I am a Pastor's wife (or should I say a wife whose husband happens to be a Pastor) and have been for a long time. All my married life my husband has been in Bible College or Church work. For the first part of my marriage I tried to fit the stereotype; working alongside my husband in his ministry, all my activities being church-based, sorting out the food for many different church events, arranging Ladies events etc etc. I enjoyed a lot of what I did but something did not always seem to fit. I found that I went from being my parent's daughter to my husband's wife; one church wouldn't even use my name when we went to visit - we were always introduced as 'Insert my husband's name and his wife.' I lost my identity. And in retrospect my husband and I contributed to that in a whole myriad of different ways. I did not find a job because we were always going to have a baby which took a long time coming. And I carried on and my identity slipped further away. I had only ever wanted to be a wife and mother so had no other life goals. Over the years my whole being was bound up in my husband's job of Pastor, so much so that many years ago when we went on holiday I was asked not to say what his job was and I was unable to tell anyone what I did. Nothing I did was outside of his role as Pastor's wife. It somehow got that bad.
Thankfully, after that things improved slightly as I went back to College to study Child Care. As part of that Course, I did a few hours placement in a local playgroup and school. I enjoyed that and the small feeling of being me.
We moved churches and I was unable to do the Pastor's wife things as the church had a female worker who did them. So I was once again in a position where my identity was not defined. I drifted through days with not a lot to do; housework and cooking did not fill up all of my time. So I got a job and for someone who was going to be a stay-at-home mum until my children were 16 that was a massive departure from the life I thought I would lead. For various reasons the job did not work out, but I had got the taste of doing things outside of the role of Pastor's wife and I had enjoyed that part of it. I was off work for about 6 months before finding the job I am in now. Well, not exactly the same job but the same Employer. I love my job and it is a good place to work.
Over the nearly 5 years we have lived here I have slowly and painfully found my identity. I am a Child of God made in His image, a wife to my husband no matter what his job is, a mother to my children, a friend, a daughter/sister amongst a few hats that I wear. I am no longer trying to fit myself into the role of Pastor's wife although I love my PW friends online and in RL. I do not feel the need (most of the time anyway) to try and measure my myself against other Pastors' wives. God has used a great many life lessons to teach me that He has created me to be me and for this season of my life it is to work outside of the home, as well as create a place inside it. I will not have the time to do all the things at church I used to do but I am using computer skills I have on a regular basis. And there is no need to feel guilty if that is all I decide to do.
I wish I could say that I would live my life the same way again, but alas there are many things I would do differently. However, I am grateful for what I have learnt. I see my husband in a different light now we are two individuals with lots to contribute to our marriage and it is much healthier. We are still a duo just not in the way we imagined in our naivety back in the day.
A side note: As part of my recovery people had to
look after me for a long time. I could not cook, clean or even wash my hair to start with. (Still cannot vacuum but I am not complaining.) I had no control at all, I had to ask for everything. The need to always be in control was soon
taken away, thank the Lord. And believe it or not this helped me to be more comfortable in finding my identify. I learnt to be proud of some of my achievements as well.