MARRIAGE TO A MINISTER: STILL A UNIQUE ROLE
From an Anonymous Pastor
I opened up on an article in [an e-list]. The header seemed to entice:
"Marriage to a minister - still a unique role". I thought, this will be
interesting. I'm afraid that by the end of the article I was still no wiser.
I had hoped that some of the real issues would be tackled. Instead, they
were studiously avoided.
My wife grew up in the Catholic tradition and thus had no role expectations
for the wife of a "priest". What a blessing! My Catholic brothers-in-law
decided her marriage to me must make her a "mother superior" - but that was
only after they'd had a few beers.
My wife is a professional person with a vocation equally demanding as mine.
From time to time I attend functions connected with her work, engage in
those superficial conversations with politicians, bishops and CEOs, take her
work colleagues out to lunch, etc, etc. Come to think of it, she does the
same with me.
So what is the role of the Minister's spouse envisioned by this group? Is it
some rear-guard clinging to a notion from the 1950s? A more modern one in
view of the changing circumstances in life? A studious avoiding of such
questions only arouses suspicion.
As someone who has to answer this question each week professionally, (and
who is half of a clergy couple) the short answer is: she has a vocation, you
have one and because you're married you'll share each other's vocational
'extra-curricular' responsibilities from time to time. But in terms of the
church (I take it you're a parish minister) her role is what everyone else's
is, if she's a member - it's defined by her gifts and availability for
whatever ministry she might perform, not by her role/status as your wife
(despite precedents and history and impossible expectations, particularly
from older members of the congregation)...