JeannaLynn said that before she met me. Apparently, she’s not the only one. Ben Mandrell (“Finding Timothy,” Preaching, vol. 26, no. 6) observes that “most young women are scared to death by the idea of becoming a pastor’s wife.” He believes, “the common caricature of the sweet-hearted, VBS directing, piano playing pastor’s wife makes most girls want to turn and run.” He wrote this regarding the shrinking population of preachers. Some men, who might otherwise choose to preach, choose other roles in ministry because the dating pool is deeper for men pursuing those roles.
There are still some young women who know have a pretty good idea about the life of a preacher’s wife who, not only would consider marrying a preacher, but actually want to marry a preacher. There are also still some young women who trust the caricature Mandrell mentions, but don’t run, believing that they could pull it off or that if they change it up that will be OK.
Many preacher’s wives, though, are finding their role much more difficult than they imagined. Some have realized that, where they are, the caricature of the sweet preacher’s wife isn’t reality. She’s sweet, but others wouldn’t portray her that way; and it is typically true that if someone doesn’t like something about the preacher’s wife, they believe it is OK to share that with others in their private conversations. Others PWs have discovered that if they don’t want to spend their energy in some particular ministry, somebody will make them feel guilty about it. Still others may passionately pursue a ministry for which they are gifted, and somebody will accuse them of being too involved. I can’t tell you the number of preacher’s wives who constantly feel trapped between those who want them to get more involved and those who demand that they back off. Many feel that the pricks – as in jabs – outnumber the perks.
Much more could be said about this, but I’m going to stop now. I hope that since I’ve got 25 years of experience being married to a preacher’s wife that you’ll consider me an authority.
What I’m asking is that you do something nice for your preacher’s wife. Don’t wait until her birthday. Do it soon. These suggestions are primarily for ladies, but if you are man reading this, collaborate with your wife or girlfriend for this.
By the way, the wives of other staff members would really appreciate these things, too.
What would you add to this list? Leave a comment!