The Identity of the Pastor’s Wife

    Monday, March 18, 2024

    For a few minutes, let’s forget you are a pastor’s wife. Let’s go back to you: you without any titles and without the expectations of what your husband does for a living.

    This is an important exercise for a lot of reasons. We get so caught up in the identity of “the pastor’s wife” that we forget who WE really are and for WHOM we live!

    In the last couple of years, my husband transitioned out of the senior pastor role he held at the same church for 26 years, and into the role of church member at another church. What a shock to our systems to get up at a normal time on Sunday mornings and ATTEND church like a normal person!! No one had any expectations of us except to greet us warmly and welcome us into fellowship with the Lord we serve. It was so refreshing to get to know these kind, loving people who had no expectations of us. Over time, we became part of this new church family and God healed our hearts and led us into different types of serving. It has been lovely to serve where we are gifted. It has done WONDERS for our mental health!

    This experience has taught me that I had allowed the expectations of others to change me. I was concerned about what I did for the church, how my kids were perceived, if my husband’s clothes passed the inspection of the older women in the church, if we did enough…if we WERE enough! I was so caught up in my role as a pastor’s wife, that I let my role as Christ follower take a back seat.

    As I look back on our experience at our previous church, I allowed those expectations to color how I saw the people, and it colored how my children felt about church. This is so wrong! God certainly did not intend that my family live up to the church’s expectations, but to live for HIM. I regret that for my children more than anything, as two of our four girls no longer go to church or even care about going to church because of that 26-year experience. I pray that you learn from my experience and put the brakes on living like this now!

    No matter what size church you serve, you will have many opinions of your husband, you, and your kids. In no other jobs are spouses and children put under these conditions! (OK, maybe in politics). I want to encourage you to think about this very seriously and go back to the first sentence. Try to stop thinking of yourself as a pastor’s wife and your kids as pastor’s kids. Speak that into your conversations at church—that you and your family are just like everyone else. You and your husband can encourage the people in your church to change their expectations, not just of you and your family, but of them as well. We all serve the same God, and He will judge us on how we loved and served Him, not how we served the congregation’s expectations.

    Embrace the YOU God made! Remember, you are a Christ follower. Allow HIM to guide you and you won’t go wrong!

    Help us continue providing resources of care for pastors and their families.

    Pin It on Pinterest