Being a pastor’s wife is often perceived as challenging due to the unique set of expectations and responsibilities that come with it. People might think it’s hard because the position is not just a supportive role within the church but involves being a constant presence in the lives of congregation members. That is why so many women hate being a pastors wife (I am going to leave the apostrophe from the word “Pastors”)
Being prominent in the church often brings with it the struggle of heightened expectations and constant scrutiny. The pressure to set an example, both personally and spiritually, can be overwhelming, as individuals in prominent positions are seen as role models within the community. Additionally, navigating interpersonal dynamics and balancing the demands of leadership with personal challenges can create a unique set of struggles for those in prominent roles within the church.
Some of the areas of scrutiny for pastor’s wives could be:
Pastor’s wives often experience various forms of scrutiny within the church, including:
- Behavioral Expectations: There may be scrutiny regarding our behavior both inside and outside the church, with an expectation to embody certain moral standards and values.
- Family Dynamics: Our family may be under close observation, and any challenges or conflicts within the family can become subjects of discussion and concern among the congregation.
- Personal Appearance: There can be a focus on our appearance, from clothing choices to overall demeanor, as congregants may perceive her as a reflection of the church’s values.
- Social Interactions: Interactions with other church members, both in person and on social media, may be scrutinized, with expectations for us to be ALWAYS approachable and friendly.
- Involvement in Church Activities: The level of involvement in church activities, ministries, and events may be closely monitored, with congregants having specific expectations about our commitment to the church community.
- Spiritual Life: Our spiritual life and practices may be under scrutiny, with expectations for us to set an example of a strong and unwavering faith. I’ll talk more about that in a moment.
- Handling Challenges: How we navigate personal or family challenges may be closely observed, and our responses may reflect on our family’s resilience and faith.
- Public Speaking: Our speaking abilities and the content of any teaching we do may face scrutiny, with expectations for us to inspire and uplift the congregation even when we don’t feel like it.
- Balance of Roles: Striking a balance between our personal life, family responsibilities, and the demands of being a pastor’s wife may be closely watched, with expectations for us to manage these roles seamlessly. Ugh.
- Relationships with Other Church Leaders: The nature of the relationships with other church leaders, both inside and outside the family, may be subject to the congregation’s observation and interpretation.
Another challenge being a pastors wife…
Then, there is the perception that all pastor’s wives are spiritual giants.
We often face considerable pressure to embody a level of spiritual strength and wisdom that can be perceived as almost superhuman.
The expectation is for us to be spiritual giants who seamlessly navigate challenges, dispense profound advice, and exemplify unwavering faith.
This pressure associated with being a pastors wife stems from the belief that the pastor’s wife should not only support her spouse but also serve as a spiritual guide for the women in the congregation.
The scrutiny of our spiritual life can sometimes overshadow the recognition of our own personal journey and struggles. Striking a balance between fulfilling this elevated role and maintaining authenticity can pose a significant challenge for pastor’s wives as we navigate the complexities of our spiritual and personal lives.
In what could be a stressful and demanding role, it’s tempting to focus on the challenges, expectations, sacrifices, and endless “to-do” lists of ministry.
But, in the long and short of it, our lives are all about Jesus and His purposes for us as women, mothers, and servants in His kingdom. That’s the carrot dangling ahead of us, or at least it should be.
Apart from our husbands, we are “God’s girls” and conforming into the image of Christ.
We are not our clothes, cars, church roles, OR our husband’s call.
We are just broken vessels waiting for the next life-giving touch from the Master – just like everyone else. With that said, I need Jesus, and He always comes through for me. Everything else is just…stuff.
The times I struggle with being a pastor’s wife there are usually a set of circumstances contributing to that feeling.
Here are some of the self-checks I do when life being a pastors wife seems a bit much:
When I’m stressed out, I find that doing a self-assessment is crucial. Taking a step back to reflect on how I’m feeling emotionally, physically, and mentally helps me pinpoint the sources of stress and figure out effective coping mechanisms.
Whether it’s reevaluating priorities, reaching out for support, or simply taking a break for self-care, this self-assessment empowers me to respond more intentionally to the challenges at hand.
It’s like shining a light on the areas that need attention, guiding me toward a more balanced and healthier approach to handling stress.
Here are the questions I ask myself to see if my stress being a pastors wife is related to neglecting myself or something else:
Am I praying regularly, pastor’s wife?
I don’t mean at the supermarket or in the car while driving. I mean that set aside time alone with the Lord to allow Him to speak to you; to work on your hurting places and to heal you. Often when I think it is hard being a pastor’s wife, I’m neglecting that part of my life.
Turning to prayer has been such a game-changer for me when it comes to minimizing stress as a pastors wife.
It’s like this powerful tool that brings me so much comfort and connects me to something bigger than myself. You know what’s amazing? Just the act of praying somehow lightens the load of stress I’m carrying all by myself.
When I engage in prayer, everything shifts.
All those overwhelming concerns take a backseat, and I find myself in a place of faith and trust.
It’s like this magical shift happens, and suddenly I’m looking at everything from a calmer and more grounded perspective. It blows my mind how prayer can do that and make being a pastor’s wife manageable.
So whenever I feel stressed to the max, and everything seems to be closing in on me, I turn to prayer. It’s like my secret weapon for finding peace and getting back to a more centered state of mind. I’ll tell you, it’s an incredible feeling!
The power of prayer can be likened to a steady anchor in the midst of life’s storms. Much like a secure anchor provides stability to a ship in turbulent waters, prayer offers a sense of grounding and reassurance during challenging times. Both serve as sources of strength and resilience, helping individuals weather the uncertainties of life with a steadfast foundation.
Am I a tired pastor’s wife?
Oh boy! This is a biggie for me and has nothing to do with being a pastors wife. I’m a bear when I’m sleepy (and I look like one too!)
We when lose sleep, it impacts brain function and that definitely has a role in my sense of emotional well-being. According to a Huffington Post article written by Alena Hall, the part of our brain affected is the one responsible for “complex behavior and thinking, including regulating emotional experience.” No wonder I make stupid decisions and respond like a mad woman. Lack of sleep messes with my brain function.
Being sleepy can contribute to stress in several ways. Firstly, when I’m fatigued and sleep-deprived, it impairs my cognitive function and decision-making abilities, making it really challenging to cope with daily tasks and responsibilities.
This cognitive impairment often leads to increased frustration and a sense of being overwhelmed. Additionally, the physical and mental exhaustion that comes with sleepiness makes it difficult for me to manage stressors effectively because my body and mind are not operating at their optimal levels.
Furthermore, the ongoing cycle of sleep deprivation can lead to chronic stress, impacting my overall well-being and exacerbating feelings of tension and anxiety. It’s crucial for me to prioritize getting enough restful sleep to avoid these negative effects on my stress levels.
Is he neglecting the pastor’s wife?
I am also a bit consumed with the struggle of the pastor’s wife life when my husband isn’t spending enough time with me.
I used to try to “suck it up” for the greater good. No more. If our time has been compromised for an exhaustive period, I speak up. I’m blessed with a very responsive husband who means well, but the work consumes him at times.
All in all, it’s not hard being pastor’s wife … at least for me
You know my stance on this topic, so I don’t need to rehash it.
I work to keep my life manageable and not allow it to overwhelm me. I keep it simple. Life is only as complicated as you make it. Sure, we (as pastors’ wives) may carry a bit more than most, but such is life.
As we keep Christ first, our role as pastor’s wife, first lady (or whatever) can just fall into place.
Amen, Senior Pastor’s Wife?
Feeling Anxious Or Depressed? Sleep Deprivation May Be To Blame
Thanks for the photo Jennifer Pallian
Married to a Pastor.com is a blog for pastors wives focused on offering encouragement for a pastor’s wife as well as insight on being a pastor’s wife…from one pastor’s wife to another.