I'm not the stereotypical pastor's wife. That is, for those who stereotype. We pastor's wives know there is no typical pastor's wife. In fact, I don't care for the title at all! The puzzle: I love pastoring people, seeing lives changed, the positive atmosphere created in church services that lift peoples hearts for another week. But I don't like being thought of as someone's wife or being introduced as "this is our pastor's wife". I have a NAME for pete's sake! Do you know anything about ME? or just that I'm married to the pastor?!
I have an identity, I have my own calling to ministry, I love people. Before I was married, I was independent, outgoing, gregarious, could hold my own in almost any topical conversation. I used to look at pastor's wives and feel sorry for them because the ones I had as models mostly seemed slightly withdrawn and afraid of people, slightly closed off or seemed to have nothing to say in public or at dinner. I swore I would never allow myself to become such a person. And yet, after 20 something years in ministry, I am fighting exactly that.
We pastor a large church. My husband is very charismatic and everyone loves being around him. He never meets a stranger. When I'm out in public and someone sees me, it seems all the person wants to do is talk to me about my husband. Last night we were at dinner with a couple that doesn't attend our church. I thought, great, someone who can get to know me. But after the first five minutes and for the remainder of the dinner, all they wanted to talk about was my husband and ask endless questions to him, eating up everything he had to say. At one point I found a way to quarantine the lady to begin a conversation. I thought we were doing pretty well, but as soon as she found an opening, her entire body posture turned back toward my husband completely engrossed in the conversation my husband and her husband were having. How insulting can one get? In what other world does that happen? Hollywood?
Hello, I can speak too! I have a brain! Let's talk. Pick a topic. Let's talk about you and how wonderful you are. Heck, I don't care, just talk to me!!!!
What has happened to the me that I know is truly me? I'm smothering. I can't compete for people's attention. I simply can't. It feels wrong. I feel like just staying home instead of going to dinner. Now I get all the models I had growing up. Except I swore I would never allow it for myself. And yet, it seems inescapable! I want to run away. Run away to a place I can be effective on my own. Where my self-worth is not constantly challenged by if people ignore me or not. I'm a great person, I'm fun, I'm intelligent, I'm spiritual, I'm wise. These are things I tell myself to keep myself encouraged.
I don't feel hated or disliked. I just feel ignored and disregarded. What a life. Yes, I pray about it. Yes, I read my Bible. But when men are wide-eyed and drink in every syllable my husband utters and women bat their eyelashes just waiting for a glance from him or get shivers up their spine when he gives them attention, I still feel like screaming and running to a different life.
I'm just being honest and hope I can find someone out here in blog-land that will not respond with scolding or some type of condescending lecture. There, I've said it. And it feels good to say it into the blue.
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