Top 10 Expectations of a Minister’s Wife


(Please don’t pass judgment until you have read the whole article. 

Not that anyone would ever do that, lol.)

As a blog owner, I enjoy viewing “search terms” that pointed someone to my blog. Recently, the term “expectations of a minister’s wife” popped up. That landed them on my Ministry Wives directory, because I didn’t have a post on that exact subject. But my gears have been turning : )

Then on FB just a bit ago, I posted that I was so tired, and a friend replied with: “I think naps and coffee are the best answer to dragginess. (And is it totally weird that I sometimes AM encouraged to know that people I look up to also feel tired at times?)”

And that was all it took—that little bit of inspiration from a reader to write this post.

Here is a Top Ten List of What I Expect Out of a Minister’s Wife.

1) I want a minister’s wife to be graceful, to encompass “ladylikelish” behavior (as my 5 year old Gigi would say). I want her to be demure and dressed nicely with modest necklines and hemlines, with her hair always fixed and her clothes matching and neatly put together.

2) I want a minister’s wife to be a piano player and a singer. Someone who can lead or someone who can follow. Someone who is just as comfortable blending in with the congregation as she is on the platform.

3) I expect a minister’s wife to pray and to read and study her Bible every day.

4) I expect a minister’s wife to never gossip, to never make an unpleasant remark about anyone, to always give people the benefit of the doubt.

5) I want a minister’s wife who loves all the members of the church, whose face lights up when the little ones play at her feet or whose face is compassionate when listening to the needs of the elders.

6) I expect a minister’s wife to always support her husband, to never embarrass him or to try to “one up” him in front of his congregation or his peers.

7) I expect a minister’s wife to be the first one to the altar and the last one to leave the altar.

8) I want a minister’s wife to have children who are well-behaved, well-dressed, and who are on fire for the Lord.

9) I want a minister’s wife who can sense when someone is hurting, and so she bakes them cookies or gives them a phone call or a hug, just to let them know she cares.

10) I expect a minister’s wife to be frugal with her money, but not cheap.

I listed all of those in the order that they came to mind. No editing. No rearranging. I am a people studier, and if you are, too, then you should have a field day with this list : )

What troubles me most is that I don’t live up to my own expectations. How can I expect anyone else to?

I was so quick to spit out these ten expectations that no single woman could ever live up to. Especially not me.

Oh, God, create in me a clean heart and renew within me a right spirit! This is my battle cry! I am so imperfect and broken.

I am not perfect. Please don’t expect me to be. Your pastor’s wife isn’t perfect, either. She is this creation that God calls “woman”. She was taken from an imperfect man, and so she herself can never be perfect. But she tries. Most days. Some days, she is the hurting one; she is the one in need. She has PMS, too. She has a family, too. She would enjoy just laying around in her nightgown all day, too, sometimes.

Be kind to the ministry wives in your life.

Be kind to all the women in your life.

Be kind to all the people in your life.

Be kind to yourself.

What are some of your expectations of yourself that you are failing at / succeeding at?  The comments here are helpful to the ones who come here for advice and encouragement.

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10 thoughts on “Top 10 Expectations of a Minister’s Wife

  1. Hi! I’m a Producer for ABC and we’re looking for families with good christian values for one of our shows! I came across your blog and wanted to see if it’s something you and your family might be interested in. You can contact me directly at 424.214.4609 or Candra.Nazzaro at zodiakusa.com

  2. Wow, our Pastor’s wife is all that and more. Sometimes we can tell she’s had a hard day at work or is tired or in pain – yet she will not complain, moan or pull a face. She always puts herself last, always serves others, rocks other mothers babies to sleep although her back is hurting her, constantly prays for people and is a rock to most of the women in the church if not all. We can call on her any time and she is there to help, pray, encourage and uplift. She organizes ladies weekends, services, leads worship every Sunday, runs the youth group and has a family, a job and a home to look after. I don’t think anyone who has not been in a situation like that can even remotely understand what it means to be a Pastor’s wife and the price it comes with. Yet she does exceed in everything. She’s amazing and I hope and pray God will continue to bless her, keep her, guide her, strengthen her and uphold her. I absolutely take my hat off to her (if I wore one) and any other wife of a minister.

  3. I can expect that a minister’s wife, like anybody, is a broken image bearer who will fail at living up to everyone’s expectations which are apt to be as diverse as the size of the congregation. For example, another woman in the same congregation may prefer and be more at ease with a much more casual, gregarious, not so polished woman. You are right to remind us that we all fail to live up to the expectations we put on others. May we all remind each other that we live for and serve an audience of One.

  4. i speak as someone who has been a pastor’s wife for most of our 44 yrs. of marriage. i think part of our job…and that of our husbands, is to educate our churches on what Biblical expectations of their wives are and what realistic expectations are. there is no one who can live up to those 10 expectations in the way they are stated.

    unless these fellow believers have the same expectations for themselves, they need to “get real”. the pastor’s wife you have is the one you pastor needs. you need to encourage her to be a great wife to him, a great mother to their children and beyond that, everything is gravy. certainly she will have some involvement in the church as a church member, but it may not be a public ministry.

    certainly the expectation that she be involved in music ministry is completely out of touch with reality, especially if that is not where her gifts lie. even if they do, someone needs to sit with their children and be available to them…her husband certainly won’t be available during that time period.

    there is so much about this list that is unrealistic for a church to expect and/or for the pastor or his wife to expect of her…depending on the ages of their family.

    Putting a woman in this position where she is expected to do things that are not expected of anyone else is wrong! We women are the ones who need to defend and encourage her…not so that she can excuse being lazy, but so that she can do the things that are important priorities…or we as churches will have played a role in turning her kids away from following the LORD!

  5. Amen, Martha Brady! I’ve been a pastor’s wife for 13 yrs. We only had one child, partly because I felt like I could never measure up to expectations ; it was hard enough keeping ONE active, rambunctious boy clean and presentable. Living in a parsonage RIGHT next to the church didn’t help. I’ve come to realize I must please and obey God, love my husband, and my congregation. God will take care of the rest.

  6. i just read this article again. ACK! one theme that needs to vanish is the one regarding “living up to expectations of others”! we aren’t responsible to keep other people happy. we are responsible to obey GOD and ultimately must answer to Him for what we have done with our lives. there are many times when it is best for everyone if we DON’T “live up to their expectations…b/c they aren’t growing and are sitting around being critical of the people that are trying to obey.

  7. I’m only recently a minister’s wife – not in the sense that we are newlyweds, but rather in that my husband was just assigned a church. That list? No. I am a human being with both flaws and fine qualities. I am a good person who, like anyone with a full time career and many obligations, can be happy, sad, frustrated, tired and any other manifestation within the broad range of emotion we all have. I didn’t become a whole new me when my husband accepted his post, and I don’t intend to. How on earth is it wise . . . or reasonable . . . or even Christian to insist that another person maintain these expectations set by others, most of whom do not themselves mirror this image of female Christian perfection? How about I be myself . . . Using my given talents and traits to benefit others rather than pretending to be someone else. What good would I be if nothing more than a false persona purely for presentation? I’d rather be real. I think there is far more value and truth in that than playing make believe.

    • Just making sure that you understood from my post that the point of it was that setting expectations are often unrealistic and that we are all imperfect. I don’t expect someone to live up to that list.

      • I’m very sorry if I gave an impression of hostility or anger. I think I’m talking through stress, already feeling pressure more than I expected. Some of the questions and concerns expressed at first meet with parishioners made me a bit nervous, particularly since I don’t think I will be adequate to what they hope for. I don’t want to cause any issues for my husband. I was hoping to continue being myself.

      • No need for apologies 🙂 It is stressful being in your position. The best advice I can give you is to be yourself. You will have some that love you and some that hate you and some in between. Some people just can’t let go of their former pastor’s wife and will hold you up to her measuring stick. No, it’s not right, but people are fickle. Just work on pleasing the Lord and let God deal with the naysayers. If they are actually brave enough to go to your husband about it, let him deal with it. Don’t make a best friend out of anyone in the church. Don’t confide in anyone in the church. Sad that it has to be that way, but it is often the case. They are humans, and they will fail you. And sometimes it is us that fails them. Extend grace and mercy and also receive it when it is given to you.

        There are several other pastor’s wives that are on my FB page. Hang out over there, ask questions, develop community.

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