General CBF

Peer Learning groups For Minister’s Spouses?!

I was reading a July 2009 article in The Christian Century about marriage and ministry and thought, “We need a peer group for ministers’ spouses.”

I know my sister, who is married to a second-career Episcopal priest, would benefit from one. Though like me, she would probably squawk about giving up any of her precious time alone. 

There are many advantages to marrying a clergy person, one being that if the sermon is getting long, you can tap on your watch and usually get results. Serious great perks are food poundings, lots of help moving in, (not so much moving out), getting to know wonderful, warm, loving people and easy, fast acceptance into the church community.

You also become known as a “good listener.” Why? Because when you spend time with your friends who are members of the congregation, they feel free to grumble about their significant others. But you have to clamp it down because complaining about your spouse would be dishing on their “beloved minister.” So all you can do is listen.

Prayer becomes a possible chasm among your acquaintances. When doing lunch with new friends, all eyes are on you before a meal as they wait expectantly to see if you are an overly pious Christian, and require prayer before every meal. (I don’t!)

You are rarely invited to go out after work because your co-workers are unsure if you would be any fun. (She’s married to a preacher!) If you do have a great time with them, then you are “different than other minister’s spouses” and that becomes a topic of introduction when meeting someone new. “Hi Tom, meet Jennifer. She’s married to a preacher, but don’t worry, she’s fun!”

I hope I don’t sound bitter, because I love being married to a minister and sharing life and faith together. My spouse has never put pressure on me about my commitment to our congregations. But I know that there are issues that are unique to the spouses and significant others of ministers. We all might benefit from a time together to listen AND talk!

2 thoughts on “Peer Learning groups For Minister’s Spouses?!

  1. Make sure the male spouses are included. My husband has been quite offended that he is often left out. And, that he doesn’t have a Hallmark way of suppporting me because everything is created for men. Spouses need support for sure!

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