In my hunt for articles and research, I was sent the link to this great article by Thom S. Rainer, an American writer who writes for Christian Post. He titled this article: Seven Things Pastors' Wives Wish They Had Been Told Before They Became Pastors' Wives, and it's fabulous! The delicacy and depth he goes into with the interviews is inspiring. I'm so grateful there are writers out there really listening to what these people have to say. He goes on to talk about seven common experiences which I thought were worth sharing (read the full paper here.):
- I wish someone had told me just to be myself (it's surprising and sad how often these women feel they aren't able to be who they are or say what they think or believe).
- I wish someone had prepared me to deal with criticism of my husband and me (pastors are prepared for ministry but not always in relating to others in difficult situations in the church. Maybe management of conflict and difficult feedback should be part of training prior to ministry not just for the pastors but also their wives?)
- I wish someone had reminded me that my husband is human (an odd but not uncommon experience. The concept of Super Pastor, spouse, and husband can get overwhelming.)
- I wish someone had told me that others were watching us (the glass house syndrome or fishbowl experience has a huge impact on these people, it can seem like there's no space to be any other than a perfect example to the community.)
- I wish someone had told me there are some really mean (diverse communities come with a wide range of people, not all of them kind. It saddens me that these women come across such people when they give so much to follow God's calling.)
- I wish someone had told me how much my husband needs me to build him up (pastor burnout is a big issue and often the work done is behind closed doors. Encouragement, while perhaps not seen as necessary goes a long way to caring for a pastor.)
- I wish someone had told me that my schedule will never be normal again (ministry isn't a 9-5 job by any means! Schedules around other jobs, ministry, and family member needs a lot of negotiating - and an excellent calendar!)
What do you think of these perspectives? Do they sound familiar? Worth a read and thank you to Thom S Rainer for talking to these women about the lives that happen behind ministry.