Women of Standard: Hi First Lady Wooden! How are you?
First Lady Wooden: I am doing good! Thank you!
How is it being a Pastor’s wife?
Well, I have been a Pastor’s wife for 30 years and I’m only 51 so I’ve been a Pastor’s wife for pretty much all of my adult life. Being a Pastor’s wife is all I know. For me, it’s like being a wife. I’m a wife who is married to a man who is a Pastor. I have to fulfill all of the other duties that any other wife would have to fulfill for a husband such as: taking care of the home or taking care of him. I think the difference is that the church is involved. So that brings about another dynamic as a Pastor’s wife. For a regular wife, he goes to work and she either goes to work or stays home. The Pastor’s wife is involved in her husband’s work. Therefore, his work, the people he work for, and the congregation that he serves; the wife has to share in that. She is pretty much on display in the work that God has given her husband to do.
You mentioned a Pastor’s wife having to “share her husband.” I am sure you have heard stories of other First Ladies who have experienced their husbands being unfaithful. Some deal with not being a priority due to the church taking up much of their time. What would you say to the woman who says, I am a Pastor’s wife but I don’t feel I get the proper time, the church gets more of his time, or I have to deal with women in the church?
What I would say is some things are a part of the course as a Pastor’s wife. As a Pastor’s wife, I know there are times in which my husband will have to spend a large portion of his time away from me and away from our home. When we first established the ministry there were times when he was away day and night trying to build a church, literally building a church building as well as trying to grow a ministry. That takes time and some of his attention away from the home. As a Pastor’s wife, I had to understand that was where we were in that season and seasons do change. That comes after the church is built and after the ministry is established. Then his time and attention can be better divided within the home. One of things that we did do during those times was make sure there was at least one day of the week that we spent some time together. Even in that, there was an understanding that there were some times or some weeks which had to be spent doing something else. We may have had to be at the church or meet with a contractor together but he still had to be at the church. For me, the way I handled that was having the mindset that this is part of the course; this is the role of a Pastor’s wife.
Now as it relates to dealing with other women in the church, it is true that women see the Pastor as an icon. They see him as the ideal man. A lot of wives would look at the Pastor and see him as the perfect husband. So, it is not unusual for women to gain an infatuation with him. I think one of the ways to combat that is to make sure your marriage and your family is strong. I think that it is good for the Pastor’s wife to be the ears and the eyes of her husband if he will listen. Sometimes in those situations he may be too involved with the individual to see himself, so the Pastor’s wife (someone that’s sitting back) can see it better. The Bible says, “No man knows the things of man, except that man.” The same thing holds true with women. Nobody knows women like another woman. I think the Pastor and the wife must have a relationship where the Pastor will allow his wife to share with him when she sees or senses that there is something developing in the heart of another woman that should not be. Unfortunately, in the case of some that relationship is not there. There are Pastor’s wives who have had to deal with infidelity in the church. The way that one handles that would vary depending upon the situation. But, I do know that it does happen and it is something that the Pastor’s wife has to deal with. I think counsel, dealing with that husband, and the husband removing himself from the situation are ways to respond to that. A good way to respond to it and if possible is to keep the home/ marriage intact. I know there have been situations where the marriages of pastors and wives have dissolved for those reasons. The Pastor and the Pastor’s wife are the chief examples of the church. They are the first family. Everybody looks to them so if there is any way possible to keep that family and home together, I would recommend that the Pastor’s wife try to do so and try to amend the marriage.
It sounds to me that this position is not for girls, but this position is for a woman; a mature woman at that. I notice a lot of young women who are singers automatically feel as though because they are anointed to sing that means their husband should be a minister or pastor. What would you say, especially to young women that know the guy they are dating has the call of a pastor on their life? How would you prepare those women?
The first thing they would need to do is learn how to be a wife, not in their minds as the wife of a minister, preacher, or pastor but to learn how to be a wife; to fulfill the duties that a woman must fulfill as a wife. Sometimes in the young person’s mind who see the glamour of being a Pastor’s wife, that’s all they see. They don’t understand that it’s being a wife, taking care of your husband, your home, your children, and fulfilling those responsibilities. I think that one of the biggest ways that marriages of the Pastor and wife suffer is when both of them are a superstar. The husband is the superstar pastor and the wife is the superstar singer. Somebody has to take the subservient role. Someone has to be out front while the other one is home taking care of the home, the children, building the house, and preparing the home for when the husband who has been doing ministry all day, dealing with different people and sometimes dealing with women throwing themselves at him. The wife needs to be where she can receive him when he comes home but if he’s been dealing with that all day or all week or out in revival and then he returns home and his wife is gone on the road in a concert then that is a setup for disaster. So, the young woman definitely needs to learn to be a wife. That’s what comes first and that’s what most important.