Being a Pastor’s Wife: Handling the Loneliness

Pastor's wife

Many churches (and pastors for that matter) do not know what to do with pastor’s wives, how to treat them, what role they play or how important they are. It is a hard role to live in and stay in. Everyone has a lot of their own expectations of what the wife of a pastor should be like, yet, they are all different.

While Revolution (and myself) has struggled just like every other church to figure this out, I believe Katie and I have figured some things out that we have put into place which will prove to be invaluable in the future. While this is not exclusive to pastors, any leader in a church and for that matter, any husband can do better in understanding their wives and how to engage them.

Over the next month, I’ll be sharing some of the things we’ve learned that I hope will be beneficial for you.

If you missed them, you can read Pastor Your Wife as Much as You Pastor Your ChurchWithout Her, You Fall ApartWhat Role a Pastors Wife Plays in the ChurchSpiritual Warfare in the Home and “Just” a Wife & a Mom.

Being a pastor or a pastor’s wife is a unique role.

Besides the expectation that people have as to what they should be like and do, there is the relational aspect that is difficult.

For a pastor and his wife, friends are hard to come by. For a few reasons: some people want to be friends with a pastor or his wife so they can be close to the power, they like the feeling that comes from being close to the center, they want the inside track or information. Many people expect a pastor and his wife to be at every birthday party, baby shower, wedding shower, or anniversary party (and bring a gift)!

I remember one person who got mad and left our church because I didn’t show up to help him move. Even though he had never asked, he was angry I just know he was moving and come help.

That is not a joke.

Every person has had someone stab them in the back, lie to them or break confidence and share something secret with a group of people. For a pastor and his wife, put on the expectation that people have that they will be perfect, not struggle in their marriage, not struggle in parenting, not have doubts and you see how this can be difficult. I’ve seen pastors get fired for ridiculous things they shared with an elder they thought was a friend. I knew one pastor who was fired because his wife talked to an elders wife about a struggle in their marriage, that quickly came before the elder board and he was let go. Mind you, this was not a disqualifying issue.

Many pastors and their wives decide, loneliness is better than the pain.

It isn’t. In the long run, it is harmful.

When we started Revolution, everyone we got close to seemed to end up leaving the church. Church planting can be incredibly lonely. We reached out to other pastors and pastors wives and got the cold shoulder. So we pushed through.

In our Acts 29 assessment, our assessment team told us, “You don’t have friends. You need to stop holding back and start trusting people again.” Mostly that was on me and my inability to deal with past hurts, but it was a wake up call.

This isn’t without risk. It takes wisdom and time.

You don’t just share your hurts with anyone. You must be careful and wise about who is your accountability partner.

I’m an introvert and so I don’t have a ton of friends and can be content with a few close friends. Katie is an extrovert and so I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone to make sure we have time with friends and are making that a priority. Men, make sure you are encouraging your wife to get time with other women. Get babysitting, give her space to have hobbies and fun. Encourage her in this way.

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