The Typical Pastor’s Wife is Dead …

Posted by Lori Wilhite (note my new Twitter link)

I think the “typical Pastor’s Wife” might be dead. You know that woman who had it all together and never seemed to struggle … although might could have had some help with her wardrobe.

I’ve heard, read and said “I’m not the typical pastor’s wife” so many times, I’ve started to wonder if she really ever existed at all … or if she really only existed in people’s minds and expectations.

Maybe “typical” isn’t what I thought … maybe there is a new typical. Maybe I’m typical. The more I talk to pastor’s wives the more I realize how alike we are.

Regardless of: Age. Location. Denomination. Church Style. Church Size. I’ve noticed that we all seem to have the same questions. The same struggles. The same difficulties.

We are trying to serve God to the best of our abilities while navigating the challenges of leadership and the pulls of life. Sure, it looks different, but we are working it out.

So I think I’m just going to let what I thought was the “typical” pastor’s wife go by the wayside, and link arms with other Christian women, who like me, are just doing our best trying to figure life and leadership out.

I’m going to embrace the knowledge that maybe I am typical … a woman wanting to support my husband, love my children, care for our church, wrestle with my own shortcomings, grow in love and grace, keep my head up during the tough times, acknowledge that I won’t be all things to all people, be available to fellow-strugglers, and embrace who God made me to be.

I am not prefect. But I may well be typical … and that is fine by me.

65 thoughts on “The Typical Pastor’s Wife is Dead …

  1. Angela De Souza

    Brilliant – thank you for setting us all free just to be 🙂 I totally agree with everything you have said in this post and I feel “normal” now because of what you have said xxx

  2. DisneyCyndi

    I have to say I have been reading your post for a long time. But this was by far my most favorite post yet! Thanks for being such an awesome example to the rest of us.

  3. Pam

    As the wife of a church planter, I feel like the most “un-typical” pastor’s wife ever. The ups, the downs, the absolute joys, the devastating disappointments … all of it adding up to a great demand on me as a person, as well as me as the key supporter of my husband. Your post is “dead on” and would welcome more of these!

  4. melissa

    I have said several times in the past, “I am not the typical pastor’s wife.” Mainly bc I knew I did not have it all together. Truley thankful that “having it together” is not a requirement to serve our great God. This post was great. I am typical!!! yeah

  5. Tiffany Cooper

    Sweet Lori, I agree with Cyndi. Something about this post pulled me in and left me wanting more. I felt like I was reading straight from your heart. It was a message well said and truly felt. Thank you!

  6. Kate

    A BIG amen to that! I had all of these preconceived notions when I went into the ministry with my husband of what I should and shouldn’t do, what my responsibilities would be, etc. It took me about a day to realize how wrong I was! I would rather be real with people, and have them embrace me and all of my flaws then try and meet some outrageous expectations I set for myself.

  7. Kim Trethewey

    Imagine the amount of life change- self growth and pure joy we will all feel when we grasp that being the real you is better than trying to be what anyone else thinks you should be! Lori- love this post! You are right on!

  8. Tiffany

    Oh Lori I love this! I think the “typical pastor’s wife” idea is mostly in our head. She was someone we created because that is what we thought of when we envisioned a PW…not necessarily because we saw her in action.

    Typical for me now is loving my children and husband, not getting all my chores done so I can spend time with my Savior, worshipping and dancing in 4 inch heels alongside 18 to 30 year olds. I may not be doing ministry the same way….but God designed me specifically for this role. The one I am in right now. And I love it. I am okay with this.

    Great post Lori!

  9. Kara Prater

    Brilliant words Lori! Thank You!
    Well said and seriously could be the post of the year or at least the post that screams “main idea” of leading it and loving it!
    Love It!!!! 🙂

  10. Lori Wilhite Post author

    It is nice to know that even though we may feel like the odd-duck … or the only one … that we aren’t! Thanks for all your doing in Church Planting. God is using those joys and disappointments! 🙂

  11. Lori Wilhite Post author

    Thank the good Lord, “having it all together” isn’t a prerequisite. We would all be sitting on the sidelines instead of in the game making a difference! 🙂

  12. Lori Wilhite Post author

    “It took me about a day to realize how wrong I was”

    I love that! 🙂

  13. Lori Wilhite Post author

    I think she is mostly in our heads too. I just didn’t realize it until the other day. Wish I had realized it 13 years earlier! 🙂

  14. Jen

    So glad I don’t have to fit a mold and I am not alone. For along time, I felt like I was alone, but this site has connected me to other PW’s. I love the ideas and the honesty.

  15. tracy

    I’ve been thinking about this alot lately. What is “normal?” My mom and my grandmother were pastor’s wives and I am so far from being anything like them…SO FAR..I’ve questioned myself quite a bit because of that. But I’m learning to embrace my “normal” and realize not only am I different, I’m in a whole new generation than either one of them….. Great role models but don’t need to be a duplicate of them!! THANKS for sharing this!!!

  16. Mindy

    HERE! HERE! WOW! Wonderful post. I’m sharing this with everyone I know!!!!! PW or not… would be good for some non-PW’s to see that typical means something other than they might think…..=)

  17. Sarah

    I LOVE your post! I always thought I was a pretty “out of the box” pastor’s wife. Since I’ve started my blog (and been reading others) it’s been SO SO comforting to know that I’m not the only non-muffin baking, piano playing “typical” one out there. You’re right, there’s a new “us” now!

  18. Lori Wilhite Post author

    You’re right … no need to reduplicate anyone … great reminder, Tracy!

  19. Lori Wilhite Post author

    Thanks Mindy. Maybe it would be good for others to see what “typical” means to us. 🙂

  20. James

    From a pastor, thank you, for blessing my own wife, and myself with this post. And thank God for pastor’s wives and their support. Can i tell you ladies that you are vital to what we do? God bless each of you and your atypicalness!

  21. Brandi Wilson

    i knew this would be a great post from the title… how many times have i said those words outloud??? 🙂

  22. Trish


    I love what this blog represents! I use to feel so much pressure to be what others wanted or didn’t want me to be. I think through our almost failed marriage I’ve come to realize that flawed and redeemed is better than fake. I Love reading about PW feeling validated and set free! Oh how I could have used this blog in 1995! 🙂

  23. Lori Wilhite Post author

    Thanks James. I know your wife really appreciates your sweet support of her and who she is!

  24. Lori Wilhite Post author

    “flawed and redeemed is better than fake”

    SO true!! Great reminder! Love how you guys use that to impact and help others!

  25. Sonja

    Thank you so much for this post! I have said for years, “I’m not the typical preacher’s wife.” But I agree, what is the typical preacher’s wife anyway? I long to be who God made ME to be and do those things He has called ME to do, not someone else. As a pastor of a church planter, we do experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but we can be who Christ has called us to be – His hands and feet.j
    Thank you for the encouragement to be exactly that.

  26. Michele Willis

    I have always said that I’m not a stereo-typical pastor’s wife. I think we have a stereo-type in mind when it comes to that but I really don’t know where it came from, but I’m glad I’m not that!! I’m also glad I’m not the only one!!! I love this website and the blogs on here because they’re so encouraging…Praise God for Biblical community!!!

  27. Erin Harrison

    I have always felt like a bull in a china closet as far as being a pastor’s wife is concerned. We have been in the ministry for 18 years, and I have had a hard time with it the whole time. I just don’t feel like I fit. Everyone seems to have this idea of what they think a pastor’s wife should act like and that idea is not me. I appreciate your post very much.
    Are you on Facebook?

  28. Melody

    Oh, this is great! I needed to read this because I think I fell into the thought process that I was a-typical and pretty proud of it. But I think you are exactly right here. So glad I just found your blog this week.

  29. Lori Wilhite Post author

    I prided myself on that little fact too.

    I’m glad you found it too! 🙂

  30. Mandy

    SO true Lori! Once we can realize we don’t have to fit other people’s expectations of who we are “supposed” to be, we are free to be who we really are. Thx for the post.

  31. Melissa Rorabaugh

    I love when Tub is describing someone who is joining with us and he says “Oh, they are just like us – a saved mess.”

    I am a saved mess. Thank God!

    Loved this post!

  32. Christy Kenard

    I LOVE it! I am so thankful that I don’t have to fit a certain mold to be a pastor’s wife. I know I could never measure up if that was the case!! I am honored to be used by God and to support my man in his ministry! If God called my husband, he called me and I can put my confidence in that alone! 🙂

  33. tomekia

    Ok, Awesome! How can I get this going for emerge of he new ” pastor’s wife” in jacksonville fl. i think this will help naomi a lot of women, you know how naomi, helped ruth… lori this helped me…on this friday

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  36. Sarah

    Ohmigosh…I just discovered this community. Thank you LORD!!

    I am DEFINITELY not our church’s idea of a typical ministry wife…but I am finding out more and more that that is ok, and I don’t have to hide, and I can just be who I am and the congregation and the leadership don’t really want much more from me.

    I almost wonder if pastor’s wives have put more on themselves than they needed to in terms of expectations that they be ‘perfect’ and ‘have it all together’.

  37. Diane Rauma

    Hello Lori,
    This is my first time visiting leading and loving it.

    I just want to thank you so much for writing about “the typical pastors wife is dead”. I am a Pastor and also a Pastors wife. I never felt like the typical Pastors wife. I felt I wasn’t “good enough” well God showed me different, and I am so glad He did. Thank you again!!
    Pastor Diane Rauma

  38. Jen howell

    Ladies…I love this safe beautiful place! I am the wife of a family/ student pastor in Jackson, Tn and have a passion for linking arms and hearts with gals in ministry. When is the next Nashville event? I would love to come to one and then host one in Jtown. Thanks for leading and loving it, Jen

  39. Lori Wilhite Post author

    Hey Jen … so glad that you found us. 🙂

    Unfortunately we had some trouble getting to Nashville this year. Apparently other people like to travel there too.

    But, we are about to announce that we’ll be heading to Oklahoma City in September instead. So hopefully you can drive a little further or hop a plane and meet us there! 🙂

  40. Susie Gerrald

    17 years ago when we were graduating from seminary, I was concerned about going to our first church. In talking to a sweet senior adult friend, I will never forget her words to me when I said, “I am not the typical Pastors wife.”. She said “GOOD!”

  41. Rev. Karen Hardaway

    I am not your typical pastor’s daughter, nor your typical pastor’s wife. I enjoyed the article and to add I am so sick of seeing other pastor’s wife, sit, wear big hats and try to fit into a myth of mold of being a pastor’s wife. I wear a hat if I want to, I also don’t need an entourage bringing me juice and water, (that is not in scripture)… I am bold and I am courageous, and a strong woman of God, and I am not your typical pastor’s wife and my husband is not your typical pastor. Thanks for writing this, and thank God we have a voice.

  42. Pastor Mike

    Thank you for the article! I gave it to my wife and said, “See, I told ya it doesn’t matter.” Moreover, I think pastor’s wives need to know that the plastic, lip injected, implant toting perfect look isn’t going to fly either. If Christ is to shine through us, we must be genuine; this includes our wives. He must be seen on the inside of us, not the outside.

  43. Chris

    Love the article! I can’t allow someone’s image define me or I will drown. I’ve bucked these pressures from the beginning 15 years now. Even this “first lady” label that is tossed around…makes me uncomfortable…but I will be defined as a servant of the Lord…nothing more and nothing less.

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