The Pastor’s Husband (a wife’s perspective)

Ben with sleep with the pastor t-shirt

I originally wrote this in 2008, two years before our children started to arrive en masse. When I came across it, I wanted to share it here because it all still applies. Perhaps even more so now that Ben made some major life sacrifices to do what he felt was his greatest job opportunity ever, being a dad.

“So does Ben want to be a pastor?”

No. The answer is no. No kidding. It really is no.

I’ve learned in the last 6 years of our marriage, plus two years of dating prior to that, to just take this question with an entire shaker of salt. But seriously, if I had a dollar for every time… maybe I’d actually be able to afford a house in California.

This question is generally followed by “So how does that work?” Now, these question will never be asked of a male pastor. “So your wife doesn’t want to be a pastor in vocational ministry? Really? Wow. So how does that work?” There’s always this assumption that the wife will help the husband, be there as back-up, even be the two-for-one deal many pastors try to recruit and not pay. So when trying to figure out how it “works” for us rare and but certainly not non-existent women in ministry who are married to men who have “secular” jobs… let me help you.

Just switch the titles.  That’s right, it really is that easy. “…the husband will help the wife, be there as back-up, …”  Just like every male pastor has to give serious props to his wife for helping him survive and stay in ministry, I have to hand it to my husband for doing the exact same thing. This doesn’t suddenly change the tilt of the world’s axis and uproot everything we believe about the relationship between a husband and a wife. {Please note I said everything “we” believe, not everything “you” may believe.} And if you’re worried about that, I welcome you to join us for dinner some night or just watch Ben & I interact for an hour. And if you’re still curious about what we believe and try to live, I’d be happy to have that conversation as well.

It’s okay. I know it’s hard to understand, because it’s not something that’s really modeled very often in today’s society, especially in conservative circles. But it really does work. And for that, I am incredibly grateful.

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