My advice to a potential Pastor’s Wife

The other day I was contacted  by a friend on Facebook with the following message (names have been taken out to keep her privacy):

“So I was wondering if you may be able to help me out… I am after some advice on dating a pastor and potentially becoming a pastor’s wife haha. I happened to see RANDOM NEGATIVE NANCY EX-PASTOR GUY (name clearly removed) and he found out that I was dating a pastor and didn’t have anything positive to say about it which left me feeling quite unsure and discouraged. I was just wanting to know what your thoughts are on it and to see if it’s really as ‘bad’ as he was saying!”

This was the response I sent to her yesterday:

1. People who have had a negative experience will always expect everyone else’s experience to be the same as theirs – this is not true. This, in fact, is completely unfair and selfish to fling that expectation on you. You can choose to be happy and have an amazing experience.

2. Each “Pastor’s Wife/Pastor’s Girlfriend” is different to the next. Their level of social maturity, their commitment to their relationship, their spiritual growth and journey is so different from the next girl/woman. We cannot be expected to fit the same mould – I struggled with this BIG time in my first year of marriage.

3. God will not ever put you in a situation that He hasn’t equipped you to handle. This includes, pressure from friends, family, church members etc.

4. In the Bible, it says that we as Christians are called to ministers because we “believe”. Simply, some of us have Pr in front of our name and some of us don’t. We all have the same calling, it just looks different and comes in different packages.

5. Communication is key. If you are looking at going down the engagement path, I would encourage you to start having chats about expectations etc. Ask yourselves questions like

“What would it be like if…”

“What would you expect of me if…”

“How would you feel supported if we did this…”

I always said to Richie that our church should offer “Pre-Engagement Counselling”. I really wanted it before we got engaged, but we had some excellent “Pre-marital counselling” before we got married and it gave us incredible opportunities to talk about things we had never addressed (the unspoken stuff), or even were aware we needed to address.

6. There needs to be a level of independence in a Pastor’s Wife. I have some friends who can’t handle having a night where their husband is out or away. Try not seeing him for a week when he goes on school camp or even overseas to a speaking engagement. Potentially you will find yourself alone and you need to be comfortable with that. You will need to be able to make decisions and also have the confidence to release him to do the job he has been called to.

Finally…

I love being a Pastor’s Wife, it is exciting, adventurous, and unpredictable.

I learnt quickly that it does not define me as a person, it is simply one of my many roles in life which God has called me to.

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5 thoughts on “My advice to a potential Pastor’s Wife

  1. Bec, you are an inspiration! You are such a happy and positive Pastor’s wife – Richie, and we as a Church, are both blessed by you. You stand alone, and you stand beside your man – a desirable trait in any wife. I love your reminder that we are all called to minister whether we have Pr in front of our name or not. Thanks for sharing – I pray for you, and Pr Richie – you’re a blessing to us! x

  2. You have given good advice, Bec. However, I would add that it is not easy being a Pastor’s wife, especially when one has children. The Pastor is usually out in the evenings, so the wife has the job of getting tired children through their bedtime routines. Before the children start school, the Pastor may have free time during the day to spend with the children, but once they start school, it is not so easy to find time when the whole family can be together. You just have to make the most of every opportunity. For instance, when my husband visited isolated members in the countryside, we all accompanied him. He would drop us off somewhere nice to go for a walk, and then join us when he had finished his visit. Another thing to consider is friendships, especially friendships within the churches where one’s husband is Pastor. It is important not to have favourites but to be friendly to everyone. It is easy to get drawn into a clique, perhaps with other young mothers; then older people may feel that you aren’t interested in them. The important thing to remember is that the Pastor’s wife is really part of the pastoral team. She can be a tremendous support to her husband.

  3. What a great post! And now I’m officially a ‘pastor’s wife’ I can relate totally to all of this! Your advice is sound and wise – you sound like a woman who knows! In my experience, it helps to take ownership in how your husband ministers. We have a deal that if Steve has a preaching appointment that doesn’t involve him hopping onto a plane, we all go with him. If there is enough frequent flyer points, we all hop on the plane. Financial issues do limit this so it only happens once a year (or twice), but we do attend the odd event all together, and at the end of every year we all go to ATSIM Camp (this year will be the first year that there isn’t one – first in 7 years!)

    I do agree with Shirley. Having young children and a husband who is away for three months of the year (my experience), I have a lot of weekends where it’s just the lads and I. Luckily, I love my own company, and have a network of amazing supportive friends in which to do things. As the boys grow it’s getting harder, that’s for sure. But they understand that Daddy has a very important job and they are so proud of him. It’s easier to be supportive if we all feel the same way.

    That all being said, sometimes we don’t dream of being a pastor’s wife. Yet, here we are!

    You’re so ace Bec. x

  4. “God will not ever put you in a situation that He hasn’t equipped you to handle”….hmmmmm, He has a funny sense of humour gaving me three boys!
    But you are right Bec, a day at a time and God will give you the grace to handle it all x

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