The Tragic Story of a Hurting Pastor’s Wife

August 3, 2016

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.

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  • Icarusjun says on

    I stumbled upon this page, and sadly I’m realizing that for being a pastor and married for 23 years now, I’ve been struggling with my wife for a little bit over 5 years already. Reading this as well as the comments of the women (not to mention pastor’s wives) here brought me now to a wake-up call to fix my own life and marriage. I realize that I’ve hurt my wife and have not treated her the way she deserved. For a number of times I don’t know now, I’ve even told her she’s made my life miserable for the past 5 years. People look up at us and see a good example of married life (result of social media), but I realize that my wife’s been living a nightmare all these years. Two nights ago (before the time of writing this) we’ve had an ugly fight, and I’ve even used words no pastor or even a respectable man should utter. We’ve not been talking to each other since then, and I think I’ve just had it with her that’s why I locked myself up in the study for 2days now until I was able to see this article. I ask for forgiveness and ask you to pray for our marriage to be restored. I’m sorry for all the pastor’s wives out there who suffered because of those stupid pastors like me.

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