Dear Pastor’s Wife: Please Forgive Us

Last week, I wrote a post dedicated to pastors. The response was beautiful.

Beyond the comments left on social media and the blog, what moved my heart the most were the many private messages I received expressing gratitude from those who love our pastors most: their wives.

It reminded me of the challenging road that our pastors’ wives walk — not only my pastors’ wives but the plethora of these amazing women whom I have been privileged to befriend all across the U.S.

So to my pastors’ wives and each of you dear, courageous women married to pastors:

You gracefully stand silently in the shadows while people clamor for your husband’s attention and heap praises on him while we don’t even acknowledge your presence.

Please forgive us.

You live in a glass house where we notice every fingerprint, yet you faithfully keep those windows clean by extending forgiveness that we often don’t deserve.

Please forgive us.

We ruthlessly police your fashion, hairstyle, hair color, size, and words like it’s our sole duty on this planet.

Please forgive us.

You listen dutifully while your husband uses your family as a sermon illustration again and graciously smile while we laugh at you.

Please forgive us.

When we unjustly criticize your husband or how he runs the church — even when it’s so nasty that there should be a smackdown right there in the narthex — you smile graciously and assure us gently that you’ll pass along our concerns.

Please forgive us.

You strive to faithfully walk as Christ’s disciple faced with the same struggles and hurts that we experience, yet you shoulder the burden in solitary silence.

Please forgive us.

You are often volunteered for tasks in the church that no one else wants to tackle — often areas you are not gifted for — yet you trudge faithfully ahead while we slander your efforts.

Please forgive us.

And then there’s this:

Some days you worry that the stress may kill your husband. Literally. You desperately want to be in the will of God but are afraid of what that requires from you, your marriage and your children.

You long to help the multitudes alongside your husband and willingly lay down your very life for the beautiful body of Christ. And some days that makes you very, very tired.

Perhaps you wonder when your husband retires if you will ever walk into a church again. Sometimes sheep bite.

But I want you to know, dear Pastor’s Wife:

Your calling is hard and it can get lonely, but you are standing on the Rock.

You may not have anticipated this calling to be a pastor’s wife, but God has equipped you for this noble work.

God will faithfully provide helpers to you who love you unconditionally, find joy praying for you, and commit to walk alongside you — whether inside or outside your church.

Take heart: Jesus can heal your wounded soul, renew your exhausted mind, reconcile broken relationships, work beautiful forgiveness, mend your broken heart, and meet your every need.

I pray for God to keep faith and hope alive in you because we NEED you.

We often neglect to tell you, but please know this:

You are LOVED.
You shine God’s light RADIANTLY.

THANK YOU for your extraordinary sacrifice of praise to Christ our Savior as you serve us. Sisters, I love you dearly and esteem you greatly.

Church, when was the last time you prayed for your pastor’s wife?

34 thoughts on “Dear Pastor’s Wife: Please Forgive Us

  1. Beth Lauterbach

    Thank you, Donna, for your reminder and beautiful prayers for our pastors and their wives! You are so right and we all need to be reminded/

    1. Donna Snow

      Thank you for this affirmation, Beth. They are so very vital and we need to commit regular prayer to them and their families.

  2. Krista Hess

    A spa treatment for my soul! Thanks, sister!

    1. Donna Snow

      What a beautiful word picture, Krista!

  3. Thank you so much for the encouragement! God is good, and He will remain faithful even if our father and mother forsake us! But even knowing this, sometimes I forget and this was the reminder I needed.

    1. Donna Snow

      I’m so thankful that this was a specific encouragement for you, Elizabeth. Goal reached! God bless you as you serve the Lord with gladness.

  4. Sharon Self

    Thank you!

    1. Donna Snow

      God bless you, Sharon!

  5. Pamela Mintari


    1. Donna Snow

      Hugs and love!

  6. Thank you so much – this brought tears to my eyes! My husband retired early from the ministry due to church stress. I run a pastors’ wives and widows support group on facebook, and in just 5 years it has grown to over 2,600 members world-wide!
    We are running 3 free retreats for pastors wives and widows – two are next weekend in AZ and IN, and one in August in Zambia Africa!
    We definitely need support, and I thank you again for this gracious article.

    1. Donna Snow

      Jan, thank you for providing such a needed ministry to pastors’ wives!! You are so loved and supported here!

  7. Beautifully written! As a pastor’s wife myself, I for one, feel very affirmed, supported, and greatly blessed by your words! Mahalo….Thank you!

    1. Donna Snow

      Beth, knowing that you receive such beautiful support makes my heart do a happy dance!!

  8. Beautiful!

    1. Donna Snow

      God’s blessings, Linda.

  9. Betty Bistrow

    This is a very wonderful article, and what a blessing it is to those women who are wives of ministers. God did not prepare any of use for the demands made on us, the situations where we have to step up and do a job no one else feels they can do (even when we have never done it either). Sometimes the hours are long, the demands are so strong, and perhaps the problems you have had in ministry where you are living now or have lived in the past come crashing down on you. When you first begin this journey everything is so new, so grand, so exciting, and many times it is like the first glow of marriage. But as the years go by, perhaps living in some hard situations with unforgiving people, people who think you should be perfect, people who set unreal expectations on the one married to the minister…well the long haul is sometimes very difficult. Things were so different when I became a minister’s wife back in 1970. Times were different and we worked hard at what we had given us. We did not have support groups, we just basically put our hands to the plow and did what was asked of us, what was expected of us. A young wife married to her minister husband soon finds out that the demands far outweigh the moments alone with your spouse. A lot of prayer goes into the life of a PW. May we always do our best to be the best Christian we can be. God is so good. Thank you for this article.

    1. Donna Snow

      Betty, thank you SO MUCH for your incredibly helpful insights and grace-filled words. Your wisdom is so very welcome in this space. Thank you for sharing it to encourage others walking that same journey.

  10. Connie Bookshaw

    Thank you. This is very thoughtful.

    1. Donna Snow

      God’s richest blessings to you, Connie.

  11. Trina

    Tears. Thank you. ❤️

    1. Donna Snow

      God bless you, Trina.

  12. Thank you for the affirmation! My husband and I are just beginning, but this I will remember!

    1. Donna Snow

      God’s blessings, Kelly, as you and your husband embark on this God-led adventure!

  13. Ann Fessler

    Thanks so much. We need encouragement and to be reminded that our greatest ministry is to our husbands. And so nice to get an occasional pat on the back.

    1. Donna Snow

      So very true, Ann. So very true. Encouragement is vital!

  14. Bobbie Blair

    I love this and it’s so true! I have been married to two Pastors, my first husband for 32 years and at his death, the church family ministered to me and saw that my needs were met. We in our grief helped each other. I married another minister and was married for 28 years. God gave us a different ministry with people and God blessed. My two sons, both knowing the good and bad about ministering to people, are both Pastors. I would want no other life, for being a Pastors wife was a wonderful way to serve the Lord! Regardless of the good, bad and ugly, the blessings and seeing lives changed and people living for the Lord! It’s worth it all!

    1. Donna Snow

      Bobbie, you have certainly walked the pastors’ wife road for many, many years. Your wisdom here is so very welcome and needed. Thank you for such joyful service to the Lord, your pastor husbands, and the Church!

  15. Esther Simba

    Thank you and may God bless you for the words of encouragement.
    It’s not an easy road but with Jesus the load becomes lighter.

    1. Donna Snow

      Thank you, Esther, for such grace and faith!

  16. Nancy W.

    Thank you for recognizing a host of forgotten ladies who serve next to their husband-pastors. We have served in churches where the church family was just that – family – and I experienced very minor issues. But we had one church that regularly abused both of us. After a pulpit-less respite of several years following that ministry, we are back in a church family, where we are indeed “family” once again. So thankful for those in our church that allow us to be ourselves and appreciate our gifts – and work alongside of us each day. Prayers are indeed appreciated from those dear folks on our behalf!

    1. Donna Snow

      Nancy, when I read the words “regularly abused both of us” it made me mad, sad and everything in between. Such behavior is unacceptable, and it still floors me that it goes on inside the church. I realize we are all sinful beings, but seriously? Prayers are so very important to get you through, and it’s a joy to do just that for y’all.

  17. Sharon

    Thank you so much. I especially needed to read this today.(Of course,God knew that.) I am the Pastor’s wife of a really great church, and thankfully, they love and appreciate us, but even in a great Church, ministry is not for the faint of heart.

    1. Donna Snow

      Sharon, thank you so much for your grace-filled words and heartfelt service. You are so right – ministry is certainly not for the faint hearted!


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