What’s It Like to be the Pastor’s Wife?

I get this question a lot. In fact, recently I asked my readers on FB to choose a topic for me to write on and this question sparked the most interest. It’s a tricky question to address, but I’ve decided to answer from a wide-angle perspective to protect the innocent–the congregation where we serve and my husband (the pastor).

I don’t really think of myself as fitting the traditional mold of a pastor’s wife. I don’t play the organ, lead women’s ministries ( we already have a fantastic lady doing that), or keep an immaculate house. I don’t think of myself as that sophisticated either, in the guv-nah’s wife sort of way. I don’t look like this:


pastor, wife, pastor's wife


or this:

pastor, wife


What I can say is that I’m a sinner saved by grace and a work in progress needing GRACE every hour (and minute and second), which means I’m a lot like you.

But, as I’ve pondered the question over the past few months, here’s what I’ve come up with so far (ask me again in 10 years).

#1 It’s joy-filled.

I bet you didn’t expect that answer for #1, but it really is. The greatest thing is all the people  I ‘ve had the privilege of meeting in the congregation that I  probably wouldn’t have, otherwise. I also think the “position” ( I don’t really like that term since I’m not the one who was hired) lends itself to being involved over a wide variety of circles, rather than a small clique. I have friends who are in their 60s and friends who are in their 20s. It’s a beautiful thing.

I also enjoy having people over.  I always have, even before I was a pastor’s wife. So, I guess I do fit the traditional mold in that way. I continue to pray that my house is a haven for those who are hurting and those who are happy. Stop by anytime. I mean it.

In conclusion:  Joy comes from knowing people. And, I think that’s one of the reasons we went into ministry in the first place. Win-win.

#2 It’s hard.

Have you ever walked into a room where 300 people know your name and you don’t know  anyone’s? (It’s probably one of your recurring nightmares.) It’s a bit intimidating. That’s when the fishbowl metaphor works. Sometimes I’m in a bad mood, and I don’t want to walk into a room where 300 people know my name (sorry, Cheers). I want to remain anonymous.

Even more, when it’s hard for my husband, it’s hard for me. Being a pastor is an emotionally draining job, for lots of good reasons and sad ones, too. It can feel like an emotional roller coaster at times. We’re both learning to live in the light of Jesus’ promises more than what our eyes can see (or how high or low the roller coaster goes).

#3 It’s better than being the pastor’s girlfriend.

Hahaha. That’s not an original quote. My friend, Kristi James, thought of that brilliant quip when someone asked her the same question. {Check out her blog at andbabiesdontkeep.com ; she’s hilarious.} But seriously, it’s true. I married Duane, without knowing that he’d one day be a pastor, because I wanted to marry HIM.

Knowing what I know now,  I’d do it all over again.

  • http://www.thispilgrimlife.com Lisa

    As a fellow pastor’s wife, I can definitely relate to your list. I love having people over too, and try to have a family over at least once every two weeks. It’s always a joy, even when the bread doesn’t rise and the crumbs under the table have collected over a few days. As far as it being hard, I never realized how hard it would be on my husband. But we are in it together and I’m always thankful that the Lord has given us the grace to be open with each other and has protected our relationship thus far.
    Also, I’m glad I found your blog! I’m enjoying reading through your recent posts :-)

  • Julie Davis

    Thanks for the comment, Lisa. It IS a unique job, and they need our support. I’ve found that it’s really important for me, too, to be in relationship with other pastors’ wives in the area. Glad to hear that God given you and your husband grace to communicate well. So important!