Bonding with the other pastor’s wife

Other Pastor's Wife 7.17.15

Our church recently had the blessing of taking a group of our teens to Costa Rica for a mission’s trip. It was an exhausting but great trip. We all learned a lot. We were stretched. We grew closer to our teens as well as to the rest of our adult team.

I also solidified my affections for the senior pastor’s wife.

Before my husband and I were married, I was told time after time to make an intentional effort to befriend the senior pastor’s wife at whatever church we ended up at, and since I was so young, attempt to create a sort of mentor/pupil relationship. She could be a vast wealth of knowledge and experience, especially to someone just entering the ministry!

I have been extremely blessed that both of the pastor’s wives I have worked with have been incredibly loving and open, always happy to help and talk and give advice when I sought it. The first pastor’s wife was instructed by my husband’s seminary to have monthly meetings with me to check in on me and let me evaluate the various ministries that I was involved in. She was kind and gentle, and I felt as if she felt comfortable enough with me to open up about her own struggles and frustrations, as well as her joys and fun experiences that she had. I really enjoyed her. I was sad when we had to leave.

Then I met the pastor’s wife at the church where my husband was hired. Immediately I could tell that she was easy going, but she wasn’t a person who said “yes” to everything either. She told me from the beginning to take care of myself and not fear the people in the church or their expectations. Our church doesn’t have super high expectations for the pastor’s wives, and for that I was grateful. It was a fear of mine that maybe some people would expect me to be at every event, participate in everything, and never say “no” to anything.

If you are at a church right now where these expectations are on you, let me share something with you. You don’t have to say “yes” to everything! You don’t! Your first responsibility is to your own faith and relationship with Christ. After that, it’s your husband, and then after that it is your family if you have children. Then it is the church. If you are feeling as burned out as your husband, because let’s face it, all of our husbands are burned out in ministry, then you need to take a step back and reevaluate your commitments. You should have joy in serving, not feel as if you have to in order to please those few people in the church who are vocal about it.

I have run into a few people who have been obviously disappointed when I have turned them down when they have asked me to participate in a ministry. And it bothered me. A lot. But I was reminded several times that I am already serving in the capacities where I am joyous, and to add more would just add unneeded stress to not only me but the precious time that I have with my husband. Because I won’t let anything take that away. We cherish our time together, because it is not nearly as much as we would like. So protect your time with your spouse too. If people don’t understand, then that is their problem that the Lord will need to work on them with, not yours.

Anyways, back to the relationship with the pastor’s wife. The two (or possibly more) of you are the only one’s who really can understand each other. Even deacon’s or elder’s wives don’t fully understand what it is like to be married to the pastor and to be involved in the church in that capacity. She could be the best person for you to confide in and, in appropriate times, vent to about things happening in the church. Chances are what is bothering you is probably bothering her too.

Now, what if the pastor’s wife is not open? What if she’s too busy? What if she is a person who says “yes” to everything and expects you to be the same way? Then I would still encourage you to pray about a relationship with her, and still try to reach out. She may be used to doing everything alone, and in time and with the Lord’s prompting, may find solace in another person who can understand her. Invite her out for coffee. Leave her a card with some encouraging thoughts and scripture in it. Have your husband mention your desire to her husband. Doors might open. Keep praying.

And if you are the only pastor’s wife at the church where you and your husband are serving, then I encourage you to find one locally who you could connect with. One of my friends from back home is also a pastor’s wife, and she and I often have very different conversations than we do with the rest of our group of friends. It’s because we can confide in each other, and since we are working both behind the scenes and at the front of the stage beside our husbands in some ways, her experiences, though different in detail, I can relate to nearly all the time.

The pastor’s wife at my church was feeling the same way I was on our trip in Costa Rica. We were tired, we were stressed, and we were unhappy with the way that some things were playing out. I could be frank with her, and she was able to be frank with me. There is no need to put on a face. Both of our husbands were leading everything, and we could see how tired they were. We were frustrated, but we could talk about it.

Make sure you make the effort to make that connection. You won’t regret it! If you already have, make sure to utilize it!

Have a blessed day, guys!

~Kate

 

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