Face it. There are some people that we don’t get along with. Personalities clash. We struggle to find common interests or hobbies. Sometimes, we feel a great tension, or even turmoil, in wanting to be liked by others as well as really wanting to like them but we simply struggle through all that.
So what happens when the tension of friendship is found with someone you may look up to or someone who has the capability to influence so many others? What happens when we don’t to get along with our pastor’s wife?
Here is some helpful advice when you struggle to get along with, or maybe even like, your pastor’s wife sometimes.
Make Friends, But Not With Everyone
Nowhere does it say we need or have to be friends with everybody. In fact, that’s a pipe dream. There’s no possible way we can be friends with everyone, there are simply too many differences between people in general. However, just because we aren’t friends with someone, doesn’t mean that we can treat them unkindly, gossip about them, judge them by the smallest things which put us off, etc.
I recently wrote a post regarding the ways that we treat fellow believers (or anyone) which damage the display of the gospel to the world even if we aren’t aware of how we’re treating people. Read it. It’s a needed message against the subtle hostility we tend to have toward those we don’t particularly get along with and vice-versa.
Find those women who you really do get along with and enjoy. Pursue those friendships; you need them! Be cordial and kind to those whom you don’t get along with, this reflects the heart of God because you are loving them even if you don’t like them. Avoid gossip!
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” – 1 John 4:19-21
Have Realistic Expectations
Perhaps you’re thinking that she ought to be perfect, or at least much “holier” than you perceive her to be. This is sin in you. You are judging her for your own assumptions of what God is doing with her. Just because she’s now a pastor’s wife does not mean that she’s without sin. It also does not mean that she won’t struggle with sin as time goes on.
Surprise! She’s human and so are you. You’re both sinners in need of grace and you both are offered grace from God so why not offer it to each other?
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;” – Hebrews 12:14-15
Your first step after recognizing that you’ve held to standards so high that she could get nose bleeds simply because of her title in the church is to repent from that. Either you are idolizing the position of a pastor’s wife (thereby setting her up for failure and you up for disappointment) or you are judging her to be “less” in your mind because she’s not meeting your expectations.
Repent of these sins and ask for her forgiveness. Many times, this step alone will clear the air and begin a better understanding of and relationship with each other.
Think the Best of Her
I struggle with this. In the spirit of transparency, I will say that I tend to question people’s motives and doubt their true intentions. I’ve always struggled with knowing where I belong and that especially translates into friendships. I’ve been betrayed so often that I prepare myself for the worst, always struggling inwardly to think that I won’t be hurt by people. So thinking the best of people has been an area that I have been stretched and grown in. Thanks to God for giving me my awesome husband who truly has this quality of thinking the best of people.
In relation to her, think of her as someone who is being bombarded on all sides with pressure to measure up to expectations. Most never wanted this pressure and yet she is trying her hardest to deal with it. She’s trying to find her role in the church, how to minister to her husband by allowing him to lead the church and how best to minister to her children in the face of prying eyes. She desires to love, pursue, glorify and serve the Lord and sometimes that means drawing boundaries. Allow her to have space. Allow her to be free from questions and judgements, at least from you.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” – Romans 12:16-18
Pray for Her
She desperately needs to be supported through prayer. She is not only battling her own flesh – in self-conscientiousness & doubt, along with any other sin struggle that occurs in her – but as a visible woman that God brought to the church through her marriage, she is also fighting a spiritual battle. Satan is constantly attacking her in various ways. Paul even concluded his letter to the Thessalonians asking for prayer:
Brothers, pray for us.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:25
Pray for God’s peace to be upon her. Pray for His Word to flourish and thrive in her. Pray for her continued growth and obedience in following Jesus and leading women. Pray for protection over her household – that she loves and serves her husband and family well. Pray that through her, the glory of God may expand and bring many to redemption. Pray for grace & wisdom to abound in her.
One of my favorite passages to pray over for my own pastor’s wife is this:
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” – Colossians 1:9-14
Pray for You
You need prayer as well. You have influence over other people just like she does and you have the capability to build her up or tear her down. You struggle with your own sin tendencies. You need to guard yourself against the temptation to gossip, slander, become bitter or angry, etc.
Likewise, you who are younger [in faith], be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:5-8
Pray that God would find your heart blameless and strengthen you to withstand temptation. Pray that you’d seek Him above any person’s opinion of you. Pray that you’d grasp your identity in Him and grow in grace, peace, and be an advocate for the ministry of reconciliation. Pray that God would expand His Kingdom in the display of the gospel through your life and interactions with others.
God, in His infinite wisdom, has appointed her to be the wife of one of your leaders. God placed her husband as a pastor over your church and whether she wanted this position or not, she’s there. Trust that God knows what He’s doing. Trust that God redeems and sanctifies His Body… His Bride… His Church through the leadership that He has established and their families.
God is the One who is sovereign and mighty. Who are we to tell Him we have better candidates for these positions?
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35
NOTE: This post was written because several women have come to me asking advice on this topic, women from around the country. I figured that this was a topic that needs to be addressed, therefore I wrote this with the counsel of my pastor’s wife, an elder’s wife, a dear friend and my husband.