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Letters from a Pastor’s Wife: Introduction

Today is the beginning of a new series called “Letters from a Pastor’s Wife.” Who’s the pastor’s wife? Me. I don’t ever introduce myself as a pastor’s wife. It’s not on my bio anywhere. Why? Because it seems really odd to me that “pastor’s wife” is a thing when it’s not really normal to introduce yourself as “business owner’s wife” or “physician’s wife” or “teacher’s wife” or any other vocational description + wife. Why should I define myself in my bio by my husband’s work? I am a wife. I am a mother. I also work as an editor, a writing instructor, and a staff member of a ministry. But the fact that my husband is a pastor hasn’t seemed to define me that much.

Until recently that is. This series is my attempt to offer some insight into the life of a pastor’s wife, a pastor’s family, and daily or weekly rhythms that might not be apparent to someone not living it. I don’t claim to speak for anyone besides myself…not even for my husband.

Why the shift in my thinking so that now I feel like a pastor’s wife?

People know who I am. Many people know who I am even though I have no idea who they are. We’re part of a large church, so it’s not that odd that there are lots of people I don’t know. So how do they know me? I don’t sit with my husband during worship. We haven’t been around long enough to have our photos in the directory. Yet one time recently at the grocery store I ran into several people who mentioned my husband’s sermon and asked me for prayer. Being a pastor’s wife is a bit like being a minor celebrity.

My kids and I are around my husband’s work at least weekly. There aren’t many other jobs where family members show up at work regularly. And it’s not just that we’re in the workplace—we are participants in the very worship services my husband leads. My kids’ behavior during worship may actually affect my husband’s “job performance!”

I’m less involved in church than ever before. I have many years of experience working in churches and parachurch organizations: leading, teaching, writing, praying, and strategizing. My husband and I met and fell in love talking theology in divinity school. Yet, in our current church, I do almost nothing. My husband’s schedule is so all-encompassing that it doesn’t leave space for me to minister at church as well. My ministry at the moment is being the “default parent” so my husband can work odd hours.

These three circumstances have convinced me that “pastor’s wife” is a real thing. I’ll talk more about these and other topics in future posts. Stay tuned!

Anna Moseley Gissing

Anna Moseley Gissing is Associate Academic Editor of InterVarsity Press. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild, and her writing has been published in Let us Keep the Feast and Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two kids, and she aspires to more reading, more writing, and more patience.

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