the typical couple I guess because we have different views in things etc. But feel free to email me!

      • Kate says

        Sarah, Thank you for such a wonderful post. I poses a lot of the same ideas as you do for your family and ministry. After reading through most of the posts I really enjoyed reading something so refreshing for others to learn from. My husband who is a lead pastor of a redeveloping church for the past year has really tried to follow a lot of what you talked about. It does not always work and usually a season or two we have to take extra time to make up for him not being around but it works pretty good. Our church is very excepting of any role I play along with my husband. I am lonely though just like almost everyone else has said. It is hard to have a really close relationship with in the church and our church is in the community quite a bit to that makes it difficult too. I do have close friends with in a phone call but as a stay at home mother with 2 little ones and a husband in full time ministry I long for the face to face relationships. You seem like you have a good balance with ministry and family but do you find you struggle with relationships too?

    • Rachel says

      Yes, Perfect. This is the way I see my life. My husband and I have done youth work together and I’ve also been involved in another children’s group at the church. However, my main “ministry” is supporting him in his work: trying to make sure that he gets enough rest and being there for him to talk to about things, plus the usual things like cooking his meals and making sure there’s clean laundry. This has been my “career” for the last almost-20-years. Though I miss the income and socializing of working outside the home, I feel that this is what the Lord wants me to do for now. We’ve been through some hard times and are currently looking for another pastoral charge, but the Lord is good.

  109. Teresa D. May says

    My husband pastored for 10 yrs before the Lord lead him to join ministry with another ministry. One day I was a stay at home Mom and the next I was a Pastors wife with no how to manual. 12 yrs later I wrote my first book published by Xulon press “That FrontRow Seat- Encouragement to Pastors Wives and those Who Lead”. It was my desire to share practical instructilons and examples with scripture as the basis to help not only the wife but the husband leader as well

  110. RT says

    Can so relate to some of the issues raised here! My husband and I support each other well. I stand alongside him and cheer him on. We are going into our eighth year in the Senior Pastor role. We have just come back from a two months break and hooray hosay, it’s not all rosey posey as how we left it.
    My husband’s hesitation into coming into this role was that he didn’t want us to get hurt. An understatement! We faced many along the way, we faced the challenges in the congregation, and moved forward. Most of the challenges we faced were those with agendas. When we don’t do what they think we should be doing, they leave …..!
    In this time around, I feel like I have been hit by a bulldozer cos every complaints made are aimed at me ( the Pastors wife). (the contention is from some of our key leaders. young too) So in my reasoning mind, God what about all the meals I cooked, the round the table conversation, the invitation and the privilege of sitting around our home table with guest ministries that no one in the church gets. I am angry, hurt, annoyed, don’t wanna go church anymore, feeling betrayed, who can I trust now…all the works that I am having to work through.
    It’s so true, it’s a heck of a lonely place to be. Pastors wives should not have to be
    A few years ago I got told off by an old lady in our congregation that what I wore was inappropriate for a Pastors wife. (FYI. a sleeveless top not a bikini in church.) I slipped into the office and cried my eyes out. Another incident, a leader bagged me in front of my husband. :) I swallowed that one and moved forward.
    I have learned that you have fans and enemies in ministries. It doesn’t matter what you say, some congregational members will form negative opinions. I have learned that I can’t always please everyone. I will always get on people’s noses one way or the other, especially leaders. While you are expected to encourage your congregation and smile, there is very little grace shown to you. I have learned in this NOW challenge to stay close to God, what is He teaching me through it all, bite it and move forward. And am thinking, God how many more, not fair. It sucks and my flesh says, bugger them if I may be honest.
    Pastor’s wives are human beings with feelings, emotions, desires etc and congregational members forget that far too many times. Bless ya y

  111. says

    As Dr. Rainer mentioned several weeks ago that Pastors are poorly trained in several areas, including interpersonal relationships. From being a church member for decades I agree but the most glaring problem is the lack of training of the members by the Pastors. So many of the issues here are the result of rude, crude, inappropriate remarks by members who obviously have no training in interpersonal skills.

    My ministry has equipped hundreds of leaders around the globe to “Speak the truth in love”. I will send a free book to anyone on this list.

  112. NOT a pastors wife says

    To Pastors Wives,
    This comment is from someone who is on the other side of the issue…a person who is not and has never
    been married to a pastor. There is a possibility that you, as pastors wives, COULD be overly sensitive
    to things and even imagine things are happening when they are not. Of course, I’m sure many things really
    do happen that should not and disrespect for a pastor or his wife is a big issue and should NEVER happen.
    Consider what has happened to me over the course of several years in my church. One day I was in the
    church office taking care of some business when I saw my pastors wife at her desk. I innocently asked how
    her middle daughter was doing, not knowing that this daughter was making some wrong choices and hooked
    up with bad relationships. I just wanted to know because I had this girl in my class when I was a substitute
    teacher at the church school. It was a very innocent question. I did not know anything and assumed she may
    have left town to attend college in another city. This pastors wife gave me a funny look and even then I did
    not realize I had stepped on her toes. I am not the type to go fishing for gossip. If I had known at the time I
    would have prayed for this girl more and I would have had compassion on her. My own daughter had her son
    before marriage. I don’t condone that behaviour but I certainly love my daughter no matter what and expect
    the pastor and his wife to feel the same way about their children. I have counseled pregnant unmarried girls
    at a pregnancy pro life center for years and in no way am I trying to be judgemental about someone elses
    struggling child. Another time not long after I went riding around town trying to get ideas of paint colors for our
    home. I like to see colors on houses that may be similar to mine so usually if I want to change the colors I’ll
    go riding around in similar neighborhoods. I happened to be in their neighborhood….I know what neighborhood
    they live in but have never been to their house and am not even sure exactly which house belongs to them.
    I did not even realize I was near their house until I saw the pastors wife turning into the neighborhood. I was
    surprised to see her and waved and smiled and she glared at me like she was suspicious of me. Several days
    later while outside I looked up and saw her riding in my subdivision looking at my house but I don’t think she saw
    me.. Understand, the only reason you would ride on my street is if you were going somewhere
    on that street because it is in the back of the neighborhood, not “on the way” to anywhere else. Since then,
    she has made mean remarks that have gotten back to me. It got so bad I left because I realized the pastor was
    taking part in this all based on an assumption of something that never happened. I just want to worship God and serve him. I’m not trying to take someones place or find “dirt” on anyone. Why can’t the church just act like
    the church. Sure, we are only human. But that can get to be an excuse after awhile. Remember, not every one
    is watching everything you do as pastors wives. More often than not we admire you and think you are doing a
    great job. Don’t always make enemies where there are none. Most of you knew when you married that your
    spouse would be a pastor. And believe me, most of us do not expect your families to be perfect. There is NO such thing.
    The thing that bothers me most is not that you don’t have perfect kids or lives or whatever. The thing that bothers
    me most is that you often try to make us believe that you do when you don’t. We would much rather know
    that we are not the only ones with less than perfect families but by the grace of God we can still have happy
    families. I have a wonderful husband but we are so different on so many levels. We have one child that struggles more than the others. We are not as judgemental as you think we are….at least not most of us.

  113. Melissa says

    I came here looking for help to understand my feelings. This has really helped! One thing I would add that I experience is that I feel left out of meetings where people talk about and decide things that effect my life all the time. I’m not invited to any such meetings. Helping my husband with the music ministry is the center of my life. I want it that way because I’m a musician myself and in the band. It makes me happy. But I can’t help being involved in various aspects of the music. And any changes to the music ministry has a big impact on my life. But I’m not the Music Minister so I’m not invited to meetings with the senior minister, or meetings with all the other Jr. Ministers, even though I give my whole life to this church. I keep trying to back off and give less so that I feel less resentful. It’s such an aweful feeling to never get to express my opinions and concerns except through my husband, and have him come back and tell me what was decided. I feel so invisible, like no one even notices that I have no voice. When there are interpersonal issues like slander against me and I hear that there is “malicious gossip” about me, I still have no voice. One of the female Jr. Ministers seems to do all she can to vote “wives” out of social events, and she sure seems to enjoy it when she gets to spend time with my husband alone. She even tells me I am bad for him. But I have no recourse because I can’t gossip and I can’t mess up their professional relationship which includes the jobs they have outside the church. He depends on the customers she sends to him. All the Jr. Ministers meet together and when I first married my husband they had a meeting without me about whether or not I should be allowed to sing on stage because my husband’s ex-wife who left him was upset at him getting re-married. I just can’t seem to get over the pain of all this after two years of trying. Of course there is also the loneliness from being in a new city and not being able to confide in anyone. Right now I’m just separated from my Husband because I can’t take the pain any more of not feeling like I have a say in my own life. And yet, no one is doing anything wrong or inappropriate (except maybe the other female Jr. Minister). It’s just a circumstance of being only the “wife”.

  114. Lynne says

    I wish someone had told me what I can do when someone says something untrue about my husband and puts it on facebook – or worse, just insinuates things. Right now we are just leaving it alone and not engaging with this person. I don’t understand my own reaction of fearfulness because I absolutely know we have done nothing wrong even in a small way. He is planning on sharing this with elders and then speaking to the person (who is a “fringe” member of the congregation), but this person seems to be unstable. Any body have a similar experience? Any suggestions?

  115. says

    thank you, dr. rainer, for this perfect post. as i read thru the comments, i see so many young pastors’ wives searching for support and mentorship. i am by no means an expert, but the Lord laid it on my heart last summer to start a blog for pastors’ wives and other women in ministry.
    http://www.fishbowleffect.blogspot.com
    i launched it in January, and am blessed and amazed at God’s continued faithfulness in providing me with ‘topics’. i was extremely intimidated at the prospect of keeping up a blog, but if God calls you, He equips you, right?
    my husband (a family and youth pastor at our church in central texas) reads your blog on a regular basis, and forwards entries to me often. :-)
    thanks for all you do!

  116. diane turner says

    I am 20 years old and currently dating a young man who is also 20 and a youth pastor. We both serve at the same church, I am the worship leader for the youth. I was overseas for 5 and a half months and a few months after returning, we started dating with the intention of getting married. It’s been a very hard year. From dealing with the transition of coming back to the States, and going into ministry together as a couple, it’s been challenging. I’ve got a glimpse of just how hard it is to be a youth pastor’s wife or a pastor’s wife. I’ve been in this new church for almost 9 months. The pastor’s wife has been amazing at talking to me and being a wonderful example of what it looks like to be a pastor’s wife but other than that, only one older woman has spoken to me and one mother of the youth, and very rarely. As the woman youth leader and worship leader at our church, that has been very discouraging. There are many issues in our church that I’ve heard some about. It’s a very split church and I’ve questioned if I should leave or not. But I’ve stayed for the sake of the girls in the youth and my boyfriend needing support. He is so beat up after leaving every Sunday. It breaks my heart and I don’t know what to say half the time. It’s like I’m a broken record, “Sweety, trust in the Lord and His timing. We’re here for a reason. Everything will work out according to His plan.” But secretly, I’m so discouraged and dread going every week. We also live 45 minutes away and he’s not paid for being the youth pastor. He also is called the “intern” as he is a bible major and studying to be a pastor. Many times, he has got a text from our pastor on Saturday night telling my boyfriend to be ready to preach to the congregation in the morning. It has made me very hurt to see my boyfriend have to be discouraged from the youth, the lack of intentional people and friendships in our church, and the randomness of our preacher. I love our preacher to death but my boyfriend needs time to prepare and get in the Word that week. He deserves more notice than the night before. Am I wrong for thinking that? I can’t even imagine trying to get up in front of the congregation not fully prepared. I would be hurt and embarrassed, and trying to trust in the Lord to give me the words to say.
    Not only that, but my boyfriend is just so worn down and beat up after Sunday is coming to a close. What do I do??? I have seen so many comments saying they would not marry a pastor if they could go back/ they wouldn’t recommend anyone to do it.

    I love him very much and try to be as supportive and encouraging as possible and although ministry is very hard, I believe that it is worth it for the Kingdom. Advice is welcome! Thank you.

    • Marolynn@hotmail.com says

      I am so overwhelm at the good & bad comments that is written. Although, I am engaged to a Senior Pastor of his own church, I am praying that you believe God equip his men for “the call”. If the Pastor is called so will God equip his helpmate for strength, for encouragement, and a testimony to help many women in the churches that your husband have been “called” to preach. Consider it a blessing!

      Pastoring is not a job you start today and quit tomorrow. God called you to do his assignment and that is the bottom line. Wife is the backbone to support her husband and be there for him as he is lead by God instruction. God will take care of you for doing what he called you to do “helpmate” be strong in the Lord and pray for what you desire for the good and not pray for God to help the women who aches your heart but to pray that God gives YOU what you need to deal with this in the most meekness way.

      My future husband has told me what he expect of me as his wife. I am chosen God for him and he wants me to be his helpmate not the church members. I’ve am anointed to lead the dance ministry at my own church and will not join his congregation until we are married but as his wife; handling church politics, members, staff is his job and the appointed ones that is already in place. I will still dance for the Lord as God lead the way but I am to pray for my husband, give him support as I do now. Prayer is the key in our relationship as we do now and it will continue to be.

      To be a Pastor wife you have to be strong, have tough skin and be an example. Support your husband and pray those who come up against him… including your household to be covered as gives us all gifts like no other. I am a Christian and being apart of the body of Christ didn’t happen over night, being his wife should not change you in doing the ministry that God has assigned us all as people of God to ministry to all of his people. Pray for strength and be honest with yourself and God in your prayers. Forcing your husband to leave is like telling him to turn his back on God assignment that he was called to do, not the church folks or the giants that is within some of the ones that are hurting inside as well. That is the reason for people coming to the church house; to be healed, delivered, overcome sin and be apart of the body of Christ.

  117. diane turner says

    Also, when I say we live 45 minutes away, I mean that we live in the same town because we are both in college. Not living together. Not until marriage! Just clarifying just in case. :)

  118. Nancy says

    By reading all this comments, I am happy to know that I am not the only one going through tough issues as a pastor’s wife. I have been married to a pastor for 5.6 years now and we are in our early thirties. This is the loneliest time I have ever had in my life. We have a young ministry that we started ourselves and is only 4 years old with a membership of 40people. I work as a secretary and any extra money always goes to ministry work. So far we always pay most of the expenses in the church which has been a tough time. Our first son is now 4years and was born prematurely and had to be in hospital for one month. Our second born was also born prematurely and passed on after a week because his lungs had not matured and his heart was week. Any time i get pregnant, i always suffer from blood pressure during the last trimester which results to the baby being removed early. You know members will always expect you to be there for them in times of trouble but they always forget that the pastor and his family are also humans and they should also try their best to be there for them. In my 5 years, it has been a time of difficulty and hurts and yet I never find someone I can share with my thoughts, pains and struggles but only turning to God. Most of the time you however feel you need someone to talk to physically. My husband appreciates what I do and is very supportive but deep inside me I feel very lonely and sad. I lead worship in church and he always pushes me to do more but most of the time my body feels exhausted after working throughout the week and he usually gets upset and says i should be more supportive in church. He is a full time pastor but sometimes i feel he does not appreciate what i do for the church

    This forum has helped me see other ladies going through the same situations.

  119. mark says

    The Bible says the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective, yet something extraordinary happens when two or more agree together in prayer. In Matt. 18:19, Jesus said, “If any two of you agree touching any matter on this earth, it shall be done.” Post your prayer request below and believe that God is going to move mightily in your life as others from around the world pray in agreement with your request! You can also contact one of our email on pastormarkcharityhomme@hotmail.com god bless you

  120. JoyS. says

    I wish someone had told me too that I would be so lonely. If I didn’t have friends outside our church in a local homeschool group, I’d probably go insane. I would love to be friends with the girls in our church but no one wants to be friends with me. I chose to homeschool my children and I’m supportive of parents having a choice in their child’s education but instead I feel like that choice divides me from the others. They stop talking when I’m around. I’m not like the previous, well-loved pastor’s wife. When people are upset at my husband for speaking truth from the Bible and can’t find something to criticize him about, they slander me and my children in hopes that we’ll leave. No one in church has had to see their husband (who has given his whole life to minister to others) broken over the silly, petty things people get upset about. Christ must be ashamed of the state of his church. One of my closest friends (a pastors wife in another church) recently had to pack her family and move 4 hours away after being forced out of their church. It’s a travesty. The families are hurt, the children are hurt, and most of all, the cause of Christ and his church are hurt.

  121. Jacki says

    First of all this probably wont post because the adding at the top of this post isn’t working.
    I’ve been a pastors wife for many years. I LOVE THE MINISTRY. However, the things that hurt are what cut deeply.
    My husband prays in a second with anyone, but never prays with me. His sermons are getting dull
    and I want to retire. He does not.
    It would be nice to know, he would put me before the church but just let me say one word about a precious board member …to him alone….and who is it he defends? You got it. I feel like a vase that is there for show, and he doesn’t care whether I make it to heaven or not. Forget the talks…we’re way past that.

  122. says

    these are all good things to be told and to be aware of when goind into ministry. i think an important thing that was very helpful to me was my husband’s insistance and teaching with the church board of our churches re what expectations were realistic of me and other staff wives and which were not.

    for example, the whole concept that i should be doing whatever isn’t being done by other members is NOT a biblical one or a wise/realistic expectation!

    just as the strengths of the pastor, your husband, are a gift to the church, so are your strengths. they can keep yo busy doing lots of stuff that keeps you busy or you can decide to do the things strategically that will be a wise use of your time both for the church and for your family.

    the time you spend with your family won’t always be the most efficient time, but it will be the best for the growth and development of your family and for their spiritual growth as well. no one else will spend that time with your kids and spouse that you can.

  123. pearl says

    Thanks for the article above. I have been Pastoring along with my husband for 9 years now, 4 of which was while we were on University campus. We started ministry while in school, and now we Pastor a church founded by my husband. I definitely share the feelings of some women here, and i sympathize with the ups and downs that comes with being in ministry and being a ministry wife.
    All in all i am learning the place of the Holy Spirit in my life as a helper and teacher and very importantly the place of prayer. I think it is impossible to succeed as a ministry wife without prayer.
    I have also learnt to always put God’s purpose first, knowing that as much as I am a good wife I obey God’s commands despite the response of lack of response from my husband. For me No 8 thing i wish i had been told is that “being a Pastor’s wife is like resuming at a university where you would have to learn daily”.

  124. Gina Mac says

    I’ve been a minister wife for 17 yrs a pastor wife for 3 yrs. The first 17 yrs of our marriage we wonderful even in the bad times. The 3 yrs, since my husband has been pastoring, he’s all about the church and members . 99% of his mind is on them. 8 months ago I’ve been having mixed emotions. I feel like I’m in a marriage all by myself. My love for him has left my heart and when he tells me he loves me, I cannot respond it back to him. I’m not happy in my marriage anymore. What can I do?

  125. Sarah says

    First, I would tell him that you’re feeling neglected and see how he responds. But, regardless of how that goes I would say counseling, counseling, counseling! If he’s willing to go with you that’s awesome… but if he’s not then go yourself. I feel like this should be a requirement for all of us. :) Just prayed for you and your husband’s relationship.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Seven Things Pastors’ Wives Wish They Had Been Told Before They Became Pastors’ Wives – I wish someone had told me how much my husband needs me to build him up. “I need to be his cheerleader. Dealing with critics in the church is difficult. He needs to hear that I respect him now more than ever.” – Thom Rainer [...]

  2. [...] 7 Things Pastors Wives Wished They Had Been Told Before Becoming Pastors Wives by Thom RainerI am especially grateful to have the opportunity to hear from pastors’ wives since much of my focus is on pastors. Our recent, informal survey simply asked the open-ended question: “What do you wish you had been told before you became a minister’s wife?”  Thank you to the pastors’ wives who were willing to give us such great feedback. And thanks to Chris Adams for doing the survey and to Amy Jordan for assembling the data. Read More. [...]

  3. […] Several months ago, I wrote a post about pastors’ wives. The responses and comments were numerous and incredible. One of the greatest blessings about this blog for me is how much I learn from others. As I read the comments and the interactions, I came away with a greater appreciation for pastors’ wives, as well as a greater concern for these ladies. […]

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