Seven Things Pastors’ Wives Wish They Had Been Told Before They Became Pastors’ Wives

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Posted on April 6, 2013

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • Thom,

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

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

    Thank you for caring for pastors…

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

  • Larinda says on

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

    • Thom Rainer says on

      Will do Larinda. God’s blessings in your new call.

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

  • Nick Horton says on

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

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

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

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

    • Thom Rainer says on

      John –

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

  • Amy Schull says on

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

  • Don Matthews says on

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

    • Thom Rainer says on

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

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

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

  • Rachelle Coleman says on

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

    • Thom Rainer says on

      Your perspective of time offers much wisdom Rachelle. Thank you.

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

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

  • Ken Tripp says on

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

    • Thom Rainer says on

      My prayers for both of you Ken.

    • Rachelle says on

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

      • Thom Rainer says on

        So grateful for the redemptive story Rachelle.

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

      • Have you talked to your husband about this?

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

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

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

      • Carmen Rivera says on

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

      • Rachelle says on

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

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

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

      • woow thank you Felixnfir encouraging us it us real difficult to be a Pastor’s wife but with God by our side we will conqure all , He knew that we will face difficulties but still He trusted us to help our husband to lead and serve his flock.woow how nice to be trusted by the Lord,he will surely fight for us and he will see us through.

  • David Highfield says on

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

    • Thom Rainer says on

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

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

    • Thom Rainer says on

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

  • Jessica G says on

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

    • Thom Rainer says on

      Jessica –

      I have prayed this morning that God will provide you a close friend and confidant.

      • Jessica G says on

        Thank you Dr. Rainer. Thank you for your kindness and prayers.

      • Shanna steps says on

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

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

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

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

      • I have been blessed, as a pastor’s wife, in having a confidant within my church and outside of my church. One of my best friends is also a pastor’s wife. She married him while he was still studying in school and we were already very good friends. I hadn’t even met my husband, yet, so it is quite by coincidence that we are both pastor’s wives. However, I do have several friends within the church that we met before my husband (who moved here after we married) was made associate pastor. One came from another church we had both attended together before I met my husband. If pastor’s wives can’t have confidants within the church, it isn’t a godly church. I think that we get these ideas into our heads about pastor’s wives. I think I have it a bit easier because I’m an associate pastor’s wife and everyone knows I work outside the home, as many pastor’s wives have to do today. I must admit, though, that I have let a barrier be erected between my senior pastor’s wife and me, though mostly because I felt I was not on the same level as she. I felt myself beneath her, because I could not accomplish in the church what she does. She’s an amazing woman. I’ve been recently thinking that I need to invite her to lunch, because we have a connection together that no one else in the church can have with us.

      • April Wallace says on

        I live in Washington, NC.

      • What city?

      • Hanna
        Its almost new year of 2018
        I’m in the husband watching TV
        We have a small church in Virginia. We are now 74
        But young at heart.
        I wish I had a close friend to chat with.
        I loved the ministry at first. I was on cloud 9.
        Husband and I saved at 27
        Then the troubles came.
        If you want to. Chat here or email let me know.
        I’m so sick of being alone so much and my husband gets his thrills from serving at church…not from being with me. I feel so sad at times. But I get over it and move on because he does not care to deal with it. Write if you can Jacki

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

      • I strongly believe in this as well. My husband is the assistant Pastor at our church and the truth be told, when I really need to vent about church….I talk to a sister who is saved and prays for me.
        She is also saved and DOES NOT attend my church.

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

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

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

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

        Blessings to us all as we fight the good fight!

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


      • Yes Lord the Good fight!
        and the funny thing is other women are clamoring to be a ” Pastors wife or First Lady”.

        They don’t even have a clue.

      • Andiswa says on

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

      • Lorinda Tettehfio says on

        be of yourself but above fear God,meditate on his words backed by prayer for it will shape,mold,strengthen you.when you are able to do this your dressing,speech,etc will be transformed ROMANS 12:2

      • Yatubeera. Resty says on

        Reading all this can be so troubling especially to a young newly wed minister wife, cause all it says are the trouble beautiful women of God undergo as wives to servants of God. Now I want to change that by helping to explain who a minister’s or pastors wife is, and why it feels hard for these women to help and serve their husbands. 1 Timothy 3:1 speaks of Overseers and decons of the church, explaining the roles and character such people must have. Now, yesterday after I had read all this, I felt troubled in my spirit. I kept asking God is that all am going to settle for as my husbands wife?. Trough the night my spirit found no rest, so o discussed it with him and we shared as few things. More understanding come my way. Today the Lord led me to that scripture in Timothy and he said, so audibly. ” you are your husband’s Overseer”. I asked back confused, “what do you mean. Hear t speaks of a man?, how can a woman be the over seer of a man?, Much more a man choosn by you to lead his people?. He explained all through the scripture and now I pray , you too will be lead to understand 1Timothy 3:1-6. A wife’s duties to her husband are a little less than what overseers do. While a wife is to home, the other is to a church. Now Corinthians speaks of us being Christ’s church- I believe a minister is anointed by God so his spirit can dwell more in him for ministry. As a wife, your husband is your first church, by whom you must practise all the above duties and character as Paul explains in Timothy. You must be above reproach, faithful to him, temperate, self controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, sober minded, gentle, good spirited and not a lover of money. Now when you read of such character, and fully meditate upon there meaning, you shall find the loneliness you feel will be covered under hospitable, good spirited and so will many others.

        I want to encourage any pastor’s wife reading this, the journey never is easy bit if you choose the right mindset about things, you shall be set free from many troubles of this world. Some things we go through are actually because of our perception. Am not saying our Husbands have no fault, but if as an overseer (wife) you help guide, counsel, respect, encourage and welcome all your husband is, you will find it easy to walk beside him all the days of your life happily and contented

      • Very nicely put. However there will take plenty of us to get to this place but with God anything is possible.

    • Desiree says on

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

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

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

      • Oh oh..Kim the tears are coming as I read this. I so identify.

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

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

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

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

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

      • Gailyn,

        Thank you for that awesome word of encouragement! It is so true! We must remember Who made us a pastor’s wife. We did not choose it. He did. And He must have had a reason. I need to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. Don’t look down, across, or to the right or left. But only at Him. Everything we do, we do it for Him! I am a pastor’s wife for God, not for men.

        I still find many things difficult but it makes it easier for me knowing that I don’t answer to men. I answer to God! I answer to my Father in Heaven. And He will take care of me. Prayer is key to our sanity. It is through prayer that spiritual burdens are unloaded and lightened. It is through the quiet waiting before God that our heart is healed and rebuilt by His hand. It is through the pouring out of our heart to Him AND the stillness of listening prayer (tedious though it may be) that He strengthens our inner man and causes us to stand. He keeps our souls. Amen!


      • I understand what you mean. I don’t mean to exclude anyone but I truly believe there should be a women’s conference for only Pastors/ Ministers wives.

        The things we bare should only be trusted and aired with those who are living it.

    • Jessica,

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

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

    • Jessica says on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • I remember a Pastor preached these two different sermons at two different convocations and i have held on to them dearly. ” The pulpit and pew don’t mix:……read between the lines. ” Give them your hand and not your heart.
        This may not be received properly but I do not have the desire to share my down time with those I serve in the church outside of the church other than my intimate sisters/ friends in Christ which are only 3.
        The other 2 are saved and from churches outside of mine.

        I have planned “girlz” get together’s at my home and it’s been intimate and kept intimate.

        We love, laugh and encourage each other. Especially the intimate part of myself.

        Please do not look at me as a cold hearted 2nd first lady but I’ve seen too much how my 1st Lady and Bishop embraced people in their private space and home and the end results have been repeat offenders.

        I love them, serve them, want to encourage them but that’s where it stops for me.

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

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

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

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

      • You could not have said it better. I am a pastor’s wife for about 3 years now. But we have been serving unofficially in our church for over ten years. I am starting to witness what most of you are witnessing. I made a deadly mistake of confiding in a sister i truly respect in church. She went back after a couple of months to tell the sister maybe some of the things i told her about the sister or all of it. I felt so betrayed and alone.
        I am not angry with her because we are humans and make mistake. But i came to the conclusion on my own that i will never confide to any sister/body in our church. We have to trust in the Lord at all times. His grace will always be sufficient for us. God will NEVER give us more than what we can bear.

        It is not all gloom and doom. Because the bible says with much tribulations shall we enter the kingdom of God. We have alot of wolves in sheep clothings in the church. As the Lord to give you a decerning spirit and a heart to witstand any rejection, loneliness, humiliations that may be thrown our way. God will always make a way of escape for us. Remain richly bless. It is all good.

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

      • Are you Seventh-day Adventist?

    • Michelle Ray says on

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

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

      • Kim Guenther says on

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

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

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

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

      • Kim Guenther says on

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

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

      • Ladies,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • In ministry and as a pastor’s wife, I can tell you that it is lonely, but, in prayer these feelings of lack of friendship relationships are eventually over-come by the relationship we have and the love of our heavenly father. In ministry, your spouse is truly your best friend in all aspects. As the co-pastor and wife of the Senior Pastor, even with fellow Pastor’s there is a line which we cannot cross. While, there is some competition among ministers, it is even harder because you find yourself restricted in your expression, and openness.

      You can love and express your compassion to the congregation, but, it is wisdom as a pastor to withhold personal feelings or conflicts within your personal life to them. The enemy will use this information to attack you, and it will be fierce; I have seen this happen first hand. So, with whole heartedness, see your spouse not only as the man of the house, also as your confidant.

    • Obusisiwe says on

      Hi Jessica

      I really share the same sentiments. I know the feeling of being surrounded by so many women but also not relevant for the type of position you are in. I struggled for some time to get a mentor when it comes with being a pastor’s wife and you will realize that Ministry takes so much from you and still have to meet the needs of your husband and children…This is not easy. We bless the Lord for the call and I believe He’s constantly beside us every step of the way.

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