Discontented pastor's wives

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by TaterTot, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. TaterTot

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    Dr. Bob's thread got me to thinking about this. My husband has a friend who is doing a dissertation for a Psych and counseling degree on this topic. She has found that the majority of pastor's wives in her survey of 2000 are discontent with their roles for some reason or other.

    If you are a pastor's wife, a pastor, or are close to one, do you think that is accurate? If so, why?
     
  2. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Tater,

    Aren't you a pastor's wife. Where do you stand on this issue?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  3. gb93433

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    Even among pastors that is true.
     
  4. TaterTot

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    Actually, Joseph, I love my role. I knew the Lord had called me to serve vocationally before I even started dating anyone seriously. So its not actually that I love being a pastor's wife (I do, but I can see where many would be discontent) but I love being in "the ministry". I wouldnt trade it for anything.

    Getting to know people in such a personal way - rejoicing with births, standing with loved ones at a graveside, celebrating the successes and mourning the losses, watching people grow into what God has created them to be - all that outweighs the nasty comments, raised noses, and financial sacrifices that go along with the territory.

    I wonder how others feel though. Of the pastors wives I knew in seminary and those I know now, most do not share my feelings.
     
  5. Dr. Bob

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    My wife enjoyed being a pastor's wife "kinda" - living in a fishbowl and having everyone evaluating every aspect of your life, children, home, clothes, ministry, etc was NOT fun.

    She now is the wife of a Pastor. Period. Just like any other wife. No special work. She has about the "lowest profile" in the church among women.

    She is a doctor, talking with patients 10+ hours every day. Evenings at home start at 8 or later with supper - no visiting, no committee meetings, nothing. If she does take time off, the LAST thing is to be involved in "things" with church.

    BTW, in those first 20 years when she was the "typical" pastor's wife, I limited my wife (and every other woman in the church) to THREE ministries. This way, a "willing worker" isn't run into the ground from overuse.

    She taught elementary SS, sang in the choir, and did bulletin boards. She could NOT be an "officer" in anything.
     
  6. bapmom

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    I hope more churches start realizing that the pastor's wife ought not have to be a "jack-of-all-trades". Perhaps this is where much of the discontent comes in?

    Especially smaller churches, the pastor's wife is often the one who has to take on the nursery, the secretarial duties, all bulletin boards and decorating, and sometimes help clean the building as well. Not to mention if she has children she has all the duties that come with being the "perfect" mother for the pastor's "perfect" children. [​IMG]

    Our pastor's wife is much like Dr. Bob's wife in many ways. She gets involved because she would be involved no matter whose wife she was. I hope that she doesn't feel pressure from us to do more.
    She is a great lady!
     
  7. rlvaughn

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    I caught part of a Focus on the Family radio program today. Dobson was talking to someone named Joe Beam. Anyway, in the course of the conversation, Beam mentioned a survey taken among Methodist ministers and their wives. A high percentage of the men were happy with their marriage and ministry situation, while about 90% (I think) of the wives were not. I googled to see if I could find the survey, but did not.
     
  8. FBCPastorsWife

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    Well...that's me in a fishbowl [​IMG]

    Actually I don't help clean the building...I am the only one who cleans the building [​IMG] I also work the sound and run the food pantry as well. Here lately...I have become quite the plumbing expert too!

    I wouldn't trade a bit of it either! I love my God given role as a pastor's wife. I feel my first job though is to be a submissive and supportive wife...no matter what! [​IMG]
     
  9. bapmom

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    That sounds wonderful, FBC! While my pastor's wife does not do as much within the various ministries, her talents don't lie in the areas of organizing and getting things going with groups.

    Her sister-in-law though....also a pastor's wife....is very good at organizing things and she has her part in many different areas of their church.

    I think it should be more up to the talents of the individual lady, though. Like you, FBC, you would probably be doing most of those things no matter whose wife you were.......and Im so glad that you have such an encouraged attitude towards things!

    I appreciate your hard work! [​IMG]
     
  10. MikeinGhana

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    Aren't roles in the body to be done by gifted people suitable for those roles? Maybe this is why we have trouble in churches. People are trying to take on responsibilities they simply are not gifted for. My wife is free to do what she feels led to do in the church, just like all other ladies. She will give account of herself to God for her obedience to the Lord's will for her life.
     
  11. Pastor_Bob

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    My wife plays the organ each week. She sings in the choir. She coordinates the nursery schedule and service in the nursery when its her turn. She does not teach a Sunday school class. I have used her as substitute on occasion.

    I made it very clear to the men before the church voted that my wife was not going to be the "assistant pastor." My wife's priorities are first to her Lord, second to me as husband, and then third to our children.

    The greatest ministry that my wife can have for our church is to be what I, the pastor, needs her to be in relationship to me. She is the one who can encourage me after I preach a "dud" message. She takes notes on every message I have preached. She is my biggest fan and cheerleader. I wouldn't trade her for the world.
     
  12. bobbyd

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    My wife is a little like Dr. Bob's when it comes to being a pastor's wife with the "Kinda".

    She is not the fishbowl type, but has gotten used to it as much as possible...if it is possible.

    As for what is expected of her, she knows that sometimes more is expected of her by some people that what should be...and she does not fall victim to that. She does what she can do, and nothing more. She will also inform people that she is doing what she can do, and nothing more (btw...she is AWANA commander, leads a women's Bible study, teaches children Sunday School, sings in choir; so she does more than enough with a full time job).

    And on top of that she is the greatest asset to my ministry. Like Pastor Bob said about his wife, she is my biggest fan and cheerleader. She is the one that reminds me who i am serving when i get discouraged with those who think they can take His place.

    my 2 cents there...
    bobby
     
  13. Major B

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    In our brief tenure in full-time pastoral ministry, my wife was an ideal pastor's wife. With all of our children grown and gone, and with her not working outside the home, she was very much a co-pastor. In three years, she sent more than 3,000 cards and made at least that many phone calls and visits to check on the elderly, offer consolation, etc.

    She spent many hours ministering to the women of the church and teaching the 9/10 yr old girls' class. Unfortunately, when I was forced out, she was completely cut off. In the 8 weeks between my termination and our moving out of the parsonage, she received exactly one visit from one woman of the church, and no phone calls.

    The experience broke her health, and she was in counseling for 3 years after that ministry ceased.
     
  14. Circuitrider

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    Have you ever considered that a pastor can quit his ministry if there are problems or his ministry is over. However, it is difficult for the pastor's wife to quit, unless of course her husband quits with her. [​IMG]

    While there are many challenges for a pastor's wife, my wife has enjoyed over 30 years in a pastor's wife ministry. Have there been problems, negatives, things she would rather have avoided? Sure there were many such things. However, all in all, she would not have traded that ministry for anything. ;)

    Now she is the pastor's wife to over 100 pastor's wives in our state and she is enjoying that too. :eek:
     
  15. Alcott

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    I noticed this thread as one I am not personally involved with, being neither a pastor nor married. Even though I have thought about the ministry, as middle age has come I guess I no longer give serious thought. So I am just describing what I observed about 6 pastor's wives that I have known enough to make any evaluation. This probably contribute much, but...

    #1 the pastor who baptized me age 10, his wife I probably 'knew' even better than he because she led the junior choir I was in, and also was the music teacher at our public school (she taught a 30-minute class for each grade, 3-6, twice a week); then later she was the choir teacher at the high school. She was the pianist for the church, and most people liked her, but some for whom she was also a teacher came to dislike her for her strictness-- for example, she would give an hour detention for any student who said "ain't," and she would sometimes 'seem' (true or untrue) to be more demanding of the students she knew from church than for others. She was knowledgeable, talented, and worked hard, being driven, per se. I can assume whe was "contented" because seemed to have the position which allowed her to do the things she was driven to do... or else, she thought she did not and should not have a choice. There was once in our 5th grade music class that I was in this group that was snickering and whispering about what we thought was a 'dumb' classical song with silly animated characters on slides to illlustrate. I was the one she mentioned by name to call us down, and I seem to remember beginning to like her less after that.

    #2 from my point of view she seemed to be soft-spoken and a bit overemotional, crying easily and many women seemed to sense she needed hugging very often. She did not 'do' much of anything in the church which I saw, besides be there every service. But her husband appeared to want it that way, and he sometimes wrote of her in a weekly newsletter column praising her for being content to be his wife and to a fulltime mother for their children. It's hard for me to know anything about her contentment.

    #3 was another one who seemed to be "driven," leading children's choir, sometimes playing the piano or organ, and for almost taking over some groups like Baptist Women and WMU. For this there was a little trouble because the nursery budget went way over its limit for the 10 months she was there, and had to be amended, and that particular church always had detracters in anything that someone tried to change. But her husband took a lot more flack because of that circumstance, and he was forced out after those 10 months. She cried bitter tears at the business meeting where so much pent-up anger about the way things were going suddenly burst forth. I think she was probably contented in her role, but maybe too idealistic about it.

    #4 was an elementary school teacher who always had a sense of humor and was well-liked. She was a department director for an adult Bible study department and always took a lead role in Vacation Bible School, but she wasn't known as one who 'had' to be in charge of things. I was not in the church when the pastor first came therhe, but the pulpit committee chairman told about wanting to ask her about moving to the town, since it was near mid-term in the school calendar, and he said her reply was that "Wherever he (her husband) goes-- I go." So I am inclined to think she was contented in that role, even though I heard her say that to marry that preacher she had to change denominations and that before then she had not even been 'interested' in church very much. If that's true, she seemed to have done well.

    #5 was pastor's wife at my present church until a few years ago when he retired. She is another one who didn't 'appear' to me to be very involved with music, Bible study, et al, but she was well-liked and made it a point to get to know many people in a church which was and is rapidly growing. For all I know she was contented, and certainly very nice.

    #6 our current pastor's wife seems to have most of her 'involvement' to children's ministry, even though we have a children's minister and an assistant. The church has gotten so big that I seldom even see her. I am quite sure she still does not hold a job (may do something parttime, I suppose) and I think all their children are in school now. The few times I have heard her speak she is very articulate. With little to go on, I tend to think that she wants 'more' in some ways, now or in the future
     
  16. MattC

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    I have to ask, "What is the role of a pastor's wife?" It seems that everyone has a predefined role in which a wife of a pastor is supposed to function.

    I've thought a great deal about this as a pastor. I think it's sad that the pastor allows the church to place his wife into the situation of having ministries they expect her to do. I believe that every christian should be involved in at least one ministry. But, being married to the pastor is a ministry in and of itself. She is often the minister to the pastor. Beyond that ministry, she can and may choose other ministries, but it is not for the congregation to decide them for her. And, it is not for the church to judge the ministries she chooses or decides to decline.
     
  17. Hope of Glory

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    As a friend of mine once told a church that hired him: "Unless you're paying her as well, you're hiring me."
     
  18. TaterTot

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    Our church pays us both! [​IMG]
     

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