what I want you to know: being a pastor’s wife

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s post is by an anonymous reader.


What I want you to know is that being married to a pastor does not make me a pastor by default. I am married to an incredible man who happens to be the pastor of a large church. We have the chance to serve locally and globally, mentor, and work hard to bring beauty and hope to our broken city. I support my husband’s work, I love God and our church community, and I attend service regularly. However, being the pastor’s wife has propelled me into a very public position in our community which has been extremely challenging to adapt to, as I am naturally introverted and private.

I want you to know that being a pastor’s wife is overwhelming, both joyfully and fearfully. I approach our life with gratitude and constantly marvel at the gift it is to know so many stories, so many people, so intimately. However, I have to talk myself down from anxiety every time I walk into the chapel, because I know there will be expectations and assumptions I can’t live up to. I want you to know that just because I am a pastor’s wife does not mean that I am any better qualified to counsel or minister to you. I am no more spiritual or holy than you. I fail. I struggle. I am learning as I go, just like you are.

I want you to know that five nights a week on average, my son and I eat dinner alone while my husband attends church mentoring, leadership, and service meetings. I often feel like I’m in competition with the church for my husband’s time and attention. I feel guilty for wanting my husband home more, because I see the work he is doing and it matters. I struggle because I would never want to interfere with the positive difference he is making in the lives of people we know, but I want a partner at home as well. I want you to know that there is an entire continent of sacrifice that happens behind the scenes in our family so that you can have your Sunday experience.

I want you to know that I’m normal. I have a sense of humor, I love culture and the arts and non-churchy things too. I have my own dreams, my own ambitions, and my own “call” in life. I am wired very differently than my husband, and while we share the same big dreams and goals, my path to them looks very different. Finding a friend I can trust, someone who doesn’t want me to solve their problems, someone who is not trying to use me to get to the “inner circle” of churchdom (I know its weird but trust me, it happens!) and who will not judge me is very rare.

I want you to know that I work hard to push past my shy nature and say hello, listen to stories, celebrate updates, and pray with you. I try to remember hundreds of names, stories, and prayer requests every week. I care about you, about your life journey and the things you are discovering. But I have a little one at home, and a husband who works 70 hours a week, and family that is scattered across the country.

I want you to know that I am working hard to listen to what I believe is best for my family, and that if I don’t follow through on that coffee or play date, its because my life is overflowing with commitments and I’m doing the best I can. When I tell you I can’t commit to meeting, it breaks my heart. Sometimes you fall through the cracks. I want you to know this is not personal and that from behind the scenes and on the sidelines, I am sacrificing because You. Are. Worth. It.

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