Pastor’s wives are normal. They can be highly intelligent, critical thinkers, multi-talented, and very gifted networkers.
But for some reason when a woman is designated a “minister’s wife,” suddenly she is no longer normal in the minds of most. I work for an influential leader where my job entails meeting high level executives and at times high ranking public officials. Because of the social skills I have gained and honed as a pastor’s wife, I am comfortable in these settings and do very well.
I notice, however, that when successful business people learn I am married to a pastor, the atmosphere changes. Almost always the eyebrows go up. Nearly everyone is professional and polite, but I am able to interpret the body language and questions that follow. The first reaction is mild surprise followed by a quick, “Oh.” This means, “You are one step away from being permanently off my radar - but I’m going to give you a couple of seconds.” Then the first question is, “Which church does he pastor?” Meaning, “Do you have good connections (aka big church, respectable denomination) or are you a snake handler?” Only a handful have been genuinely interested, warm, and enthusiastic about the idea. Most are courteous, and few have obviously struggled to be respectful.
From these clues, I have deducted that professional people have difficulty with a pastor’s wife who is also a professional woman. It is as if they believe she might rush off to a potluck at any moment or launch into a sermonette or not be able to spell potluck or sermonette. I can tell as they try to wrap their brain around the concept they are wondering, “Do you have a college education?” “Can you sense that I dislike preachers and church people?” “Do I have to respect you?” “Are you narrow minded and critical?” “Why am I talking to you?”
It’s sometimes hard to resist adding to the fun by blurting out, “I’d like to talk to you about Jesus." But I don't. Instead, I try to live and work in a manner that brings honor to Christ and opens the door for His influence to enter my world and the marketplace.