How do you feel about your pastor’s wife? Perhaps you think she’s the greatest example ever of a godly wife and leader and you hope some day to be just like her. Or maybe you think she needs to step up her game a notch or two, and be more involved or act friendlier or change the way she dresses or …
Okay, I am exaggerating just a bit. But the wives of our church pastors and ministers hold a very visible and precarious position. The church usually has certain expectations. Everyone knows who she is and all eyes are often on her. Unfortunately, we often misjudge – and mistreat – our pastor’s other half.
Last week, I had the chance to sit down with author, TV show host, and pastor’s wife, Rhonda Rhea. Rhonda’s new book, Join the Insanity, written specifically for women in the “P-Dub” club (short for “pastors’ wives), encourages pastors’ wives in their unique role and encourages them to love their church and make Jesus look good.
Rhonda and I talked a lot about pastors’ wives stereotypes and how the church can best support and encourage P-Dubs. One question really sparked some great conversation:
What do P-Dubs wish the women in their church knew/understood about them?
- “I’m just an average chick” – Pastors’ wives don’t have a super power. They don’t have some super spiritual characteristic unavailable to the rest of us. They’re just another Christian woman doing the best they can to follow Jesus. They just happen to be married to your pastor. Women of the church can encourage P-dubs to thrive by letting go of preconceptions and allowing her to be who God created her to be.
- Being on a pedestal is a scary place – This position of high-visibility is a place of extremes. P-dubs often either receive harsh criticism or glowing accolades. According to Rhonda, “usually we haven’t earned either.” Let’s release our P-dubs from unrealistic expectations and see her for the wife and woman God created her to be.
- Many P-dubs are hurting – Ministry is difficult and it often comes with hardship and pain. P-dubs can carry many wounds. They share their husbands with the entire church. They often live life in a fish bowl. And – believe it or not – sometimes churches are extremely rough on their pastors and their families. Let’s reach out to our P-dubs. One of the best things we can do is ask our P-dubs how we can pray for them and then do it!
- P-dubs have to do friendship differently – Their husband’s position puts them in a precarious position. They can’t share everything they know with their girlfriends and we wouldn’t want them to. They can’t “play favorites.” They must be cautious about friendship. However, they also desperately need and want girlfriends in their church. Offer your P-dub your friendship. She’s more approachable than you might think. Ask her to lunch. Be interested in her. In other words, treat her like you’d like to be treated.
Let’s share some wisdom! What do you think is a way we can encourage our P-dubs?
Find out more about my sweet, funny friend Rhonda Rhea, her ministry, and her books.