The Pastor's Affair

In all my years of ministry, there has been a look down upon ministry wives that don't meet a specific criteria. If your husband isn't a 501c3 'church' with a building and tithing members, he's not REALLY a pastor and you're not REALLY a pastor's wife. Then over years of study and deep questioning among theologians all over the word we discovered that a 501c3, a building, and tithing members isn't what makes a person a minister or minister's wife. Being a minister is a gift in the heart. It's Christ manifesting Himself through His chosen vessels. Then you attend a variety of conferences for Christian women where certain pastor's wives get special treatment. You know the ones. The ones who's husband's have the largest churches. "Your husband's ministry isn't big enough for you to be considered among the highest of pastor's wives." Sounds like high school all over again.

I was once told by a pastor's wife this statement, "If you publish a book, we'll have you in to speak to the women". So now authoring a book is the prerequisite to sharing my story. I don't see where this is in the bible that a woman has to write a book before she can minister to other women.

After the teaching sessions have ended and the pastor's wives are signing their books, autographing the inside cover of bibles, I look around the room. I see a woman sitting alone at a table, in deep thought. I ask if I can sit with her. Her face lights up. The first kindness shown to her that day, she begins to unfold her life story to me in great detail. During the course of her story it dawns on her how something in her life had been a stumbling block to her family and she confesses it through sobs. 

She somehow sees herself as a wedge between her husband and his ministry. She's a pastor's wife. She had been judged harshly by the other pastor's wives. This woman is in deep depression and her husband has been trying to send friends to her side to comfort her and lift her up. You see, he's so busy with ministry and his wife's depression is 'hindering' his work. My heart breaks. Her heart is broken as she is under the weight of the condemnation the other minister's wives have placed on her. She is suffering enough as it is. I continue to listen and she continues to speak, pausing every few words so she can catch her breath. She grips her chest and her face winces in pain. Her eyes flowing with tears and her neck tightening with gulps of air.

She tells of her husband's ministry. She describes a seemingly glorious work, a magnificent building of crystal chandeliers, plush carpets and padded pews. After every service, women are lining up to get his autograph in their bibles and they cry their tears of sadness that their husbands don't attend church with them. He pats them on the shoulders, assuring them to stay faithful to church, give their tithes, and bring their kids. She tells about how he gives public praise to these women for coming to church, that their faithfulness to serve in the house of worship is highly commendable.

But he rebukes his wife in the car on the way home. She hadn't reached out to these women. He scolds her for spending too much time at the altar praying alone, when she could have been praying with these women. He tells her that she is selfish and should present a better example to the church...to be a good pastor's wife. 

She sobs under muffled words that I can't understand. She catches her breath again, hoping no one notices her talking to me. She whisper's, "He's having an affair with the ministry"

This is a scenario that many minister's wives face every week. They think they are alone in seeing this dilemma. My dear sisters in Christ, you are not the only one who notices.

This is a serious issue that needs to be brought to the light. Many minister's wives are in deep agony over their pain and they need help. They face the fear of speaking up, thinking that ministry could crumble under the weight of the truth being revealed. So they suffer in silence. They sacrifice their own hearts on the altar of the pastor's desire to grow a ministry.

Jesus Christ is the Groom to the Bride, His Church. The minister has his own bride, his wife. But he wants Christ's Bride. Is this not the story of David and Bathsheba all over again? Wanting what isn't his and forsaking his own for his fleshly desires. A minister's marriage is not higher than the others. It is also not to be neglected in order to further some man built building. We are all equal in Christ. Any marriage in a fellowship that is suffering needs help. It's high time Christianity stop trying to protect the image of the pastor and his church at the cost of other people's lives.

Women of the church,... leave the preacher alone. He has a wife.
Cross Sculpture by cherie, on Pix-O-Sphere



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{ Hillary } at: January 23, 2011 at 5:47 PM said...

A piercing article, Sisterlisa. Good job.

Anonymous at: January 24, 2011 at 7:46 AM said...

Amen, amen. Thank you for speaking out for all the wounded pastor's wives.

{ Michelle } at: January 28, 2011 at 10:29 AM said...

I pray that this post will be a balm of healing for wounded pastors' wives.

I am a pastor's wife, but my husband is wonderful, loving and devoted to US as a couple.

One of the first things he tells a new church when being interviewed is that the church gets him, not necessarily his wife! He says this so that the church knows right away that he will not tolerate unrealistic expectations from me or our children!

Wonderful post, Lisa!

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