Are You The “Typical” Pastor’s Wife?

According to my VAST research 😉 a typical pastor’s wife has been described as…

  • Having perfect hair, perfect children & a perfect marriage…
  • Leading the women, leading the children or leading the music… PW Expectations
  • Always having a biblical answer for every question, always bringing the most delicious homemade dish to the potluck dinners, and always keeping a smile on her face…
  • Always supporting her husband quietly from the background, able to lead up front should the need arise, and always being available to help with any ministry…
  • Friendly to everyone but not so friendly that anyone feels excluded…
  • A perfect singer or musician, a perfect Bible study leader, a perfect church member, a perfect housewife, a perfect…

Yeah. Needless to say, no one can live up to those kinds of expectations! But whether those expectations come from our church people, our community or just our own idea of what we ought to be as a pastor’s wife, trying to fit ourselves into such an unrealistic mold is very harmful to our health, our family and our ministry! So what do you do if you find yourself in the position of pastor’s wife but feel like you don’t fit the mold of what a “typical” pw should be?

  1. Shrink in fear. At our very first church I was so afraid. I was afraid of messing things up and afraid of not being good enough to be a pastor’s wife. I lived in fear of what people thought of me all the time. God made me to be someone who loves music, color, creativity, and sparkles. But I was afraid to stand out. I wanted to hide who I was because I was different from the congregation around me. For years I hid myself behind bland hand-me-down dresses and quietly tried to blend into the community by learning to knit and sing old-timey gospel songs. But I hated it…and I began to hate myself, too. Then God reminded me that I am His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). God did not make a mistake when He made me! I am His masterpiece! By no means am I perfect, but the way God created me is the way He wants me to live! I must embrace who God made me to be so that I can accomplish the purpose for which He has created me! I learned to stop shrinking back in fear and step courageously into my calling!


  1. Work to Exhaustion. When God called us to our second church I was determined to be my creative, expressive, fun-loving self. And, surprisingly, people liked that! And I definitely liked being liked by everyone. But soon that, too, became a burden. It became my goal to please everyone, which meant I never said “No” to anything. I did every ministry that needed to be done- even if others were willing and able to do it. I worked myself to exhaustion. One day a fellow PW asked me what all I did in the church. When I finished listing all of my responsibilities I was exhausted and she was astounded. She spoke truth to teach me that I was only supposed to be doing what God had called me to do, and I should be letting others do what they were called to do. My goal should not be to please everyone, my goal should be to please God. When I learned to step back and simply obey God instead of trying to do it all, I was able to see others become part of the body, working together to fulfill God’s purpose for our church (Ephesians 4:16).


  1. Rebel. Somewhere in the midst of all the people-pleasing I began to resent the expectations of those around me. I began to resent the spotlight, resent the lack of privacy, and resent the input people thought they deserved in my day-to-day choices. So… I dyed my hair blue. (Read the story of my Quiet Rebellion here). Now, I know that blue hair is certainly not the most rebellious thing I could have done. I’ve known pastor’s wives who completely stop attending church, cuss out members in the parking lot or even walk out on their husbands & families in rebellion against the expectations of being a pastor’s wife. And, honestly, there have been days when I wanted to just walk away from it all. But God created me for the purpose of leading others closer to Him. Instead of letting the pressure cause me to rebel, I need to let the pressure shape me into a better follower of Christ. I need to embrace my calling like the Apostle Paul did and say “Follow me as I follow Christ.” Yes, I see you watching how I raise my kids, and you may disagree with my choices, but I’m following Christ in the way I parent. Feel free to follow my example. Yes, I see you checking out what’s in my grocery cart at Walmart. Feel free to gossip about what movie I’m preparing to purchase, but I am not ashamed because God sees what’s in my cart and He’s fine with it. I cannot use my freedom to sin, but I can be FREE from the expectations of perfection! (Ephesians 5:1)

Instead of shrinking in fear, working to exhaustion, or rebelling against expectations, let’s walk worthy of the calling we have received! (Ephesians 4:1)

Walk worthy of the calling you have received~ Ephesians 4:1

God created you for a purpose, called you to marry your pastor husband, and placed you in the church where you serve. He did not make a mistake in doing so! He knows what your church and community need in a pastor’s wife, and He created you to reach them in a way that no one else can! Be You! Embrace your calling! Walk worthy! THAT’S what a typical pastor’s wife should be!
How are you not the typical pastor’s wife? How are you embracing your calling today?


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