Do You Cringe Inside At The Title, Pastor’s Wife?

Years ago, I remember a conversation I had with a pastor’s wife about life and she made this statement: “I’ve never been a very good pastor’s wife and I don’t think I ever will be.” My first reaction was to comfort and encourage her, but then I was curious to see what her answer would be to this question - 

“How do you define pastor’s wife?”

Which makes me wonder how you define the title, Pastor’s Wife, as well. Do you embrace it, or do you cringe inside when someone introduces you as the nameless PW? (after all, “I have a name!”) Are you overwhelmed by the title and all the extra responsibilities that seem to cling to it? Perhaps, you’re just thrilled to be married to your sweetheart, so anytime someone calls you ‘wife’ you can’t help but smile!

One of the most freeing things for me as a young pastor’s wife was realizing that the Bible doesn’t have a long list of "Do’s and Don’ts" for anyone married to a pastor. No special spiritual gifts or requirements to be fulfilled. In fact, there isn’t any list at all! The only verse that comes anywhere close to giving a list of characteristics for the wife of a pastor is found in Timothy’s description of the wife of an elder or deacon. But, that verse applies basically to any woman whose husband is in church leadership – lay or vocational.

“In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.” 1 Timothy 3:11

As the wife of a pastor, the definition of our lives varies greatly and is very dependent upon our particular marriage, our extended family, our geographic location, our age and our spiritual giftings. We do all have some similarities since we’re married to our pastor, but we don’t need to feel defined by the title. It is just that – a title. One simple way to identify us to those in our community or fellowship.

So, how about we focus our attention on the characteristics that are really worth considering? Things like - 
  • Am I the best me I can be?
  • Am I being faithful to God’s call on my life?
  • Am I using the gifts and abilities God has entrusted to me?
  • Am I a malicious talker?
  • Am I trustworthy "in everything"?
  • Am I investing in those God has put in my path of influence?
  • Am I loving my husband regardless of how loved I may or may not feel today?
  • Am I being the best daughter, mother, sister or friend that I can be?
  • Am I following Christ as best as I can be?

Whether or not someone uses the title, Pastor’s Wife, to introduce us is really irrelevant. In the long run, people will remember us – and identify us – by our witness and the way in which we serve our Savior. Within our homes, our churches and communities we are leaving an impression and a lingering fragrance. 

“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 2:15

Bottom line: I’m hopeful that when people pass me on the street they aren’t holding their noses but are breathing in deeply the hope of Christ - no matter what title they may tag me with!


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