What are the struggles of pastors wives?
I pray often about what to post on this blog for pastors wives. I receive comments and social media messages from pastors wives struggling in this role. It’s hard. The struggles of pastors wives are grounded and are part of the reality of this role. No doubt about it; we endure a lot. My prayer is this blog consistently offers encouraging words for pastors wives everywhere.
As you may know, I do have several blogs. Most of them are primarily for monetary (money-making) purposes. They exercise my internet entrepreneurial muscles. 🙂
But this blog for pastors wives is different.
Money has very little to do with this blog because it’s precious to me. It’s so special and close to my heart. Why? Because pastor’s wives are special to me and every single post comes from my gut, my vulnerable place.
I guess it’s because I am one.
For sure, I know what it’s like and I know how much of a struggle it can be at times.
Help me, Holy Spirit
With each installment, I write what I’m led to write here in hopes of blessing others like me. Validating their experience and encouraging them means a lot to me too. Women in this role need to find their own specific place inside (and outside) their husband’s ministry.
All this to say, in the end, this blog is linked to my life purpose. I write in service to you.
I write to be a blessing. Hey, if this pastors wife blog earns few coins, great.
If not, so be it. Money isn’t my motivation here.
Now. What this post for pastors wives is actually about…
Note: I am an affiliate blogger. Which means sometimes I post products you can buy to pay for web hosting and other web expenses.
My subject is a touchy topic (struggles of pastors wives) and one that makes me feel a little “bare”. It’s something I have personally grappled with and likely will for the rest of my life.
Vulnerability can be scary (that’s one of the struggles of pastors wives.)
A few days ago, I was listening to a woman who is a vulnerability expert. She actually is. She is a renowned researcher and has studied the subject and written several books about it. I found her on Netflix while searching for something dull to put me to sleep.
I just happened upon her lecture and chose it over one of my classic tv shows. Nevertheless, she grabbed me when she said something like “courage being impossible without vulnerability.”
Since I want to be a courageous woman, I’m making myself vulnerable in this blog post.
Let me say: if you’re not married to a senior pastor or about to live the pastor’s wife life, please unsubscribe NOW. If you like my writing style, you can follow me on www.Godsygirl.com. I’d love to do life with you over there. But, this blog is for pastors’ wives.
I know some people will be nosy and follow this blog anyway just to discover what’s on my mind. But, I encourage you, if you know me offline, just ask me. If we attend the same church, just get to know me. I would prefer that rather than you spying on Married to a Pastor.com. I want to feel free and inhibited as I address the struggles of pastors wives like me.
Little Girl Lost…
Back to being vulnerable.
Ok. That being said, sometimes, being married to a pastor is quite a struggle. I’m often one of those pastors’ wives enthralled in the conflict to balance, transparency, sharing, and tolerating.
For sure, I struggle to meet the many demands in my daily life too. There seem to be so many. Undoubtedly, I also struggle to maintain my creative edge and personal sense of expression. Expression is very important to me because I don’t want to be just an appendage of my husband. I want to contribute to the world in my own way.
It’s often hard to maintain and find that balance “sweet spot”.
Like many pastors’ wives, I can get lost in his work, his needs, and even become lost in all those things important to him. I can “back-burner” myself.
Warning: put yourself on the back-burner too long and it will breed bitterness. Don’t you think?
Hey, while some people in the church worship pastors, I don’t think wives can or should.
I can never ever forget -while my husband is doing something important- it does not make him any more important than me.
I’ll talk more about that later and the repercussions of living the “back-burner” life.
What a struggle it creates when you deny yourself constantly for another person.
Early in our marriage, I did make him an unhealthy priority for a short time. Yeah, I “orbited” around him and lost sight of who I was.
It wasn’t good for me emotionally at all. In my vulnerable honesty, I got to tell you I now trust my husband to the Lord. Of course, I take good care of him. Sure, he is still my best friend, but he is not the planet I orbit around.
Check yourself too, Pastor’s Wife. Is your husband your sun, moon, and stars? If so, do some soul searching. That’s not healthy.
A Pastor’s Wife assessment to discover the struggles of pastors wives (or at least your struggles)!
I challenge you to do this:
List five strengths about yourself that don’t involve your accomplishments or your husband in any way.
Next, ask yourself how you are operating in those strengths on a daily basis or at least regularly?
If you struggle it may mean you have lost yourself in something. Either way, visit my temperament blog ….ThinkBlinkLearn.com to reconnect with your natural, innate gifts!
“What do you think of me?”
Did you see that TD Jakes movie about the boy engaged to the rich girl called “Jumping the Broom”? In a scene, the character Blythe (played by Megan Goode…another pastor’s wife) asked her love interest “What do you think of me?”
In the scene, her character is peeling back superficial layers in order to find love and be transparent in the process. It’s such a sweet scene, really. But, it’s absolutely ludicrous for pastors’ wives to feel this way in the context of their church families. You cannot be dependent on what others think of you and be free and courageous and…USEFUL!
Be free in the name of Jesus!
Vulnerability is one thing; being in bondage to other people’s opinions is something else altogether. Still, many pastors wives/First Ladies struggle with this very thing!
Truthfully, I have done the same in the past as well. Take my word for it, that sort of “people-pleasing” is for the birds!
Never view your worth in the eyes of your congregation -at least not to the point of bondage anyway. Doing so is one of the common struggles of pastors wives I think. Instead, Live for an audience of One.
You ain’t the pastor!
See, I am not a pastor myself, which frees me to view our church as an extension of my family. I don’t view them as sheep I must minister to or anything like that.
They’re just brothers and sisters whom I love so very much and will do what I can to help and support them. That’s it. My husband is their undershepherd … not me.
Once I learned this, it helped me find my place in the ministry. And, it is a good place too! It means I get to build relationships with women and support them inside those relationships. I do not pastor them. That’s his job.
No. Thank You.
In case you’re wondering, I wrote the above sentences correctly. Notice I wrote “No” with a period. Then, the gratitude (or the “thank you”). I may be the typo queen, but that part was very much intentional!
Through the years, some folks in my church family wanted me to be lots of places and to do things that are just not feasible for me as a working woman who knows how to stay in her lane.
I’m a mom, daughter, wife with a full-time job, and even a part-time one as a consultant. Add to that running an e-commerce store and I often speak at women’s events in and around my city. I conduct online personal development sessions for Christian women and more! This chick is busy!
Seriously, I don’t have time to be everywhere or do everything people want me to do. Won’t even try.
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Sure, I wish I could do everything people want me to do as a pastor’s wife.
But, I cannot. Sometimes, I feel bad about that, but in the end, my husband has a staff and they are able, anointed, and extremely competent to minister to the people of God. They don’t need me up there making copies. They got it.
I have enough to think about.
Additionally, I’m still raising a young man and he is not exempt from the weight of ministry. It gets hard on him sometimes. He needs me. He and my husband are my priority. Hmmm…I’ll make that word singular …Family is a priority.
Struggles of pastors wives: Pastor’s wife …lost!
In general, I refuse to lose myself so people can “find” me in their preconceived expectations. If I do, my life quickly becomes a burden and so will yours. Hey, I’m not designed to carry burdens. I’m designed to cast them, right?
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:7
When my balance is off, my heart becomes so heavy and I get sad. I wonder if that’s why so many pastor’s wives get depressed? Not, the chronic depression or major depressive disorder, I mean the melancholy we all feel from time to time.
Easy to get “lost” around him!
You see, if you’re married to a pastor, you’re likely married to a person with a huge personality. I know I am. My husband is known throughout our city and his work really defines who he is in a lot of ways. If I am not careful, I will somewhat morph into his persona and lose my own sense of being (as I mentioned above).
Then, again, I will feel defeated, sad and depressed. I don’t have time for that.
I have too much to do on this earth. So do you, Girl!
Have you ever seen the movie “The Joy Luck Club?”
Can you tell I’m a movie buff yet?
Well, I am.
I love movies. Anyway, in the movie, “The Joy Luck Club”, I found a character who depicts exactly who I could be if I’m not careful.
I love this character! She reminds me of myself.
Her name is Rose and she appears in a scene where a woman is married to a successful guy.
They were hosting some sort of a gathering in their home.
Actress, Rosalind Chau, portrayed Rose to be very awkward during the event.
Chau’s performance is so true to life, it’s chilling.
Again, she did an amazing job portraying the nervous anxiety and sense of “lostness” the character was feeling. The scene showed the husband talking and chatting away – completely oblivious to how “out of place” his wife felt.
Well, in the scene, someone dropped or spilled something on the floor. The awkward wife quickly plummeted to the floor to clean it up. She glanced up at her husband who was consumed in this deep, passionate, conversation.
At the same time, he looked down at her so emotionless that it was almost like she was the “help” or something. It was so sad.
Do you want to see this scene? I’ve found it on YouTube!
Check it out below. Let me know in the comments what you think.
Later in the movie, he decided to leave her.
She found her “mojo”
She loved him desperately and had built her entire life around him. Without him, she was lost. Ironically, the pending divorce forced her to re-ignite the fire of who she was and who she had been prior to marrying him.
Yeah. That’s exactly what happened.
Through her pain she found her voice (and her backbone).
She found her strength. You’ll never guess what happened next: they reconciled! She once again became the fiery, confident woman he initially fell in love with.
Watch it below!
No man wants a doormat.
No man wants a woman who is absolutely lost in him. They may pretend they do, but that’s boring as Rose in the scene above! This fact works in my favor because I refuse to be the “lady cleaning the floor” with no identity in my husband’s life.
I’m determined….aren’t you?
I refuse to be sad and depressed because I’ve lost myself in another human being. I know you refuse to as well. Furthermore, if you have mistakenly done this, I pray that you turn it around and rediscover yourself aside from being his “Mrs”. Use Rose for inspiration!
Pastor’s Wife! This is critical!
If you do not hold tight to your own identity, you will likely fall into an emotional crisis or possibly even depression. That’s my message for any struggling pastor’s wife on this planet. FIND YOURSELF!
If you don’t, you will be poorly affected. You may become sad. You may even resent the ministry and the church. That’s not God’s will.
He has a plan for YOU; He has a ministry for YOU, Pastors Wife.
He has a purpose for YOU. It may be related to your husband’s ministry or it may not be. I do believe that we, as women, have a purpose in God and a reason for being on this planet. It’s in our own spiritual DNA.
Guess what: it’s more than childbearing or standing beside your husband!
Just in case I haven’t made some folks angry enough, let me be clear.
I do not believe our purpose, as women, is always linked directly to our husband’s purpose. I believe in submission in the context that we come up under his mission and support him.
However, this fact doesn’t mean God has intended for our husband’s mission to define us 100%. Sorry. That’s a “cop-out”, in my opinion.
Do you know: I am very aware that some women will be offended by this post and offended by my perspective. That’s OK. You don’t have to agree with me.
Now, on the other hand, f you find yourself struggling as a pastor’s wife, do a quick inventory and see if you’ve lost yourself in your husband or if something else in your life is out of whack.
Pastor’s Wife Assessment #2
1. Do I have a creative outlet [of my own] or is my entire identity being a pastor’s wife?
Is my only contribution to his world in the church my husband pastors?
Have you been able to extend your ministry outside the four walls of your husband’s church?
What I think: channeling all of your emotional creativity into the church ministry can create a challenge.
It’s ok to have ministries not affiliated with the church your husband pastors. That is what I think. Do you agree or disagree?
2. Have I allowed the congregation’s expectations to define me?
Do you dress exclusively how the congregation wants you to dress?
Do you participate in ministries that are forced on you by others? If you are, you’re going to be a struggling pastor’s wife for sure.
You have to do things because the Lord tells you To do them…not because tradition dictates or because people want you to do them.
People who try to “make” you do things against your will are manipulative. No good. Don’t let them. Find your voice.
3. “How is my relationship with the Lord?”
Does it need a jumpstart?
Are you spending consistent, regular, devoted time with Jesus Christ every single day? If not, you will struggle as a Christian AND as a pastor’s wife. Heck, you’ll struggle as a human being!
Summing it all up for the struggling pastor’s wife…
I’ve learned I can’t mentor everyone’s children.
I can’t mentor every single woman who wants me to and I can’t dress how the church wants all the cotton-picking time! Honey, I belong to a traditional Black Baptist church. A lot of the church members want to see pastors’ wives (or first ladies) dress a certain way.
That’s not my problem.
In the end, this woman (me!) has to maintain her own identity.
Take it or leave it.
I hope people judge my husband on how he ministers and not on what I do or don’t do. I’m grown and raised already and I have to be myself.
To this end, pastor’s wife, think about each of these things if you’re currently struggling. Especially if you’re struggling in your role as his wife. Pray and ask God to help you assess it all.
As you figure out why you’re struggling, remember, not to lose yourself in all this.
The same fire and zest that attracted him to you needs to remain in your marriage despite his title.
Lots of pastor’s wives struggle because they are not spending time with the Lord, because they have lost their own sense of self and because they are letting the church drive their life. Don’t fall into that bondage.
Listen to my podcast on finding your purpose. Be sure to “find” me anywhere you listen to podcasts!
Another Note: I do spell pastor’s wives in various configurations so search engines can find me easily.