Twice today, once in a book and once in conversation, being “real” as a pastor’s wife has come up.
I’m told people expect certain things of a pastor’s wife. Me? I’ve been a youth minister’s wife for 13 years and now I’m a church planter’s wife, so maybe I’ve had a different experience. I suppose, people sometimes expected me to volunteer for VBS but I have a couple of kids so I think I’d have been expected to participate regardless of who my husband was.
I wonder, what expectations do other pastor’s spouses feel? What pressures are hanging over your heads?
And to the rest of you, what do you expect from your pastor’s spouse?
The stereotypical pastor’s wife teaches Sunday School, volunteers in the children’s ministry, and sings in the choir. At least, that is what I have always been told she does. I don’t know if it’s true. Why?
Because I have yet to meet a stereotypical pastor’s wife.
I know a ton of men and women married to pastors. Some of them are pursuing their own careers and some stay at home with kids and some are 100% invested in their spouse’s ministry. Some of them sing and some lead Bible study. Some love the nursery and the kitchen and sitting front and center Sunday morning.
In case you’re wondering, I do not sing. I loathe children’s ministry, and I don’t hate cooking, but the kitchen is not my happy place.
I believe in being real. I believe that if I am a real person, the people around me are given permission to be real as well. What drives me nuts isn’t when someone is less-than-perfect in my presence. What drives me nuts is when people try to be perfect in my presence.
There are no words you can say that will bruise my spiritual integrity. My tongue has flicked off some foul language, so yours won’t shock me. I have lost my temper, been too exhausted to say yes to one more thing, preferred staying in with a book to another church social activity, and whined about a problem instead of praying.
I still remember one teenage girl being afraid to tell me something. She thought her bombshell would break me, I suppose, but it wasn’t the least bit scary to me. It was her struggle, and I have my own struggles, and they don’t have to be identical for me to empathize.
I guess what I’m getting at is this:
I do real. I do wild hair colors, piercings and tattoos. I do novels about this world and they include cuss words and sex and sometimes violence. I do impatience when I really want to do patience and then I do humility when I fully expected to parade my own pride. I do what I don’t want, and I do what I do want. I do falling down, and I do getting back up. I do laughing over drinks, and sometimes there will be wine in the glasses. Sometimes there will be water. Sometimes, there will be banana soda in a plastic bottle on a bus in Honduras.
I do fear and anxiety and depression.
I do hope.
I do discipleship and reading hard books and also reading fluff. I do Bible Studies and I do yoga and I do let’s-skip-small-group-and-get-coffee mornings. I do hammer swinging, baby rocking, sunburn and slow school buses on steep cliff sides.
I do big words, and I do Spanish words, and I do, “I’m so sorry, there aren’t any words.”
I do good, and I do bad, and I do pretty well everything in between.
I do me.
I do me. You do you.
I hope this is what you are expecting from me. But, if it isn’t… well, friend, that’s not on me this time.
When someone marries a pastor, they do not cease to be a person.
If you married a pastor, let yourself still be a person.
If you have a pastor, look at their spouse and realize they are a person. Honor the sacrifices they make for the church, but don’t shove them into some jello mold that wasn’t made for them.
Jello molds weren’t made for people in the first place.