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Letters from a Pastor’s Wife: My Husband is Human

My husband is a pastor. He’s also a human being. I know that’s obvious, but I want to remind you why it’s relevant.

He has strengths and weaknesses. Pastors come in all different types. Some are tall and some are short. Some are young and some are old. Some are great preachers and some are great counselors. Some are in-depth teachers and some are powerful prayer warriors. Some are geniuses at organizational leadership and some prefer to work with people outside the church walls. I’m not trying to draw false dichotomies here. Each pastor has gifts and a call from the Lord. But no one is good at everything the church values in a pastor. Not even my husband.

I love my husband. I respect him and I see the ways God is growing him. As he preaches more, he seems more relaxed and able to open up. As he visits more people in the hospital, God grows compassion in him. As he teaches more, he learns more about what people need to learn.

I also know his areas of weakness. Believe me, I’m not blind to them. He knows I will give him honest feedback with both the pros and cons of a sermon, for example. I know the “oreo rule”—start with the positive, insert constructive feedback, and end on a positive note.

But because I know him as a person, I don’t expect him to be perfect. I know he will make mistakes and struggle in some areas. Do you? Do you understand that he’s not going to be great at everything?

Right now he’s under a lot of pressure. The church is in transition and short-staffed. He’s taking on more responsibility. And yes, he’s made some mistakes. He’s dropped some balls in the process. I know that and he knows that. And he regrets it.

But you really don’t need to complain to me about it. When you come to tell me a reason you are frustrated with my husband, I feel defensive, even if he really did mess up. I want to tell you all about the things he’s doing well and all the ways God is using him. I want to explain all of the reasons this mistake might have happened.

I want to encourage you to talk to him about it, even if you are my friend, because I’m not sure what to do. It’s not my job to pass along your complaint, and it’s not fun to be stuck in the middle, seeing your point and yet seeing my husband’s life.

Is it possible that you see a gap, a need that he’s not meeting, and you could meet that need? Can you recruit other people to help? How can we be the body of Christ and take some of the load? How can we step up in areas where we are strong and my husband is weak? How might God want to use us?

I hope you don’t read this as an excuse. I don’t intend it that way. I do hope you choose to look at the pastor you have, acknowledge and enjoy his gifts, and even acknowledge his areas of weakness. Just like you, he has room to grow and skills to develop. And just like you, he has areas that will never be strengths. How might we pick up the slack and love him for who he is?

(This is the second in the series: “Letters from a Pastor’s Wife.” Click here to read the first.)


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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