I’ve Quit Being the Pastor’s Wife

Quit being the pastor's wifeDon’t worry. It’s not what you think when I say I’ve quit being the pastor’s wife.

I’m still married to my husband. My husband is still a youth pastor. Technically, I am still a wife of a youth pastor. But I am quitting the idea of what a pastor’s wife should be.

About two and a half years ago, my husband was invited to interview for a church out of state. We’d just found out we were having a baby boy, and we knew the upcoming months were going to be chaotic. I was optimistic and fearful of the future at the same time.

As it turned out, the church also wanted me to visit with my husband. Sure, why not?

This was my first time visiting a church as a wife of a pastoral candidate. I had no clue what to expect or how I should carry myself. My husband reassured me they might ask me a question or two, but nothing too personal.

Well, I was asked a lot more than a question or two.

Both my husband and I sat through two rounds of interviews. The series of questions directed at me made me feel uncomfortable at times:

Are you willing to have someone watch your child while you attend youth events?

What is your relationship with the current senior pastor’s wife like?

How often do you plan to visit family?

So you work outside of the home? This was brought up when I mentioned I was bringing my job with us. And no, they didn’t like the fact that I worked full-time.

After our visit, we knew this church wasn’t the right fit for us. This was a church looking for a “two for one” deal, meaning they would hire both of us but keep only one person on the payroll. Many couples may feel called to this kind of role, but that is not the case for us.

I love my husband, but I’m not his assistant.

I love youth ministry, but I’m not the “ranking number two”.

I would love to lead different ministries and serve others on a full-time basis, but it’s not physically possible.

Right now, I am called to help support my family through working full-time, being a wife to my husband that goes far beyond his duties as a pastor, and a mother to a little boy. That doesn’t mean I have to do everything for my husband, the youth ministry, or for the church.

A month later we were invited by another church for a visit. With the last church still fresh on my mind, I was expecting a similar line of questions. I was going over in my head some possible questions they would ask me, and how I would be able to respond with grace without jeopardizing my husband’s chance of being hired.

Turned out I was only ask two questions:

How are you?

When is the baby due?

Needless to say, my husband accepted the position and continues to happily and faithfully serve there.

But that first church interview, the one with a ton of questions, continues to stay with me. I became petrified over the wrong things:

What if someone complains about me?

What if I’m not doing enough?

I haven’t planned any events for the girls, and I really should because I’m the youth pastor’s wife.

I will no longer feel guilty for not doing enough. I choose to embrace my calling. Click To Tweet

It became too much for my psyche, so the only solution was to quit.

I’ve quit being the pastor’s wife who plans every single event. Instead, I’m encouraging others to help us lead in this ministry.

I’ve quit being the pastor’s wife that has to be at everything. I use to feel guilty when I stayed home from church due to illness. Not anymore.

I’ve quit being the pastor’s wife as an official job or position. There is no such thing. My job is a quality assurance analyst. My husband’s job is not my own.

I love my husband, and I continue to serve in a capacity that is suitable for our stage in life. However, I will no longer feel guilty for not doing enough. Instead, I choose to embrace the calling I’ve been given and hopefully encourage others who are in the same place in life.

I am linking up with RaRaLinkUp, Testimony Tuesday, Intentional Tuesday, and Tell His Story.

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7 thoughts on “I’ve Quit Being the Pastor’s Wife

  1. Sam, this is such a wise post. Good for you, friend. I think too often wives/husbands try to hard to be the pastors wife and/or husband and them congregations get a 2 for 1 deal. So not good. I love how honest you are. You’re setting a good example for other spouses of church staff specifically pastors.

    1. Thanks Tara. I’m thankful for a church that encourages me to pursue my gifts. A lot of churches still look for “two for ones” but it’s becoming less so.

  2. Good for you, Samantha! I used to go to one of those first churches—they’d hire the man but expect massive work for free from the wife. 😉 Now I go to a church that actually hires both a husband and wife for pay if they want both the husband and wife to do a job. I’m glad you are able to stand your ground and do what is best for you family, which in the end, is also best for your church.

  3. So wise, so healthy and such a great way as a pastor’s wife to edify and encourage others to use their God-given gifts (rather than do it all alone), so that you can embrace your calling. Love your brave and bold words, Sam. And PS … I used to be a quality assurance analyst … before. 🙂 Glad to be your neighbor at #tellhisstory.

  4. Good job! I’m a senior pastors wife, 4 children (two with special needs) the interview was relaxed but once he took the position the hidden expectations hit. After the first year I wanted to run so bad. So I quit too! I will always somehow disappoint others, but God has called me specifically to be available for my family,we only have them for a little while, then they grow up and leave. I’m responsible for raising them in Christ, there is plenty of time for me to be more involved in ministry later, but my children can’t wait. It’s a hard choice to keep standing in, keep standing strong. Boundaries are needed. Blessings!

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