I was sitting here wondering why pastors wives sometimes feel depressed.
First of all, let’s establish and make clear why pastors wives often feel depressed. It’s because they are nothing more than human beings. I know that sounds simple, but church members tend to forget this reality. In fact, we pastors wives, do too. Hey, just like any other human being, we get overwhelmed and can feel unappreciated. This, along with the burden of ministry may throw us completely out of balance. Pastors wives or church first ladies are prone to depression when they are in a state of imbalance emotionally, physically or spiritually.
How do I define a balanced life for a pastors wife (or anyone)?
A balanced life is when nothing is excessively out of sort. For example, a balanced life is when all of the basic needs are met. So, when a person is physically taking care of, proportionately spiritually fed, and equally enjoys robust social relationships they are more likely to be living a balanced life.
When any one of these are out of whack it throws everything off. The end result may be depression. At least that has been my experience through the years.
To be clear:
I am not a medical or mental health professional.
I’m only speaking from my personal experience in hopes of giving another pastor’s wife some perspective.
Depression is a serious thing.
It’s not simple, but complex. I blogged about it a few years ago.
Sometimes, depression among pastors wives is a result of a physical or chemical issue. For stubborn or persistent depression, seek outside help from a professional. Don’t wait.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with therapy or counseling, pastors wife.
Christians sometimes act as though therapy is a dirty word and it’s not.
If someone is sick whether physically or mentally – they need help from a professional in that field.
Marwa Azab Ph.D. wrote a piece called “20 Shades of Sadness: Why Do We Get Depressed?” in Psychology Today. She says depression is one of the “most common mental illnesses today”. Click the link to view the article. It’s really interesting.
Anyhoo, it is common! Depression is nothing shameful!
Depression is not an indicator of weak faith. Conversely, seeking help is more of an indicator you are wise enough to make your own wellness a priority.Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 43:5 Click To Tweet
Biblical champion [Apostle] Paul even “despaired of life” at one time. Check out II Corinthians 1:8!
Something is very wrong with the mindset that believes Christians should never be depressed.
We are living in a human experience as well as a spiritual reality. Depression among pastors wives is imminent at some point Just like catching a head cold. Again, because we are human!
What I do when depression creeps into my pastor’s wife life.
Full disclosure: I do not suffer with clinical depression, only occasional overwhelm.
Not to beat a dead horse, but if I did, I would seek help for it without shame or inhibition. Point made.
Back to what I do about seasonal depression.
When I feel a sense of depression, I first assess what might be out of alignment in my life.
I usually begin with assessing myself physically.
Am I eating a lot of junk food?
The answer is usually yes. Something about sugar really throws me off. Too much bad stuff affects my mood and demeanor.
Another consideration, is caffeine.
Girrrrrl, if I am drinking too much coffee I do tend to get anxious and act a little hyper – like a sugared up toddler! Does that happen to you too?
Along the same lines of physical wellness, I also check to see if I’m exercising or moving around enough.
Dr. Eleanor Lisbon, a Christian sister, taught me exercise releases chemicals that aid and prevent depression.
When she went through an incredible season of loss. I remember her telling me she intentionally continued to exercise during that season of grief. I never forgot that.
Now, I’m not talking about going to the gym killing yourself on the elliptical, I just mean moderate activity can help with depression. That’s the physical part to consider.
Emotional: Reconcile that your marriage is different, Pastor’s wife.
Another reason pastors wives are often depressed is because they view their husbands through the lens “normal” husbands.
My life became so much easier once I finally realized my husband is not like other husbands. His job alone requires so much more of him than a man working at say …a bank or company. This takes a different toll on my family and my marriage.
My husband’s also takes a toll on him physically, mentally and emotionally. Once I understood this, I realized our marriage is going to take a different shape than my friends’ marriages. This is especially true if their husbands are 9 – 5 men.
I am not married to such a man.
Life got so much easier when I finally realized my husband is not like other husbands.
Once I fully understood (and accepted) this, I realized our marriage is going to take a different shape than my friends married to men with normal jobs.
Regimented “date nights” are not easily a part of our life. Someone dies in the church and we have to rethink our entire plans. It’s my “normal”
Indeed, my husband and I have to sneak away during the day or morning to spend time alone together.
Those are our date times more often than being able to go out every Friday on a date night.
So, once we understand and accept the fact our husbands “do” life differently we will be more at peace with ourselves, our role and our marriages. That’s my opinion.
Now… next is the mental element of pastors wives lives. This is so critical.
This is very important.
Sometimes, you just need to empty your brain and still your body.
You need to turn off the television.
Quiet the noise.
Remind yourself what silence sounds like.
Allow yourself to hear that still small voice the Holy Spirit uses to talk to us. It’s during these times we can meditate on God’s Word and chill.
Prayer is a huge part of any spiritual wellness component.
As you pray to Jesus, you’re able to cast your cares on Him and trust Him to work out those things that concern you.
Prayer is a beautiful exercise in communion with the Father.
If you are not spending time with the Him, you will be depressed eventually.
You’ll tell yourself “there must be more to all this?” The more is Jesus. I’m sorry for the bluntness, but it’s a fact.
You see, we each have a God-shaped vacuum inside our soul.
It yearns for God. It cries out to Him. It naturally longs for Him.
When we deprive ourselves of His presence, we can easily become disjointed and depressed.
So, there you have it, Pastors wife!
The reason many pastors wives are depressed is because they are out of joint physically, mentally, spiritually and their expectations of their marriage are a bit unrealistic.
What do you think? What’s missing from this list?
I love you for reading!
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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.