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What Your Pastor's Wife Needs Most in a Friend

AMY

{Editor's Note: October is Pastor Appreciation Month. We recognize there are women serving in churches in a variety of roles, and encourage you to show your appreciation for all those serving in ministry this month.}

"One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend." Proverbs 22:11 (NIV)

I sat in mute sadness, as I listened to the woman sitting in the driver's seat beside me.

Tears streamed down this pastor's wife's face as she described her family's financial struggles. No one had asked her about her return to the workforce. She felt nobody cared about her as she transitioned from home to full-time work. Years before, a "friend" in the church gossiped about a confidence she shared, so this woman felt she could no longer trust anyone with her pain.

Another pastor's wife stoically described the 20 years she spent alone in a pew Sunday after Sunday until one woman finally reached out in friendship. Her face lit up, as she told me about her new friend who now sits with her and banishes the painful loneliness she felt amongst the crowd at her own church.

Isn't it strange? Pastors' wives are often some of the most admired women in the church, and yet they are often the most lonely. When listing my life-long friends, I realized two of the five are pastors' wives.

That's a pretty big percentage, so what binds me to these women? Their loyalty, love and acceptance. They're a treasure to me, so I've been thinking: What does a pastor's wife most need in a friend? How can I be that kind of friend?

When talking to my besties and searching Scripture, two main needs emerged. Pastors' wives need their friends to be: 1) free from expectations and 2) free from self. Here's what I mean ...

Free from Expectations

Both of my friends defy the stereotypes attached to a pastor's wife. They need friends who will let them be themselves, women with their own identity separate from a spouse or the church.

Releasing our pastors' wives from our expectations is the greatest gift we can give.

Pastors' wives are real women just like us with flaws, varying gifts, dust on their dressers, arguments with their husbands and a wide range of personalities. If we want to be true, pure-hearted friends without ulterior motives, we need to affirm all their facets, cover their imperfections with love and encourage them to follow their passions rather than just expect them to conform to a mold.

Free from Self

Some days, it's all about me ... or at least that's how I act at times. In my selfishness, I've had thoughts like: She hasn't answered my email. I wonder what I've done wrong. Or, I can't believe she just blew by me in the store. She must be mad at me.

I'm learning to let go of selfish thoughts and give my friends space.

Pastors' wives minister to the many people, carve out time for their husbands during their odd hours off, work, run their households, reach out to neighbors, care for their children and more. The list is unending. They need friends who are selfless, patient friends who give them grace instead of demand perfect performances.

We also have to refrain from gossip. I hate to admit it, but there's a part of me that longs to repeat confidences when I want to feel more important or in the know ... like I'm part of the inner circle. As their friends, we have to overcome the desire to build up ourselves and to put our friend first by never, ever, gossiping.

Both my friends expressed how important confidentiality is to them. It's a deal-breaker for your pastor's wife. As today's key verse points out, good leaders delight in friendships with those who are in pure in heart and speak graciously. Indeed ... sincere, caring, kind and genuine relationships give life to those who lead.

In the midst of church life, we walk through all of life's joys and pain together with love and loyalty. It's what pastors' wives want in a friend ... and it's what I want, too. That's true friendship and a desire at the heart of everywoman, pastor's wife or not.

Lord, help me to be a truly loyal friend to my pastor's wife, putting her needs above my own. Purify my heart and my words to be a joy and encouragement to all my friends. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: Proverbs 17:17, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity." (NIV)

Job 16:20, "My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God ..." (NIV)

Ecclesiastes 4:10, "If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up." (NIV)

REFLECT AND RESPOND: What is an action step God is calling you to do this month to encourage your pastor's wife?

What is something you can do if you find yourself in a setting where there is gossip or criticism about your pastor's wife?

© 2014 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org

2 thoughts on “What Your Pastor's Wife Needs Most in a Friend”

  • Cathy

    As a pastors wife for almost 22 yrs I am very encouraged by this article.
    Thank you for speaking such truth in a spirit of love.
    Though I've been deeply blessed by a few dear friends in my church who have shown such grace, acceptance & loyalty my kindred spirit friend resides many miles away. She's the one I share most of my struggles with & go to for wise counsel. I don't expect any church friend to listen or pray for me as faithfully as she has.

    Reply
  • Randall Coleman

    I watched our pastors wife struggle with cancer for years. I feel bad now. I thought I would be to noisy if I tried to talk to her. I will pray for her. The next time I see her I will purposely make conversation.

    Reply
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