Post # 1
This is a joking question that I receive from my fiance on a regular basis. I’ve been working with the youth group for 5 years. He interned at my church for a year, and now is the full time youth pastor. Although I’ve been involved for quite some time and have had 60+ teenagers and their parents watching my every move (I’m pretty sure this is why I stayed out of trouble in college!), I already can tell I’m going to be even more scrutinized once I’m officially attached to the youth pastor.
In theory, this isn’t a bad thing. Everybody needs a little accountability every now and then. But I have my rebellious moments where I want to say “Screw it! Who cares what they think?!?” and the boy has to remind me, “You need to care a little. This isn’t just MY job, it’s going to be OUR job.” I think I’m having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that from now on, all of my actions, my decisions, my reactions will reflect on him as well.
Is anybody else out there marrying a youth pastor? What do you foresee being the hardest part of being the youth pastors wife?
Post # 3
I’m married to a YP (3 years) and yes, sometimes it’s really hard. Sometimes I don’t want to be in the position and I much rather be doing anything else, but your husband is right, the job does become a reflection of BOTH of you. The girls, especially, of your youth group will look to you as a role model, so you really do have to be careful in the way you act and talk because if the YP wife doesn’t follow the rules, why should they? It’s tough, but at the end of the day it’s really rewarding too. And if this is new to you, you are always welcome to tell your husband that you don’t want to be too involved right now. I sort of stay behind-the-scenes and eased my way into things and even still, I’m learning b/c like you, after 3 years, I still haven’t fully accepted my role, but I would never want to make my husband look bad so I do the best that I can.
Post # 4
Oh and if people have a problem (b/c they will and they will criticize and judge), don’t even think twice. As long as your heart is right and you are right with God and as long as your husband knows you’re not doing anything crazy, then whatever…they can talk all they want…most of the time, they really should be paying attention to their own kids. Hope this helps!
Post # 5
@MissMeg: that is so funny because my fiance is finishing up his last semester in college with a religion major but has a possible job lined up for him already as a children/youth pastor and i am feeling the same exact way as you. i grew up in my church and always volunteered with the kids and such but then he came into my church as an intern where i first met him. they funny thing is that i always said, “i will never be a pastors wife!!!” and now God showed me a lesson in telling him what i am and not going to be! ha! but i agree with what you are saying being watched by the kids, and by the parents and any little mistake you make it could escalate because of the position you are in. I think that is the hardest part about being a pastor’s wife because there are so many stereotypes of a pastors wife being so sweet and caring and someone who can give you the best advice, basically the perfect Proverbs 31 woman. But not everyone is going to be like that or can be like that all the time. What if i am having a bad day and it is shown through my attitude around people? those will be the tough times of being a pastors wife. But i know that if me and my future husband remain honest at all times in our relationship and remembering the most important person to impress is the Lord. 🙂 hope this is encouraging! 🙂
Post # 6
My dad was a pastor so my mom was a pastor’s wife (and we were PKs). It’s like being married to a politician. Although I’m sure you’re used to it since it seems like you’ve worked with students for decent amount of time just know that EVERYTHING you do gets scrutinized.
I know my mom found it hard because we lived in smaller towns when my dad was a pastor and people would always see her around town and stop her and what not – it was like she couldn’t have a bad day or be in a hurry because people would get offended.
Plus she always had to go to a ton of church events because it was “expected” even though she had 4 kids at home and a career of her own. I think it helps if your husband is supportive and can say “MissMeg would have loved to have been here but she had to do ___” to keep people from thinking you don’t want to be there.
Post # 7
PK here too – my mom also really struggled with the expectations of the church. She’s not big on leading, but she’s been expected to lead womens’ bible studies for years. She’s finally gotten to a point where she can comfortably co-lead with some of the stronger women in the church, and she has learned to be more assertive in getting the position she wants before she’s given the one she doesn’t want. 🙂
It’s definitely a call for the couple, not just the individual, and I hope your FI/husband is able and willing to create boundaries and stand up for you, like Camrie mentioned.
Post # 8
I’m a minisiter’s child too. I was in middle school when my daddy accepted his calling. People always expected our family to live to some sort of standard. I have gotten used to it and so has my FH. In a way, I feel like we were meant to be role models.
Post # 9
sending some love and prayer your way!
I am married to a Mdiv graduate, though he’s not going to find a full time minister role yet (nope, not sin related at all, just to clarify haha), but I can totally relate to what you are feeling.
I did a lot of readings about pastors wife when we are engaged. I was both encouraged and terrified of what pastors’ wife go through, but at the end it’s more grace when the trial is harder.
A few things I had been doing to prepare (though i dunno when/if my pastor wife role will become reality) 1. have close girlfriends around you, it’s especially good if you already have some, before your ‘role’ is official. sometimes ladies get ‘scared’ when you’re the pastor wife and feel that they have to appear all holy to you. it really helps that you can be yourself in front of these girlfriends, like the lesser-holy side of you, you know?
2. talk w/ ur fiance, like alot, read about what to expect, he needs to have a clear idea of when he should stand up for you (such as, when ppl ask you to serve in certain role, what are the steps to confirm rather you should or not). communicate specific ‘rule’ before/after wedding, such as, when congregants want to visit, they cant just pop in, etc etc. it’s good to have mentor
3. pray, alone and with your Fiance
4. have a good relationship w/ God.
I understand your struggle right now. I had cried my eyeballs out when I was stressing over it during the entire engagement. sigh!
that’s all I can come up w/ now 🙂
Post # 10
I’m marrying a youth pastor in March. We’ve been together for four years, and I think his position is a call for both of us. a lot of times it’s not easy to be the supportive role in the relationship when you feel like you’re a mistress to the church, and I also have times where I would rather not have to worry about my actions reflecting on him. It’s a lot of responsibility.
I’ve volunteered with the youth group (6th to 12th grade) for about two years, and I agree, the girls look up to me a lot as a role model and for guidance. Finding encouraging words and love and compassion with them isn’t easy after a long hard day, but they look to you for it. It is rewarding most of the time.
I personally see myself as more of the behind the scenes supportive person when it comes to his job, always being an equal helper in the relationship. It’s his job to lead, and I’ll support him however I can.
Post # 11
We have been married for nearly a year and don’t think people really treat me differently and would not like to think of myself differently at church. I think I could be more careful to what I say to my family and coworkers b/c their impressions have changed and it is a new opportunity to show them God’s love in a biblical (and a beloved yet imperfect) marriage. It’s more dramatic for the non-Christian saying =whoa…my (so-and-so daughter, friend, cousin, co-worker) is marrying a pastor than people talking within the church.
I had experience serving within the church (college and high school ministries) when hubby and I started dating. He was a full time jr. high youth director at the time and now is a licensed youth pastor. Our main trouble is that when he wanted me to help, support and provide relief in his plans to facilitate the ministry , while I wanted to re-invent the ministry with creativity, leadership and admin so we would bang heads because of our natural giftings and me constantly questioning. So now I have stepped over to another ministry and helping out another friend who is not such a dictator (haha…no, he’s not that bad, just saying for brevity)… and now I’ve got a healthy, yet not such intense attachment to serving at the same place. I am able to be more supportive to hubby and I am able to understand what he goes through with much more empathy b/c I’ve been part of his team at the church for a good 2 years. I like that I got to know who he works with and the students that he talks about. But yah, he is way better off without me getting in his face to change up his ministry. That was the hardest part.
p.s. Meg, I’m a teacher like you.
Post # 12
I am so thankful for all the replies this post has gotten! You girls have definitely helped me know I’m not alone 🙂 and your advice has been great.
The boy and I recently went on our first youth retreat with the kids since we’ve been engaged. It was fun to see how supportive our high schoolers are of our relationship and how it made me WANT to be a good role model more than ever! I’ve been with them for over 5 years, but I can already see how my relationship is teaching me to be a better youth leader. It’s amazing to see how God is using both the boy and myself to minister to these kids.
Post # 13
@MissMeg: That’s a great to see a huge reason behind why God brought you together! I’m so glad you had an inspiring time leading the kids together. I’m sure your marriage is strengthened as your focus is in the right place.
Post # 14
So much to share on the topic. There is so much insight gained after doing youth ministry for nearly 19 years and we continue to learn…Email me anytime at all or check out some of my blogs at http://www.mariabuehler.com (Still A Work In Progress)…I sometimes post on what life as a youth pastor’s wife is like…I wish there were more long term youth pastor’s wives willing to share honestly and transparently for the sake of those who are following behind (2 Corinthians 1:4). So many lessons learned and wisdom gained through hard lessons…lessons that might not need to be learned the hard way. And oh so true…the rewards are tremendously great…once you learn how to bypass the distractions that will surely be thrown in your directions…My heart is so out there for any woman entering ministry with her husband…hold on for the most painful and the most rewarding life…I mean that sincerely. God will use ministry to develop you in ways like none other…Blessings to you as you start out together…and realize you will always be a work in progress….:)