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INTJ Pastors' wives?


KeriJ
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Are there any others here?  Because I'm thinking the combination is about to do me in. :)  There's the obvious "I" issue.  and then the my constant over-analyzing.  The T vs. F isn't always a great fit in this situation either.  I'm sure there are dozens of other areas it affects me, but I haven't explored it all yet.  Just wondered if there were others.

 

edited because my mind went blank as to whether it is "pastor's wives" or "pastors' wives".:)

 

Edited by KeriJ
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I am INTJ, but not a pastor's wive.  I live in a small town where the social/community stuff is dominated by the First Baptist.  I have frequently felt great compassion for the pastor's wife so (hugs)

 

Wouldn't it be funny if that were you?   

Edited by shawthorne44
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INTJ here but not a pastor's wife and I'd be really bad at it if I had to act in a counseling role, it's just not my gift. If my job, as it should be, is to sleep with the pastor and parent my kids? We are good.

 

I see a lot of younger women taking on inordinantly heavy roles in ministry because they're the wife of an elder or deacon, pastor included, and I don't think that is really appropriate by sheer virtue of being married to someone. There is no biblical role of pastor's wife, IYKWIM? A Titus 2 woman is something different and on behalf of my friends with spouses in ministry I resent the conflation that just because her husband serves she is expected to counsel, teach, or lead as well. If she does it should be because God is convicting her, individually, in that area and she can serve and bless people with it appropriately, not because she has association with someone else already in ministry and is roped in, however unwillingly.

 

 

Sorry for the rant, this is kind of a pet peeve of mine. Personality fit or not, your involvement in ministry should be joyful and optional. If your skills and gifts are better put to use folding bulletins and playing the piano or what have you, go with it without guilt or condemnation. Some are counselors and teachers, but not usually INTJ's who just happen to have married a man who serves in a pulpit ;)

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I'm a lay person.

But, I'm a preacher's kid. I know what you're facing. I've seen it.

My advice to you: Figure out the role that YOU are suit

ed for and do that. You may not be the Sunday SChool teacher, counselor, piano playing type. That's okay. There are cultural expectations in my area for pastors wives. But they are NOT scripture. There

is no scripture that says that you have to lead the ladies' prayer group, head up children's church, and host a ladies' tea every other month. If you're getting pressure from your congregation or your husband to do so, then they are wrong.

 

This expectation hacks me off as a pastors kid. I felt that I not only sacrificed my father to the ministry, but my mom was tied up in it too. It's not fair.

 

Your job as a pastor's wife is to take care of your husband, your home and your kids. Pray for him. Pray for the church. Anything else is gravy. Make your own role.

 

The idea that the pastor's wife is supposed to work harder in the church than other lay people because she happened to marry a man in ministry is unfair. Lay people can organize, teach, counsel, play piano, run children's church, host teas, and do any number of things. And I've seen that once the pastors wife can't/won't/doesn't do those things, the important stuff will be taken care of by someone else in the congregation. and the other stuff that is dropped, isn't that big of a deal.

 

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INTJ here but not a pastor's wife and I'd be really bad at it if I had to act in a counseling role, it's just not my gift. If my job, as it should be, is to sleep with the pastor and parent my kids? We are good.

 

I see a lot of younger women taking on inordinantly heavy roles in ministry because they're the wife of an elder or deacon, pastor included, and I don't think that is really appropriate by sheer virtue of being married to someone. There is no biblical role of pastor's wife, IYKWIM? A Titus 2 woman is something different and on behalf of my friends with spouses in ministry I resent the conflation that just because her husband serves she is expected to counsel, teach, or lead as well. If she does it should be because God is convicting her, individually, in that area and she can serve and bless people with it appropriately, not because she has association with someone else already in ministry and is roped in, however unwillingly.

 

 

Sorry for the rant, this is kind of a pet peeve of mine. Personality fit or not, your involvement in ministry should be joyful and optional. If your skills and gifts are better put to use folding bulletins and playing the piano or what have you, go with it without guilt or condemnation. Some are counselors and teachers, but not usually INTJ's who just happen to have married a man who serves in a pulpit ;)

 

Thankfully, I long ago realized that your second job description is what I believe my actual role is. ;)  I agree that there's no biblical role of pastor's wife.  I do happen to play the piano, however, so I have willingly agreed to fill in when the regular pianist is gone.

 

I don't really feel obligated to fill any other position.  I do pitch in and help out when I can.  Otherwise I primarily serve as dh's intensive counselor at this point while homeschooling and doing life with 5 kids.

 

I'm just finding that the INTJ personality is really a challenge in basic attendance and interactions in this setting.

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Thankfully, I long ago realized that your second job description is what I believe my actual role is. ;)  I agree that there's no biblical role of pastor's wife.  I do happen to play the piano, however, so I have willingly agreed to fill in when the regular pianist is gone.

 

I don't really feel obligated to fill any other position.  I do pitch in and help out when I can.  Otherwise I primarily serve as dh's intensive counselor at this point while homeschooling and doing life with 5 kids.

 

I'm just finding that the INTJ personality is really a challenge in basic attendance and interactions in this setting.

 

You have lots of kids and most ofthem are under 12. It's okay with me if you show up late and slip out early! I give you permission!

 

I know of a a pastor and his wife who drive separately to services. They have little kids, and she does what works best for their family. If it's a bad morning, she might skip Sunday school. I don't care. Really it doesn't bother me because I know her heart and she really wants to be there.

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Last time I took a test, I got the result of INFJ-T.  Is that close enough?  And I am the wife of a part-time pastor.  

 

I don't have a particular role in the church.  I do show up every Sunday, to both morning and evening service.  I help out in various activities.  I struggle to introduce myself to visitors sometimes, but we have loads of extroverts around who are happy to do that.  During the coffee time after church, I often find myself with no one to talk to, even though I know everyone in church by name and as far as I can tell, no one particularly dislikes me.  I just can't break into conversations.  So, I find work to do in the kitchen.  I go to the bathroom and refill toilet paper.  :-)   Sometimes I slip out early (we almost always take two cars).  

 

I'm not sure if I'm responding in a helpful way though.  Not sure what you are asking. 

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Thankfully, I long ago realized that your second job description is what I believe my actual role is. ;)  I agree that there's no biblical role of pastor's wife.  I do happen to play the piano, however, so I have willingly agreed to fill in when the regular pianist is gone.

 

I don't really feel obligated to fill any other position.  I do pitch in and help out when I can.  Otherwise I primarily serve as dh's intensive counselor at this point while homeschooling and doing life with 5 kids.

 

I'm just finding that the INTJ personality is really a challenge in basic attendance and interactions in this setting.

 

I don't know if it helps or hurts you to know that I am an ENFP and I have a hard time with the basic attendance and interactions, too.

 

I think it has to do with the fact that even if you have strong boundaries and have been clear about your role (when interviewed I practically said what AM said--I am here mainly to support my dh and raise my kids, anything else will fit in as I use my gifts and when it works for us) going to church as a pastor's wife if different than going to church as a congregant.  And, you aren't really a true part of the church family in the way other folks are.  You are really more like a servant (a beloved one, though--well, hopefully).  Add that to raising kids and schooling and supporting your dh and any other activities, it sometimes feels like just one more thing and, unfortunately, a thing where your behavior "could" impact your dh's job.  (No, you really can't say the snarky comment you want to to the woman who feels the need to tell you everything that's on your mind and yes, you do have to listen to the other lady's bowel problems whether you are feeling like it or not).

 

I am still finding my way in this after 14 years.  I thought if I was true to myself, it would be enough, but God has a lot more work to do on me.

 

But, in some ways, I think the fact that I am a bit "removed" from church is ultimately good for the kids and dh in some ways. I am not getting caught up in any drama.  My kids don't feel like they've lost me to the church and I am there for dh--not a part of any issues.

 

Just keep remembering that you just need to follow what God wants you to do at the church--not what man might ay.

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<snip>

 

I see a lot of younger women taking on inordinantly heavy roles in ministry because they're the wife of an elder or deacon, pastor included, and I don't think that is really appropriate by sheer virtue of being married to someone. There is no biblical role of pastor's wife, IYKWIM? A Titus 2 woman is something different and on behalf of my friends with spouses in ministry I resent the conflation that just because her husband serves she is expected to counsel, teach, or lead as well. If she does it should be because God is convicting her, individually, in that area and she can serve and bless people with it appropriately, not because she has association with someone else already in ministry and is roped in, however unwillingly.

 

<snip>

 

 

This is one of the biggest reasons I am uncomfortable with the newer trend of appointing younger men with little kids in the house to the position of elder. While I do believe the Timothy adage to not look down on any as unable due to youth, I also have witnessed the demands that church leadership puts on a family. If the wives are involved, they become overloaded (physically and emotionally). If the wives are uninvolved, they are often stranded physically as the elder engages in lots of meetings and emotionally as there are confidential issues that cannot be shared with the spouse. I'm sure there are many churches that do this right, but in my personal experience I've watched marriages become strained and even result in divorce due to the stress that eldership placed on a family in its most intense years of parenting.

 

Lol ok that's MY soapbox, stepping off.

 

As an INTJ, not a pastor's wife, I think I could actually serve along side and provide counsel, however, the cost would be high. It would totally spend me after a while. Probably to the point that I would be exhausted from the need to be "E" for the service, and then lack empathy with someone walking through struggles that to me appear to have a clear cut course of behavior. INTJ curse, aye?

 

One of our favorite pastors in the past made it clear, in a reasonable manner (no crazy pronouncement from the pulpit) that his (lovely and gracious) wife had a gift of her own, was using it to serve their own young family and that folks in the congregation should hold any criticism about what they thought a pastor's wife should be doing, especially if they wanted him to live up to the job he'd been appointed to do. She was free to serve nursery duty when she felt like it, or serve in VBS, like any congregate. But she was free to make sure he had a calm landing spot so he could have a sanctuary in his own home.

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You have lots of kids and most ofthem are under 12. It's okay with me if you show up late and slip out early! I give you permission!

 

I know of a a pastor and his wife who drive separately to services. They have little kids, and she does what works best for their family. If it's a bad morning, she might skip Sunday school. I don't care. Really it doesn't bother me because I know her heart and she really wants to be there.

 

Oh, yes! I've never gone to churh at the same time as my dh, even when we didn't live next door.  I come 5 min before the service and--shhhh--I don't go to Sunday School, like, ever. I go home and have an hour alone and then come back.

 

(and I also don't volunteer for VBS--I send 3 volunteers and 2 participants and call  it good.  Although I did have to bite my tongue when one woman told me that in her day, she had 4 kids and volunteered, but she understood things were different now. . . . . You gotta try and keep your sense of humor. LOL)

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I am a pastor's wife.  I have absolutely no idea what personality type I have.  I did the Myers-Brigg test many years ago but didn't put much stock in any results.  My main job as the pastor's wife is to take care of my husband.  My main job as a mom is to take care of my kids.  I attend church because it is where I grow and fellowship and because the Bible tells me to (on those days when I really don't want to).  I don't go to every activity or service.  I go to the ones I want to go to.  I serve in ministry in those areas where I served long before I got married - ie. those are my spiritual gifts.  I didn't serve at all when I had really  young children and didn't feel guilty for not serving.  I started to serve just a bit as they got older.  I'm serving even more now that my kids are teens and are in high school and college.  But none of it is because I'm a pastor's wife.

 

When we first came to this particular pastorate, the people there made a point of telling me that there was no expectations for me as pastor's wife.  Then I showed up at church and they started to ask me why I hadn't made coffee and a number of other things.  I smiled and said "there's the coffee maker.  Please feel free to make the coffee."  And once they got over their shock, they did.  I'm not a moocher.  It is OUR church and I pitch in as I can just as everyone else does with allowances for different seasons in our lives.  But also - I'm not the wife and mother for the church either. 

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You have lots of kids and most ofthem are under 12. It's okay with me if you show up late and slip out early! I give you permission!

 

I know of a a pastor and his wife who drive separately to services. They have little kids, and she does what works best for their family. If it's a bad morning, she might skip Sunday school. I don't care. Really it doesn't bother me because I know her heart and she really wants to be there.

Our pastor and associate pastor both do. Their wives have various roles they've taken on but they can't do the living at church thing, so they commute separately from the men.

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This is one of the biggest reasons I am uncomfortable with the newer trend of appointing younger men with little kids in the house to the position of elder. While I do believe the Timothy adage to not look down on any as unable due to youth, I also have witnessed the demands that church leadership puts on a family. If the wives are involved, they become overloaded (physically and emotionally). If the wives are uninvolved, they are often stranded physically as the elder engages in lots of meetings and emotionally as there are confidential issues that cannot be shared with the spouse. I'm sure there are many churches that do this right, but in my personal experience I've watched marriages become strained and even result in divorce due to the stress that eldership placed on a family in its most intense years of parenting.

 

Lol ok that's MY soapbox, stepping off.

 

As an INTJ, not a pastor's wife, I think I could actually serve along side and provide counsel, however, the cost would be high. It would totally spend me after a while. Probably to the point that I would be exhausted from the need to be "E" for the service, and then lack empathy with someone walking through struggles that to me appear to have a clear cut course of behavior. INTJ curse, aye?

 

One of our favorite pastors in the past made it clear, in a reasonable manner (no crazy pronouncement from the pulpit) that his (lovely and gracious) wife had a gift of her own, was using it to serve their own young family and that folks in the congregation should hold any criticism about what they thought a pastor's wife should be doing, especially if they wanted him to live up to the job he'd been appointed to do. She was free to serve nursery duty when she felt like it, or serve in VBS, like any congregate. But she was free to make sure he had a calm landing spot so he could have a sanctuary in his own home.

Yeah. I agree completely.

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Regarding personality - I've always said that I'm an extroverted introvert.  From years of being in and around ministry (from being an MK to being in ministry on my own to being a pastor's wife), I have learned how to interact with others in a friendly manner.  But I love going home to recharge.  I also have chronic illness and that limits my stamina quite a bit.  I figure neither my personality nor my chronic illness are a surprise to God and that He is fine with it.  And if He's fine with it then I don't care too much about what other's think on the subject. 

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I'm close to evenly split between ENTJ & INTJ. In other words, I can being outgoing when I should but it drains me.  I decided I couldn't be a pastor's wife or in ministry myself because I couldn't deal with the expectations. The mother of the man I was dating was an INTJ pastor's wife, and she usually skipped church entirely, avoiding all expectations.  I think one year she went 3 times.  Her husband (senior pastor) blamed her health problems, but I think the primary problem was she had no desire to deal with church politics.

 

I agree with the advice to decide for yourself what (if any) your role should be, and refuse to do anything else that's ministry connected.  But of course, social connections and close (genuine, not political) friendships should be nurtured for your own happiness.

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You preacher's wives who drive separately...Good for you.

 

I remember disliking Sundays because it was such a LONG day for our family. Getting to Sunday School early...leaving from worship late. Getting to evening worship early, leaving late....

 

I didn't want to sit around at church and watch my parents talk. I found it boring.

 

So your kids probably appreciate that you can take them home.

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<snip>

 

When we first came to this particular pastorate, the people there made a point of telling me that there was no expectations for me as pastor's wife.  Then I showed up at church and they started to ask me why I hadn't made coffee and a number of other things.  I smiled and said "there's the coffee maker.  Please feel free to make the coffee."  And once they got over their shock, they did.  I'm not a moocher.  It is OUR church and I pitch in as I can just as everyone else does with allowances for different seasons in our lives.  But also - I'm not the wife and mother for the church either. 

 

Re: the bolded -  :confused1:  :confused1:  That is so weird.  Who made the coffee before you showed up?

 

We have a great system at my church.  There are volunteer rotations for everything, but the only thing everyone has to participate in is the minimal cleanup after the morning service (vacuuming the fellowship area, taking out the trash, wiping down counters where the food was), and that is also on a rotation basis so each family only has to do it every few months.  People sign up for coffee-making, bringing snacks, working in the nursery, greeting at the door, running the sound booth...  I participate as a regular person in some but not all these jobs. The only one I do somewhat grudgingly is serve in the nursery, because I don't really like it, but there is a great need.  And I do love the kids and their parents.   The pastors (both are part-time), the elders, and all their wives are treated just like anyone else in that regard.

Edited by marbel
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 I'm a fellow INTJ pastor's wife :seeya:.  Early on, I felt kind of awkward and out of place, but I've mellowed in my old age ;), finally managed to understand feelings well enough to accept them as rational and worthwhile, and generally feel like I have a *place* where me being me is doing some positive good that is appreciated by those around me :).  (And having kids did wonders for small talk - lets all talk about each others' cute kids!)  Also, my superpower is being entirely oblivious to most anything going on behind my back ;), so I'm happily oblivious to what people may or may not be saying about me behind my back.  And a related superpower is that I'm apparently rather scary to those who don't know me (resting angry face), so I don't get a lot of people complaining about me to my face, or trying to trample over my boundaries.  (Which is good, because I'm kind of a squishy marshmallow on the inside.)  Mostly the only people who talk to me are people like me, people who like people like me, and people who like everyone.  So most of my interactions are quite pleasant :). 

 

My main problem has been the same as my INTP pastor dh - learning to understand and respect emotions, and to throttle back on the INTx confidence in our ideas.  'Humble confidence" instead of "arrogant rightness" ;).  A nice thing about being an INTJ ime is that I don't tend to have problems getting people to listen to what I have to say - the learning curve has been wrt not obliviously trampling all over relationships as I do it.  I can shut down most conversations without meaning to by too-vigorous-too-arrogant arguing (not with immediate family, who argue back, but with acquaintances), and so I make a purposeful effort to dial back the intensity and actively make space for other ideas, instead of assuming others will push in and make space for themselves (because experience says they won't).  The not-being-aware of things going on behind my back, combined with being perceived as scary and hard to offer criticism to, can be a double-edged sword - yeah, I'm blissfully unaware of petty issues, but it means I'm also oblivious to real problems, too.  So I try to be proactive about making interactions with me give off a low-stakes quality, and making sure I don't monopolize things, that I invite others to say what they think, too.  IDK how good a job I do, but I try. 

 

INTJ here but not a pastor's wife and I'd be really bad at it if I had to act in a counseling role, it's just not my gift. If my job, as it should be, is to sleep with the pastor and parent my kids? We are good.

I see a lot of younger women taking on inordinantly heavy roles in ministry because they're the wife of an elder or deacon, pastor included, and I don't think that is really appropriate by sheer virtue of being married to someone. There is no biblical role of pastor's wife, IYKWIM? A Titus 2 woman is something different and on behalf of my friends with spouses in ministry I resent the conflation that just because her husband serves she is expected to counsel, teach, or lead as well. If she does it should be because God is convicting her, individually, in that area and she can serve and bless people with it appropriately, not because she has association with someone else already in ministry and is roped in, however unwillingly.


Sorry for the rant, this is kind of a pet peeve of mine. Personality fit or not, your involvement in ministry should be joyful and optional. If your skills and gifts are better put to use folding bulletins and playing the piano or what have you, go with it without guilt or condemnation. Some are counselors and teachers, but not usually INTJ's who just happen to have married a man who serves in a pulpit ;)

 

I was pretty hardcore "I'm the wife of the pastor, not 'the pastor's wife'" in the early years - that was the dominant approach at the sem when we were there - and I don't supposed I've changed, exactly, but I've mellowed some.  It helps that I'm apparently very, very scary - the whole "resting angry face" - along with being cheerfully oblivious to whatever unspoken expectations might exist, and no one is willing to speak them to my face.  So I've never had the problem of being guilted into overextending myself or doing things I was unsuited for.  I did just what I wanted and only what I wanted, disdaining the consequences I was oblivious to anyway.  I came late to the idea that I might have obligations to others by virtue of my position, and imo it did me a world of good. 

 

Because as the pastor's wife, my words *do* have more weight, by virtue of my position, than they would otherwise.  People *listen* when I speak - and as I'm theologically inclined, I do speak up a lot - and it would be irresponsible of me to not take that into account.  I *can't* speak like I was just another layperson - because I'm *not* just another layperson.  With great power comes great responsibility and all that ;).  IDK, people talk about being a pastor's wife like it's non-stop fishbowl horror, but I've largely experienced *good*.  I was a shy, geeky, social-anxiety-filled teen - there was a lot of wallflowering going on.  But as the pastor's wife, people know who I am and talk to me, just because I'm the pastor's wife.  That gives me a platform I didn't have before, and I ought to use that to help others, kwim?  Proactively reach out to people who tend to get ignored - just like I used to.  I mean, being the pastor's wife has automatically put me on the inside of the circle, not the outside (where I spent all my life) - that's a blessing, and one I need to use to benefit others.

 

Which isn't the same thing as being pushed into the stereotypical pastor's wife box, I know.  And I do disagree with the idea that all pastor's wives ought to have the exact same skill set.  But I'm been blessed with largely *not* having people try to shove me into boxes (or being oblivious to any attempts) - which I kind of think of an as INTJ thing.  And I had literally *zero* knowledge of "stereotypical pastor's wife behavior" - the wife of my childhood pastor stayed in the background and I actually have no idea what she looks like - and I was plenty full of the confidence to resist others' (assumed unjustified) expectations.  Which is sort of the opposite of what all the advice books assume - that I, as a pastor's wife, am by default crippled by others' unspoken expectations and feel unjustified in resisting them.  And, idk, young INTJ me didn't really need any *further* pushing to do what I was doing anyway, kwim?  I actually have been strongly benefited by going back to all that kind of old-fashioned advice I rejected before I even knew what it was - some of it may have been wrongly shackling, but a lot of it is actually a great antidote to the thoughtless self-centeredness I was (and still kinda am) full of.
 

ETA: I do say all this from a position of privilege - the official position taught in our seminaries heavily pushes back against the stereotypical pastor's wife box, and the dominant position held at all levels of the denomination is that the only job of the pastor's wife is to be the wife to the pastor.  That's what I was told and I believed them and acted accordingly and no one's ever made anything of it.  So I never experienced the box-stuffing the "new line" was meant to prevent - it totally succeeded in my case :thumbup:.  And I'm glad.  But ime the "pastor's wife is just like any one else" approach can have drawbacks of its own.

Edited by forty-two
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I'm a fellow INTJ pastor's wife :seeya:. Early on, I felt kind of awkward and out of place, but I've mellowed in my old age ;), finally managed to understand feelings well enough to accept them as rational and worthwhile, and generally feel like I have a *place* where me being me is doing some positive good that is appreciated by those around me :). (And having kids did wonders for small talk - lets all talk about each others' cute kids!) Also, my superpower is being entirely oblivious to most anything going on behind my back ;), so I'm happily oblivious to what people may or may not be saying about me behind my back. And a related superpower is that I'm apparently rather scary to those who don't know me (resting angry face), so I don't get a lot of people complaining about me to my face, or trying to trample over my boundaries. (Which is good, because I'm kind of a squishy marshmallow on the inside.) Mostly the only people who talk to me are people like me, people who like people like me, and people who like everyone. So most of my interactions are quite pleasant :).

 

My main problem has been the same as my INTP pastor dh - learning to understand and respect emotions, and to throttle back on the INTx confidence in our ideas. 'Humble confidence" instead of "arrogant rightness" ;). A nice thing about being an INTJ ime is that I don't tend to have problems getting people to listen to what I have to say - the learning curve has been wrt not obliviously trampling all over relationships as I do it. I can shut down most conversations without meaning to by too-vigorous-too-arrogant arguing (not with immediate family, who argue back, but with acquaintances), and so I make a purposeful effort to dial back the intensity and actively make space for other ideas, instead of assuming others will push in and make space for themselves (because experience says they won't). The not-being-aware of things going on behind my back, combined with being perceived as scary and hard to offer criticism to, can be a double-edged sword - yeah, I'm blissfully unaware of petty issues, but it means I'm also oblivious to real problems, too. So I try to be proactive about making interactions with me give off a low-stakes quality, and making sure I don't monopolize things, that I invite others to say what they think, too. IDK how good a job I do, but I try.

 

 

I was pretty hardcore "I'm the wife of the pastor, not 'the pastor's wife'" in the early years - that was the dominant approach at the sem when we were there - and I don't supposed I've changed, exactly, but I've mellowed some. It helps that I'm apparently very, very scary - the whole "resting angry face" - along with being cheerfully oblivious to whatever unspoken expectations might exist, and no one is willing to speak them to my face. So I've never had the problem of being guilted into overextending myself or doing things I was unsuited for. I did just what I wanted and only what I wanted, disdaining the consequences I was oblivious to anyway. I came late to the idea that I might have obligations to others by virtue of my position, and imo it did me a world of good.

 

Because as the pastor's wife, my words *do* have more weight, by virtue of my position, than they would otherwise. People *listen* when I speak - and as I'm theologically inclined, I do speak up a lot - and it would be irresponsible of me to not take that into account. I *can't* speak like I was just another layperson - because I'm *not* just another layperson. With great power comes great responsibility and all that ;). IDK, people talk about being a pastor's wife like it's non-stop fishbowl horror, but I've largely experienced *good*. I was a shy, geeky, social-anxiety-filled teen - there was a lot of wallflowering going on. But as the pastor's wife, people know who I am and talk to me, just because I'm the pastor's wife. That gives me a platform I didn't have before, and I ought to use that to help others, kwim? Proactively reach out to people who tend to get ignored - just like I used to. I mean, being the pastor's wife has automatically put me on the inside of the circle, not the outside (where I spent all my life) - that's a blessing, and one I need to use to benefit others.

 

Which isn't the same thing as being pushed into the stereotypical pastor's wife box, I know. And I do disagree with the idea that all pastor's wives ought to have the exact same skill set. But I'm been blessed with largely *not* having people try to shove me into boxes (or being oblivious to any attempts) - which I kind of think of an as INTJ thing. And I had literally *zero* knowledge of "stereotypical pastor's wife behavior" - the wife of my childhood pastor stayed in the background and I actually have no idea what she looks like - and I was plenty full of the confidence to resist others' (assumed unjustified) expectations. Which is sort of the opposite of what all the advice books assume - that I, as a pastor's wife, are by default crippled by others' unspoken expectations and feel unjustified in resisting them. And, idk, young INTJ me didn't really need any *further* pushing to do what I was doing anyway, kwim? I actually have been strongly benefited by going back to all that kind of old-fashioned advice I rejected before I even knew what it was - some of it may have been wrongly shackling, but a lot of it is actually a great antidote to the thoughtless self-centeredness I was (and still kinda am) full of.

 

What a great point of view you have articulated! I appreciate all you wrote and you have given me things to think about, thank you.

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I don't know if it helps or hurts you to know that I am an ENFP and I have a hard time with the basic attendance and interactions, too.

 

I think it has to do with the fact that even if you have strong boundaries and have been clear about your role (when interviewed I practically said what AM said--I am here mainly to support my dh and raise my kids, anything else will fit in as I use my gifts and when it works for us) going to church as a pastor's wife if different than going to church as a congregant. And, you aren't really a true part of the church family in the way other folks are. You are really more like a servant (a beloved one, though--well, hopefully). Add that to raising kids and schooling and supporting your dh and any other activities, it sometimes feels like just one more thing and, unfortunately, a thing where your behavior "could" impact your dh's job. (No, you really can't say the snarky comment you want to to the woman who feels the need to tell you everything that's on your mind and yes, you do have to listen to the other lady's bowel problems whether you are feeling like it or not).

 

I am still finding my way in this after 14 years. I thought if I was true to myself, it would be enough, but God has a lot more work to do on me.

 

But, in some ways, I think the fact that I am a bit "removed" from church is ultimately good for the kids and dh in some ways. I am not getting caught up in any drama. My kids don't feel like they've lost me to the church and I am there for dh--not a part of any issues.

 

Just keep remembering that you just need to follow what God wants you to do at the church--not what man might ay.

This. All this is what I struggle with. It just helps to know that I am not alone.

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Re: the bolded -  :confused1:  :confused1:  That is so weird.  Who made the coffee before you showed up?

 

We have a great system at my church.  There are volunteer rotations for everything, but the only thing everyone has to participate in is the minimal cleanup after the morning service (vacuuming the fellowship area, taking out the trash, wiping down counters where the food was), and that is also on a rotation basis so each family only has to do it every few months.  People sign up for coffee-making, bringing snacks, working in the nursery, greeting at the door, running the sound booth...  I participate as a regular person in some but not all these jobs. The only one I do somewhat grudgingly is serve in the nursery, because I don't really like it, but there is a great need.  And I do love the kids and their parents.   The pastors (both are part-time), the elders, and all their wives are treated just like anyone else in that regard.

 

The previous pastor's wife made the coffee and hosted everything and . . .       She complained to me that no one would volunteer for things but I soon discovered why.  The former pastor and his wife micromanaged EVERYTHING.  People were afraid to make the coffee because they didn't want to do it "wrong".  I had to be more blunt and hands off then I normally would be simply out of politeness to get people to start feeling free to make it their church.  I do help out with coffee making on occasion but it is no longer a default position.  ;) 

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Thankfully, I long ago realized that your second job description is what I believe my actual role is. ;) I agree that there's no biblical role of pastor's wife. I do happen to play the piano, however, so I have willingly agreed to fill in when the regular pianist is gone.

 

I don't really feel obligated to fill any other position. I do pitch in and help out when I can. Otherwise I primarily serve as dh's intensive counselor at this point while homeschooling and doing life with 5 kids.

 

I'm just finding that the INTJ personality is really a challenge in basic attendance and interactions in this setting.

I found basic attendance and interactions a challenge for a long time, and I did chalk it up to introvertedness and being drained by people (and the difficulty getting organized and getting everyone out the door by myself; the downside of two cars and going into church separately is that I'm 100% responsible for getting me and all the kids ready and out the door). But now that I'm out of it, I don't really think it was due to introvertedness or INTJness itself (mostly - I do think my INTJness does make interactions a little harder in general, and grokking feelings definitely helped there). Rather, I was too stressed and/or too drained, so that the effort in being at church was the "one more thing" that caused my stress cup to overflow. Once I solved those issues (or they were no longer issues), I found that church attendance/interactions were no longer a thing.

 

 

My top five issues that drain my energy and make allegedly easy things hard:

 

1) Depression - I've been struggling with it since my early 20s - and *everything* is harder when I'm depressed, because I just don't have the wherewithal for much of anything. During a winter-induced episode a few years back, I literally started crying when Lent came around, because I was *that* overwhelmed at the thought of getting kids out to an evening service.

 

2) Little kids - my ability to be on time took a nosedive when my eldest was born, and didn't recover till my two oldest were able to largely get themselves ready, and it didn't get *easy* till my youngest was largely able to get himself ready, too. Having to not just get me ready but also do everything (or nearly everything) that is needed to get everyone else ready, too - it takes *time* and *effort*. Being able to scale back to only getting the equivalent of 1.5 people ready ;) made getting people places *much* easier and less draining.

 

3) Years of stored stress - a few years back I realized I was living at red-alert stress levels 100% of the time. Any little thing was enough to overflow my "stress cup" - including relatively little stresses like interacting with a lot of people. I had had 2 years of extreme stress in my early 20s, and then my pg & delivery with my youngest was very stressful - and in both cases I dealt with the stress via repressing and ignoring. I'd rather foolishly assumed that when the stressor was gone, the stress was gone and it was all over. Yeah, not quite. I've been seriously de-stressing the past three years, and I can handle minor stressors much better now that my stress cup isn't permanently full.

 

4) Not eating breakfast before church - I know this one seems so tiny and mundane compared to the big-deal impact of the others, but, you know, it's hard to deal with stress when you are running on empty. This correlation surprised me when I noticed it, but it makes sense when you think about it. It was so easy for me to skip breakfast on Sunday mornings, because I wasn't hungry and there was so much to do. But by the end of service, I was shaky and just *done* with people - I'd go hide in dh's office till it was time to leave (I was too tired to round up the kids myself). For whatever reason, it tended to manifest as an *emotional* tiredness instead of hungry pangs or physical shakiness, so I never connected it with needing to eat. (That's a problem I have in general - falling apart emotionally when I need to eat instead of feeling hungry.) But it's almost entirely gone away now that I make breakfast a priority.

 

5) Not getting enough sleep - idk what it is, but I need a lot more sleep these days (8-9 hrs/night) and I can't shrug off a late night the way I used to. Running on 6 hours is exhausting in a way it didn't used to be. I'm having to be really proactive about getting enough sleep.

 

 

IDK if any of that applies to you, but thought I'd toss it out there in case it helps :grouphug:

 

 

ETA: Another issue I've had - losing the conviction that going to church *matters*. The time in my life I was going through something of a spiritual crisis and felt like the church services weren't helping (like they should have been) and in fact might even be exacerbating the problem, well, that sapped my motivation for going something fierce :-/. About the only thing that kept me going was the presence of Holy Absolution and Holy Communion - at least I'd be receiving God's gifts *somewhere* in the service.

 

 

Eta2: this is not a problem I've personally faced (I struggle with doing too little because of depression), but introverts are more easily overextended than extraverts - if you've got a lot going on during the week or in general, you might not have enough recharge time, which makes everything harder.

Edited by forty-two
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So much has to do with the culture of your particular church. We were in one church in youth ministry where when my dh got hired, we were explicitly told that he was the one getting hired, not me. However, over time I started to get a lot of questions and pressure to be more involved. It came down to the pastor and his wife, not really the congregation. Our time there ended poorly because of dynamics with the both of them that weren't readily apparent at first, but overall I felt like the rest of the church had a really healthy relationship with me.

 

Our next youth pastor position was super chill. 

 

Our next/current position is lead, and that really does change a lot of things. We've been here for 8 years. Our people have healthy expectations, I think. I'm also way more involved at this stage of my life, by my own choice. Still, there are always people here and there who have unspoken expectations, and I occasionally have to have conversations with people about that. I think the hardest part is when people get hurt because I didn't come to their birthday party or something. I'm always like, we literally get invited to something every weekend, we just can't. That doesn't happen very often, though.

 

I'm an ISFP, but dh is INTJ, so I get how hard it is to navigate this position with that personality set. Here's what helps us-

 

*Very clear boundaries on our family time. Cell phones off at 6, set date and family nights, no more than 3 nights a week doing ministry work. We can do this because we have a very healthy eldership and network of home groups with healthy leaders. Needs don't all end up in our laps. We have lots of leaders and pastors who are equipped to make decisions. Our people know that if they have a need, a church leader will be there for them, but it probably won't be dh. A lot of burnout that I see is when absolutely everything in the church has to go through the pastor.

 

*Good relationships with our elders, leaders, and spouses. We invest most of our time in those relationships. I feel like I can trust them to advocate for me (and dh).

 

*Intimate relationships with other ministry families outside of our church. We've cultivated very strong friendships with other pastors and their wives. I go away twice a year with 2 pastor wives. Dh takes trips with their husbands. It's hugely life sustaining. 

 

 

 

There will always be a level of isolation in leadership. I've come to terms with that. A culture of grace for the pastor's wife starts with the eldership. If they are healthy, it will trickle down to the rest of the church. And when you inevitably have to deal with an unhealthy person, they'll be there to back you up.

 

 

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So many helpful thoughts, and so many who get what I mean.  Thank you.

 

I think if I were to sum it up, the parts that have been challenging lately are:

 

1. High expectations for myself, others and the function of the church and trying to figure out what is reasonable.

 

2.  A weird, subconscious feeling of being "responsible" for all the areas of the church.  Not that I feel actually responsible, but responsible to analyze and have an opinion about everything in case I'm asked.  This leads to me over-analyzing way too much!

 

3.  A fear of being trapped in lengthy conversations that I can't get away from while someone tells me endless details about a situation or a health problem.  Not that I don't care about these things, but it happens constantly, can go on forever and is tricky for me to navigate.

 

4.  Knowing I can't just be a regular church member.  Knowing that I am watched constantly....even down to everyone checking my face after any jokes dh makes from the pulpit.

 

5.  Like others mentioned, I'm fine socializing for awhile and enjoy it.  Then I need a break.  That can be hard to find in all day events or when too many things are scheduled in a row.

 

6.  This one has been interesting: having dc in the youth group and navigating the need for down time with the constant activity of the teens.  Not feeling like we can skip out on much because we are the pastor's family.  Never sure how we are coming across.

 

Those are some of the things that are coming to mind that have seemed challenging to me lately.  I used to think I just struggled with being a pastor's wife.  I'm finding that most of my struggles are based on my specific personality.

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My husband is a worship pastor & has served in full time ministry as worship or associate for 16 years. We have multiple campuses and we don't attend the same one. I really am disconnected from much of his job unless it's "need to know". I do serve every week & I would say I'm fully on board with the vision of who we are as a church and what that looks like lived out in our day to day. Our senior pastor's wife is not expected to take on a pastoral type role. Our campus pastor's wives also have no unusual expectation on them. We all serve in some capacity, are involved, lead small groups with our spouse, etc. but I don't believe there is a separate expectation for a pastor's wife to take on pastoral type role.

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So many helpful thoughts, and so many who get what I mean.  Thank you.

 

I think if I were to sum it up, the parts that have been challenging lately are:

 

1. High expectations for myself, others and the function of the church and trying to figure out what is reasonable.

 

2.  A weird, subconscious feeling of being "responsible" for all the areas of the church.  Not that I feel actually responsible, but responsible to analyze and have an opinion about everything in case I'm asked.  This leads to me over-analyzing way too much!

 

3.  A fear of being trapped in lengthy conversations that I can't get away from while someone tells me endless details about a situation or a health problem.  Not that I don't care about these things, but it happens constantly, can go on forever and is tricky for me to navigate.

 

4.  Knowing I can't just be a regular church member.  Knowing that I am watched constantly....even down to everyone checking my face after any jokes dh makes from the pulpit.

 

5.  Like others mentioned, I'm fine socializing for awhile and enjoy it.  Then I need a break.  That can be hard to find in all day events or when too many things are scheduled in a row.

 

6.  This one has been interesting: having dc in the youth group and navigating the need for down time with the constant activity of the teens.  Not feeling like we can skip out on much because we are the pastor's family.  Never sure how we are coming across.

 

Those are some of the things that are coming to mind that have seemed challenging to me lately.  I used to think I just struggled with being a pastor's wife.  I'm finding that most of my struggles are based on my specific personality.

 

1&2) Give this to God and refuse to think about it any more.  If something really controversial comes up, of course you'll know anyway, but in the mean time this sounds like a huge drain of anxiety and worry.

 

3) Learn the hug & run.  "I'm so sorry that's happening.  I'll pray for you (write it down to remember to actually pray for them), and either turn to the next person in line or just leave.  If this person comes back to your mind later, find out if there is a little act of service you can do for them (a basket of muffins?  a 20 minute visit to let them know you care), or small gift, or asking whoever volunteers to arrange meal trains (not you!) to include the person. One thing I love about the Methodist church is that they ask EVERYONE to serve others.  As a denomination they may do many things wrong, but they have that one right. That way service isn't limited to the pastor's family, but the whole church.

 

4) Perhaps you can reframe that to think of it in terms of, "We're a normal, imperfect family, trying to live out the gospel as well as we can, and inspire others (even with our failures), when we can."  That way, the impetus to be perfect instead becomes an impetus to be transparent, and relies on God for perfection, not you.

 

5) It is perfectly fine to prioritize which events are most important to go to, and limit yourself in a day.  Especially when it comes to only socializing, not service.  In other words, if there's a pumpkin patch after church, volunteer for 1 hour and go home.  If there's a 3 hour get together to package relief meals, go to the whole 3 hours. Perhaps limit yourself to 3 hours a day, period.

 

6) Can you arrange a carpool for teen activities?  Do you have a church bus that could pick up all the kids with a volunteer or maybe the church custodian? I bet a lot of families feel strained to drive around DC in the youth group.

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Please. Please. Please. As a lay person and a faithful church member and a deacons wife.........

 

Please don't feel that your family has to be at every thing at church. Don't do that. It's okay if you don't.

 

Please stop worrying so much about what people think to the detriment of your own peace of mind. Those who are going to judge you harshly for not laughing at a joke will find something else to judge you for. Sit in the way back if you feel like you're being put on the spot.

 

If you can't do an all day event, then only come for part of it. Does your church do all day events regularly?

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There is one particular man at church that I really struggle talking to.  He's not socially adept.  In fact, I find a lot of what he says, even when they are jokes, on the offensive side.  I've learned to smile, say hi and make an excuse  "Excuse me, I need to see to the snack table."  Just another way to do the "hug and run". 

Edited by Jean in Newcastle
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How do I put this?  Church is between me and God.  I really think that it is important for those of us in ministry or those married to someone in ministry to put church in it's proper perspective.  Really think about the purpose for church.  I believe it is there for us to learn God's word and to share with other believers and to serve each other.  I don't believe that it is there to serve mainly as a social outlet. For me, the learning God's Word part is paramount.  Sharing with other believers and serving isn't always dependent on being in a church setting.   Putting these things in perspective has been important for me when I feel outside pressure.  I count pressure from my husband as outside pressure if it contradicts what I think God Himself wants from me.  And I think that God understands my limits and while He does stretch me on occasion, He also has a burden that is "light".  Anything else is a form of legalism. 

 

Those of us participating in this thread  go to varying sizes of churches.  Some are mega churches with mega opportunities for social interaction and service as well as different classes and studies.  Others are medium sized.  And some like mine, are teeny tiny.  If you are in a setting where there are many opportunities, I think that it is perfectly find to pick and choose.  Actually even in my teeny tiny setting I still pick and choose.  I'm sure that I've been judged on occasion but I don't feel judged by God and He's the one whose opinion actually matters. 

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That reminds me of one particular man at church that I really struggle talking to. He's not socially adept. In fact, I find a lot of what he says, even when they are jokes, on the offensive side. I've learned to smile, say hi and make an excuse "Excuse me, I need to see to the snack table." Just another way to do the "hug and run".

There is a man at church that stands VERY close when he talks... like seriously, no personal space at all. And if I take a step back he takes a step forward. My husband taught me how to stand with one foot out so I'm not invaded. I know he's not aware of it but it is so uncomfortable. I try to avoid him or stand the way my husband taught me to enforce a boundary. Edited by mytwomonkeys
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How do I put this? Church is between me and God. I really think that it is important for those of us in ministry or those married to someone in ministry to put church in it's proper perspective. Really think about the purpose for church. I believe it is there for us to learn God's word and to share with other believers and to serve each other. I don't believe that it is there to serve mainly as a social outlet. For me, the learning God's Word part is paramount. Sharing with other believers and serving isn't always dependent on being in a church setting. Putting these things in perspective has been important for me when I feel outside pressure. I count pressure from my husband as outside pressure if it contradicts what I think God Himself wants from me. And I think that God understands my limits and while He does stretch me on occasion, He also has a burden that is "light". Anything else is a form of legalism.

 

Those of us participating in this thread go to varying sizes of churches. Some are mega churches with mega opportunities for social interaction and service as well as different classes and studies. Others are medium sized. And some like mine, are teeny tiny. If you are in a setting where there are many opportunities, I think that it is perfectly find to pick and choose. Actually even in my teeny tiny setting I still pick and choose. I'm sure that I've been judged on occasion but I don't feel judged by God and He's the one whose opinion actually matters.

Yes! Exactly this. Dh and I have come to really understand this so much better this year and have drawn quite a few boundaries. We are relatively new to this church though, so we're still getting our bearings as to whether or not we are being misunderstood in a few situations. But I agree completely with all you said.

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And I wanted to add in general that I know where my thinking is wrong and how to correct it. It's just that when I have shared with other pw's irl, they haven't always understood. I finally realized that some things were unique to my personality. It's been great to find people who understand where I'm coming from.

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And I wanted to add in general that I know where my thinking is wrong and how to correct it. It's just that when I have shared with other pw's irl, they haven't always understood. I finally realized that some things were unique to my personality. It's been great to find people who understand where I'm coming from.

I think most people can understand and relate to what you've shared.

 

Our previous pastor in Charlotte, NC told my husband to put God first, family second, and ministry third. That was invaluable advice & our schedules reflects that today.

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And I wanted to add in general that I know where my thinking is wrong and how to correct it. It's just that when I have shared with other pw's irl, they haven't always understood. I finally realized that some things were unique to my personality. It's been great to find people who understand where I'm coming from.

 

I also think some of it is unique to being a pw who is also the mother of a larger family--or even mother of young kids-- and is homeschooling.  Homeschooling, in particular, and homeschooling littles and/or many, eats social energy.(Maybe that's why you are finding more soulmates here).

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Hi Keri!

 

I resonate with so much of what you shared. I'm INFJ.

 

I am learning (trying to learn) that there are going to be people who don't like me no matter what I do or don't do. Ultimately, I have to seek the Lord and follow His direction.

The way I laugh or do not laugh at a joke is part of who I am, and other people don't get to dictate that.

 

We live in the constant tension of trying not to be too busy but also investing in the lives of others. Our weeks lately have been extremely full. But, my husband has learned that I need to have the freedom to draw necessary boundaries. I opted out of something at church last night because I have to be there Saturday for a conference.

 

But I'm still working on healthy limitations! ((Hugs))

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So many helpful thoughts, and so many who get what I mean.  Thank you.

 

I think if I were to sum it up, the parts that have been challenging lately are:

 

1. High expectations for myself, others and the function of the church and trying to figure out what is reasonable. That might be an INTJ specific issue that I can't really speak to.

 

2.  A weird, subconscious feeling of being "responsible" for all the areas of the church.  Not that I feel actually responsible, but responsible to analyze and have an opinion about everything in case I'm asked.  This leads to me over-analyzing way too much!

I totally get this. What dh and I realized is that I should not be quite "in the loop" as I had been. It's not good for me to have the inside scoop on things like finances, building, issues with people that the elders are dealing with, etc. I find out at least 50% of everything with the rest of the congregation. They've all learned from experience to not ask Shannon for inside info because she won't even know what you're talking about. And when I do know, I've learned to trust the elders. It's all been a hard learning curve, but I'm in a super healthy place now.

 

3.  A fear of being trapped in lengthy conversations that I can't get away from while someone tells me endless details about a situation or a health problem.  Not that I don't care about these things, but it happens constantly, can go on forever and is tricky for me to navigate. 

If your church is anything like mine, it's generally the same people doing this every week. I've learned to steer myself around the people I truly struggle with. Mostly, I think our church is at a place where there's enough strong leadership and people feel connected in to their leaders, so I'm not the default. If people are trying to go through me to get to dh ("could you tell your husband that xyz is happening in my life?") I will direct them to their group leader, an elder, or dh's admin. I'm always clear that I do not pass notes to my dh. This has probably been one of the most helpful things.

 

4.  Knowing I can't just be a regular church member.  Knowing that I am watched constantly....even down to everyone checking my face after any jokes dh makes from the pulpit.

Yeah, that bothers me sometimes. I sit in the back row. Two of my kids sit up at the front, which always surprises me.

 

5.  Like others mentioned, I'm fine socializing for awhile and enjoy it.  Then I need a break.  That can be hard to find in all day events or when too many things are scheduled in a row.

This is where setting up boundaries with DH is important. You should agree on some consistently blacked out days of the week. For us it's 3 a week- one date night and 2 family nights.

 

6.  This one has been interesting: having dc in the youth group and navigating the need for down time with the constant activity of the teens.  Not feeling like we can skip out on much because we are the pastor's family.  Never sure how we are coming across.

I unapologetically skip whatever we need to skip. My teens love going to youth group, so that's not one that we tend to skip. We've been out of a small group for a year because dh and I were so burnt out. (but now I miss it, so we're starting back up again with some new boundaries, including NOT hosting.)

 

Those are some of the things that are coming to mind that have seemed challenging to me lately.  I used to think I just struggled with being a pastor's wife.  I'm finding that most of my struggles are based on my specific personality.

I hope that helps!

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