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A Bundle of Myrrh

"My beloved is unto me as a bundle of myrrh." Song of Solomon 1:13

Life for A Pastor’s Wife

October 17th, 2014 by Aubri


There are many hardships that come with being married to a pastor. Kelly and Rebekah have written about a lot of those on their blogs:

Dear Pastor’s Wife
Keeping Quiet for the Sake of the Kingdom: The Bleeding Heart of Silent Martyrdom
And Gifted with Goodness and Mercy

There is often discussion on the ongoing battle of “balance” a pastor must have. He has to learn how much to give of his time, splitting himself between his congregation and his wife and family. Catholics hold this up as a great problem and one of their reasons for priests to remain celibate. If the balance is off and a wife feels pushed to the side there can be a lot of resentment and anger and strife in the home. A wife can be frustrated with church members who fail to respect a pastor’s time with his family and a congregation can be mad about how little time they think pastor gives them. Seems reasonable that a man in the ministry should not be married.

Why would marriage be good for a pastor, for his wife, his children and for his congregation?

Simply put, because God has made marriage, God has made man for marriage and as Luther says, “It is a school for life.”

Marriage is necessary for most men. Without it sin is given a great occasion to ruin and scandalize them. Remaining celibate and content is a very rare gift. Therefore, let pastors be married.

A married pastor knows the crosses of married life, he knows the gifts of wife and children. Marriage teaches him how to sacrifice for others, how to lead, how to discipline.

Through marriage and family a pastor can be an example to his flock. He can show them how sinful men care for, guide, love and nurture their families in spite of themselves.

Good things come with marriage. Life for a pastor is lonely, it’s isolating. He can be beat down emotionally and spiritually week after week. Weary of bearing burdens or being unappreciated. And God gives him a family. A family that, hopefully, gives him the support, love, comfort and strength that a loving heavenly Father knows he needs.

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And I get to be a pastor’s wife.

This was not a life I thought I would be given. As a young girl I wanted to be “in the ministry,” but a pastor’s wife was not exactly where I wanted that “ministry” to be. I learned as a young woman the doctrine of Vocation and knew that God was pleased with whatever work I set my hand too when done in faith, that work didn’t not need to be “sacred.”

I thought I would never be cut out to be the wife of a pastor, but here I am. And having known many pastor’s wives now, I can tell you, there isn’t a specific model to be cut out of! We are all very different, as our husband pastors are all very different.


I didn’t not want to be a pastor’s wife, God chose this for me. And I can say it is a privilege with unique crosses and blessings. I am a pastor’s wife, but I am my husband’s wife, I am a wife, just like any other wife.

I don’t view this calling as though we are a team in ministry here, I don’t think most Lutherans do either. My husband is a pastor, I am his wife and really just another parishioner for him! I serve our church by serving and caring for my husband. This is my calling.

As a pastor’s wife I will tell you there are pains and vexations that other wives may never know. I don’t write of them here to complain about them. Instead to merely record facts, the facts of my life.


My life is different from other pastor’s wives due to our particular circumstances, our rural town, our own church members, but there are also many similarities in our lives, situations and issues we all have in common, which by the way make times I get to be with other pastor’s wives invaluable. Our pastors are a Brotherhood to each other. So also fellow pastor’s wives can become a dear Sisterhood for one another.

My husband can come crashing home with the cares of the church his shoulders, heavy with the frustrations of others. As a wife there is a sense of helplessness when he is weighed down by spiritual burdens, when there are problems with members that he can not and will not tell me about, when he has to stand alone against sin and be hated. As his wife I can’t fix these things for him, but I can do my duty to love, honor and cherish him in these times and hope he is comforted.

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A husband’s suffering becomes your suffering, my suffering is not as great, but it is a burden to bear. It’s hard to see unrealistic expectations placed on your husband. It’s hard to see that many just do not know what their pastor is actually there for and what he is actually not there for.  He’s not always seen as he should be seen, as a gift sent by God to lead and care for his congregation spiritually. Some members don’t want his spiritual leading or caring.

It is hard to see your husband persecuted. It is hard to know your husband whom you love is hated and despised by those who would call themselves “Christians.”  Some want nothing to do with His Word, where God makes Himself known. A pastor’s suffering is a spiritual suffering, one that particularly delights Satan.

Pastors are gossiped about and slandered because they dare to speak hard truths to those who desperately need to hear that truth. He is a shepherd responsible to God for his flock. He must speak out against sin even when he’s afraid to, knowing the consequences could be great, because he knows if he does not there could be greater consequences for his sheep. Sin not repented of leads to eternal death. That reality is on every pastor, and my husband.

There is little comfort on this earth for this kind of suffering a pastor and his wife face. We only have the eternal promises and comforts of God’s work and Word.

But as Our Lord said, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:20)


There are other sorrows. For a pastor’s wife there are lonely times. Times when your husband leaves, goes and does all day and into the night.This is especially hard during pregnancy and with lots of littles to care for. There are times when he’s home and you’re ready to hunker down for the evening and then the phone rings taking him out again.

Friendships can be difficult to make for a pastor’s wife. It can be hard to find women you have much in common with or feel you can be yourself with, or that even want to hang out with the “pastor’s wife.” This was not easy for me in our early years here. I missed my friends. A few women reached out to me and I was grateful. But in time we grew apart. We joined a card club and this group has become our friends. For the last 4 years we meet with them once a month and I can’t tell you how much good that has been for us!

A pastor’s family doesn’t have their own family around. As a young wife it was hard to be away from my own mama and my family while I was figuring this homemaker thing out. Holidays are especially lonely without them. These are also the days when our husbands are busiest giving us little time to spend with them. But I don’t think I have to explain how difficult being away from family is!

But being without friends and family gives opportunities for congregation members to bless you in unique ways. We’ve been given neighbors who have become a part of our family here. They give of their time, energy and love in so many ways. God provides for us!

A pastor’s wife didn’t get to choose where she would live. She might live in a house she dislikes, a town or in a field where she feels so removed from everyone. Thankfully that is not me, though this was a huge adjustment for me in our first year! I have been blessed with a lovely and comfortable home, very suitable for our family’s needs. And I’ve seen a lot of benefits to living in a small town. Every where we need to go is within walking distance, our bank, post office, church and school. This has been very good for us.

There are anxieties and struggles that come with raising your babies as “pastor’s family.” I’ll write about that latter.


But even so. Even so, I love being a pastor’s wife. I am proud of my husband. I am thankful to have been given a man who gives himself to his work as a pastor. Who serves God in this very unique way. My husband baptises our babies, I love that. And I get to pick the baptism hymns for the day! My husband preaches God’s word to us on Sunday. My husband puts Christ’s body and blood in my hands. This is wonderful.

He works hard studying God’s Word, studying Hebrew, preparing Bible studies, writing theological essays and sermons and teaching other pastors in our circuit. I’m proud of that work he does.

I’m thankful for a husband who takes being a pastor seriously and is growing in his calling. Becoming bolder to confront sin, bolder in his teaching. This may hurt us as a family, but I’ve been given the privilege to stand beside him as he fearlessly confesses God’s truth and I’m honored to do so.

I’m thankful that my husband has been good at the balance, good at delegating, good at staying ahead on sermons and the like. That benefits me and his congregation.


I once had a hard time seeing my husband as my pastor, but I don’t have that problem any more. He is my husband and he is my pastor. He serves me just what I need as God’s child, God’s Word and the Sacraments, just as he does for all the other members of our church. Because I hardly do anything at our church due to my heavy work load at home, it’s hard for me to really feel as though I’m a “member” of our church. That was a big change for me since I’d been super involved as a single woman. But I do not feel as though I’m without a pastor. I’m thankful for that.

I don’t know why God chose me to be a pastor’s wife, to be Phil’s wife, but I thank Him. I’m not sure, well, I know I don’t always do a good job at being the wife I’d like to be but God continues to bless us and strengthen us in our troubles. Thus far God has helped us.

Pray for your pastors, support them, defend them, speak well of them! And pray for your pastor’s wife, support her by supporting your pastor!

Art Work by Julien Dupre



3 Responses to “Life for A Pastor’s Wife”

  1. Anna M says:

    I know a lot of pastor’s wives (including my mom) and I’ve seen a lot of the hardship that goes along with this good and blessed vocation. Growing up as a pastor’s daughter and then working as a Lutheran teacher, I too haven’t really been an “ordinary member” in a church until recently. Now that I *am* just a member in the pew and get to experience how freeing that can be (and how much easier it is to make friends with other women in the congregation), I am all the more appreciative of the role that pastor’s wives take on. Thanks!

  2. rebekah says:

    The Lord bless and keep you all.

  3. Aubri says:

    Thank you Rebekah and His blessings on you and your family as well!

    Hello Anna! You know well then how pastors and their wives need those members who are so understanding and appreciative. Thank you for your comment!