The Tragic Story of a Hurting Pastor’s Wife

I receive volumes of blog comments, emails, and social media communications every day. On occasion, one of those comments will stop me in my tracks, like this recent blog post comment.

I am providing it to you almost completely unedited. I made a few edits to protect the identity of the writer.

I respectfully request you not to lecture this lady, but to offer prayer and encouragement. The headings are mine, but the words are hers.

The Lonely Pastor’s Wife

“Please allow me to share my feelings about the last many years of being a pastor’s wife. I tried on many occasions to talk to my husband about it (loneliness, neglect, wanting at least one evening a week together, lack of dating, etc.). We’ve gone to marriage seminars, talked to mentor ministry couples, and, still, things don’t change.”

The Pastor with the Messed Up Priorities

“He never schedules time for investing in our marriage and works all week in the office and then up all night on Saturdays getting his sermon ready. He leaves early Sunday mornings for preparations for the service and, by the time he gets home in the afternoon, he’s exhausted and definitely doesn’t feel like doing anything active or fun with the kids and me. He just wants to veg out on the couch.”

The Pastor Who Does Not Listen

“When I try to talk about my feelings, I’m “complaining” and not “following the call for my life.” I’m so tired of the cycle of neglect, loneliness, rejection, and hurt that, I hate going to church, don’t read my Bible anymore, and have to fight thoughts of divorce every single day. The church definitely feels like his mistress. I’m so hopeless and feel that I’m trapped. The one place I should be able to turn to, the church, is what is killing me on the inside.”

The Plea for Help

“If anyone has a recommendation for a fair and reasonable counselor in the Houston area who is used to working discreetly with people in my and my husband’s position, I would greatly appreciate it. I’m down to my last resort before bailing.”

My Reason for Sharing This Information

Any time I hear about a marriage failing, I feel sick to stomach. It happens too often. And it happens too often with those who are in vocational ministry. Of course, it is not limited to the role of pastor. Such cries of hurt are emanating from the spouses of all kinds of church staff.

So I offered her words to you with the hope that it could be a caution for all of us in vocational ministry. Love your spouses. Love your family. Take care of them. Give them the priority mandated by Scripture (1 Timothy 3:1-5).

And please pray for this pastor’s wife. She is truly hurting.

Posted on August 3, 2016


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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190 Comments

  • Don Davies says on

    I really think that pastors are also human. They make mistakes, and also deal with situations that are hard. But like what Pastor Keion, https://www.keionhenderson.com/ taught us in one of his sermons, if you have God, you will always get back up on your feet after a fall, and you will always realize your mistakes.

  • Don Davies says on

    Thanks for this. Even ministers of God go through trials as they are human. But they themselves should really listen to God and see what they need to do in their lives. A good man will accept his mistakes and will make things right. A pastor in Houston TX, Pastor Henderson of https://lhhouston.church/ once spoke of this during service. That’s where I realized that you will not be right all the time so you have to be humble enough to let God teach you the right way.

  • I was amazed when I read so many of these stories of the struggles of being a Pastor’s wife. It comforted me to know I wasn’t alone. My husband of almost nine years, who is bipolar, has a sexual addiction, anxiety, and many more issues, decided to become a Senior Pastor four years ago. I grew up Methodist, going to church, but never had a pastor in our family. I had no idea of the politics that go on in the church or the loneliness I would endure. I am not perfect, but my faith is great. I have always prayed silent and loved the Lord. Being a very happy and social person, I would learn my husband was not. He lied to me when I met him about everything. He said he was a very happy person, loved doing and going everywhere I did, had only slept with less than 5 women (ha ha), hated porn, and was so loving and kind to me. After a year he started seeing escorts again, or maybe sooner. I then learned from his daughter’s he had a huge escort addiction with his ex wife. I was never told about that. Lot’s of things came out after that. I found a Christian counselor to see to seek forgiveness. That has went on for 8 years off and on. You see, I just get there thinking I have forgiven, then I find something again. He loves porn and video porn. Of course, that’s the bipolar mental illness. I have been told, he likes fantasy. I am not his fantasy. My counselor asks why I stay. I am a very faithful, loyal person. And because of the bipolar excessive money spending, we have no retirement or savings. I try my best to go on Sunday morning and be present in the Lord. My depression has taken over me, I have lost myself. I was an attractive, smart woman. He doesn’t pay any attention to me and yes all he does also is stay on his phone or is texting. Church is 7 days a week, we live on property. He is a people pleaser. So yes, being a Pastor’s wife has been very hard. I pray, Lord help me. There is so much more that has happened, this is just a part.

    • Brenda Juniel says on

      Hi Lynn, I am a Pastor wife myself. There should come a time that all the lies and etc. need to stop. For God know mans and whats in man heart? Ask your self why do you stay. You can Forgive this what God wants us to do, get yourself out of the way of this disaster that is soon to explode and be revealed openly. God bless you my Sister in Christ. No more suffering in silence as a Pastor wife.

  • Pastor wife says on

    I thought I was alone in this. Every woman he knows is shown more respect than me. He has secret work friends that he calls and texts. Along with the pornographic pictures but I’m the most important thing. Now I am a burden, my fiends had to feed me the last 2 weeks and he moved out last night. He still preaches, most of his messages are geared towards me “the hater”…I lost my husband and pastor. I am alone here. He has family here. It’s just me and my daughter. He left us with $10.00 after I paid the rent and bills.

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