The "Typical Pastor's Wife" is Dead

June 1st, 2011
Who bakes while wearing pearls anyway?

The “typical Pastor’s Wife” is dead. You know, that woman who had it all together, never seemed to struggle, played the piano, attended every event, and met everyone’s expectations . . . although she could have had some help with her wardrobe?

I’ve heard, read, and said “I’m not the typical pastor’s wife” so many times, I’ve started to wonder if she really ever existed at all . . . or if she really only existed in people’s minds and expectations.

Some ladies say that as a badge of honor. Most, like us, say it with the guilty knowledge that we aren’t measuring up, that somehow God messed up when he called us to leadership, because we just aren’t “typical.”

We spend massive amounts of time, energy, emotion, and effort comparing ourselves to a myth. And the problem is . . . we fall short. Our attention turns to our shortcomings and failings instead of staying focused on God and who He created us to be.

But the truth is, God knew exactly what he was doing . . . exactly who he was calling. He knows our shortcomings and our struggles, and he has extended his call to leadership and ministry anyway. 

Maybe “typical” isn’t what we thought. Maybe there is a new typical. Maybe we are typical. The more we talk to pastors’ wives, the more we realize how alike we are.

Regardless of age, location, denomination, church style, church size. We’ve noticed that we all seem to have the same questions. The same struggles. The same difficulties.

We are trying to serve God to the best of our abilities while navigating the challenges of leadership and the pulls of life. Sure, it looks different for everyone, but we are working it out.

So we think we’re just going to let what we thought was the “typical” pastor’s wife go by the wayside and link arms with other Christian women, who like us, are just doing their best trying to figure out life and leadership.

We’re going to embrace the knowledge that maybe we are typical … women wanting to know Jesus, support our husbands, love our children, care for our church, wrestle with our own shortcomings, grow in love and grace, keep our heads up during the tough times, acknowledge that we won’t be all things to all people, be available to fellow-strugglers, and embrace who God made us to be.

We are not prefect. But we may well be typical . . . and that is fine by us.


Lori Wilhite is the founder of for Pastors’ Wives and Women in Ministry and the wife of Jud Wilhite, Senior Pastor at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas.

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