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Gender, Stereotypes and Being a Pastor’s Husband

This post is from my perspective: You might (will) disagree, and that’s fine with me. My hope is that one person—just one—will have their eyes opened to truth and in turn be set free.

There’s a phrase and title I’ve heard for the past few years; when I hear it, these three words make me want to scream in an uncontrollable rage.

“The pastor’s wife.”

Here are two reasons why I cringe at this phrase.

1. It’s a horrible stereotype for all women in ministry.

Real quick: When you think of “the pastor’s wife,” tell me what you’re thinking. I’ll start:

  • Nursery worker
  • Amazing mother
  • First one to serve drinks at fellowship meal
  • Leader of women’s ministry
  • Woman who works a secular job, or is a stay-at-home mother

The list continues. Now nothing at all is wrong with any of these—nothing! There are women who feel called to fill those roles. Not all women, and not all men, will always preach, teach or be in church leadership.

However, this means there are women who WILL preach, teach, pastor and be in church leadership. The problem with this title is the stereotype. The church culture, knowingly or not, has widely adopted this role to all women and all wives of pastors.

I’m the man—I’m the pastor.

You’re the wife—you’re the pastor’s wife.

The danger in this phrase is that women are not able to live up to their full potential in Christ.

There are many examples of married couples we know of where the wife, by default—as “the pastor’s wife”—is put where the church feels she should serve. Her opportunities to do what God’s called her to do—sing, preach, teach, etc.—vanish.

Why is that? The leaders—mainly male pastors—are blinded by this stereotypical phrase!

Priscilla and Aquila were a team. They worked together as tentmakers, something that was uncommon for a married couple. They grew in God’s Word together. They taught and shared life together.

Aquila never once put Priscilla and her talents aside because she was his wife. They encouraged each other and fulfilled God’s call together.