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6 Things Your Pastor’s Wife Doesn’t Know


You mean there’s stuff out there that pastors’ wives don’t know?! I’m smiling as I write, knowing how little I actually know about life and God and ministry and child rearing and creation and math and my children’s ‘why’ questions and coffee and…..everything.

 Then there’s the stuff I don’t know I don’t know.  I won’t even go there.

But there are a few things about ministry that I KNOW I don’t know, and very likely your pastor’s wife doesn’t know them either:

1.Your pastor’s wife doesn’t know everything about church matters.

This may prove to be a frustration to you if you have a burning question on your mind about something that is going on in the church. But for the pastor’s wife it is a great relief. This is an area where I’ve personally grown to appreciate my husband’s wisdom in not sharing everything with me.  We started out sharing everything {in the name of being open with each other}. But time and experience have taught me that the less know about the ins and outs of what is going on in the belly of the church, the better off I am emotionally. I found in the past that most of the time it just upset me and gave me more “stuff” to deal with. It hindered my view of people and weighed down my heart during service.  My husband and I have grown so much together and are more open than ever; yet there are things I don’t know.  And I like it that way. It is freeing to be able to say “I don’t know.”

2.Your pastor’s wife doesn’t know everything that is being said.

 It seems every church has someone who likes to keep the pastor’s wife on high alert: “Do you know what people are saying?”

The temptation is, of course, always there to lean in and find out what people are saying- and sometimes eventually we aren’t given a choice but to hear it. But if we are given a choice, we will choose to not know. This I do know to be true- our enemy loves to throw the junk of false accusation and curious, self centered questions at us in order to draw us in to participating in gossip and slander. There is always the temptation to set a record straight about ourselves. But that is God’s joy to do for us, not our responsibility to do for ourselves, even in the name of doing it for Him.

Your pastor’s wife is aware that people are talking about her and her husband. She likely knows some of what is being said and wishes she didn’t know what she does know.  You are a good friend to her when you stay out of the gossip and leave her out of it, too.

3.Your pastor’s wife doesn’t know God’s will for your life. 

I”ve had ladies in both of our ministries ask me, “Can you pray that God will do ___________________for me? God always answers your prayers!”  or “What does God want me to do in __________________situation? You’re the pastor’s wife, so I figured you’d know.” While I was always honoured to be asked to pray for someone, I could not always pray the way they asked.  I could not even answer their query of what to do in a certain situation. Honestly, there are many times when I’m searching to know God’s will for myself! How am I to know God’s will for others?

4.Your pastor’s wife doesn’t know everything about the Bible. 

“But you went to Bible college and you’re a pastor’s wife- you should know the answer to that.” Maybe this is surprising to some, but pastors’ wives don’t automatically have a thorough knowledge of the Bible and Christianity. Some of us have Bible college degrees, but even that does not guarantee an extensive knowledge of Scripture. We need to remain immersed in God’s Word just like you do, and we have to study to find answers just like you do. We have to prepare for counseling sessions and pray for wisdom. We are human- we are sinners- we are just believers in a relationship with God, like you are. We are searching, growing, praying, and desiring to know and live more of God and His Word. We have no super woman Bible knowledge, even though some of us do teach Bible studies and lead prayer groups.

5.Your pastor’s wife doesn’t know everything that God is doing in your life, in others’ lives, or in the church as a whole.

This point has a hidden blessing because, ironically, pastors and wives can tend to get discouraged at the lack of visible success. We know in our heads that our true successes await us in heaven. But our heads want to wrap around some earthly successes that we can see. Sometimes- honestly-if we can’t see successes, we feel keenly that it reflects on us as leaders. This is not a Christ centered perspective,  but it is an area temptation to discouragement for us! Often, it is caused by a chain reaction from hearing our husbands’ ministry criticized. Pastors’ wives hear constantly about the people’s opinions of what they and their husbands are not doing right. In some ways, it puts the pressure on to manufacture visible successes. My husband was once told “You don’t love kids or want them to be saved” simply because people weren’t seeing the numbers they wanted to see in attendance. The truth? He was spending a lot of time with kids and teens and pouring his life into theirs. So was I. Were there visible, immediate successes? Not a lot of them. Because we don’t know even a fraction of what or how God is working in individual lives or in the church as a whole.

So what is the hidden blessing? What I do know as pastor’s wife- and the fruit that I do see in ministry as God works in people’s lives- is evidence that there is much, much more that I do not see or know. Creation gives us a small but amazing glimpse of God’s creativity; but it’s only a small evidence of the vastness and depth of our God.  We see the universe in smooth motion. We don’t see the millions of microscopic creatures that keep soil viable for growth and we don’t see the intricacy of the food chain or how the ecosystem works together.

God is always doing more than we know. Your pastor’s wife cannot claim to know what God is doing in your life. This should be a comfort to both you and her. You are HIS workmanship, not hers.  And likewise, she is HIS workmanship, not yours. How beautifully freeing this should be in our churches!

6.Your pastor’s wife doesn’t know what burdens you are carrying unless you tell her.

Several issues come into play on this point, such as personalities and size of congregation. Some pastors’ wives are very perceptive and can sense when one of their ladies are hurting. Others are not as able to do that.  Some are good listeners and others are not.  I have always prayed before church services “God, show me which of my ladies need encouragement. Show me who needs to be prayed with.” Oh, how I have loved seeing Him answer that prayer over the years! So many times God has pointed out a lady to me, and I’ve found out that she was in desperate need of a kind word and prayer. Seeing God use me in this way brings such joy!

However, though I may be sensitive and perceptive, I am not omniscient. I’m human and I’ve often been busy with my piano and nursery duties before and after services. I know I’ve missed some needs- even unintentionally hurt someone by not noticing their pain. In short, I can’t minister to a need that I don’t know about.

Your pastor’s wife would likely be honoured to listen and to pray with you. But she doesn’t know what you don’t tell her. So, look for a time to share your heart if you feel comfortable doing so. Pastors’ wives keep a lot of confidences- she won’t mind holding yours, too.

So there you have it- six items of proof that we don’t know much. We give you permission to throw them in our faces, because we couldn’t agree with you more! 🙂


A Kindred Spirit

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5 thoughts on “6 Things Your Pastor’s Wife Doesn’t Know

  1. I absolutely agree with you on all these points, especially #5 and 6. When I meet someone, I never tell them “I’m the Pastor’s Wife.” I just let them figure that out on their own. :). I fear that a pastor’s wife is the only time that a woman is identified with the occupation of her husband. I rarely hear someone say, “Oh, that’s my plumber’s wife.” And even if they did, they don’t expect the plumber’s wife to know anything about plumbing… But a pastor’s wife is given the expectation to know everything in the spiritual realm.

    Or as another pastor’s wife said to me, “You’re not the assistant pastor. This isn’t a 2-for-1 deal.” lol.

  2. Leah, What a blessing to see you using your experience as a pastor’s wife to help others understand what a pastor’s wife is & does or does not do. I whole heartedly concur with you in all points after being in ministry myself for 22 yrs. God expects us (pastor’s wives) to be the best Christian He wants us to be, not what others expect us to be. Keep encouraging others!

  3. Well said and So “right on track”. We have been in ministry for 46 years, and now live in SE VA.
    An interesting side note: I have a great-grandparent whose last name is Highfill. They lived in MO, where I was born.

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