Throughout my 30 something years, I have been fortunate to be in a number of churches. Each church has its own family dynamics whether it is good or bad. In my experience, there has never been a church with a single pastor. Maybe it is a criteria for up and coming pastors while in seminary to pick up their bibles and wives at the same time. Anyway, if you should notice all the wives appear to be the same. In terms of personality, dress, mannerism etc. Somewhat like stepford wives.
This is not about bashing the pastors’ wives. On the contrary, I have such respect for a group of women who are able to pull off such a facade every time they are in the congregation’s view. My idea of a pastor’s wife is being sweet, meek and pious. If they have children, I assume it was by immaculate conception :-); if they have disagreements, it was in soft unoffending voices. I see them being extremely patient, adoring, and above all else completely devoted and deferring to their husbands for almost everything. I know that this is not reality but that is the image that is being portrayed. Actually, that is the image that is expected of them. I wonder if they do not suffer under all that weight of expected perfection in public.
Being a pastor’s wife is one of those things on my list of ‘will never happen.’ I jokingly say that if I did marry a man of the cloth, he will surely be kicked out of the church and I would be his disgrace and downfall (just being honest). The congregation demand so much of these woman and they keep delivering without most people understanding their pressure. As Christians, we do not care that they are humans who are prone to mistakes, we demand of them a very high standard that we would not be able to maintain.
I have had very rare interactions with these women just because of the image. It is my own personal thing that I do not like an appearance of perfection in anyone because if seems they are unable to understand my own issues and imperfections. On the other hand, I do understand why they need to become stepford wives. It is a part of their jobs. It may also be a psychological thing from the congregation: If we are not perfect then, there is a need for the leaders of our church to be somehow more connected to God, not for their sake but more for ours. That is a legitimate reason why a church can fall apart or be severely wounded if the pastor or his wife fails. We just expect so much more whether it is unrealistic or not.
The church does need good pastors’ wives who are able to carry the burden of their unspoken and implied jobs. It is not just about what they do in the church but who they portray in the eyes of the congregation. As for me, if that is my only opportunity to be married, then I will gladly pass. It really takes a special calling that most of us women are not capable of fulfilling. God definitely has blessed them.