The Tragic Story of a Hurting Pastor’s Wife

August 3, 2016
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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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166 Comments

  • Pastor Ron says on

    My family is my first ministry. When my boys were either playing sports or singing in school functions I was there even if I had to miss a church function. I would often get in trouble with some church people but again my family was my first ministry. I have made it through 40 years of ministry and my family is in church today. I never wanted my family to feel like they were competing for my attention with the church. I could have done better but I tried to keep my family as my first ministry.

  • Thom , may I also email a personal letter so you can forward to her? I am a Pastors wife and my heart breaks for her and her story I have been wanting to reach out to other Pastors wives to let them know that they are not alone.

  • My heart hurts for this lady. Also being a pastor’s wife, I completely understand what she is saying and can see how easily this can happen. While I don’t quite experience this story, we’ve touched the edges of it and have worked hard to stay balanced in our marriage, family, and work. I thank the Lord that my husband, who is passionate about his job, knows how to hear me and his children above the clamour of noise from his job.

    My husband, Paul, and I both read your blog, Dr. Rainer. Paul sent me this email just after he read this post. With his permission, here’s his email to me:

    “Good Morning, Babe!

    I love you! I just read Thom Rainer’s email that tells the tragic story of a Hurting Pastor’s Wife. In her words, I hear some of the words you’ve spoken but I didn’t hear at the time.

    Please forgive me for when I’ve let work be my mistress. Please forgive me for not listening to you when you’ve shared your feelings. Please forgive me for neglecting our family, especially when it is a result of poor planning or procrastination on my part.

    Thank you for your faithfulness to God, to me and to our children. You are so gifted and amazing as wife, a mother and a friend! You have crazy awesome wisdom for organising and planning.

    I love you, I treasure you. I don’t say it enough, but you’re incredible. You inspire me to be better in every way! You are so incredibly encouraging! You lift me up when I am low. Your aunts are right, there’s a glow about you that I can totally see. It is partly that you’re feeling better, but it is also Christ in you! I love seeing how you are growing in Christ, seeking to be more like Him, digging into His Word. I love your passion for His church.

    I pray that God will bless you, and reveal to you more and more his amazing, wonderful, incredible, never ending, always perfect, total and complete love for you!

    You are beautiful, lovely and sexy. I love coming home, I look forward to coming home and being with you. I’m glad you came to baseball and that we still watched a show last night, it felt good to cuddle on the couch.

    I’m so in love with you! I wish I could show you what I’m feeling for you right now! My heart is full and beating with love. I’m so thankful to God for you, you are such a treasure!”

    Makes my heart happy to know that I have a loving husband who is always transforming by the power of the gospel.

    • As I posted above, my wife doesn’t care that much for travel or going out to eat. However, she does greatly appreciate little things like love notes. Thanks for the reminder!

    • This is truly sent from a Man of God. Might I add, it isn’t just PWs that are neglected by those in some sort of ministry. Our men must remember that as head of the family they must be that. I’m grateful to this brave woman who poured her heart out.

      My prayer is that this husband and others like him take note. It took a lot for her to say these things. My heart goes out to her.

  • Happily married pastor's bride says on

    As a Pastor’s wife myself, I can totally relate to this lady. My prayers are for her. My heart does break for her. The feeling of helplessness is real–
    We count on the Spiritual leader in our home as well as the church. What does a woman do when she clearly can’t trust her husband in either area and still hold her head up at church to not wreak havoc for the rest of the church family and not cause division in her home, (children looking to dad as an example). Eek????
    I prayed and believed God would and could for 15 years!! God in his sovereignty saw it all through. My husband gave in to God and my plea to become a “husband”. Hang in there pastor’s wives!!! God may have some growing on your end to be doing as well.

  • Thank you for sharing this. My heart breaks to read this as well. I have begun to pray for this couple. I pray that someone has been able to provide the information she needs. I pray that her husband will discover the great need here and find a balance between his two callings (his family and God’s church). I pray that this lady will be encouraged and reinvigorated in the calling as well. I pray that I will take heed and not fall into this trap as I have just begun my first lead pastorate after 27 years of associate. I can see the difference now between the two and the tendency to be pulled constantly to the pastor’s role while slowly losing touch with the husband/father roles. I am looking for the balance now and this dear lady’s struggle punctuates the urgency. I will continue praying for her and her husband and kids.

    • Chris,
      I made the transition from associate to lead pastor four years ago and you couldn’t be more right. There are so many temptations for a “messiah complex,” workaholism, and power-mongering in the lead chair. More than that, you feel an even greater burden for the whole ministry than you did when you were an associate.

      Unfortunately, my wife expresses some of the same things as the one quoted in this blog – though not to the same level. If I don’t set firm boundaries, I could work everyday. There’s a false hero syndrome that we can feel about it. My predecessor in my previous church set that pattern for over 50 years and it was hard to break. (Some churches may expect that kind of twisted devotion from their pastor.) Fortunately, my wife doesn’t let me get away with it. I’m still not as attentive as I need to be, but I think God is getting some things through to me. I do love the quote offered above, “Christ died for the church; I don’t need to…”

      Pastor’s wives have to put up with so much (trying to find the right word that won’t offend readers…). Expectations are often unreasonable and they have no power whatsoever. If they get involved in church politics they are sure to be burned along with their husband. They often have to sit by helplessly while their husband gets brutalized.

      It’s a tough, tough role. Pastor/husbands need to care for their wife.

      Praying for this dear sister and her husband.

      • In my years of full-time ministry, one of my wife’s heaviest burdens was seeing the complainers get their way at my expense. On one occasion our board of elders asked the members if they had any ‘problems’ with me. Of course they heard some, which they brought to me (anonymously). They were surprised when I was able to identify every complainer and why they made that complaint.

      • I’m genuinely curious as to why this occurs? I’m not trying to be insulting or anything. As a young person I’m not totally familiar with how this all works and would like to be better informed. And I’m speaking specifically to the unrealistic church expectations. Does nobody ever speak out against the unreasonableness? Point out that certain behaviors are not okay or biblical? That a pastors wife is not to be treated poorly? I understand wanting to avoid conflict I suppose but I’m curious as to how these things are handled. Too often in the churches I’ve seen bad/ cruel behavior swept under the rug and it just keeps hurting people. And it sets a bad example to young people because they are being taught that others can just say whatever they’d like, especially toward women.

      • Michelle says on

        I don’t understand it either. In the situation that I am aware of, it has been going on for 37 years and has just been found out recently. The Pastor is very head-strong and domineering and what he says goes. There have been men in our church try to stand up to the mistreatment of his wife, but he dismisses it, and blames things on her all the time. I believe he doesn’t respect the men in our church – after all he is their leader, he is their pastor, he is the one who teaches them the Bible, etc. What he needs, I believe is a strong Christian counselor outside of our church, outside of our little town, that will make him accountable. If the authorities were called the whole town would find out about it, as we live in very small town. I know that all of the abuse over the years has been very exhausting for the wife. Also, if when he is confronted about something he is doing wrong, he will start rattling off all the good things he has done, and how he is such a good example in a bunch of other areas. I wish there were answers for my hurting friend.

  • I am a pw and I can sadly say I relate to this all to well. I was not expecting it to be this way. It’s very hard to love the church that is put first a lot of the time.

  • Ron Harvey says on

    In my 43 years of marriage and 37 years of ministry, Renee and I were fortunate to have couples mentors in our lives who loved us to “marriage maturity” as we grew up together in Christ. We worked on our marriage together with “other” couples. For us, this has been the key to a good, sometimes great marriage. Doing married life together with someone more mature is foundational.

  • This is really sad, I feel for this woman. I’m pretty sure God never intended for the church to break up marriages or to be this much of a stresser on families.

    I would imagine this is what Paul meant when he said that if possible it would be better if we remained single. We may need to temper our expectations of ministry commitments with regards to our families.

    Probably the best of all worlds is an active and engaged community of believers that doesn’t pile nearly so much on one man’s shoulders.

  • John Van Lester says on

    This is so true, we experienced it time and time again, as we walked with the Lord through his calling on our lives and ministry together we dug in a little deeper and watched as we loved our people and saw him do some marvelous things in both our lives and theirs. now in retirement I can devote myself to supporting her ministry and watching it grow in a new place all over again.

  • Josh White says on

    For the good of the group:
    One of the best things I ever learned in ministry was from Ron Luce, and he called it his 7-7-7 philosophy:
    Every 7 days, you go on a date.
    Every 7 weeks, you spend a day or do something overnight together.
    Every 7 months, you try to take a vacation together.

    I picked this up about 20 years ago and my wife and I have practiced it consistently enough that when we don’t do it, our children will say to us, “Y’all haven’t been on a date in a while. You should go out.” We don’t do it perfectly, but because that’s the goal, we spend a lot more time together than normal.

    • Karen Browning says on

      Thank you for sharing that!

    • I love this concept. Definitely sets some attainable goals and practical reminders. Thank you for sharing this.

    • My wife is pretty much a homebody and doesn’t care much for travel or restaurants. Still, the basic principle is the same: make sure you set aside time to spend together.

    • Must be nice to make that kind of money…I’m lucky if I can afford to take my wife out every 7 months…

      • Understand the budget thing. We go to the mall and walk around holding hands and share a cinnamon bun. You don’t have to spend money just time. Go on a hike etc…

    • The model sounds awesome, but if you have a spouse that only has energy for the church, this will not work. A GOD change in each heart and mind will be the only thing that leads a married couple to this. Thanks for sharing this model.

    • Great Idea!

    • That’s really good and very practical, thanks for sharing…

    • This would be so very wonderful…
      But it will never happen.
      After 24 years of marriage – most of which being the wife of the youth pastor, associate pastor, and now pastor, I know things will always be this way for me.
      I am resigned to this fact because that’s exactly what it is – a fact. It has been made glaringly obvious this is the life God has for me. Most times it doesn’t bother me anymore, but some days, like today, it really hurts. I just want a little portion (not double) of the attention he gives to anyone and everyone else. Just a little bit…

      • Your not alone. I’m 42 years old, married 14 years. 3 children. This is my life. Divorce is not option. Acceptance is the only thing keeping me going. So sad. I wish my kids had a different model of a Christian home. Filled with love. It is what it is. Am I bitter at God? No. God gave us all free choice. I guess I made mine.

      • I am a pastor’s wife in the same position. We have date nights but his various ministries are his mistress and priority. He says “your life is so hard, you’re such a single mom”. 20 years in and I’m nearing the end and at a point where I’m not longing for his love. Exhatwirh handling ALL aspects of our lives except earning money which now gets subtly gets thrown in my face when we argue about him engaging, partnering, leading. I just want to escape. I don’t want to just keep settling g.

    • Lisa Williams says on

      That’s, awesome, I think I would try that

    • What do you do as a wife when you husband does not want to , or brushes off such ideas as the date night ,let alone a 777 plan which I think is great!

  • Josh White says on

    Thom, could I send you something from my wife for her and let you pass it on. Honestly, I don’t think anything I can say will make a difference.

    I also just moved back here from the Houston area, so I know some people there who can be of assistance with counseling if she’s interested.

    • TIRED PASTOR'S WIFE says on

      This is so sad, yet it is a reality for so many Pastor’s wives. While this article is over a year old, it’s so many Pastor’s wives story TODAY. I am a pastor’s wife and ended up reading this blog while conducting my own personal search for self help material. My husband isn’t abusive in the sense that he gives orders that the scripture demands to be followed, however, he does live the life where the church and church people seem to be his priority and me his option. I can identify with my sister who says that her husband can discern when everyone else is in trouble and downcast but not me. The church gets the bulk of his time, money love and energery and by the time he gets home he’s depleted and he retreats to one room and I to another….. There are many days when I say to myself, I don’t want to do this anymore but feel like I’ll be walking away from a commitment that I committed to….

      • So tired after so long says on

        ve gotten to where i dread going to church but i have to cause i play the piano and lead singing. i had an affair 24 yrs ago out of loneliness and it has almost drove me insane. i know God has forgiven me but i cant forgive myselfIm so afrid it will hurt our church if they kmoe. I need relief through prayers and would love to hear someone say hoe they go over it.

      • Helen Esteves says on

        Please help me…I am married to a minister of the church and he has now left me three times…packed his clothes and left me. Doesn’t live with me. Yet carries on serving in the church ad though nothing has happened. Am devastated and battle to go to church and seeing him there…where he carries on as though nothing happened and the congregation are unaware.

      • you and I both. I feel encouraged (oddly) that I am not alone. I am choosing to pray for you and trusting I found this specific blog, today, right now as a divine interruption to lift me up.

  • Bill Pitcher says on

    The pastor who preformed our marriage (42+ years ago) told us very clearly that his priorities were, after God Himself, 1)his wife, 2)his family, 3)his church. I watched him play that out and the process has served him and his LORD very well. Praying that this pastor will recognize himself and get himself right before the LORD, his wife and his family. Also prayers for her as she works to maintain what she can of her marriage until he does repent.
    Yes, I’ve been guilty of the same things; but God got my attention. They day I caught myself saying to myself, “Doesn’t she understand how important this work is?” I came to realize what really was important…and that was before I was in ministry.

    • Well said, Bill.

      • Phil Hoover says on

        One of the best pastors that ever shepherded me said (in a Sunday morning sermon, no less) “Christ died for the church…I don’t have to…”

        I’ll always remember that sermon…

      • Phil, those words are paramount! Thank you!

      • Deborah says on

        I agree we’ll said. I wonder what happens
        So sad the wives leave. And the neglect they feel from their husbands.

    • The wife is a "pastor" says on

      I hate this life. I was never asked or given any input. I never am. I better obey or I’ll be punished bc Sarah called Abraham lord and I need to be like her. I played along for too long. It is so bad that I just feel like going to heaven is the best option and leaving this all behind. He blames me for everything the ministry not growing it’s my fault, the house not clean it’s my fault, we don’t have money it’s my fault. I so want to leave. I try to share my feelings with him he never understands and I’m so confused and crazy don’t know what I’m talking about I’m shut down and told I need to obey him bc he is the husband. He treats me like an object only hugs me when he wants sex. Only tells me nice things when he’s getting sex. He undermines me in front of the children all the time. He thinks because he is the husband and godly male in his family that everyone disobeys him and won’t get blessed bc we don’t do what he says. I can’t seek out to do anything I like unless he approves it and has to do it for me. He pretends to give me options only to override them and then tell me I have to do what he says bc he is the husband and the wife should seek to do whatever the husband’s call is. He belittles me shakes his head at me. If I say anything around his family or his boss then he gives me demeaning looks and will not speak to me for days, only if he has to preach the next day. He always angry and never satisfied with me. I better not be too tired to not get the children dressed or dinner or else I’m a low down dirty shame. And he compares my every move with his upbringing and how his grandmother and mom did things and I better not even try to implement anything from my side bc they don’t know what they are doing bc they have an education or jobs. It hurts. He’ll ignore me until it’s time for him to preach. Then the next day the treatment starts all over again. He tells me I need to shut up and go pray and read my Bible. I feel so complex bc I don’t want to even be close to God bc I feel like He is constantly punishing me and then he’ll rub it in my face when I’m faced with sickness and I haven’t had a job in ten years and it’s bc of what I don’t do for him and what he tells me. . I took a stand (I tried to). I’m not doing anymore for the church administratively he doesn’t appreciate anything I do. But when I seek out counsel he plays it off and acts like he so reapesctful and “I’m not the problem” but yet he isolates me and throws it in my face when he’s mad which is all the time so I’ll never reach out again bc I know I’ll be shamed for it. He makes sure to laugh and tickle and play with the children to make sure I know he is happy without me. And he is the pastor…I am the wife and I’m not taking that from him anymore-this is what I think but I’m so weak and don’t have my own identity. I’ve been punished so if he wants to throw that I’m cursed around then let it be so. I don’t have anyone to talk to. He fixes his messages to make sure he puts me in my place and let me know I am only the wife and they are to be submissive. It hurts so much I question if God even loves me. I really don’t even know. I turn to Him but I know my bitterness and disappointment won’t allow him to be close to be close to him. Yet if you see me I smile and put on a happy face bc it’s my job but I’ll keep trying. Sometimes I need validation that I am enough. We haven’t been on a date in 5 years bc the childre can’t go with anyone bc he is the father and can’t nobody watch his children. Those are his children and they do what he says or else. He makes sure to remind me of this. He has a skill to find scriptures to make me feel bad and never takes ownership of being a scriptural husband but only in a way that is comical and not serious. I’ve had enough and I’m asking for prayer with me. My hope is so dim. I can’t tell anyone or else I’ll be labeled weak and won’t be lifted up like the other pastors wives. I don’t want to be But it makes him look good so I’ll try to keep making him look good. So confusing.

      • The wife of a "pastor" says on

        The wife of a pastor title should say

      • Beatriz Zapata says on

        I pray for you, and others who suffer in silence. I understand. I can recommend counseling for you to understand you are in an abusive relationship. You need are worthy loved and so strong. You just believe anymore. Please seek abuse counseling without him knowing if necessary until you gayer courage to confront this issue with church leadership. If he won’t accept his issues you will need to leave him. This environment is not healthy for you and your children. Honestly you are not doing the church any good by hiding this. Love you in Christ. Send u a big hug. You can do this.

      • I am a pastor’s wife and I discovered that my husband wants to be soooo noticed as much as I want him to be not noticed! Def a problem! A pastor with the microphone gets old. I’m over it and ready to move out of the ministry. All of us are level at the foot of the cross. Not just pastors!

      • Fellow pastor's wife says on

        My heart is breaking for you… to bear the abuse of a supposed “man of God” is such a difficult position…. and that is what it is… abuse. I am married to a pastor and struggle with depression and my husband having time, compassion, and understanding for everyone that asks for it except me. I start to think I am the problem, I am a failure, and everyone would be better off without me… That is a lie of Satan I listen and believe more often then I should. Truth is… my husband is a sinner, your husband is a sinner… We must learn not to look at our husbands to determine our worth, but just our Father in heaven whose love know no bounds! It is so hard to remember as we can become isolated and our spiritual life suffers. Your husband is not being held accountable for his sins and abuse. He has a false understanding of God’s Word and how a husband is to treat a wife. Please find someone outside your church to speak to and confide in. Stay in scripture so you will not be fooled by you husband’s lies and twisting of our Lord’s words. Focus on serving as God calls you, as a mother, wife, and your service for Him in the church(as you feel led) Though man may judge, the Lord only sees you as PERFECT because he sees you through the sacrifice of Jesus. He may allow us to go through difficult times, but it is not out of punishment. Sadly hard times are there because there is sin in this world, and we will not be rid of them until God calls us to Him. I prayed for you this evening for the Lord to give you comfort, strength, guidance, and that you can place your hope and faith in God to carry you. God Bless you.

      • Wow your life sounds very familiar. I was introduced to a pastors wife a few years ago. We became good friends. Her husband did the very same thing to her. Praying for you.

      • Tired Pastors Wife says on

        Oh my I feel like I could have written this myself.

      • From a pastor’s wife: God, family, church. That’s the order of a healthy marriage within the ministry!

      • I’m in a similar situation but I have learn that God died and layed down his knife for me. I look at my husband as saved by grace and he tries to pull that superior attitude but I let him know that God says love your wife as Christ loved the church

      • Miserable in Ministry says on

        Dear sister,
        I have found this blog while searching desperately for help in my own failing marriage to a worship pastor.
        We married when I was fairly young, he had small children, and was not in ministry. Our marriage was a constant struggle. We have never been “partners” in any sense of the word. Emotional neglect took its toll on me about five years into the marriage. We had children of our own and I had reached a point of complete and utter devastation. I had no self-worth, having been treated as worthless for so many years. Emotions were never discussed unless I was having a complete breakdown then I was “high maintenance”. I do suffer from depression and anxiety and have been in treatment for these with medication and counseling for quite some time. Any issue our marriage faced was because I was “insane” or “unstable”.
        When our children were very young he told me he felt he needed to surrender to ministry in music. I knew at that moment I was not called to ministry. Having had close friends in ministry and my mother having been a church secretary I knew how their lives were lived in a fishbowl. I did not want that for my children. I was told I was being completely unfaithful to God and disobedient to what He obviously wanted.
        We have been in ministry for 10 years. I followed his call out of state and away from all my family. For years I struggled to find a job where we live and finances became bleak. I am miserable. I cannot pray. I cannot serve God because I cannot do it any longer with the horrible feelings I have in my heart for my husband. We do not speak to one another other than about our children and finances. My despair is so deep I do not want to get up in the morning. He believes all of our problems stem from me and my “mental illness”. He also believes I’m having a midlife crisis. There has never been a time when he has been willing to face any issues or talk about his need to work on anything because, to him, he is without fault in our failing marriage. All of this lies at my feet. I have lost my Faith.
        In five months I plan to leave. I am at the end of my rope and have been for more than a year. Our pastor told us that “God doesn’t want us to be happy-He wants us to be faithful”. The guilt I feel for fleeing compounds my depression and anxiety. I know he may lose his job. At this point I cannot carry anymore weight. I am horrified at the thought of what the people in our church and this community will say and think of me but I have to look at this as saving myself.

      • Self love first says on

        I have had to move out of our house to save myself from a hell of a marriage to a pastor who knows the right things, says the right things but won’t live them. Got diagnosed and admitted for chronic depression and am on meds from Jan this year. This after a church elder got physical with me during a meeting which led to my miscarriage 9days later- all he can say is i embarrassed him. Sadly he laughs in my face when I talk to him referring to scripture about his distorted priorities. The church obviously sees me as the drama queen and him as an angel in all this bcs he tells them I’m losing my mind.

      • Deborah says on

        It’s abuse,
        Emotional spiritual
        And it’s sin.,
        Lack of priorities on his part.
        I feel your pain.

      • Margaret says on

        Aroha mai meaning compassionate love. I must be honest this sounds to me like the oppressive Muslims that you see, use their religion to justify the treatment they, not all. Bestow upon their wives. All out front nothing hidden but a race of men who religiously believe they have the right to do this where as in the westernised church that same ideology is happening, but discreetlyhidden behind closed doors interesting. Opposite but the same with the demeanor of oppression. So really what is this? Well done for speaking out, its so saddens me to know there’s woman such as yourself being treated this way, so I leave that judgment up to the Lord for it is His only. But I want to encourage you and let you know here in Aotearoa meaning the long white cloud namely known as New Zealand the ends of the earth that I will pray for you and your family. This is an interesting ministry you hear of x prostitutes who come to the Lord then they head back into that world and get young woman out, x Hindu’s x Muslims
        x gang members who walk in outreaches and do the xtra extrodinary work that only by His Holy Spirit they find themselves led to do what they do youde be able to discern it with other Pastors wives. Wolves with sheep skin on aroha nui meaning Agape love

      • Please know this, get into counseling, and know that your husband is hiding something from you..be it affairs, porn, masterbation, or some other major sin…it is also marital and relational abuse…..do you like abuse?..you are not a doormat, and ultimately you are going to have to bring the house down, to find out if you really have one…are you a big girl, then grab the bull by the horns, and wreck whats not right…to rebuild what is…..and if that means leave him, then by all means do it…….and have a support group ready, because you are being abused…..

      • This is so sad.
        Not a good example of love in the bible.
        I would keep praying and trusting God to change him NOT you and get strong and fight the devil with your spiritual armor!!!!!

      • Reading this I’m in tears, I so relate. I’m heart broken that there are other wives who feel as hopeless as I do. I actually got to my breaking point two years ago and said I was leaving if he didn’t go through counseling. He did. It was great for a few months. But especially since starting our own church last year, he has fell back into his old patterns. Blame, anger, put downs, emotional abuse. No one would ever suspect how he treats me. They would be shocked! I hate that my kids are growing up in this environment. My teenage son has expressed fear that he will be like his Dad. I tell him he won’t but how sad! His Dad is a “respected, loved Pastor”. I wonder sometimes how much my heart can take. The thought that I’ll never feel loved, good enough, protected, or cared for the rest of my earthly life is sometimes too much to bear. Heaven is literally my only hope. Please pray for us abandoned Pastor wives.

      • This is an sad example of a man using and perverting GOD and religion to “keep a woman in place”.

        Tell him to read Ephesisans 5:21 and Ephesians 5:25. But, honestly, this man may not want to change – he is set in his ways.

        Dump him! Run off and find yourself. Ask GOD for forgiveness because he does hate divorce…BUT HE ALWAYS FORGIVES AND HE ALWAYS LOVES YOU.

      • Jennifer Payne says on

        Everything you said is everything I am going through with my husband, and to add fuel to the fire, he is also an alcoholic. I hate going to church seeing him in the pulpit knowing that six and a half days a week he is out living a lie getting drunk, cheating with women, and lying. He only keeps me around because he is afraid that I will “expose” him. He never goes to the church office or does home visits or anything like that. He only preaches on Sundays. He tells me that I have never been supportive of his ministry, but that is because his ministry is a fraud like he is. He has been arrested for DUI 2 or 3 times in different states where he has served as a pastor. I have gone to his superiors to ask them to put him in an inpatient rehab facility and they basically said they would not because the people at his current church “seem to like him”. I am just disgusted with it all and feel forsaken by God.

      • Sick&Tired says on

        I can relate. I too am the,”wife” of a Pastor!I don’t feel like a wife.I am the person who lives in the same house as him.He barely acknowledges me.He’s rarely home,everything revolves around church &the constant new things he starts.Everyone thinks he’s the greatest.I used to.I can’t even call what we have a marriage. This is my life…yippee!

      • I feel the same way…trapped in a loveless marriage with no way out. Everyone thinks he is so great. They have no idea how he is at home.

      • Help Us, Someone, Please says on

        Married 19 years, miserable for 19 years. I’m the very same as all of you who have come here to find help, comfort, company. I look for books but they are not what I need – they tell you to cheerfully bake the cookies and be thankful for such a wonderful calling to such a wonderful man. They assume your pastor husband is as wonderful a person as he is outside the home. Where, oh where are the resources for REAL pastor’s wives like us??

        Our daughters were abused and his response “let’s just keep this quiet.” Then one daughter got an eating disorder after the abuse, was hospitalized, and it was all me for all her appointments and treatments and making her special meals. His response – “we should’ve been harder on her,” and also he criticised the special smoothies I made for her nutrition – he told her it was not real food. When our second daughter was born, my an*s tore 6cm, as well as my middle, it took an hour to stitch up all the layers of damage – I had no anesthesia during labor and yes I screamed – when we drove home from the hospital he said “you were a coward.”

        He left me and 10 little boys with our son’s birthday party – why? – to rush to a birthday party for another little boy at church, because we were invited, and you never say no, and they are more fun than us anyway.

        He puts my daughter down for having to take anti-anxiety meds as a result of her abuse.

        But like other wives have said, being a pastor is his job, his employment, and my kids’ stability. Leaving him means shutting down the church and being homeless. He says I am rarely at social gatherings, he says our house is not a place that people come to – my Lord, help me, our house is public domain and people are here at any hour unannounced, I am at almost all of the social gatherings.

        Don’t get me wrong, I love the people in the church as well. Just 4 days ago I sat for hours holding a dying friend’s hand as she struggled to breathe. For years I mailed birthday cards to every single member. I text them, I visit, I bake for them, I truly do love them. But their needs are choking me. I have nothing left. I am empty. I haven’t attended a church service for my own needs (it would have to be some other church because I do not ever feel touched by the Spirit hearing my husband preach – especially when he preaches on marriage and then ignores me as soon as we get in the car or get home!! ), I’ve quit reading my Bible, and I beg God in my prayers and ask Him to listen to my cry despite my sin of hating my husband. Where is the help for us?? Where is it? Where can we go? What can we do? The church is my husband’s mistress, and I am expected to love her and clothe her and feed her while my husband loves her and laughs with her, calls her late at night, always answers her texts while he never answers mine. And literally he visited the wife in a struggling marriage late at night, alone, knowing she was alone. He gave her hugs and massages. Later it was found out because thankfully this wife complained about his late night visits. He repented because he was caught, but he claims he was trying to be a hero. He was only humble for 3 days, then he turned hostile towards me.

        Easy for readers to say – leave! Take the kids and go! Easy for readers to see the emotional abuse, the neglect – oh the neglect! But he is adored, loved, put on a pedestal. I’ve read that an imperfect father and an imperfect marriage is better than no dad, better than the pain of divorce.

        We are broken. We are alone. Help us.

      • Hi I do not know who you are but I am a pastor wife and your story is almost identical to mine. I am also called names like stupid, dumb, crazy, fat, or mentally retarded. My husband also meets with women by himself and I am not invited. He wants me to only work with the children in the church. I hope I could speak with you. Please contact me through email. This is so real.

    • I love that my husband is a Pastor, and I enjoy serving in the church, but what I don’t like is his behavior in the position. He has trouble getting along with other people in authority and starts complaining about the boss (Senior Pastor) and then I end up hearing all the complaints and now there is tension at the church between my husband and the Senior Pastor and the Pastor now barely talks to me. But I feel my husband isnt handling the situation right. He’s not putting forth his best effort, but I don’t want to criticize him. And now my husband is looking for a new job and I feel we will be leaving the church on bad terms. It’s hard I think, to volunteer in a church where your spouse is employed and especially when your spouse becomes disgruntled.

      • Lynne, I relate to your circumstance. My husband recently left an associate position due to conflict with the senior pastor. I resent him for not making it work. Now we have a few months’ severance and no idea what he’ll do next. This is in top of our mess of a marriage. I honestly hate him. The only thing keeping me from divorce is that, “that’s not who I am.” But who I am is miserable.

      • Love of self/pride is the original sin! Its why satan fell, why eve took the apple and what Jesus came to repair by dying himself for others. Pastors can claim God’s work but its a selfish view of Gods work. Jesus calls us to serve others and if we cannot serve our own family we are not right with Jesus. Blinded by Jezebel spirit or narassistic traits even the most claim to be christian men AND women will ultimately put selfish ambitions above God saying they are putting God first. Such a sad thing to watch and hear about. If a pastor neglects family.. the ones that love him the most… this is likely the Jezebel spirit producing prideful arrogance towards his self importance to the kingdom. They may be great men of God but neglect family out of pride blinded to their own narcissistic traits. Not condemning here. No one should be neglected and give themselves up for someone else’s selfish ambitions towards the kingdom of God. Pastors, take care of your house! God will take care of his church.. with or without you. your job is to love God and love others as yourself including your family!

      • Everything you just said describes my current situation and my “pastor” husband. His arrogance and ego are ruining our marriage. I believe he does “God’s work” to magnify himself and not God. He’s an insensitive selfish monster at home. It’s so discouraging and frustrating when the congregation praises him for “being a good Man of God.” I pray one day God exposes him to the world.

      • I am a pastor and I truly feel sorry for you. However, what causes this conflict at times is inability of some pastors wife to submit to their husband.
        In as much as I will never support abusive pastors, no pastor will be happy with arrogant and egoistic wife.
        I pray God will heal your marriage in Jesus name.

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