People often say that raising a child is the hardest thing that they’ve ever done. I’ve heard spouses of pastors say that being married to a pastor is the hardest thing that they’ve ever done. The explanations as to why this is varies depending on who you talk to. I’ve heard the following: feeling like you’re in a fish bowl, the pastoral life schedule (unpredictable schedule/nights/weekends/holidays), conflict and criticism, feeling lonely, financial hardship, etc.
It’s no secret that I was nervous to marry a pastor. I actually met with several pastor’s wives and interviewed them before getting engaged to Derek. I wanted to hear what the experience was like for them + see if they thought I could cut it. The best advice that I was given from one pastor’s wife was this: all you need to be is the best Christian you can be. That’s it. Make that your focus and you’ll also be the best pastor’s wife you can be.
My grandfather was a long-time minister of the Free Methodist Church, so I was able to gather from my grandmother little bits and pieces of what being married to a pastor was like for her. My grandmother rocked hospitality in ways that I won’t come close (one example: her apple pie was the best!). But there are ways that I serve in the church that my grandmother wasn’t gifted in. That’s the problem with comparison: we forget the unique role that we can play in making our church and community a better place. The comparison game is hard for spouses of pastors because in addition to the ways that you are already hard on yourself, there can be opinions from congregation members regarding who you should be/what you should be doing.
While there’s some parts of pastoral ministry that you can’t help with, there is an area that you can make a difference in. You can find ways to be an encourager!
October is Pastor’s appreciation month. I’d like to challenge you to go out of your way to encourage your pastor. Not just in October but always. If there’s anything you appreciate – tell them! Don’t just assume that they know. And while you’re at it – why not encourage your pastor’s spouse as well. I’m sure that they will appreciate your time and effort.