I love the community that has formed on this blog. There are several of you who are regular commenters; you have become a part of this blog family, and I feel like I know you.

Some of you come to the blog in affirmation of what I have written. I am always grateful for such encouragement. But some of you disagree with me. I gladly post your comments for two reasons. First, I want to be fair to all who take time to read my blog. Second, I am wrong some of the time and I need to be corrected.

How This Story Began

Sometimes, however, you come to this blog hurting deeply. You need a place where you can be heard, and you need a place where you can share your pain without fear of retribution. That is why I allow you to comment in anonymity if you so desire. My only requirement is that you enter your legitimate email in case we need to confirm that you’re not hiding behind a fake address. But we will never publish your email address.

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about pastors’ wives, and what they wish they had known before they became a pastor’s wife. The article struck a nerve. Much to my surprise, I discovered a depth and breadth of hurt of which I was unaware. I was ashamed I had been so oblivious to this pain.

The Story of Good Pastors

Please hear me clearly: Most pastors are good pastors. Most pastors are good people. Most pastors are good family persons.

But some pastors forget their priorities. They neglect their vows to their spouses. They abandon their families under the guise that they are doing God’s work. I served as a pastor of four churches. There were times that I neglected my wife and my three sons because I could justify my busyness as God’s work. I was wrong, terribly wrong.

The Hurting Pastor’s Wife

As my post on pastor’s wives became a lively conversation, I was struck by one comment in particular. Indeed I was almost brought to tears as I read it. Here are her words without any changes, additions, or deletions:

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!

Wow. The pain is so obvious. The hurt is so deep.

The First Ministry 

When Paul was giving Timothy the qualifications of the pastor/overseer, he made a summary statement in 1 Timothy 3:5: “If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?”

Pastors often share with me the difficulty they have in balancing the priorities of family and church. But the Bible, through Paul’s words, gives us a slightly different perspective. Pastors are not choosing between two different priorities. Their family is actually their first level of ministry in the church. If they cannot minister to them well, they cannot take care of the church.

Pastors are pulled in countless directions. The demands and expectations are endless. But pastors, please don’t neglect your first ministry. Don’t neglect your family. Let every member of your family know how much you love them. Even more, show every member of your family how much you love them every day by praying with them, giving them time, listening to them, and demonstrating they are your first ministry in the church.

Satan would love to destroy your family. In God’s power, please don’t let it happen.


  1. says

    Was really struck by the depth of sorrow in that post. As a Pastor I can testify to a wife who has been hurt. We are taking time out from ministry because she needs time to recover, and we want to focus on the kids. I’m wanting to get back into ministry, but will not do this without her.

      • Gail Faircloth says

        These women hold a special place in my heart. I have been a pastor’s wife for 4 years now. I am married to a wonderful man and have not experienced this hurt but a hurt of another kind. The church was broken.
        I had been warned by another pastor it would be hard being a pastor’s wife and I could even expect to see some jealousy. When my husband asked me to marry him, he explained he not only wanted a partner in marriage but also in ministry. I was excited. Not long after, I found out how cruel some of those who sat in pews could be. My husband is a gifted preacher but I have heard those who are angry and want to run “their” church their way (not God’s way) tear him apart. I have personally felt their anger when it was said I helped too much. I worked with the children on Wed. night – did children’s time during service and now and then held the bread during Communion. It was a small country church. I now know what it is like when another female who loves to be center stage gets upset. I never dreamed I could do too much at church or these “Christians” could ever behave this way. I have stood by shocked when my son was verbally abused when he spoke up because someone was using inappropriate language on the church grounds. Our pastors and their families need our prayers but those in the pews need them too.

        • Liz says

          Do understand the broken church. My husband has put me first but our last church had people in leadership who ran my hubby and I into the ground and only cared about finances not having any faith in God to provide. We left that church over a year ago as the majority of the people loved us but the leadership were arrogant, did not want to work, and acted spiritual when they only cared about the almighty dollar. We didn’t want to split the church so left quietly and my husband left the ministry. I am still hurting from losing my friends and life there and having a broken husband. Trying to trust that God is not finished and will lead us to our next step.

          • Janice says

            I can identify with your comments. My husband resigned the church last November and we stayed on until end of February. (We were able to draw checks and since there is no unemployment in ministry it helped us financially). Thirteen years of our lives had been given to the church and community. It is a small town and that doesn’t help either. When you are a people person like I am and have built a relationship with people over 13 years….I was crushed and couldn’t believe what was happening. We own our home in the community and yes you guessed it – on market and since it is a small town hasn’t sold in 6 months. He applied everywhere for a job with no success. He finally was able to get a part-time job but it doesn’t really pay enough. His age is 62 and so he was able to apply for early retirement (not what we had planned). Ministry in our domination is not paid enough to be able to raise a family and put money back for retirement. So we are watching every penny as all the bills are still there but regular checks are not. The financial is hard especially with the economy. But:

            The emotional part of being shunned because you are still in the same community is much more hurtful to me. They haven’t called a new pastor yet (will be 1 year in November) and those kids, couples, members we ministered to in the hospital, funeral homes, and other circumstances are gone. I lost my whole social world all at once. Oh there are a few that have stopped by but I could count them on 3 fingers. I try not to say much to my husband because this has really been hard on him. He is educated (has Dr. in ministry) and has always kept up with the times. He is teaching teens to drive now. Healing has been very necessary for us. For some unknown reason God has kept us here for some reason. We have raised 6 kids grown and living in various places. This has been hard on them but they are all still attending church but with a lot of not understanding what happened. Well each day I pray and ask God to bring some answers but a good friend said to me this morning “Maybe God is keeping you here until some people can make restitution”. In our devotions together we talked about that. This certainly is where I thought we would be – two people who love the Lord and want to be about ministry – hard to do when you are in this size community because we need to be careful as others might not understand. I know the Lord is able but am so disappointed in the fact that “Christians” were able to stop our ministry and unless that is made right – it will happen again to the next pastor’s family as it has in the past. I guess we always feel like God can help us make a difference this time – but the people have to be willing to change. Thanks for listening will be praying for you and your family. Please remember us in prayer as well.

          • Tammy says

            God Bless everyone for this site. I have just experienced one of the most hurtful times of my life. My husband and I have been pastoring for the past 17 years. We have been at the local church here for almost 11 and have put every ounce of love and engery into only to have people to turn their backs on us, refuse to work with us, critize whatever we do, or leave and take other members with them. We have decided to leave the ministry. I can no longer function. I am too hurt. I am too angry. I am too disappointed. I am too confused. I no longer know if God is really able to turn thing around enough for me to even step foot back into a church. So reading these post make realize I am not alone.

          • Liz says

            You definitely are not alone, Tammy. Sorry to hear that you are going through this. My husband has been out of the pastorate for over 2 years now. He is still not ready to face it again. I have mixed feelings as I feel he is not using a special gift that he has and that is a shame. I hope one day he will again. God is there for us even when people disappoint. Will keep you in prayer!

          • Kimberly says

            I recently met an older gentleman who left the ministry after 5 years…. his father was a minister and his brother and he were brought up to go that direction… of course, Christian colleges have perks for preachers’ kids!

            What he told me of women who were attending to prep for being preacher’s wives and many of the rules were astounding… REALLY? this is how we train our men for ministry?

            FIRST, … what he knew of scripture was less than i, A lay person , have experience.
            SECOND… there is a local radio commercial that points out that USUALLY church people go to their preacher FIRST when having conflict…. suicide of child, marital problems, etc.
            NON OF THESE MEN have the training and expertise to deal with this ….

            I had a preacher who has professed I had “Personality” disorder… I’d love to get an affidavit to prove this and SUE his FUTURE right out of ministry… he has no credential to make such a claim… and one would wonder his motivation to make such a claim…

            I’m seriously sad to hear the stories of preacher’s wives and kids and all the chaos of AMERICA and religion…. SOMETHING MUST GET TRANSFORMED!

            we have become the people Craig Groshel speaks of in his book THE CHRISTIAN ATHEIST!

            we don’t know THE CHRIST!
            we have NOT been “TRANSFORMED” and have a serious need for a NEW revival!

            I’m sorry for the pain and suffering of these people ( AND MYSELF…. a survivor of PASTORAL SEXUAL ABUSE! )

          • Karen says

            I too understand the hurt that church people can do to you. My husband is a fabulous teacher, fabulous man, and loved by many. Our youth pastor was having an affair, and felt my husband might know (he didn’t). He went around the church discrediting my husband, so if people found out, they wouldn’t believe the news of his adultery. By the time we found out, over 200 people had left the church. We were forced to merge with another church to keep some of our people together. My husband is now an assistant pastor and not teaching much. I am waiting for God to restore him. I am broken.

        • Broken says

          Wow I am not the only one. My husband is a wonderful man and an awesome husband. My husband is a youth pastor and I “overstep” in the churches eyes, but not my husbands. It makes it hard to even go to church. I have steped back and stay in the shadows, as the pain is too hard and that is what they really want. I have had anxiety attackes over going to church but strive to put on a brave face. The people who I thought were friend show their true claws and it hurts. I wonder if i will even make it though ministry, striving to make it through.

          • Paul Wilkes says

            My wife can clearly identify with you ” broken”. Our last church did not like her having anything to say and experienced the same pain. I have now had to leave there because of the tensions. We will pray for you.

          • says

            We all feel so alone sometimes and being “mistreated” is clearly not OK but we have to remember who it is we fight for and stay strong! I have been through something like what you describe and I can tell you, my husband sent me this from work as he saw your heart as my heart and the pain I’ve been dealing with has been similar to your pain. I’d like to connect and let you know that you’re not alone! We have to stay strong but we have to stay committed to God and protect ourselves from abuse that people seem to think is OK.
            God Bless you and I hope we can share more but for now…stay strong…Satan is working his evil but God is stronger and so are we!! Stand firm in God!! Hugs, Sandy.

    • says

      I’m a Pastor’s Wife and I so understand. My husband was asked by the Chairman of the Board “is that a deal breaker?” when he said that we are both a part of his ministry and being told that “his wife is neither a member or on the board so she should know nothing about confidential things”.
      As a Pastors Wife people approach me to confide in and I respect that and my husband and I pray together. The same is true with my husband and he and I pray together and offer support in whatever way we can.
      God brought us together to be a team in HIS service and that is the way it’s been in the first two churches where he was Interim Pastor. Then comes church number 3. We were warned not to take on the church however my husband was CALLED and he listened.
      It was sweet in the beginning. I was using a walker, then a wheelchair…depending on the day and I honestly think that I didn’t appear to have an opinion. People were condescending and quite lovely and welcoming toward me. I had begun attending church 3 while he finished up at church 2. (The 2 hour drive was very hard on my condition so I decided I could no longer travel.)
      Three months or so of attending prior to my hubby, he was asked to preach. They liked him and offered him the job as Interim Pastor. He accepted.
      A long story shortened, God helped me through a year of Chiropractic Care and lots of prayer and I became more confident and am now able to walk! Praise God but the church didn’t seem to see the MIRACLE that God had done! Most preferred me to be disabled it seemed as less and less people would greet me, talk to me, acknowledge me.
      The final straw was a nasty email (one of a few) clearly blaming me for “rocking the boat” so to speak when we challenged, WE challenged the false teachings and Eastern practices that had seeped into this Baptist Church.
      I am a Christian. I am strong in my faith. I stand up for God and I am against evil and non Biblical teachings and practices. I speak. I am also a “Pastor’s Wife”.
      I trust that all persecution that I receive is a Blessing as I know that I only speak the TRUTH…IN FAITH that God is with me.
      My husband resigned and we are looking forward to God’s next assignment but don’t think it hasn’t been a struggle. It still is but I stand FOR GOD and IN GOD’S TRUTH I will not be broken down.
      God Bless all of you who are in persecution, “mans world” of jealousy, ignorance and new age….Stand strong remembering that God has a special place for YOU! We’ll see you there! Hugs, Sandy.

    • says

      I agree with you ! Build the family then step back into your calling and take your wife and children with you. Families who do ministry together stay together. I have been a pastors wife and pastor for 36 years and know this. If I had not worked with my husband our ministry would not be the success it is today.
      Do it together !

      Dr Hazel Hill
      Victory Churches International

  2. says

    There are so many ancillary issues for a pastor like this husband. The question: is he, is his church, are we as the American church, willing to work them through? (1) have we defined success such that pastors feel responsible for it and driven toward it? (2) are we so focused on the externals that we give only lip service to the issues of the heart (eg. A Leander’s brokenness, temptation to be a people pleaser, severe lack of regard for his wife and family, temptations toward sex, money, power)? (3) who, in neutral, good, real and accountability-driven ways will enter a pastor’s life and remain there, perhaps weekly asking him and even his wife and family the hard questions, to keep him on track?

    How many leaders will we lose before we radically change the model?

    • Kimberly says

      Love the book “The Christian Athesist”
      I no longer spell it C hristian but cHristian… because I see so few GOD FEARING| GOD FOLLOWING church people…. lets go to the country club or some social event… but going to CHURCH to be more like Christ seems unheard of…
      thanks for expressing these thoughts!

  3. Anonymous says

    When my husband was called to be a full time pastor from being a youth pastor 6 1/2 years ago, a pastor friend warned me that I’d rarely see my husband anymore. He said he and his wife have “moments”. They see each other in “moments”. Mind you, their church is right beside the parsonage. Thankfully, it hasn’t turned out that way for me. I have the most wonderful, loving, involved husband and I couldn’t ask for him to do any better in takin care of his family than he does now! We have two boys and they never feel neglected. Neither do I. And it’s not because he neglects the church either. He balances. And I help him when I can. I’m so thankful to have a godly, attentive husband/pastor! I hurt for the wives who can’t feel this way. I’ve heard many horror stories along the way and its so sad.
    Thank you for this post. Maybe some husbands/pastors will have their eyes and hearts open by this.

  4. Bethany says

    Churches need to realize that pastors should be with their families more than just physically present at the church office. I am not undermining office time but as a pastor’s wife, the fact that my husband has a very emotionally invested job and is required to sometimes just up and go means that if his cell phone is on, he is working. It’s a portable office. Churches need to know that pastors with strong and healthy marriages and families that have love and respect for each other will allow the church to thrive in the greatest way. I’m so thankful that our church knows and understands this. (In the past, we were part of churches that did not understand this and it was horrible.) My husband is home most days in the early afternoon, and has two days off a week. I’m so thankful for our church and my husband. Also, as a pastor’s wife of almost 4 years (starting at age 19!) I wish I would have known that age does not equal maturity and to not take everything personally – sometimes people are grumpy at you because they are mad about someone or something else – and sometimes people just blow hot air but would never actually say anything to your face, so you can’t take these people seriously.

  5. Steve says

    “If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?” – this can also have many NOT lead in church since they perceive that their own house is “not in order”. Then their is failure to act, stagnation even though you could be a great asset to the body of church.

    • Eric says

      There may be a failure to act in the church. But if you read this verse and feel that your own house is “not in order,” then shouldn’t they act on correcting that, so that they may get back to working in the church? To me, if as the leader of a household I feel that my house hold is not in order, this verse tells me to get it in order. And from there I can go and begin to work in the church. Correct me if I’m wrong, though. I have 0 theological or religious education outside of your typical Sunday morning services and theological discussions with my youth pastors. But this is my interpretation of what should be perceived from this verse, if someone is in that situation.

    • says

      It’s not only right but intelligent to bring up the flip side of the coin -as to the loss of a brilliant and strategic asset to the Body of Christ when interfamily turmoil would threaten a man’s ability to continue in church leadership.
      But I will never forget Dr. James Dobson talking about how, as a young man, he started going off the rails with bad behavior. His father, a popular preacher on a circuit, left that circuit to see to his son. While away dealing with this responsibly, the ministry evaporated. But look at the asset that resulted- DR. JAMES DOBSON!!!! We never lose by doing things God’s way. The sacrifice and loss is always REAL if there’s any real sacrifice being made- no doubt! But in God’s Kingdom– sacrifice and initial loss are the theme song to great gain.

  6. Glenn Dawson says

    There is a fine line that we must walk as pastor. I never had all the answers and never expect to. My wife and i pray about decisions that I have to make. Transparency has to begin in the home for it to be truly effective from the pulpit. The biggest difficulty we have is that members think that I’m too busy to hear the “down and dirty” of their lives but my wife isn’t. She often gets tied up with their problems, which she doesn’t mind and later they want my take on scripture and my wife is a biblical scholar as well. She gets offended at times. We have learned to laugh about it later. I pray for pastor’s wives daily. Thanks Thom, this needed to be said.

  7. Julie says

    This breaks my heart. As I work to help and serve ministry wives in my area, this issue hasn’t come up. After reading this I realize how telling and embarrassing this would be to tell anyone that may know her husband. I just want to hug her neck, and give her good chocolate and let her talk. And while I would be doing this can one of you guys please go talk to him. He needs redirection and some stern words! Being the wife of a minister can be such a privilege and honor. It can be a blessing, but she is missing out on all of that. I’m now praying for her and praying that God will send someone to her that she can open up to and that will be of help to her.

  8. Allen Calkins says

    I served as a Baptist layman ten years before I was called to be a pastor. So I have heard all the gossip and unreasonable expectations placed on pastor’s wives and their families. I remember a deacon meeting over the likely termination of a staff member that probably did need to be terminated. But the complaint of one of the deacons was that their son did not bring his Bible to Sunday School. Really?! That is evidence this man needs to be let go?! How Absurd!
    I believe it is my job as the head of my household to manage the expectations of the church when it comes to my wife and my family. I have always told every church in advance of coming that ‘my wife will do what SHE feels led to do’. And I have always defended her when there was a complaint about her not going to a WMU meeting or joining me for some hospital visit. I let my kids ‘skip out’ on Sunday nights when they did not feel like coming for a season. The pastor must help the congregation set reasonable expectations. But, I must admit, part of why this works is because my wife is willingly active in church and serves in a gifted way in those areas the Lord draws her into.

  9. Randal says

    Taking care of your home is a church growth and retention strategy. My family watches how our Pastor interacts with his wife and kids and how he handles his finances.
    Because of his witness, we listen to his words.
    Because of his words (preaching), we are changed.

  10. Emily says

    My husband just resigned a church this past week. We were pretty much forced to resign after I had to take a job because we were struggling financially. Our family was about to make some drastic changes to accommodate my job- including moving and my husband making a commute to the church everyday and willing to be on standby to travel crazy hours for whatever anyone may have needed. Deacons and trustees of the church did not like this. Instead of asking how they could help or how they could prevent us from having to make this change, and after meeting in secret a few times, they came to our front porch and told my husband that the church is his first ministry and gave examples of how pastors they knew had put the church before their family and how proud they were of them. My husband took up for us and said that was not Biblical and that his wife and daughter come first. They said that’s all they needed to know and planned to vote us out of the church. – which would have split the church in half. I just want to say that I am proud of my husband for keeping the church in tact by resigning first, and I am so thankful that he knows his priorities according to the Bible. It reassured me that my daughter has a daddy that won’t let her grow bitter toward the ministry and will minister to her first.

  11. Roni says

    Wow! I am not a pastors wife. I went to Bible college and assumed I would become one. As the years of study went by I decided there was no way I would ever be one. I saw how many pastors wives were treated/neglected along with the kids and I wanted no part of it. It wasn’t until I became close friends with the wife of a guy I went to bible college with that my view started to slowly change. Her husband (my friend) is now our pastor. He is AMAZING to his wife and boys. He has taken a lot of slack, some that he knows of and lots that he doesn’t. He never backs down. Watching him with his wife has given me a better sight of who we are to God. It ministers to myself and the congregation and gives us much needed perspective. It has enlightened my marriage and healed deep deep hurts. It gives me hope. Thank you for the article.

  12. Jeremiah McDuffie says

    As a young ambitious, prideful young man I almost lost my daughter and wife because of my sinful neglect as a pastor. Healing can be had though as my wife and I are going on 10 years of marriage, we have a second beautiful girl, and after a season of healing and being out of full-time ministry God has called us to plant a church in Oshkosh, WI. and my wife is my biggest cheerleader. Thanks Thom for being real about this issue

  13. Jim says

    Some churches or church leaders have the wrong-headed idea that they “own” the pastor. And some pastors have the wrong-headed idea that without them the church will cease to function, so they must be involved in every facet of the ministry. Both are wrong and contribute to this grave problem of the pastor’s family being neglected as his primary ministry.

  14. Karen Carter says

    My husband was a pastor/evangelist of various prisons in our state. He was so faithful to the sheep. God was first, the inmates were second; and I and our three girls came last. My husband preached in the prisons more than he was home or at his 40 hour a week job. He was a man of great faith, integrity, and character. No one would ever imagine that I and the children were so neglected. Whenever there was an issue that needed to be addressed; my husband would find someplace to go and preach to avoid the issue. Prefacing became his mistress, even though he was doing it all in the name of The Lord. He has since gone on to be with The Lord (5 years). I am a broken woman. When asked if I were to ever marry again after 32 years; 27 of which to a man of God in ministry; I would say no. Based on my experience; Pastors families are some of the most neglected people in the world.

  15. Monica Marquez says

    I am a pastors wife and understand where this
    sister comes from. Having said that; I must now
    say that we miss our opportunity to grow
    In the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior
    Jesus. There is just too much to write a complete
    thought on the subject; but the point is, we are asked to die to self as Jesus is our example.
    No matter how lonely, no matter how hard the climb gets, keep our eyes on Him. Pray for our husbands and children and place them to Him. Place emotions, frustrations, etc. at His feet and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. He is more than capable of seeing to our needs, as well as our husbands, children and churches. It’s not about me and my lifestyle. It must be all for Him. There in lies the peace, comfort and joy. John 15-16. Blessings!

  16. Davis says

    I’m not sure how you could have worded your title differently and the way I read it is completely apropos…”Confessions of a *Broken Pastor*’s Wife” Pastors who consistently and insistently put church first and family second are truly broken. I’ve given short shrift to any church members who have their own issues with my priorities through 25+ years of ministry. While not militantly drawing lines in the beginning of a relationship with a church, those lines have been drawn from the beginning and applied as situations developed, i.e., if an attitude of expectation that I “have” to be at every minor event at church is expressed, I remind them I have a family who needs my attention more than the event warrants my presence. Additionally, regarding her ‘role’ n the church, if an attitude is expressed that my wife “should” do something because she happens to be married to me is shown, that person or group is informed gently and clearly that they didn’t get a “two-fer” and she will be involved in the church as she chooses. The ‘broken pastors’ who lack the courage, fortitude, and common sense to stand up for their marriage and family fail to see the abuse they are engaging in and all (families and churches as well) reap the whirlwind of their neglect.

  17. Lynn McIntosh says

    Thank you for writing this post. I think many people can be helped because of it. Mother’s father, my grandfather, was a pastor, and mom always has said it’s one ofthemost difficult roles to fill. God bless everyone who has written in. It helps to know we need to minister to pastor’s wives so much!

  18. says

    I have been a full-time vocational pastor for 20 years. Currently I am in between ministry positions and could not possibly be happier. Sunday has become an actual day of rest. Weekends exist for us to enjoy life together as a family. Indeed this has become our new normal.

    Many of the comments here resonate in my heart because of the imbalance that I experienced in the first portion of my ministry life. My wife and I have talked about this at length… and continue to discuss it. We will not make the same mistakes in this next season. Ministry is important. But not all-important. We can say family first, but unless the family feels that they are first… well, you know the rest. I have had to apologize to my young adult children for the sin of neglect (among others).

    Brokenness is not all bad, though. In fact, I would say that because of it I was finally willing to make changes.

  19. Nick says

    Thom you never disappoint. My wife has benefited tremendously from other posts you have made about this issue as well soon thank you. We are 25 and I am in my first pastorate. We have a 1 1/2 year old and I am so very thankful for those who have informed me family first. It can be easy for my wife and I to commit to so many things and later feel overwhelmed. We are continuing to learn to manage that better and are certainly growing closer (thankfully) in our relationship because of our experiences. I believe the biggest key is communication. I make myself available to hear her honesty about her feelings with what is going on. That’s something I have learned to do. She and I both have some ability to say “no” to certain activities so she, myself, and our child can spend quality time together. Our only hope is that the church will see that as a good thing as well and not “he needs to spend more time at the church and not so much time with his family.”

  20. says

    Wow! All I can do is copy and paste my FB post from last week.

    “I thought I was doing the right thing…”

    I have a whole lot of things to do, places to go, people to see, and ministry to accomplish for The Lord. I am so clear about what The Lord has called me to do and I won’t do anything but obey. Over the past 4 weeks I’ve been gone from my own home 2.5 weeks and have been busy during my time at home with hosting our mission team/family, attending to CNS Exec. Board matters, leading The Fold and TPN, being a husband, being a father of 6 but caring for others kids, marriage counselor, community advisor, businessman, and other roles that I play by default.
    I love helping, serving, and laboring with just about everybody but for 5 yrs I don’t ever remember taking a full-fledged vacation that was free of cares. I’ve traveled to so many places over the past 5 years and never not once stopped serving, thinking, preaching, planning, and representing God, The Fold, and TPN. I got a chance to do that over the last week and I’m still at awe that I’ve neglected this rest for 5 years.
    In some way I think that God has had me in marital and family rehab…
    I know I’m a good husband and father but up up until a month ago I had been taking my family for granted. I really believe that I have been so consumed with going forth and doing the work of the ministry that I had literally took my family for granted. I put my family in a position of having to accompany me in ministry if they wanted quality time with me. Even when my wife traveled with me for so-called retreats or anniversary celebrations it was like traveling with her pastor versus her husband/lover. I had totally neglected a full-fledged family vacation and dedicated time with my kids. I really believed that God was my number one priority but I made church planting and pastoral leadership the number one priority. My priorities were wrong but it wasn’t malicious. I thought I was doing the right thing…

    • Davis says

      We pastors too often equate loving God and others with our vocation of serving a church and we fail to set appropriate boundaries. We also make assumptions that our spouse and progeny are “on board” with our passion and priorities. I hope what you refer to as God having you “in marital and family rehab” means you are having a reality check in time to be able to redeem any deterioration of your family relationships (minimal, minor or major) that your focus elsewhere may have engendered as you “took them for granted.” “Care-free” vacations are important times of rest and renewal and family relationship building. If in this season of reflection you find commitment to church and ministry outweighing caring for your family’s needs to have a husband and father who is truly present with them, may you have the wisdom to do whatever it takes to reach a balance that honors God, your spouse, and your kids. To paraphrase a pertinent verse, “What good is it for a pastor to gain a ‘bigger ministry’, yet forfeit their family?” Grace and peace and prayers for you and your family.

  21. Paul Fries says

    Thom, I tell pastors all the time, there are a thousand other men that can take your place as a pastor but no one else can adequately take your place as husband and father in your home. I only wish more would listen.

  22. JW says

    When I started preaching, I was an Independent Fundamental Baptist. This was many years ago. I was taught that the work of God is of utmost importance. Verses such as Matthew 10:32-39 or John 12:25 were emphasized with deligence. I was expected to put personal needs and, even, family aside for the Kingdom of God. And such was my way of thinking. This was my philosphy of ministry. Long story short, I left the Independent Baptist church where I was preaching and joined Green Street Baptist Church in High Point, NC. This is a Southern Baptist Church. Dr. Mac Brunson was the pastor at the time. If anybody knows Dr. Mac, you know he is, foremost, a family man. Now, he can craft a masterpiece sermon. But, that’s not the thing I most admire about him. What I admire most about Dr. Mac is the fact that he is so committed to his family. I watched how he treated his wife and 3 children inside church and outside of church. Dr. Mac has been consistent. The proof is in Mrs. Debbie’s smile and the smile of his children! I have learned so much from watching Dr. Mac Brunson. Today, I looked at my wife and my daughter. Both of them smile everyday. I think my wife is very happy and my daughter is, too. We put the Lord first in our lives. I wish more preachers had role models, like Dr. Mac, that they could look to and learn from. I’ve been blessed to sit under the ministry of a fine family man, who, also, was a fine pastor to me and my family.

  23. Nancy says

    Lord God Almighty, as much as the words of that wife make our hearts ache and our tears flow, I know that Your heart aches more and Your tears flow more. Please, Lord, bless her. Bless her with Your strength, Your grace, and Your peace which is greater than anything we can imagine. Bless her with clarity and discernment about her situation. Open her husband’s eyes to what he is doing that is causing much pain. Bless them both with forgiving hearts that overflow with Your grace. I ask all these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

  24. JonathonG says

    I began to post a response similar to this in the thread regarding how many hours a Pastor should work, but it seemed out of place at the time. I could fill page after page about these experiences, but a quick snapshot from a PK should suffice.

    Between 1978 and 1984, I was shuffled between multiple foster homes and youth facilities, which left me an angry and bitter Pastor’s son. I actively avoided church and a relationship with Jesus well into my 20s. I often wondered what I had done wrong as a child. My older brother had left at age 16 to live with non-Christian friends, which lead to alcohol and drug abuse, and the State took custody of me at age 12. My younger sister remained at home.

    Mine is a cautionary tale of the extremes of a Pastor, along with his wife in this instance, placing the body of Christ before their own family. Things became so bad that often there was no food in the house. Even if there was food, there was nobody around to make a meal. My parents where always absent. No help with homework, no discussions, no family vacations. It was dreadful and lonely and we felt as though we were prisoners or unwanted guests in their home. The corporal punishment was just as extreme and severe as the neglect, especially if one of us did something to harm how the church may view our parents.

    At about 25 years old, when I couldn’t or wouldn’t find Jesus, He came to me. After much heartache, there came much healing. While I am not close to my parents today, I gave to them what Jesus gave to me, which is grace, mercy and forgiveness. There is no real reciprocity, but I continue to give them all that has been given to me.

    Friend, God gave your wife and children to you for a reason. They are not yours, they belong to Him. You are the temporary caretaker of God’s Handmaiden and the children that He has blessed you with. Today, I am a minister of the gospel who is keenly aware of the importance of my family knowing that they are first in my life, after my relationship with Christ. I use a simple list to help me keep things straight; 1)Faith 2)Family 3)Friends 4)Fortune. You may read that list as 1)My relationship with Christ 2)My relationship with and duties to my family 3)The body of Christ and all others 4)Paying the bills.

    Yes, we all make mistakes as we march the march of the unqualified, but be encouraged! It is never too late or too early to reconcile and re-order your priorities. There are a great many wonderful blessings in store for you if your family knows that they are the love of your life. Love them and lead them according to God’s word. Though it’s not my promise to give, I promise you that God will smile on you and will bless your family if you have your priorities in order. I’m living it right now, to the best of my feeble ability, and would not trade it for anything this world has to offer.

    In His Grip-

    • says

      Jonathon, what a heart-breaking account. It always grieves me to hear of kids getting short-changed or hurt by parents, much less parents in ministry. God’s grace and forgiveness through you is an amazing thing as is the measure of healing and understanding God has given you. May He richly bless and encourage you with all you need relationally and in every other way! No doubt God will use you to minister to other broken people.

      • JonathonG says

        Dean, thank you for your kinds words. God has indeed blessed me well beyond anything I could ever deserve.

        Dr. Thom has created a great place here where we can keep it real with transparency and offer encouragement to one another. My hope is that God continue to use me as an encouragement to all who will hear the wonders and mysteries of the gospel. Jesus has so much good for us to do in His name, it would be shameful to wallow in a sinful past that He has already forgotten :-)

        My prayer is that all men put God first, their families second only to their relationship in Christ and all else last.

  25. Karen Hardaway says

    Thanks for sharing. I am a PK (preacher’s kid), preacher myself, and married to a pastor. My self-published project entitled Broken Into Pieces deals with this very subject. In my life, the church has been the other woman, so neglect was normal. How could my father be there for the church, and not his family? Even now, I have days where history repeats itself, where I am reminded that he is the pastor. Nobody takes it like the pastor’s wife, yet when he delivers the message, I am the one with the biggest pom poms, and when I bring the message he has the biggest and brightest pom poms. God has to be first, balance also is key, prayer, and love for one another. Read more at
    Thanks again for sharing.

  26. pstrmike says

    Being in professional ministry is difficult and there is a cost to pay. I think most couples understand that going in. But as this wife you quoted in the OP brought out, very few really know just how much it will cost. It is important to understand that there are many expectations of pastors that in reality, are burdens from men rather than from God. Jesus said His yoke is easy, and I for one believe that applies equally today as it did the day Jesus said those words. The problem is, while our vocation is spiritual, not fulfilling the demands that men require of us (and they come in many different forms from doctrine to time management) can cost us our ministry.

    I have read the pastoral job requirements and duties for ministry positions that are posted on websites that advertise ministry jobs. I cannot understand how these churches expect the pastor to fulfill all these duties without needing to replace him after a few years of total burnout. No wonder so many leave the pastoral ministry each year.

  27. PastorswifeOhio says

    I have not had a chance to read each and every post yet but so many resonate a truth one does not fully comprehend emotionally when accepting this challenge or position within the family. Yes you know it will be hard, yes you know he can’t tell you everything, yes you know it will be more than 40 hours a week but….you never realize how church members and the politics of the church do not live true to the God’s teachings! The most hurtful times have been the evil and horrible things said and done by those who he stood by, defended and counseled at times. That he gives his heart, his life and his blood and then to be treated that way……I try and God convicts me every day of my ill thoughts but I always try to think that we don’t know the full story and give the benefit of the doubt. In churches today, people expect the Pastor and his family to live as less than them and to be at their beck and call. We are always getting calls where people need food, money, etc. and sometimes we have none to give or when given the gift is abused. I always wonder what happened to God’s grace in the church and in our relationships with each other. At times this is not just at the congregational level but rampant through the entire church hierarchy. How then can one expect individual congregations to act when the example and advice from above are without grace? I always pray for strength and grace for my husband and our family. God knows the truth and we must live knowing in our hearts that someday truth will be known and apparent. That said I must clearly says that being a Pastor’s wife is the hardest “job” I have ever had. I realize that marrying someone working in the faith community means you marry the community as well. Being comforter, cheerleader, gardener, housekeeping, cook and mechanic isn’t easy when your spouse is more than busy with his church community(ies). So many Pastors are now handling more than one church parish which means twice the meetings and twice the individual families to care for with less staff.

    Having a full time job and having been successful in business and the community, I thought I had just about seen everything until becoming a Pastor’s wife and seeing and experiencing the “church”. We have been blessed with 5 different church families and I must say there is only one that has turned out to be a very sad and hurtful experience thus far. I pray that those people and that community will someday see truth and realize no one is right and no one is wrong. We are all God’s children living in a broken world making wrong assumptions without seeing the truth! Say a prayer for your Pastor and his family and don’t neglect to understand the huge sacrifice they make for your faith journey! God bless!

  28. Ken Felty says

    Pastor’s need to know if they lose their wife (family) there’s a good chance you will lose your ministry.

  29. Rick says

    This is not an oversimplification. “You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” (1 Peter 3:7 NASB).
    I have read ministers on this site talk about their 80 hour work weeks, et. al. If your wife enjoys your 80 hour work weeks, fine. Mine doesn’t. That leaves no time for us. I have about 42 hours’ worth of scheduled “work” each week. That leaves me a whole day off, most evenings with our six children, and plenty of flexibility (which is always necessary). Servants who try to “do it all” are not being understanding of their families’ needs, and need to back off. Jesus took breaks, and delegated. Why not His servants today??
    Churches that allow it (or, God forbid, expext it) should repent. It is a husband’s job to protect his wife’s heart, and consider her sensitivities and needs, within reason.
    When will ministers learn that “save the world, lose your family” is the worst possible formula? One day, your children will leave home, and your ministry with your wife will increase, if The Lord wills.
    All members are servants. Stop the “clergy/laity” distinction that is unbiblical. Believe it, preach it and encourage it often. Blessings :)

  30. Paul Wilkes says

    The Church where I have been serving as interim pastor since January are treating my wife in a harsh way and I was asked if acceptance of my wife was a deal breaker if I continued to serve them. I responded that it is and that she is an important part of my ministry. I could not do what I do without her prayers and support. I value that so much and know that one of the hardest positions in the church is pastors wife. I really believe they need to have support and do not seem to get the support that they should. I care deeply and am considering my position because of the bad way that my wife is treated. It is heartbreaking and I have shared that if a husband and wife are one in Christ this needs to be understood by the church. Thanks for highlighting the issues!!

  31. Adam Armstrong says

    The sad truth is that many “church bosses” have had one of these pastors that neglected everything including their own family in order to satisfy them. These pastor help to shape the unbiblical views people have for pastors and their families. Churches that are used to their pastor being a “workaholic” may not be satisfied with God’s man for them who will keep his ministry in balance. As a pastor, I have found that the church can so used to you doing everything for them that they can even find one among them to say the blessing before a church meal. There have been many times that I was speaking to people after a service about things such as church membership only to be interrupted to come say the blessing. I am trying to break that mind-set in my church but it is a slow process. We have been at this church 7 1/2 years and still I am contending with the examples left by pastors in the 70s who worked 100 hour weeks to “make the church grow!” If you are a pastor out there with an unbalanced and unbiblical ministry, you are not just failing your family (which is the greater failure) but you are also casting a model that church members will expect there next pastors to follow.

  32. Stephenie says

    My heart breaks when I hear of others going through these sorrowful times in the ministry. I have been a pastors wife for 5 years now, and it by far the hardest thing I have ever done. Our first year in the ministry, my husband try to make up for lost time for God because he ran from the calling for ten years. I did feel alone and jealous of the church because he was never at home. I was a little selfish in my ways for not seeing the real picture though. I ended up getting saved under my husbands ministry and my eyes were opened to the real reason we were put on earth. I started communicating my feelings with him on a regular basis without anger and rage. I made sure he knew i was in this with him. He finally started balancing it all out. It just took time for him to figure this all out too. It is a learning process. We take one day at a time. He is by far the greatest husband I could have ever hoped for, and a wonderful father to our five children.
    The hardest part of the ministry is the so called “Christians” in the churches. People are very mean and do not care who they hurt in our family. I will never understand the lies people will tell on a minister just because they don’t like something he is doing. Or something he preached that came from the Word of God. But then I go to the Word and it tells me why they are like that. It has been like that since the bible days and that is why there are pastors, preachers and teachers to proclaim the truth and be examples for Christ. It is not always easy. But God is love and we are to love the people who despitefuly hurt us as well.

    • G. Jensen says

      Many people in churches are not real Christians, so I quit going years ago. Church organizations are often little more than social groups with their little cliques, dictated by the agenda of a few people with big heads who think they’re the pillars of the church. Only the young and gullible would even think of choosing a career in the ministry these days. The church no longer leads society, but rather is simply a reflection of it.

      • Sandylyn says

        How very profound a statement….the last line especially hit me!! How true and accurately portrayed G. Jensen! I’m sorry you no longer attend…we quit the church that we had written about on this site and are finally finished with the grieving process and waiting for God’s “Calling”. We’ve attended different denominations and even a home church on Sunday but the home church grew quickly and needed a larger home! I’d say that was my favourite though. People who are committed to Christ and sick to death of all of the “politics” and deceivers. All the best to all of you who struggle! God has a plan….he’s developing us! I tell myself that every day!! God Bless! Sandylyn.

      • says

        G, I am saddened by your experience, and while understanding on a personal level, pray that God will bring healing in your life and draw you back to the our Lord’s beloved bride. After over fifteen years in the ministry and serving in four different churches, being fired by one church for teaching doctrine their constitution and statement of faith specifically requires them to believe, I know personally how you feel about the church being filled with those who are not true believers. I also know personally of the politics and cliques of which you speak, having battled them over the years. Until our precious Lord returns, I am sure that these trends will continue in churches around the world, simply because they are full of people who have a sinful nature.

        As I sated above, I have felt personally pain effected by these truths in the church, but with this said, I have come to know another truth. This truth is, the church is still the Bride and Body of Christ, and it is still the organism He chooses to work in the world today. Only as I realized that I am a sinner, far greater than even than some who have hurt me, am I able to begin seeing them through the sin that effects and influences their lives. Only as we view others from a humble heart may we move past the pain caused by the sin in the hearts of others.

        I am serving as a pastor once again, with the hurts, frustrations, but also with a new perspective of the composite condition of the Body of Christ. I now understand that as painful as it is at times, I can not call myself a part of the Christ if I do not find my place in His Body, which He has placed here on earth today, the local church. They, we, or most importantly, I as a pastor, am not perfect, as I teach our local church body that I will make mistakes, mistreat, forget, and hurt people at various times in my ministry, the only hope is as we first, commit to let love overcome the hurts we experience, and seek always to repent and reconcile in our relationships. Jesus clearly says that the Gates of Hell will not prevail against His church. There is no other place where we can have that confidence, and there is no other place through which our Spiritual Gifts are intended to be exercised.

        In 1 Corinthians 12:7 (HCSB), it says, “A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial:”
        It is interesting that the word translated “beneficial” or “build up” or “profit” in other translations, is sumpheron, which has the same root as our modern word “symphony”. That root, in its most basic meaning is “unity.” To make a long post shorter, what this basically means is that the gifts of the Spirit are given to strengthen us and unify us. This can only happen if “all” believers are exercising the Gifts God has given them in the body. If you are a believer, and you are no longer attending a church, there is a church somewhere that is not complete, or united as it should be because you are not there. I would encourage you to not give up, choose to walk in love, recognizing the sin in others, but choosing to be what God has called you to, and not worry about others missing the mark, as they too must learn to overlook your failures.

        G, if you are a true believer, you are needed somewhere in the Body of Christ, there is some church limping without you.

        Philippians 2:1-4 (HCSB) – If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not ⌊only⌋ for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

      • Jim J says

        While many in the church are professors of faith but not possessors of faith, the local church is God’s Design to grow believers. Same thing occurs when you work in secular work place or even if you own you own business and have employees, they all don’t have the vision and faith you do. Here is an article that may help you see God’s design and Jesus’ sacrifice for the local church. Key is to find the church God is leading you to be a part of and to use the gifts He gave you.

        Do We Need the Local Church?
        by John MacArthur

        The New Testament repeatedly emphasizes the importance of local assemblies. In fact, it was the pattern of Paul’s ministry to establish local congregations in the cities where he preached the gospel. Hebrews 10:24-25 commands every believer to be a part of such a local body and reveals why this is necessary.
        “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
        It is only in the local body to which one is committed that there can be the level of intimacy that is required for carefully stimulating fellow-believers “to love and good deeds.” And it is only in this setting that we can encourage one another.
        The New Testament also teaches that every believer is to be under the protection and nurture of the leadership of the local church. These godly men can shepherd the believer by encouraging, admonishing, and teaching. Hebrews 13:7 and 17 help us to understand that God has graciously granted accountability to us through godly leadership.
        Furthermore, when Paul gave Timothy special instructions about the public meetings, he said “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13). Part of the emphasis in public worship includes these three things: hearing the Word, being called to obedience and action through exhortation, and teaching. It is only in the context of the local assembly that these things can most effectively take place.
        Acts 2:42 shows us what the early church did when they met together: “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” They learned God’s Word and the implications of it in their lives; they joined to carry out acts of love and service to one another; they commemorated the Lord’s death and resurrection through the breaking of bread; and they prayed. Of course, we can do these things individually, but God has called us into His body-the church is the local representation of that worldwide-body-and we should gladly minister and be ministered to among God’s people.
        Active local church membership is imperative to living a life without compromise. It is only through the ministry of the local church that a believer can receive the kind of teaching, accountability, and encouragement that is necessary for him to stand firm in his convictions. God has ordained that the church provide the kind of environment where an uncompromising life can thrive.

        • Sandylyn says

          Good that you can stand strong and continue through all circumstances. We tried. We couldn’t battle the evil that was prevalent and entering our lives not only at church but battling evil manifestations within our bodies and resulting in seriously debilitating health issues. Within seconds of leaving that church, the symptoms left! Praises to God!
          I’m really seeing the ‘home church” as a place of sharing, being fed,……. preparation to go out into the world…secular society as it is and sharing our ministry as Followers and Disciples of Jesus Christ throughout the week. The people that take their Sunday morning to share, Praise and study the word, people who are devoted to the teachings of Christ and the Word….those are the people I want to study with. We’ve done both.
          We need to be fed and nurtured and encouraged without the political negativity of the secular church. We keep looking for “the right church”…and we wait for God’s calling but for now, I’m seeing this as a beautifully, loving way to replenish our souls with God and HIS Magnificence…and people who TRULY LOVE HIM and want to know HIM more! God Bless. Sandylyn.

          • Jim J says

            Sandylyn, I have been the pastor of the FBC Maricopa Az church since 2001 and have experienced alot of struggles as we have grown from 20 to over 225 in average attendance. We have had people come and go and some wanted to split the church because of biblical preaching.
            What has kept me focused is the fact that when I am ready to give up God always reminds me of a song called “Unshakeable” as the lyrics were meant for me about 6 months into this first and only pastorate:
            “I have called you by name, I have planted you here, you will be unshakeable.”
            I pray that God will help you find the local church that you can find the encouragement and support you need in following God’s will for your life. If you are ever in Maricopa look up First Baptist Church. We are not perfect but we worship and serve a perfect Savior. God Bless

          • Sandylyn says

            Jim J. Thank you for your kind words. We believe that my husband was called to that church but was also shown when his work there was done. We certainly would love to join with you at your Church with such a nice welcome but we are Canadian and live in Ontario so it would be a bit of a jaunt!
            Thank you and God Bless Your Ministry as HE is already Blessing Your Church!!

  33. says

    I have been a bi-vocational pastor since May 2001 and the church has gone from 20 to over 225 in average attendance. my wife has been absolutley amazing during this even as she battles her MS. The struggle has always been how can I balance my two full time jobs and my wife (kids are grown). Without her understanding my calling and her’s to this church it would have been disastrous.
    Now that I am 60, I have discussed with the Deacons that I want to retire from my secular job and be a full time pastor. Not all understood why I can’t just keep doing what I am doing now until I hit true retirement age, but the discussions are still on-going. The main issue came when one of deacon wives stated to my wife at a Women’s Ministry meeting that I as the pastor was trying to force the church to pay me full time so I could have more leisure time and that I expected the chruch to pay for our medical insurance. She went on to say that we should just stay employed so we can have health insurance. This deeply hurt my wife and has caused me to begin praying about resigning as pastor. Please pray for us.

  34. Brenda says

    As a Pastor’s wife of more than 28 years I have seen many women in ministry struggle with the high demands placed upon their husbands and their families. While I do feel that the Pastor’s wife has a calling on her life just as valuable as her husband, I know that her first and foremost responsibility is to her husband and her children! That responsibility can sometimes place unrealistic expectations in our minds which are impossible to meet. I have found through the years that if I maintained a flexible attitude toward special events my expectations were rarely disappointed. There may have been an occasional anniversary that we didn’t celebrate exactly like I wanted or a birthday that was missed but we eventually got around to it. Society has created a fairy tale existence for many women and they feel neglected if the ideal circumstances are not met. We live a Hallmark life! Every special day has to be celebrated perfectly! Pastor’s wives can not afford the luxury of picture perfect family events and I always advise young women to change their expectations. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by insisting that events always be celebrated exactly as your envision them. By being more flexible you will create a much more relaxed atmosphere in your home. I am not advocating doing away with special family times; they are vital to the health of your marriage and your family unity. I am, however, saying don’t use societies measuring stick! You will always be disheartened when your husband does not measure up. I hope I don’t sound like I am oversimplifying. I know women! I have counseled many young minister’s wives and young pastor’s wives through the years. I have witnessed a few instances of family neglect but most of the time what is expressed to me are expectations that are unfulfilled. The wife wants her husband to be right there exactly when she wants him to be. She begins to get resentful when someone has a genuine emergency that interrupts her “plans”. Resentment of the congregation comes first, then resentment of her husbands calling. If a woman is able to adjust her ideal, the family structure of a Pastor’s home can be less stressful and much more peaceful. Every holiday can be special and every event wonderful by adjusting expectations (not lowering them!).
    There are church dynamics that can devastate a family and unfortunately it happens way more often than most people realize. Those are times when God carries the broken. He alone can bring healing to those situations. Having connections to other Pastor’s wives that can uphold you in prayer and give you a shoulder to cry on can bring great strength. Be careful who you choose to confide in. While it is usually more convenient to select your peers to share your burdens with, it is important to realize that those that are closest do not always offer the most wisdom.
    To those who are genuinely broken I pray for your restoration! I pray that peace that passes all understanding fill your spirit. I do believe that no sacrifice goes unrewarded. Even if your sacrifice has not been of your own choosing God will still reward. I pray that God heals your spirits and restores you to a place of joy in His service. God Bless You!

  35. says

    Just to say, Young men who are coming out of Bible College, hardly ever learns about what he should learn on how to treat his wife who stands with him in the ministry. I have been in the ministry for nearly 50 years and still in the ministry. I raised 4 son’s, who with their wives have given us 19 grandchildren, and one great grandchild is on the way. What I want to say here is, my teaching as a young man in the ministry was. . .God First. . .then Wife. . Then children, then your church/ministry.. And guess what, it worked. I believe for the young man if taught this format, the wife will not feel so left out or alone. Men make them feel that way because it is all about him, Hello! Men can be very selfish, covered with the cloak of righteousness, and yet neglect that which is very vitally important to him in the ministry. Young Pastor’s, try the formula I was taught, and see what happens. It pays big dividends. I am 77 years of age, and guess what, God first, foremost of all in my life. . .then my wife. . .then my children, even though they are married and have their own family. . .then my grandchildren, and now my great grandchild, and I am still in the ministry in Ross Corner Church., Shapleigh, Maine. Why? I learned to prioritize my time and energy, and did what was my first and most important priorities. My dear young Pastor, God will Bless you, your wife and family, then you will be a blessing to your church.
    God Bless;
    Pastor Dave

  36. says

    As the husband to a pastor’s wife for over fifteen years, one thing I have discovered, the hurts endured by a pastor’s wife far out weigh those felt by the pastor. I strive to support, encourage and lift my wife up continually, but it is still a struggle for her. She absolutely supports my ministry, but the comments about me people will share with her which they do not have the courage to share with me, going through my being fired for holding to the teachings of the Baptist Faith and Message, comments about how she chooses to serve as a public school instructional coach, and the resulting demands on her time and personal health, and unbiblical expectations of both of us, have taken a toll over the years.

    In 2012, I almost left the ministry after being fired for teaching article VII of The Baptist Faith and Message. The emotional toll on both myself and my wife was overwhelming. Sadly, neither the High Desert Baptist Association, nor the California Southern Baptist Convention provided support in any way. For me, because I knew I had done nothing wrong, though painful, I was confident of my continued call to ministry. However, I almost left ministry, not because of a lack of call, but for the well-being of my wife. I thank the Lord that He called us to a church that thus far has been supportive, but we live in a constant state of uneasiness, knowing that the body of Christ can turn over night from being our greatest supporters, to asking for my resignation.

    For me, I can go back to designing homes and make a lot more money. Emotionally, for my family, that may even be better, except I would outside the will of God. This is the turmoil of the pastor’s wife. It is not just the time the pastor spends in ministry, the demands placed on the pastor and his family, but the threat the congregation holds over the pastor. It is sad that this is where so many of us, “Husbands of pastor’s wives”, find ourselves in relationship to the local church.

    I thank the Lord that I can be honest about these issues with the church body to which God has now called me. They too, have been hurt by several pastors in the past. We are now, together, trying to discover the Biblical and Spirit led, loving, honest and transparent relationship which should exist with a church, a pastor, and his family.

  37. John says

    I am retired now and had a preacher’s wife for 30 years in ministry. she was often picked out for extra criticism such as starting a new Sunday School class for young unchurched couples (all came form outside the church) or for having a Bible study in our home for young mothers to encourage them. Many of the things the members wanted me to know were passed through her. To her credit she refused to be an errand person. The family was always top priority with me but there are times in ministry that you can’t control and you have to be away. I have never ceased to be amazed at how mean and spiteful some Christian can be.
    Wives, you will be hurt as will your husband but it is all part of the calling to serve. The ones who hurt are the very ones that need us most. My heart and prayers go out to all the women, many who suffer in silence and alone, and I pray they will find some other lady who will come along side to encourage them. Perhaps you might even be able to come along side others.
    Know that this world will do all it can to kill your ministry , marriage and anything else it can damage. Also know that you are never alone.
    Keep the faith

  38. Phil says

    Very lovingly, my wife told this this summer, “I feel like ministry is your girlfriend and I can’t compete.” I teach at a small Bible School. I pastor a small church. I just started another ministry with a friend of mine. This last summer I went to Africa on a missions trip, was MC of a pastors conference, officiated a wedding in another state, and we took a trip to the West coast for more ministry. It was in California as I was recovering from malaria that my wife told me this. I thought I had it all together. That was a wake up call! I have been steadaly cutting back on “ministry” and adding her into my life! It is an entirely new paradigm shift for me. I used to say, “Ya have to take care of your family, because it you dont have them, you don’t have a ministry.” I realized when talking to my brother that all that statement shows is that I am using my family as a stepping stone to get what I am really after, … ministry. Now I am trying to take care of my family for my familys sake, not mine. “God, thanks for your grace! Help me please! Thank you I still have a family! Amen”

  39. J. Michael Palmer says

    Wow, I have been reading these posts and some are heartbreaking. I have experienced and know much of what has been written above. The concept of being a “hireling” by the congregation is a cultural disease that has “killed” more pastors and their families AND churches than you can shake a stick at. And the counterpart of that is the pastor becoming the church messiah rather than Jesus. I remember after being at my current church for about five and half years. We had grown and were still growing. I was working on my doctorate. We were in the state paper. And during that time I had been gone from home, missed a bunch of stuff in my children’s lives, been called back to the church from “vacations” (if you could call them that…we could not afford to do what the people in our church could), …..but the church was doing good. I asked my wife at that time: “honey how are we doing?” She replied: ” I feel like you are more married to the church than you are to me!” That was the beginning of some understanding on the whole dynamic. I am not sure I really have a “handle” on it today. I just hope that in my next chapter of life I can be a source of encouragement and counsel to some younger men in the pastorate today. I had my “come to Jesus moment” with my dear patient wife. Oh how I wish I had been checked up in this area before that. But at least we have survived and the Lord is giving us a new day in our lives. And my children are both serving the Lord …..could have easily gone a different direction. In the end God’s grace prevails. I remember what my daughter once said to me as an adult: “yes Dad you were harsh on me sometimes and I knew that you were not doing right (the pressure of the church and pride in my life), but I knew you meant well and you were doing the best you knew to do at the time; so I chose to listen and obey and God used that in my life.” Now that is okay now but the sad thing is that I missed a connection with my precious daughter at THAT time …..and that time can never be replaced. The confluence and dynamics of pastoring a local church while leading and loving one’s family is never a simple thing. I thank God for the folks who have written in and given insight. And I thank brother Thom Rainer for opening up this tender subject to us.

  40. Joan says

    Wanted to share this book with fellow sisters in Christ, I will be starting it soon but it reveals the true Greek Biblical translations of the God design of His daughters. May God Bless you all, I love you all dearly, Joan
    The Book:
    Guardian Angel: What You Must to Know about God’s Design for Women, by Skip Moen, D.Phil.

    Every woman knows she was designed for a special role — a role that has been denied to her far too long. In this study of Scripture, Skip Moen re-examines the Genesis account from an Hebraic perspective. This foundation supports a radical revision of contemporary views about women. Women were designed by God to guide, direct and supply the boundary conditions for their men. They were designed by God to be the relationship managers of marriage. They are the ones who are intended to provide strength, shelter and correction. Without understanding these roles, marriages will flounder and gender issues will remain unresolved.

    This book is for anyone who wants to know how to make a relationship work according to God’s way. It’s time for a change! You can start right now.

    • Scott says

      Skip Moen is part of the Hebrew Roots movement. You may want to do a little research before starting any book written by him. Of course, it is up to you, but from what you have described, it sounds like he is attempting not to revise the role of a wife, but to redesign it. Any time someone has something “new” to teach, even if they claim the are rediscovering the truth, it should be approach with great caution.

  41. says

    I am a Pastor been a pastor for a little while and currrently my wife and I attend Life changing Word a Church in Brooklyn, NY, and i am not a Pastor in that church. Any way I have recently started my own Ministry because that is what i have been called to do, and the Lord has told me NOW !!! My thing is this: My wife literally puts the Apostle over her husband, forget that i am a Pastor, she puts the church the apostle her friends over me and it is the most frustrating thing in the world. Last night was the hadess night because she literally stayed in the church all day, I openned the church we had service i wasnt feeling well so I left and went home and she elected to stay in the church until 9 oclock at night in which i had to go back to get her, and she couldnt understand why i was upset, i would like to get thoughts on this please

    • Sandylyn says

      Hi There. I hope I understand your message….that this was your new church that you had opened and it was there that you had to leave from because you were ill? Your wife carried on with the Church without you….That’s how I read this. Now if this is right, I’m seeing this as you not being able continue that day and so your wife took the reigns. As a Pastor’s Wife, my husband and I have been “playing the field” since his last posting but we’re looking at perhaps having a home church. Our home is being changed/renovated and seems to be going that way. If my husband wasn’t able to take care of things, I would feel as a supporter of his Ministry, it to be my responsibility to step in and do the best that I could to continue the fellowship, study, whatever one would do in a church until 9:00 p.m. I wonder if you’ve asked her without getting upset, why she felt a need to be at the church. Did she call you at 9:00 p.m. to pick her up? Do you trust her and your marriage? I’m just wondering if things go much deeper than what happened yesterday…Sincerely,

  42. C. Green says

    I am glad God help me to find this website. I am going through some things. God directed my husband to start a church from the very ground up and it has truly be a struggle with the people and financially. I know people have a problem with me helping my husband in ministry, but their opinion does not bother me at all. I over came people trials a long time ago. I can deal with all of that but what I cannot handle is my husband feeling like I am not a help to him but a hindrance. He told me that he cannot do what God has called him to do because I of me. He feels like I want to know too much. I only want to know what everyone else in the church knows. I get the news late after it a generated around the church. It could be about anything small or big. I just feel crushed to know I have dedicated five years to obeying God to help my husband and now it’s seem like I’m unwanted and need to take my place on the last pew. Pray for me, I am so confused and trusting God to lead me!

    • Sandylyn says

      Hello C. Green. I am a Pastor’s Wife too and what I see here I’m afraid is an issue beyond the church. Your husband is to love you as Jesus loves the church and he’s not. He seems to be cutting you out and you HAVE done your job for 5 years and if he see’s you as a “hindrance” the issues go deeper than the church. Personally, I would go to counseling either with or without him. As it is I doubt he’d be on board for marriage counseling but you need to know how valuable you are and you’re not getting that.
      I am a strong woman and if I was being treated badly at my husband’s church I would look for another church and let him do it alone! It’s not the best advice for a marriage but he’s not honouring you and your position as his wife and personally, feeling you’re only welcome in the back pew, I feel your pain.
      I pray that he will follow THE WORD and treat you respectfully and as his partner but if he won’t…get your needs/nurturing in another church family for the time being if that’s an option.
      Marriage counseling would be the first step. Personal counseling the second and finding a church where you are respected would be my third option of advice. Of course, keep praying but know that you are a valuable person and if your husband doesn’t treat you as such….it’s a marriage issue…not a church issue.
      All the best wishes and prayers going up for you my Sister. God Bless and show you answers soon! Hugs, Sandylyn.

  43. Barbara says

    I have some serious issues going on in my marriage. My husband has been a pastor for 13 years but only demonstrate spiritual godliness at church. At home he drinks with alcoholics, does not make the family a priority, and whenever we disagree he stops supporting the family needs. He never study his word yet always trying to make everyone else accountable. We argue about him not paying tithes. I have talked to the head pastor about these issues 3 times and he has done nothing. My husband is still able to teach Sunday School, preach, pray, and lay hands on people. I stop attend for a year and have since joined another ministry for my personal strength and growth. When I told my husband he cursed me calling me everything but a child of God. I am unemployed yet he had refused to give me money for grocery and necessities of our children. He posted on Facebook the we are getting a divorce.

    • Sandylyn says

      I am so sorry for what you are going through Barbara but good for you to see that this is HIS problem that HE needs to do the work to correct and know that you don’t have to internalize it to being your fault. Us women tend to do that to ourselves but clearly, he has a drinking problem, he is not serving God in the way he knows he should and to put on Facebook that you’re getting a divorce…well that is nothing a man of God would do to the gift of a wife that God has Blessed him with!!
      Barbara, you did the right thing changing churches, you need to be Spiritually Fed and I would not sit in a service with a Pastor who is talking the talk but not walking the walk. There are far too many out there like that! Honestly, if he won’t go to counseling you need to take seriously what he put on Facebook and start making plans in that direction. He’s broken the vows of marriage by not loving you as Christ loves the church and this is no example for his children to see. I suggest you seriously think about seeking help within your new church, get counseling for yourself, prepare for what you might have to do, get a job outside of the home so you will have money to buy the groceries and start a little “nest egg” for you and the children and when the time comes, you will be equipt to leave or for him to leave. It’s a hard road, I know but you need to prepare. Otherwise, you’ll find one day he’ll make the announcement that he’s leaving (he’s already left in his mind by the way) and you’ll be somewhat ready. I had to do that for a year to get out of a bad situation, ended up in the Women’s and Children’s Crisis Center but it was one of the best things that I ever did. I prepared.
      I pray for you and your family through this and I pray that your husband will come to his senses but it looks like that won’t happen…he has enablers to drink with…and he’s made it so much a part of his life and then to preach and teach, well that is disgusting to me how such a person could lie to the people about who he is….and play act for certain occasions.
      Stay strong Barbara…you’ll get through this…he may not but alcohol is his Master right now and until that changes, you’re on your own.
      Prayers going up my Sister in Christ. God Be with you and with your children and may your husband come to a place of reality and repent.
      Sincerely, Sandylyn.

      • Barbara says

        Thank you for the encouragement. I have interviews this week. I resigned from my job when my mom became ill with cancer. Since get passing I have been searching for a job. God is faithful and always give me what I need ontime. Up until this year I have been the primary financial support for the family. After loosing my mother I cared for my mother n law while she was unable to care for herself. I spent thousands of dollars supporting my husband dreams. Now that my money is gone he threatens my security at evey arguments. Our arguments are always provoked by his lack of integrity yet he never see his faults. I’m always the blame yet everytime ( which is all the time) his bad decisions fail I’m the one who has to sacrifice and fix them. I’m ready to be free to live in truth and peace. Thank you for your prayers. God will provide. He is already making provisions.

        • Sandylyn says

          Amen!! Good for you!! You’re on a very difficult journey but you KNOW God will take care of you! You are wise and doing what you need to do….that’s awesome and God wants the best for HIS family!! Keep strong and know that you are NEVER alone! Also, your “Sisters in Christ” will continue to pray and I hope you’ll keep in touch! God Bless You Barbara!!
          Sincerely, Sandylyn.

        • Paul says

          You are making the right moves and as a pastor I am saddened by what you say about your husband. You will know the Lords faithfulness and we will be praying for you. Your husband is deceived and deceiving others. God is just and he will have to answer for his actions.
          Keep pressing on with the Lord at your side and you will be blessed!

          • Barbara says

            Well, I found out that my husband’s senior pastor/ spiritual father has gotten charged with a DUI and possession of Marijuana for the second time. I sensed that he had something funny going on when he allowed my husband to remain in ministry without true Godly fellowship. I’m not rejoicing about this however I had been seeking God for an answer on if I was out of order for joining another ministry. The confirmation could not have been more clear than this. Yes, my husband is still more upset with me for leaving the church than he is at his senior pastor. Oh I have a temporary job and good prospects for a permanent full time job. God is faithful. My feet may not be where I desire them to be but my steps are ordered by The Lord.

          • Paul Wilkes says

            God will honour you for your faithfulness to Him. What is happening in the church today as you have experienced is so sad. Leaders who are not open to The Lord and are leading people astray. We keep praying for those who are remaining faithful to the one who sees all things.

          • Paul Wilkes says

            Thanks for updating us we will keep you in our prayers! Praise the Lord! You are being given affirmation of the road you have taken.

  44. Nonoza says

    The Pains and fights in the churches sometimes makes me to wonder if really they is something that we are doing.Pastors and their wifes are the Most Hurt People though they continue to Preach .sometimes I wish to My Husband can close the Ministry .

  45. sherry says

    Nobody wants to be alone for Christmas… Thanksgiving… any holiday… When we were called far from our families to serve in the Northwest we were in agreement and moving in one accord, united. An uncertain financial weight lay before us as we were leaving a full-time, wonderful church and church family and moving 36 hours away from our family and two college age children, our only children. That was seven years ago and God has blessed the work / the field however much has been lost as we labored with our church and sister churches for kingdom growth and the fulfilling of the great commission… the call. While much has been gained I find myself looking back, which is not good… an injury left me left a brain trauma and I can’t seem to work my way out of this fog to a healthy spot and my husband only knows one speed and that’s run. So if I don’t get my end of the work done, and now I fear it is difficult as I handle the administration and worship for our church and association, he leaves and I work. That is every day. On Saturdays he shuts the door and it is like a morgue here as he prepares for Sunday. I don’t think I would have issues with that if there weren’t days & nights like today when he takes off with the youth and youth minister to play for 6 hours after visiting with them for 3 hours on the phone and I am once again home alone, attempting to finish the Christmas present I didn’t get finished because I was directing the Christmas play and heading up the Adult Christmas Party. I am almost packed as we prepare to head home and see our 4 grandchildren and family. I keep wishing I had a U-Haul… I’m so tired of being alone. I hear God whisper pieces of His plan for our work here… but I’m afraid I’m done. There is a battle inside me. How wrong it is to oppose God but we are a couple serving together… a team yes. Lovers and friends… I don’t think so. As I spoke with him 2 hours ago regarding bills I needed to settle but weren’t what he/we expected, I interrupted his laughter only to be told not to worry abt it. When I asked if he had been able to finish tomorrows message, he said no. Maybe I shouldn’t of (because it made him angry) but I replied, ‘Odd, that I can’t interrupt Saturdays. When he got mad… I remained numb and then hung up.’ He is still gone and we won’t speak until after he gives tomorrows message. Please pray for me…

    • sandylyn says

      Dearest Sherry,
      I so feel your pain. I’m sorry to hear that your hubby is not on the same page as you “serving God together as a team”…this is not team work! He’s getting a day to prepare (I”ve yet to hear any Pastor have to shut out his family for an entire day to prepare a 40 minute sermon)….Do you get a day to prepare for all of the leadership roles that you’ve taken on?? Then to have hours of play with fellow church member…well, you really need friends to share with. You are being treated unfairly and this “union” may no longer be your “calling”. You’ve been shut out of your husbands ministry…just given jobs to head up while he plays. No dear Sherry. This is not right. An ABI is nothing to ignore either. A U-Haul might be just what you need!! You are not in a partnership here and no doubt you would get quickly back on your feet if you were back with friends and family and left this situation. God says that a man is to love his wife “as Christ loves the Church”. This vow has been broken…he broke it….think seriously dear…very seriously about taking a break (for health reasons) and the fog will soon clear. You are being used, abused, disrespected and God doesn’t want you to hurt like this. HE LOVES YOU. Everything in your letter says you need to be loved and feel that you’re being heard. I am so sorry that you are going through this Sherry but Praise God HE gives us choices and perhaps this is the choice HE wants you to make. Take it seriously. Plan it and if hubby can give you 5 minutes to hear you out and the reasons why, you’ll see by his reaction, the truth. If he laughs….you have your answer. Go to where you are loved and the nurturing will help clear the fog. I promise! God Bless YOU and have a Merry Christmas with your loved ones….take the well earned break that you so need. God will handle it all. Leave it then with him and we’ll pray that God directs you as HE sees best suits you and YOUR service to HIM. It’s not about being used and laughed at, ignored and alone. Hugs, Sandylyn.

    • Paul Wilkes says

      You are clearly hurting and the situation is serious, we are praying for you and feel that you may need to take action and not merely continue to go on in this! I want to remind you that you are special in GOD’S sight and have been obedient to Him by leaving family to be where the Lord wants you. It seems that your husband is not being real and is not listening to God. As a pastor I know the issues but also am learning to recognise the need for family time! I have been guilty in the past and am trying to change.
      Please know that you are not alone!! It is good to share and this is one way! I firmly believe that there is a special need for support for spouses of pastors! Where it is possible to share the heartaches of ministry!

  46. Paul Wilkes says

    You are in our prayers and want to assure you that you are not alone. You have been obedient to the Lord as you have been serving away from family and friends. It seems that you are hearing from God and He hears your heart and cries. Your husband does not seem to be listening to God.
    You need to take action and time with family will be important. I understand from a pastor’s perspective and may have been guilty of not giving enough to family. I am now making a conscious effort to do that.
    I strongly believe that pastor’s spouses need a support group and this is a beginning. I really hope that you get more support and know that the internet is a wonderful way to communicate and recognise that you are not alone!
    We will keep you in our prayers.

  47. Preachers Wife says

    I have been a preachers kid & wife for over 30 years, and I tell you I have seen a lot of things down through the years. It was my vow to myself as a child that I would never marry a minister of the Gospel because of what I saw growing up at my home Church.

    When I went away to college (christian college) I avoided the preaching students like superman avoid kryptonite. I knew I didn’t want that type of life, but I saw this young man who wasn’t a ministerial student, & looked normal to me that I had an attraction to. He approached me, and I didn’t say anything to him for a long time. He never told me that his Dad was a minister and had a Church, and that his Grandfather was also a minister. My own Dad was a minister, but not full time. He preached every now and again. No one ever told me that my Great Great Grandfather was a minister as well, so I didn’t have that fear that I was going to meet and marry a minister.

    Well before we graduated college, it happened! What happened you may ask? my future husband preached his very first sermon on campus a few months before graduation. I even have a photo of me sitting in the audience with my hand on my face thinking to myself, what am I doing here. I’m not suppose to be here in the audience with my boyfriend preaching.

    Well I must say 30 years later. Suffering debilitating depression. I don’t know who I am. Lost trying to find my way back to GOD! Unable to hold a job! I panic every time my husband is asked to preach at a local church in our area, even though he doesn’t preach full-time anymore. I often wonder if GOD is going to replace me with another better model of a Christian Preachers wife because I have not done a good job at being a preachers wife.

    There have been a lot of kind people at church, but it seems that the ugly one’s always stand out. I come from a place of love & kindness & could never treat anyone the way a lot of the people have treated me.

    The sad part about it all is that my husband doesn’t really take up for me or our children. I had to show him this website, so he could understand that I am not the only one talking about this. He seems to take everyone else’s side against what I am saying.

    It really hurts. I have threatened to leave several times. I don’t know where I’m going. Pleas pray for me.

    • Pastor Paul Wilkes says

      You will be in our prayers, I understand where you are coming from and know that there are many who need support. I believe this is one place but there ought to be more practical support for those partners in ministry. Please be asured of our prayers. My wife would willingly share more with you.
      Blessings, remember that you are In Christ!

      • Sherry Brewer says

        Thank you for your prayers. God is giving me a new mindset but knowing the call is not removed for us here I am banking on the faith I have been standing on the last 37 years. We sang a song growing up that rings in my heart today, “When by grief my heart is broken, and the sunshine steals away, Then His grace in mercy given, changes darkness into day. And I shall not be, I shall not be moved… anchored to the Rock of Ages, I shall not be moved.” Thanks again…

  48. Kimberly says

    Oh, I forgot to mention… that the two brothers in ministry…

    their father reached a VERY HIGH ranking in the “church”
    but after the first brother left the ministry (basically so he could pursue sex…. he’s never married… had a sad life by his account. struggled with depression and anger the rest of his life. Nearly 60 now! ) HIS BROTHER went into youth ministry/ married poorly/ had an affair with a youth and blamed it on her! A CHILD and then also struggled after divorce and life challenges he was NOT prepared to meet AFTER MINISTERIAL TRAINING!

    OUR MINISTERS SHOULD BE THE MOST HIGHLY TRAINED PROFESSION IN THE WORLD… instead they find themselves and their knowledge of scripture INADEQUATE AT BEST to meet the challenges of life! (THEIRS AND THEIR CONGREGATIONS/ COMMUNITIES! )

  49. Lyn says

    I am a pastor’s wife. I have the respect and love of the people in the church. It’s my husband who doesn’t respect me. He’s a good person and a brilliant pastor. I can’t even say he’s a particularly bad husband, but he doesn’t respect me or my place in ministry. We met at Bible College and married when we graduated. We were both there to prepare for ministry. It’s been 30 years and the best times I’ve had in ministry are when I was asked to be a guest lecturer in two Bible Colleges over four years. But when it came to working alongside my husband most of the time I was the person who filled in gaps. Most of the pastors I know work in partnership with their wives in ministry but that’s a far cry from my position. Our church is currently in transition and my husband has sought opinions from a wide range of people in our church, but he’s never asked my opinion on anything. I get to preach about twice a year, and that’s always on a long weekend.

    To help out financially I’ve taken a job and God has blessed me there and I have used the leadership skills that I always thought I’d get to use in church. I’ve been promoted numbers of times and received awards for the work I’ve done. Just makes me sad because it confirms that it wasn’t my imagination. I really do have abilities I could have used for God.

    This leaves me feeling ripped off and unloved. I’m trying really hard not to be bitter. I’ve talked to him about it on occasion, but nothing changes. Maybe things are different in Wales where he comes from, but here in Australia most pastors include their wives in ministry.

  50. Trudy says

    I am married to a pastor… is a second marriage for both of us…something not seen too often these days….my first husband left me for another woman after 30 years of marriage. My husband wife left him for another lifestyle. My present husband is a pastor of a small country denomination. They called him 8 years ago and it has not been easy for me. I had previously worked at my church for 25+ years in children ministry and music. It was an evangelical church . My pastor husband has always been a member of the United church of Christ. There is a group within his church who have never received me…..and it has nothing to do with the second marriage…but everything to do with having left this denomination 30+ years ago to join the evangelical one… became harder and harder tong onto church every Sunday and be ignored and not spoken to except by a faithful few…I would cry the whole way home….and one Sunday I just didn’t go and never returned since then….and that was two years Ago…my husband is fine with this and supports me to return to my old church…and I appreciate that….yet beneath it all I feel ashamed…that I have let The Lord down…left my husband down…..I never wanted to marry a Pastor and never thought I would be divorced and re married . My husband is a kind and faithful pastor to his congregation and we are up in years and see no other job for him……just felt a need to share…..

  51. says

    I wrote a comment on this blog post when it first came out. I was going through TONS and have been through even more since then. I’ve learned a lot and this is the link that should take you to my thoughts about it all:
    If you’re struggling with hurt from being in the crosshairs of the church people, I hope this will add some encouragement.

  52. Monique says

    Wow…the confession of this hurting pastors wife is my own. When I married my husband, I knew and expressed to my husband how I knew he would have to juggle between his endeavors in ministry and home. My husband promised and assured me that I would not have to worry about that because he would make his family priority. Needless to say that promise was broken and my husband has chosen to focus on his endeavors and ministry to “get away” from me and our problems. What he doesn’t realize is that me and our problems are a direct result of his constant neglect and lack of taking care of our home. We are struggling financially at home and the church is financially struggling, but instead of fighting for the stability at home, he’s fighting for the stability at church. My husband is an great pastor and spiritual leader- serving and sacrificing for the church but a terrible husband and leader of our home- under serving and sacrificing us for the church! And I have no one (other than God) to share this with and fight for me. I sometimes view the church and my husband’s other endeavors as the “other woman” and I sometimes resent them all. I put on the face to support, but it gets extremely difficult to support someone who doesn’t support me and our home. And of course when I or if the subject should come up, try to discuss this with my husband he blames me and turn the table on me as if it’s my fault. He never takes responsibility for his part. He also will criticize someone else if he hears they’re doing the same thing! Thank you for this article and for allowing me to release this!

  53. Stacey says

    I was looking for a website that might give advice on pastor’s wives who attended a different church from their husband. I am struggling because of the place that my husband is in at this time, which is partially (if not wholly) my fault. My husband stepped down from a senior pastoral position and joined a church three years ago as an associate pastor in another (IFB) church. We did discuss it at that time, and I had voiced my reservation about certain “rules” this pastor has and that I might not be able to “conform” to them. Needless to say, we’ve had discussion upon discussion about so many issues. First, when we joined, it was made clear to me by the other pastor wives that there was no place for me, only my husband (that is a quote). I agreed to abide by that. In no way is my intention to come in and take over any single thing. Just to help as asked and support my husband in his calling, which I have done until now. I’ve grown to love all of the members of that church, but as time has gone by, my oldest daughter has had alot of trouble with the pastor’s daughter. My daughter was literally told she was not part of the group (which is a trio of teenagers, who were all together the year prior) and constantly is being excluded. I was even told this was an opportunity for the pastor’s children to “showcase what they have to offer the ministry” and that’s why no one else could be included. This child has been physical with my girls, not fighting, but physically moving them or bumping them out of her way when she wants to walk by and they don’t move fast enough. No verbal argument – she just physically invades the space or literally dumps my littlest one out of her chair. There are so many examples, I cannot list them. They are about their reputation, travel, and money, and most of the people at our church cannot afford a yearly week long vacation, so for them to take yearly cruises, ski and beach vacations just gets to be excessive. (The church only has about 100 members, if that) I know it sounds as if we are jealous people, and that is not the case. I do believe they love the Lord and they believe that they are teaching the Bible to their best ability. They DO love Him and try to hold to high standards. It simply seems that their “things” are more important than their flock. My husband and I discussed me visiting with my oldest daughter to other churches where she felt like she “fits” in, since we’ve discussed this many times with the girl and her parents and we keep repeating the same situation. Everyone agreed, until now that we have found a great place where they teach what we believe (salvation only through Christ, the Trinity, and that the Bible is inerrant). We joined and now my husband will probably be losing his position in the church, which is not the issue, but the fact that they claim I am causing my husband to be out of God’s will because I am not following him, and that I am causing the house to be divided (mine, not the church). I have always thought a house divided would be a house unequally yoked. We were and remain in agreement. I know and agree that it is best for the wife to follow the husband. But I cannot fathom how God would want us to show up at church grudgingly and constantly irritated, nor do I want to subject my child to an environment that causes her to dislike fellowship with those at church. I have prayed and prayed, and simply do not know how to fix this situation. Only God can. Any advice? Sometimes, though I know our God is a loving God, they have me wondering if God is going to severely punish me for causing my husband to not follow his calling and pulling my family away from this church. And then other times, I wonder if this church is more like a cult, guilting us into doing what they want us to do. It seriously has messed up my thinking. I know that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but I also know God is not the author of confusion, which is what I am feeling.

  54. Denise says

    Hi, I am asking for prayer tonight. My husband and I are church planters. A member of the state convention called us here to step into his shoes at his church plant. After we moved here, he told my husband that it wasn’t going to happen that way and we should consider planting our own church. We accepted that and began the process. That ‘mentor’ said he would help us find team members. Then we we started asking people to help us, he yelled that my husband was not to ask anyone to help us…that he would send us who he wanted. Only he never asked anyone. In fact we found out that he discouraged anyone from joining us. It eventually led to my husband having to pull away from the other man’s leadership. Please believe me when I say that it was a hard decision. It meant us losing financial support and connections. Long story short, we have been trying to do this alone now…we left everything to do this and it is all we have now…for three years. We live in a rural yet drug infested community. We are exhausted. My husband has a job outside of ministry to pay our bills. I have tried to find a job, but they are really hard to come by here. Also we were asked to take a one year old baby into our home who has a lot of medical needs. They couldn’t find a placement for her. She is now deeply ingrained in our hearts and lives. But she requires a LOT of time and devotion due to her medical needs. It is not a foster care situation…they treat it like kinship care so we get no financial support for having her. We have to interact with her biological parents who give us a hard time, but we love her immensely! I am laying all of this out to say that we feel very very alone and my husband is struggling in ministry, in faith, and in his full time job. I am his only place of support and I get overwhelmed with his discouragement and even his occasional anger at God. I try to pray, but I don’t have words and quite honestly I just want to run to my husband for help with all of it…but his discouragement is my burden. It is quite the Catch 22. I hurt so much for him. Our congregation is full of teenage and 20 something children of addicts and of addicts themselves. These are people who have been shunned from other churches around because of tattoos and piercings and their inability to take two steps forward without taking a step and 1/2 back. But they are seeking God as best they can and they come here because our house church is more like a family than a club. My husband preaches and we sing and worship and then we all have lunch together because some of them have never sat down to a meal before this. They come by any time day and night and often ask to stay here when things get to bad at home. We know it is a special thing, but it is just so very hard and we could really use someone like you Dr. Rainer to commit to pray for us. We are just so tired and lonely. And my confession as a Pastor’s wife is that I just don’t know how to help my husband. I know that my husband did the right thing when he pulled away. I know he did because quite honestly that relationship had been poisonous since my husband was called to be a pastor in this man’s church decades ago. This man never was willing to invest in my husband, yet my hubby followed him and his advice time and time again, only to be let down like a child waiting for a father who never shows up to the game. But the end result is like Dancing with Wolves…very lonely, very overwhelming and very back breaking. I really don’t know what else to say other to ask for prayer. Thanks so much.

  55. April says

    My husband and I have been overseas for almost 18 years. We live in the village he grew up in, and have a few different ministries. For the first 9 years we were here my husband many nights wouldn’t come home until sometimes 1:00 o’clock in the morning for the reason he was “witnessing”. He left me alone almost every night, and in a foreign country with no friends and no where to go I got very, very dependent on him. I still wait for him everyday like a little puppy. We live on an island and there is really no where for me to go, or to have any hobbies. We have 4 children and our oldest is in America in college. I beg for time with him. He never plans for our anniversaries, birthday’s, or holidays. Now we are in the middle of building a new church and he has been absent for most of the year. I feel “abandoned” and his excuse is “this is our life”. I am lonely!!! I am so much in love with my husband, but I have no life!!! There is no where for me to go, and if I wanted to go to America, I can’t. So I sit at home every day and wait for a husband that has little interest in me, and even less interest in our marriage. The ministry is everything to him. I got depressed last month and he tried to help, but in the end it felt as if he patted me on the head, gave me a little attention and then he went right back to his “work”. Because I am “stuck” here, I feel the only way I can cope is to detach myself from my husband. In that way I will be able to cope, and he won’t complain that I am choking him. Detaching from him is hard though, because I hvae absolutely nowhere else to go or anything else to do. One other thing. Our home is literally rotting!!! The bathroom floor and all the windows and the casings. Our walls and doors have never been painted in 15 years, but he spends all of his time and effort on building the church. Can I say again how painful it is. When I complain he tells me I am never happy and I’m always whining. I pray and ask the Lord for help but I am just not feeling any better…… I am thankful though that I can “vent” here and that someone will be praying for me. Thank you!!

  56. Pastor E. says

    I am the pastor of an hispanic church, for the past 2 and half years. I came from a ministry first family growing up. As a spanish minister, my father was taught he had to cover all the positions in the church. ex. teaching, plumber, carpinter, bus driver, mechanic, very late night calls “just needed someone to talk too”. It took dad almost 15 years in the ministry to see he was doing it all wrong. Sure some souls were being won, for the Kingdom of Chirst. But at home we were struggling, spiritually. Mom very awesome wife and mother, Holy Ghost filled women, she has always been a vocal part of my families ministry. Dad says without her and her, late night prayers and tears, he would of called it quits long ago.

    Well now me, I have always ran from the pastors ministry, “I always told God, I could be an evangelist or local missionary but not a pastor”. But after 11 years married and 5 kids later, He caught up to me.

    My brothers in Chirst, I am on the most difficult journey or time of my life, God could not have been more clearer to me of our calling. I know He called and elected me. I understand that even before i were born He already had this in His plans, but to me. I am having the most difficult time finding the joy in this. Dont get me wrong, I Love God! I love helping others, after my wife and children, helping people not only in our church, but wherever they are. Thats my statisfaction in serving God.

    I want to quit pastoring sometimes, but how does one quit something he has not chosen. Unlike many other ministers, I never choose this, My creator choose it for me. Its sad to say soo, I have poured myself and finances into something I have yet learned to completely LOVE. The members of our church, trully love us. Some even have dared to testify that this has been the best Church they have ever been a part of.

    As a church we feed the needy, seek the lost and sick… All the things God has lead my wife and I to do. But in my heart, sermon after sermon, I feel distatisfied. It’s affecting me all around, my wife says to quit, but to be sure of the decision I am making. My parents, which are also still pastoring for over 25 years, tell me that I can’t quit, that God will give me the streghten. I might be acting a fool, if quit on God, when HE has never quit on me. But really, I am going through a really dry season right now and if God does not speak, I refuse to go on. I sound a bit like Moses, ““If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.

    The very sadest part of my testimony, the souls are trully starting to come. Week after week they are getting saved. Guest preach after preach, have all spoken the same word, these walls will not be able to contain the saved souls that the Spirit of God will save.

    (WHAT TO DO?) What is wrong, I truely do love the LORD, HE is my one and only true FRIEND, HE has never failed, but I feel so astray. GOD BLESS everyone.

  57. Carol says

    Hi. My fiance, a pastor, left me after being in a relationship for five years. We were to get married next year. (2015) by God’s grace.
    However, he broke up with me after some people he consulted told him that our relationship was a time-bomb and it would end up in divorce.
    I begged him and he refused. I sort of wasn’t ideal.
    Question is: Is this right? It leaves me confused because i saw as a kid that i was with a pastor. Also, there have been other confirmations of our being together. I know God doesn’t contradict Himself. So who is wrong? And what is the best thing to do?

  58. olive wameli says


    My husband has been a pastor for 4 years now. I have heard a problem with a particular sister in the church who is always criticizing me left, right and center. My husband says that he does not want to get involved and would like me to learn to fight my own battles and deal with difficult individuals on my own. I have prayed and even tried to mend faces with this woman, to no avail. She always finds a new reason to pick on me and has made me very miserable, I have even contemplated leaving the church to have some peace. What should I do? Need a peace of mind. Please help me

  59. Deloris says

    My story is a little different from the above comments. I have been married for 30 years my husband and I both or in the ministry. He is not a Pastor as of yet. However, he does minister at different churches often. My problem is it is very hard for me to sit and listen to him preach when he so cold and mean at home. He barely speaks to me when we are at home, he often says mean and hateful things ti me. When we are in public and around church folk he is the perfect husband. I have given everything I could possibly give to this marriage and almost about to give up. Being a man of God I would think that he would try harder in our relationship and love me as Christ loves the church. I do love him dearly but I cannot pretend any longer that we have a perfect marriage. When we are at a church function I find myself not wanting to leave and go home because he treats like his wife when we are out. What do I do?

  60. Ellen says

    I have so many questions on this topic. I know that it is my goal, my role to set up my husband for success. I truly desire his success. But here are the questions I wrestle though,
    Where did I fit in the equation of his ministry?
    Am I to raise the babies so that he can focus on church?
    Does it matter what my gifts and abilities are?
    And if so, how am I supposed to use them without the appearance of undermining my husbands role and authority?

    I DESPISE the the way society is telling women to lead their husbands, but I also desire to use the talents I have.
    To be very honest, I sometimes envy my husbands job. He has the opportunity to in a way that my heart aches to serve. I LOVE my kids and I ADORE my husband, but I often times feel trapped in this role as pastor’s wife.

    There are many things that he is required to do as a pastor that I am gifted in and he is not.
    What is my role?
    When I stand before God will I have wasted the talents that He gave me?
    Or am I truly just supposed to be the one who shines the spotlight on my husband? I can do that, but is that what I am supposed to do?

  61. Tara says

    I stumbled upon this website when I randomly googled, “HELP! I feel like my husband is married to the church”. My husband is not a pastor. He is in training to be an elder in our church. He is also a small group leader. He spends 3-4 hours per week in the training sessions and has about 1-2 hours of homework per week. He also has to prepare for the weekly small groups and has not been very receptive to my offers to help him co-lead. He usually spends 1-2 hours per week preparing for this and then spends 2-3 hours in the actual group meeting. We have an established time frame for this group but have never stuck to the time frame and continually go over by at least 45 minutes every week. Two nights ago, he did not get home until almost midnight because he is now invited to attend the monthly session meetings which start at 7pm.
    I’m very thankful for our church and am thankful that our denomination trains our elders/gets to know each person’s heart. I’ve voiced my concerns about the time commitment but often feel like I’m not supporting his ministry. I’ve asked for support of current elders’ wives to no avail.
    My husband and I have a preschooler; and I’ve recently re-entered the workforce. We’ve also been sick for THREE STRAIGHT MONTHS! This site helped me to feel a little more normal.
    I am entitled to feel like a priority in my marriage. I should expect that my husband values his family as much as he values our church. I am not alone!

  62. Kelly says

    I would love to know of some resources for ministry wives. My husband is a youth pastor and he is currently in seminary as well. He will likely be a senior pastor in the next few years. I am really struggling with all of this and I feel like I do not have a safe outlet or group to lean on. I work full time and we have 3 young children too. Our plates are over flowing. I do not feel that I can share my struggles with those at church freely, due to my husband’s position. I am starting to resent his call to ministry and I would love to know of resources/groups for ministry wives to support each other, etc.

  63. Patricia says

    I am a Pastor’s wife and I have felt very alone for such a long time. No one to share your thoughts and feelings with. No one really understands this life we live. My husband has told me for years that other spouses don’t feel this way it’s only me. He says I need help. This site has helped me more than you.
    Thank you and God bless you.

    • Lonely says

      Patricia, you are not the only one to feel this way. My husband is a lay/part time pastor in our church. He is about to become the executive pastor. It is a newer church, still very small. He preaches half the year. The stress has already led the Senior Pastor’s wife to leave church for a while. She has just returned. Ironically, now that she has returned, I am now understanding exactly how she felt. These are good people there, but people non the less. So even with good intentions, they can be cruel sometimes. It seems they build you up to tear you back down. I am in charge of many different things there. I have recently resigned from a couple of them as it has become too much. Now that I am finally in the right position for the past few years, and have really found my place (or so I thought) all of a sudden the same people who built me up, are now criticizing everything I do. It’s like getting hit with a brick wall. One moment everyone loves me, then BAM, all in one week I feel like the tide has turned. Feeling exhausted and like there is nowhere to turn. I have a wonderful husband. He wants to stick up for me, but I know it will come off too harsh, so I always ask him to let it go. No one has any idea the amount of work I put in. I know God does, and that is what counts, but I am human too, and I can only take so much. The lonely part is when there is nowhere to turn. My family has issues and they aren’t supportive. All of my friends are either Christians who basically quote a verse and say deal with it. OR people who are not Christians, and I don’t want to turn them off of Christianity. OR people in the church, who I really cannot confide things in. So I truly get how many pastor’s wives are lonely. I feel like there is no outlet when there is “drama” or I am attacked. I have no one I can safely discuss my feelings with. There is nothing at all wrong with you Patricia! This is VERY common!!

  64. Cindy says

    My husband has left the ministry last week and it was very strange for us not to go to church after 25 years of pastoring. We have been at a small country church for over 13 years and it was a roller coaster ride. We were told pastors come and go but this is our church. I think so many people have lost the purpose of a church family and treat church as a trip to the mall where they buy what they want for their family, and if their needs are not met they leave in a huff and try to turn as many people away too. I think we are missing out on a lot of opportunities to reach the lost by being so self focused as the world teaches us to be. not Jesus.


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