Introversion, Shyness, and the Pastor’s Wife

A Facebook friend had posted this on her wall today.  I was uncertain how this article about helping the pastor’s wife would come across, but his list actually proved to be insightful and clear.  To be honest, I don’t know who the author of this blog is and what denomination he belongs to (or even if his other writings are complete rubbish), but he mentioned many of the stressors that pastor’s wives can face.  #3 rang especially true for me:

No two pastor’s wives are the same. Some love having others in their homes. Some sing or play an instrument. Some love shepherding the women around them. Some are extremely outgoing. Interestingly, those tend to be the expectations that are placed on all pastor’s wives. The problem is that some pastor’s wives are very shy. Some don’t like large groups. Some find it difficult to build relationships. Pastor’s wives, just like every other group of people, are different. Have realistic expectations. Some people expect their pastor’s wife to be someone God never intended her to be. This is simply unfair. Have realistic expectations of your pastor’s wife.

I’ve heard over and over again that I don’t have to do anything I wouldn’t want to do as a layperson, but this is one of the few times someone has mentioned personality in relation to the role of pastor’s wife.  It gave me a little hope during what is proving to be a fretful month.  And hurrah, I’m not the only one who is shy, doesn’t like large groups, and find it difficult to build relationships!

Do you have a pastor’s wife who doesn’t fit the “traditonal” role?  What do you like about her (I’m trying to be positive here)?  Are you a pastor’s wife with a personality that doesn’t meet the “traditonal” expectations?  How do you help congregation members understand this?  


7 Comments on “Introversion, Shyness, and the Pastor’s Wife”

  1. Rebekah says:

    I have been on both sides of the coin. I am not sure what my personality is. I have always come down close to 50/50 regarding introvert/extrovert although I think if there had to be a tie breaker I would lean more introverted. At one point I was leading the VBS, teaching Sunday School and leading the women’s Bible study. That proved to be way too much. I also am shy and do not like large groups and I have skipped communion several times because I was too afraid to go up in front of the church because I feel like everyone is watching me. Having little kids makes it hard to be social. I think the best thing you can do as a pastor’s wife is not concentrate so much on the church, but concentrate on loving your husband. He is the one who truly needs you to be there for him.

    • Katrina says:

      There’s actually a term for people who are fairly even between extroversion and introversion–they’re ambiverts. My husband is an ambivert. I tell him that simply means he’s really confusing because I never know if he needs more or less socialization. 🙂

      *sigh* I’ve heard your recommendation before about the first priority for a pastor’s wife is her husband and children, but I’ve heard a lot of “advice” this month, both blatant and inadvertent, that a helpful pastor’s wife is one who is visibly active in the church. It makes me feel terrible about how vicarage went. Plus, I’m clueless to as of how to explain my introversion to a congregation.

  2. Rebekah says:

    Ambiverts….hmm, you learn something new everyday. I’ll have to look that up!

    Oh no, I am sorry to only add to all the confusing pastor’s wife advice out there! As far as supporting my husband, that was me speaking from my own experience because I tend to get kind of critical of things that happen at church and then I want to talk to him about it, but he doesn’t want to hear bad things from me, he only wants to hear supportive things. Every marriage has its own dynamics.

    For me the hardest part of being a pastor’s wife is the loneliness. I miss my family and having real life friends. I thought I would be able to get to know lots of different people and be involved in their lives. But people are pretty comfortable in their own groups here. We are in a church that has a lot of families and extended families, so the idea of “church family” really isn’t much of a concept here. On the same token, I think I have also grown a little more reserved over the years of being here. I like sitting in the back where I don’t feel like I am on display (and can get to the cry room easier). I think a lot of the pastor’s wife expectations vary from church to church and can depend a lot on what the former pastor’s wife was like. People always have the tendency to compare.

    I am definitely not the social pastor’s wife. I am terribly shy in big groups. I hardly talk to anyone on Sunday. I wonder if they think I am stuck up, but the ones that have been able to get to know me a little bit I know don’t think that.

    All in all, people have been wonderfully accepting. We have had a very good experience here. In the sinful world, there will definitely be trying times and some people have had some really bad horror stories, but thankfully I think that is rare and Christ has redeemed the bad stories as well. There is nothing not to love about a forgiven, redeemed sister in Christ and that is who you are. Christ has already gone before and loved you. 🙂

    • Katrina says:

      Thank you for your advice. It’s always good to hear that there are other shy pastor’s wives out there. And sometimes I need to be reminded that for the most part, the congregation wants what is best for the pastor and his family. Overall, I think I’m somewhat looking forward to settling down in a church–we just have to get through that first year! 🙂

  3. ryanhuguley says:

    Thanks for mentioning the post! I appreciate it and I’m glad it was helpful. I also hope that the rest of my writing is not “rubbish”:-) Thanks for all you do!

    • Katrina says:

      Oh, wow, awkward. . . I probably should have worded that differently. Thanks for taking it in good humor! 🙂

      • Ryan Huguley says:

        Hahaha! Not awkward – so funny. Really appreciate your thoughts in your response to the post. Thanks again!

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