One Sunday after church, an acquaintance asked me, “What is it like being a pastor’s wife? Do you like it?” I didn’t know quite what to say. No one had really asked me that question before and definitely had not asked it so matter-of-factly. And how do you succinctly summarize something that affects every aspect of your life?
I thought about that question long after it was asked—about how grateful I was that she tried putting herself in my position and about how, if given another opportunity, I would answer her.
This is what I would say:
I want you to know that, in some ways, being a pastor’s wife is no different than being a doctor’s wife or a teacher’s wife. There are sacrifices that must be made and challenges that accompany every job. Just like you, I love my kids, I like spending time with my husband, I feel lonely and overwhelmed sometimes, I need encouragement, I doubt myself, I try my best, I want to enjoy God and know His pleasure, I struggle, I desire relationships with other women, and I don’t always know the answers. I want you to know that I need and desire everything that you do.
I want you to understand, though, the unique joys and challenges that accompany being a pastor’s wife. There are expectations on me simply because of my husband’s job, many of which I don’t have a choice about, whether it’s attending certain events, hosting parties, or being open and available to women. I want you to understand this, not because I believe I am to be pitied or that this is an obligatory role, but because I value and appreciate your grace when I say no or am not available to you.
I want you to know that I am equally as passionate about the church as my husband and equally as called into ministry. My husband’s role looks vastly different than mine, and I am not as “out front” as him, but I am just as involved, concerned, and vital to the ministry God has given us. I want you to know this, not because I’m looking for your validation or appreciation, but just so that you are aware that your critical asides about the church or decisions my husband has made feel personal to me.
I want you to know that I am often leading, planning, administrating, or hosting. Most women look to me to carry the conversation, initiate a relationship, answer questions, or create solutions. I want you to know this, not so you’ll think I’m something special, but so that you’ll know that I appreciate when other women allow me to not lead. When others show interest in me or take initiative in ministry, it is refreshing to my soul.
Finally, I want you to know that I consider my role a privilege. My opportunity to influence, teach, counsel, and lead women brings me great joy. I love the people God has given us to serve, and I love serving. It is not always easy to serve joyfully, but it’s my goal and desire, and I’m getting there after 13 years of ministry. In the end, I am not a pastor’s wife because of my husband, because of you, or because it’s expected of me. I am a pastor’s wife for the glory and honor of God.
By Christine Hoover from Grace Covers MeLeave a Comment
Delonna @ Chick Flick Diva says
Well said. Thank you for your honesty. I plan to share this post with a friend who recently got engaged to a pastor. I am sure she will find your words extremely encouraging 🙂
Christine Hoover says
Thanks for sharing, Delonna. Blessings to you!
Amen! Being a PW myself, I can relate to all of this! It is a privilege and honor to serve God’s people!
Lauren Alexander says
Preach! Great word, girl!
Rachel @ BubblyNatureCreations.com says
Very true! I am a pastor’s wife as well… this was written very well. Thank you!
I don’t know if I ever been asked this, but I always appreciate it when someone asks me something personal (realizing that I’m a real person, too!). My experience as a pastor’s wife has been drastically different in each of the churches that we’ve been in…sometimes I have found it hard to continue to be myself, who God has called me to be.
Christine Hoover says
Sharon, I too like it when people ask me personal questions or show value to me as a real person. I think good questions are my love language!
Becky Murel says
Very well written! This is exactly how I feel about being a pastor’s wife!
Beautifully and succinctly said! In my more sanctified moments, I would be able to respond in just the way you’ve written. 😉 Thank you for sharing your heart. Blessings!
Thank you-thoughtful and well said. I do not think I have articulated myself as well when asked..in fact…there are days when I have rolled my eyes.
Christine Hoover says
I know what you mean. I truly want to be honest with people but not complain, especially when I’m talking to someone in our church! I don’t want them to think that my struggles and challenges in being the pastor’s wife means that I don’t love the people we are serving.
Krystal DeLeeuw says
I have noticed a huge misconception about wives of pastors. Many think we have no problems because of who we are married to. They have been shocked to know that the enemy attacks constantly. Sometimes I want to scream…. I am a real person just like you! But your words are much nicer:)
What the pastor's wife wants you to know - ToddRhoades.com says
[…] your critical asides about the church or decisions my husband has made feel personal to me. // Read more of Christine’s thoughts here… Share this:FacebookTwitterGoogle […]
Very well said! I love, love, love being a PW but sometimes the expectations are difficult. I am often astonished at how I am supposed to listen to everyone but very few ask about me! That’s what makes my BFFs so wonderful. It is truly an honor to be a PW!!
This is SO well said! I absolutely appreciate your thoughts. I totally agree with you, as I am a pastor’s wife too 🙂
Thanks for sharing your heart as a pastors wife! You shared your heart with such grace and it is refreshing to know we are not alone 🙂
This was beautiful. It must be hard to live up to people’s expectations of perfection. I would think they might expect more from you because you ARE a pastor’s wife. But, you are real, just like them.
I wish I’d had support like this when I was a pastor’s wife. Truly.
This has greatly touched me. Though I am not a pastor’s wife, my mother is. I have seen first hand what she has had to go through, and though there have been tough times, she counts it all joy. Thank you for writing this. It has stirred my soul.
Amen & Halleluia! I have tears in my eyes…you have beautifully described my life as a PW! Thank you for giving me an answer I can share with my people!
My husband left the banking industry and I became a church planters wife. I was sadly aware of the situations we were not invited to anymore and the reality that we were no longer a “regular” couple, but now we were the Pastor and his wife…….even at our children’s school functions, people treated us a bit differently, more cautious of their conversations etc… lonely at times and I realize it’s very hard to find real friendships. Funny, because I didn’t change when we were called to ministry, but my “title” did……….it keeps me close to the one who’s expectations and opinion really matters.
Kathi Kelly says
This is so well written and echoes my heart as a pastor’s wife. Thanks for sharing x
Debra Stephenson says
Thanks so much for sharing your heart in a very upbeat and positive way. You said it all exactly as I have felt it. I love my position but it so nice to hear it stated and also validated. I am a pastor’s wife of 37 years. It has it ups and down but God is great and He is good and most of all He will be glorfied!
Yvonne Templeton says
I just finished reading “What Your Pastor’s Wife Wants You To Know” and I believe it was meant for me this morning. How could you possibly know how what I have been thinking or feeling lately, except by God allowing you to write these meaningful words to minister to my heart. I, too, am a pastor’s wife and sometimes feel overwhelmed and at times feel (okay I will say it) under appreciated in my role as a pastor’s wife. Although my husband works a full time job and is considered in a part-time capacity at the church, we are always available to our congregation. Thank you again for your words of encouragement. Blessings, Yvonne
Christine Hoover says
I think everyone wants to be appreciated for what they do and who they are, including the pastor’s wife. If you are reading this and you appreciate your pastor’s wife, tell her why today! She likely could use the encouragement.
Beth Williams says
Very well said Christine. People need to stop criticizing the pastor, his wife or their family & show them the love they deserve. They all put in long hours of work.
My pastor’s wife works outside the home, teaches Sunday school, women’s Bible study, and works with the youth of our church, She is also very involved in Relay for Life and give talks all over the area. She even battled breast cancer a few years ago and is dealing with an aging parent 5 hrs. away.
Our church is blessed to have her and her husband. I wouldn’t trade them for anything!
As a fellow pastor’s wife….THANK YOU for this!
Thank you! I appreciate your well thought out message.
Amy Sapp says
There are times, other than my family & God, that I feel I am flying solo. Woman can be mean, undermining, and resentful. I thought as a pastors wife, I was the only one going thru this. I have no other woman to talk to, I cant have a friend bcuz others will tear her down because she is near me alot and jealousy & rage becomes very apparent, and life feels lonely at times. Brakes my heart. But then someone gets the holy ghost, and you see new life bloom before your eyes and you are reminded of Gods beauty is beyond additudes in this world. Gods work may be heart wrenching @ times, but when I look up, I am reminded of this, ~Keep your chin up princess, or the crown will fall. Daddy’s here, and Ive got this sissy. Its gonna be ok. ~Jesus
Vickie Wright says
I don’t understand how people don’t realize when they hurt your husband, his wife feels it too. We have a church where our trustee board constantly fights the pastor. Thanks for the encouraging words. Trying to heal. Pray for me.