What your pastor’s wife wants you to know …

Posted by Tiffany Cooper
Pastors-Wife-ParkingHave you ever wished you could tell people what it’s really like to be a pastor’s wife? Moments when you wish you could explain why you make the choices you do? Today I would like to share how Christine Hoover would answer that question. Christine is a pastor’s wife in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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One Sunday after church, an acquaintance asked me, “What is it like being a pastor’s wife? Do you like it?” I didn’t know quite what to say. No one had really asked me that question before and definitely had not asked it so matter-of-factly. And how do you succinctly summarize something that affects every aspect of your life?
I thought about that question long after it was asked—about how grateful I was that she tried putting herself in my position and about how, if given another opportunity,  I would answer her.

This is what I would say:

I want you to know that, in some ways, being a pastor’s wife is no different than being a doctor’s wife or a teacher’s wife. There are sacrifices that must be made and challenges that accompany every job. Just like you, I love my kids, I like spending time with my husband, I feel lonely and overwhelmed sometimes, I need encouragement, I doubt myself, I try my best, I want to enjoy God and know His pleasure, I struggle, I desire relationships with other women, and I don’t always know the answers. I want you to know that I need and desire everything that you do.
I want you to understand, though, the unique joys and challenges that accompany being a pastor’s wife. There are expectations on me simply because of my husband’s job, many of which I don’t have a choice about, whether it’s attending certain events, hosting parties, or being open and available to women. I want you to understand this, not because I believe I am to be pitied or that this is an obligatory role, but because I value and appreciate your grace when I say no or am not available to you.
I want you to know that I am equally as passionate about the church as my husband and equally as called into ministry. My husband’s role looks vastly different than mine, and I am not as “out front” as him, but I am just as involved, concerned, and vital to the ministry God has given us. I want you to know this, not because I’m looking for your validation or appreciation, but just so you are aware that your critical asides about the church or decisions my husband has made feel personal to me.
I want you to know that I am often leading, planning, administrating, or hosting. Most women look to me to carry the conversation, initiate a relationship, answer questions, or create solutions. I want you to know this, not so you’ll think I’m something special, but so that you’ll know that I appreciate when other women allow me to not lead. When others show interest in me or take initiative in ministry, it is refreshing to my soul.
Finally, I want you to know that I consider my role a privilege. My opportunity to influence, teach, counsel, and lead women brings me great joy. I love the people God has given us to serve, and I love serving. It is not always easy to serve joyfully, but it’s my goal and desire, and I’m getting there after 13 years of ministry. In the end, I am not a pastor’s wife because of my husband, because of you, or because it’s expected of me. I am a pastor’s wife for the glory and honor of God.


Now it’s your turn, what’s one thing you wish you could tell people about being a pastor’s wife?

48 thoughts on “What your pastor’s wife wants you to know …

  1. Tammy

    Perfectly worded!! Thank you for sharing this is exactly how I would have answered. Lovely, just lovely, the call of God as an SPW is a calling all it’s own, yes it is. {{hugs}}

  2. Paula

    I have been a Pastors Wife for 25 years, including church planting for the North American Mission Board.
    There’s so much I could say, but in one sentence, here goes.
    Being a Pastors Wife is the most wonderful, precious, difficult, amazing, hard, lonely, glorious, scary, blessed thing I’ve ever loved doing!

  3. Sara Schroader

    Good article!
    I would want people to know I feel it’s a great privilege to be a pastor’s wife, and also one of the toughest and loneliest jobs in any church.

  4. Jeanne Douglas

    Fantastic article! As a pastor’s wife I want people to know and understand that there are times where I feel overwhelmed and very lonely because I am isolated into a leadership position and they expect a lot of great things from me just as they do my husband and the fact is that I’m not at all like my husband. Also when people don’t step up and do things in the church especially volunteer positions within my husband’s ministry my husband is left having to do it himself which can be overwhelming and time-consuming and gives us very little time to be together. That upsets me and frustrates me the most.

  5. RK

    I love being a pastor’s wife and having the opportunity to minister in a way that no other person in our church gets to minister. I used to get frustrated with not having close friends, but heard a challenge once that we needed to make and take the time to cultivate friendships, just like we expect and encourage our children to do. There are other pastor’s wives in your area who are also needing a friend, confidant, prayer partner, and good listener. You will never “find” time… You have to make and take the time.

  6. Tiffany Cooper

    Yes, I instantly knew I wanted to share this post with our Leading and Loving It ladies! Great stuff:)

  7. Tiffany Cooper

    I agree with your response. That’s one of the reason PW’s hearts are so quickly bonded together…the common denominator btwn us all:)

  8. Tiffany Cooper

    You’re welcome! I knew this post would resonate with our L&L It family. Super great to hear from you today!

  9. Winnie

    Oh how I love you Tiffany! I am blessed to call you friend, confidant and my favorite ever, in the whole world, Pastor’s Wife! Thanks for this! Love you tons! Hugs!

  10. Natalie N.

    Such a great post. I have only been a pastor’s wife for about 9 months now and it is so rewarding, but oh so challenging at times. I love how Sara put it, “it is a privilege but very lonely.”

  11. Jessica Wimmer

    Thank you for sharing your heart. I can relate and agree with every word. I am so blessed to be in a church where there are some fabulous Godly women who are so very wonderful to me. I thank God for them daily!!!!!! Thank you for sharing!

  12. Cheryl

    My husband became a pastor after we were married, and I came along with the package. 😉 I support him 100%! I know that God has called him and gifted him to teach and to lead. However, God has not called me to do the same. And that is OK. There are pastor’s wives who PASTOR and there are pastor’s wives who SUPPORT. It is most important to find the role that God has designed specifically for you. For years, I felt like I was somehow less because I did not feel called to co-pastor. I am grateful for a husband who never pressured me to be someone that I am not, and has allowed me to find God’s calling for my life. Loving God, Loving him, Loving the church and finding my own role.

  13. Rebecca Peterson

    So, so good! I’ve read Christine’s book. I always tell people, My life looks differently than yours, I am not perfect, I struggle, but my prayer for my life is that as I lead and survive hard moments, you can follow my lead as I prayerfully follow Jesus day by day.

  14. Nancy Hillard

    Thank you for post this. It sounds alot like my life but I still have alot more that I could add, but I would not. As it may and could hurt others, and that is not what a Godly servant does.

  15. gerty

    Thank you for this post….my very thoughts and feelings are not as uncommon after all. Blessings to Christine for her honesty

  16. Amanda B.

    It’s not always easy. Im 30 and only 4 years in the senior pastor wife position. Our marriage has been strained and drained but it’s through God and Him alone that 4 months ago we go through with the divorce. It’s hard because the 1st mistake you make, which I’ve made one(no adultery) some people of the church seem to not be able to forgive and actually let it go. I always get the cold shoulder from one or more people every time those church doors are open. If anyone would like to reply to my comment please do so through my email [email protected]. I’m not quite sure how I got to this page, but it was right on time so not sure if I can get back. Lol.

  17. Tiffany Cooper

    Thank you for commenting. I think this post touches the core of every PW…I know that I related the moment I read it. It’s great to hear that you’re in a church with fabulous women:) Hugs!

  18. Tiffany Cooper

    Natalie~Yes, it can be lonely and challenging. Thankfully God equips us for his calling. AND…you have great women at L&L It to support you:)

  19. Tiffany Cooper

    Thank you so much for commenting…I’m thankful you found this blog. I’m sorry for what you’re walking through right now. Please know that Leading and Loving It is an incredible support and source of encouragement for women in ministry. I encourage you to get connected // Connect LIVE groups are a great outlet for sharing experiences and learning from one another…and deep friendships are formed! I encourage you to look around the website and see what we have happening in the months to come…some great stuff:)
    Hugs to you!

  20. Tiffany Cooper

    You’re so right. Women in ministry share many common feelings and experiences. That’s the beauty of Leading and Loving It … a group of women who have a common bond. Thanks for commenting.

  21. Tiffany Cooper

    Thank you for joining this discussion. Just as we share commonalities of the post…we also share the commonality of not being able to share everything:)
    Hugs to you!

  22. Tiffany Cooper

    I’m so happy you joined this discussion! Being a wife is the most important and valuable role we have as pastor’s wives, absolutely the most important!!! I love to hear from woman who embrace who they are:)

  23. Tiffany Cooper

    Great advice you received and great advice you’re passing on! Thanks for joining the dialogue:)

  24. Tiffany Cooper

    You’re definitely not alone with these feelings, they’re common frustrations. I encourage you to look into joining a Connect LIVE group…these are life-giving groups where friendships (with women who understand you) are developed.
    L & L It is a great source of support!
    Hugs to you!

  25. Tiffany Cooper

    Yes, being a SPW is a beautiful calling. Christine so beautifully shared what I feel about this unique role…I could not have said it better:)
    I’m so happy you joined this discussion. Hugs back to you!!! 🙂

  26. Tiffany Cooper

    I really and truly love how you summed it up:) I can second your feelings!
    Thank you so much for sharing!

  27. Amy F.

    This is so good on so many levels! My husband is ‘only’ a youth pastor but there is still a lot of crossover. I connected with many things christine shared.
    Thank you, Christine, for being transparent and genuine. It’s very refreshing in a world where so many pastors wives and Christians feel that they have to present a certain image to each other. We’re all in this together.

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  29. Kaye

    Beautifully said! As a supports staff wife (children’s pastors) with 3 kids we are invited to every bithday party, graduation, wedding etc. & exspected to attend. As his wife I’m to be at every shower gift in hand & be on time for Sunday school every week. However I’ve finally figured out that the exspecations of my husband & senior pastor are the only ones that count. I just wish everyone else realized ministry is not a 9-5 job. They don’t leave there work at the church it follows them home & the burden is shared. 12+yrs in ministry & loving it it still 🙂

  30. Jennifer L. Glover

    Thanks so much for much for the encouragement from those who walk in the same shoes and down the same road. Everyone doesn’t know the road a pastor’s wife walks unless they’ve been there. It more than the hats and smiles.

  31. Jennifer L. Glover

    Thanks so much for much for the encouragement from those who walk in the same shoes and down the same road. Everyone doesn’t know the road a pastor’s wife walks unless they’ve been there. It’s more than the hats and smiles.

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