Friday, July 06, 2007

What Kind of Woman Does a Pastor Fall In Love With???

Sometimes, I just love finding how people find my blog. Someone was listed because they Googled the question "What kind of woman does a pastor fall in love with?" I don't know if this person stopped to look around, it was one of those hits that says "0:00" and I still haven't figured out why I get so many of those (really, I don't bite...well, not hard and only when I have PMS).

Mr. Rebellious Pastor's Wife isn't here right now to ask but I have heard a few criteria over the past 15 or so years....For those of you who know Concordia Theological Seminary, I've been told (by my husband) that my husband (who was merely my new boyfriend at the time) had an idea to change a luxury retirement apartment building that is to the south (Towne House) of the lake into a residence for promising pastor's wife candidates (actually, the term he used was"ortho-babes." Obviously, I would've lived there).

I heard a grumpy seminarian one time say that a Lutheran pastor's wife should be "a good Baptist girl with childbearing hips."

And of course, he should keep the congregation's needs in mind. She should be able to bake like there is no tomorrow and not put on weight, she should be able to whip a church office into shape in the blink of an eye, not to mention put together a ladies retreat with style and grace, have been able to play the entire liturgy on the organ from the tender age of eight, and manage her house of five plus angelic children with a smile and a perfectly coiffed modest hair-do and perfectly tailored dress and modest heels.

Honestly, I don't know how many pastors out there think so much about what kind of woman they'd fall in love with because they are a pastor, as much as what kind of woman they'd fall in love with because they are a man who wants to spend the rest of his life with someone who has qualities they enjoy. Common interests, common values, common faith all serve to create some kind of chemistry.

That's all I can account for in my situation at least. I completely lack domestic skills (well, I can cook...now), my figure is less than hourglass (or more than hourglass), I don't play an instrument, I live in jeans and t-shirts, have one of those volcanic "Sgt. Schultz" type Germanic tempers, and my potluck dishes often have a price tag on them, when I actually have it together enough to remember to bring one.

However, I LOVE to read, laugh, cuddle, and I was much more impressed that the skinny-guy-with-glasses-who-won-my-heart could tie a cherry stem in a knot with his tongue than I was that he was a seminarian.


So, basically, I got myself in this mess by just being me...and if you happen to get yourself in the same sort of mess by just being you, then it is a very good thing. If you are trying to snare yourself a man of the cloth, my question is..... "why on God's green earth would you be LOOKING for this kind of trouble???"

But I'd love to hear from others...pastors and pastor's wives. What was on the list for qualifications for a life-long parsonage mate? (and, of course, answers could be serious, or tongue in cheek. I'm not sure what my attempt at this question is.) (and why does this dumb thing switch from double-spaced to single-spaced all the time???)







16 comments:

Mumme Mom said...

I went to CURF and told my parents I was not going to marry a pastor, not even date one. Then low and behold sometime during the end of my Freshman year, a pre-sem guy asked me out. He was cute, so I went. Afterwards I knew two things: 1. I was never going to date him again, we simply didn't have anything in common and 2.I shouldn't rule out guys based on their job.
Along came my dearest during sophomore year and we began dating - he was computer science/math major with a physics minor and wanted to be an air-traffic controller - how cool is that?! Ah, but then he took Latin the first quarter of Junior year, and I could tell he was struggling with his career decision (being the only guy not in the pre-sem program taking this course.) Before Thanksgiving break he took me out and asked me what I thought about him becoming a pastor. I told him I thought it suited him better than an air-traffic controller even though the $ would be quite different. (VBG- yes being vain is a tough thing to overcome) So I encouraged him to call Pr. Rutt, who was his pastor in high school and who also had been a pilot prior to his ordination. Then off to his home for Thanksgiving break and announcing to his parents his plans. We were engaged after Junior year, so I agree - he fell in love with me the person, and I, he, not because he or me would be good for our careers.

I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.

Cheryl said...

Oh, a girl after my own heart! Why spend two hours making something for the potluck when you can use that time to read a good book o post on your blog instead and just pick something up at the store on the way?

Cheryl the non-domestic one (I don't sew or knit or crochet or cook very well at all--but in the interest of health & nutrition am working on the latter)

Ewokgirl said...

My hubby was in seminary when we started dating.

He dropped out that same semester. ;-)

No, it wasn't because of me. He'd been realizing over time that he didn't want to be a counselor, which was what he happened to be studying for at the time. He didn't like to listen to other people complain about their problems. LOL. But the time of his dropping out looked kinda bad. ;-)

He's not a minister. We work with our youth group at church, though. At one point, he toyed with becoming a youth minister, which had me feeling panicked because frankly, I've never felt called to be a minister's wife. The idea of living in a fishbowl and potentially being criticized because I read Harry Potter and speak my mind scared me half to death! But he quickly got over that and went right back to being an internet developer.

I went to a Baptist university. I knew so many girls who stated that they were called to be a minister's wife. They wouldn't date guys who weren't planning to go into the ministry. I even knew one girl who chose the church to attend based on whether or not there was a single minister on staff. Something about all that weirded me out. I think it was that it seemed like they were trying too hard instead of letting God bring the right man to them.

So, here's a question for you. Did you feel called to be a minister's wife, or did you just happen to fall in love with a guy in the ministry? I have a friend who married a minister, and I asked her if she'd felt called to marry a minister, and she said, "Oh, heck no!" He just happened to be the man she fell in love with. That seemed so much more natural to me than all those women who were working so hard to find a minister.

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

Someone may know that they have gifts in a particular area and have a desire to be married to a pastor because they know they could be a good helpmeet there, or for other reasons, but I don't believe that we have "calls" to be pastors' wives in the same way that God gives pastors calls to shepherd congregations.

I personally can't say I ever felt led in the direction of becoming a pastor's wife...unless you'd say I was led kicking and screaming. For me it was a case of loving a man who happens to be a pastor, and then dealing with some of the aspects of the life that comes with it.

If there are women out there who feel led to be a pastor's wife, then God bless them. I'm sure they have particular gifts which lead them that way. I hope they are not under illusion that pastors are better men then any others. My husband is a good man, I couldn't imagine one better, but he is a man.

God has different purposes for all of us, and being an internet designer,a Biblical counselor, a youth pastor, or a gas station attendant are all vocations that are God-pleasing...and having a good layman with a heart to serve is something every pastor treastures. You don't have to have a "office" in the church to be able to serve and serve well.

In many ways, the "fishbowl" issue is more exaggerated in certain denominations than in others. While there are certainly times that I feel like everyone in the world is watching me, I've never really had anyone start dictating to me what my life should be like, what church activities I should be in, what I should be wearing, how I should be spending my money, etc. I know there are churches where that is the case. I know of very few Lutheran situations where things are that dramatic. I have learned to regulate a lot of what I have to say, because I know that it is automatically viewed as being a shared opinion with my husband. That can be a challenge. It is probably the main reason why I blog.

And for the record, I love Harry Potter.

Ewokgirl said...

Thanks for your response. I really enjoy your blog, even if we don't completely see eye-to-eye on baptism. ;-)

I'm Baptist, and I know that for many women in the Baptist world, it's a status symbol to be married to a minister. Too many churches put their husbands (and by proxy, their wives) on pedestals, and I think that's where some of the women I've known have gotten their idealistic view of becoming a minister's wife. Some very well may have been seeking status. It's kind of like winning the popularity contest.

My MIL is a classic example of that. My husband's biological dad was a minister. MIL married him because she thought she'd have the perfect life (since life with her first husband was less than perfect). She found that life to be not at all what she expected. She hasn't told me much about that time, but she did say that the church dictated to her husband what she was to do, and she didn't like that. And her husband turned out to be a cad. (DH hasn't even seen him since he was 8 or so. I've never met the man.)

I know that's an extreme example, but I think it illustrates what too many women believe about life in the ministry. They expect pastors, whom they tend to forget are sinful men like all others, to be perfect; therefore, life as their wives should be perfect. They are too busy looking at the position to closely examine the man himself. Then, they expect that others will admire and respect them, too, as the wife of a minister.

Now, I do believe that there are women out there who really are meant to be ministers' wives, and they very well may know that ahead of time. As you said, they likely have gifts that would serve them well in that capacity. I think I'm just responding to the almost creepy way some of the women I've known have actively sought out single ministers and did what they could to be noticed by them in hopes of becoming their wives.

But then, other women have been known to do that with other types of men, too. I guess it just disturbs me more when it's Christian women who do it.

I hope I didn't take your discussion comments on too much of a tangent. :-)

Dr. Luther in the 21st Century said...

I'll chuck in a guys point of view.

When I was in the seminary many of the single guys actually avoided women who were actively interested in dating seminarians aka "the called to be a minister's wife" gals. Generally, it is because of the fact they were interested in what you were going to be rather than you. In addition many of these girls were just really weird.

Thankfully, I was engaged before entering the sem and didn't have to worry about this. Speaking of engagement, seminary is the place I really started to wish guys had something like the engagement ring because it would have headed off a fair number of attempts by members to try and set me up with daughters and grand-daughters, a problem caused by "Mrs. Luther" not being in St Louis.

Most of the guys looked for women who were good matches and would be supportive.

Dr. Luther in the 21st Century said...

Oh yes, I forgot many the girls actively seeking seminarians were the ones desperate to get married and figured that the guys at the seminary would actually be looking to get married and yes you are right many forgot that we are sinners, too.

Dana said...

Don't have a clue what kind of woman a pastor falls for...hopefully a godly one. : )

But I might be able to answer your first question. About the 0:00 visit length. Most stat counters count a visit every time the little bots crawl your site. So if I were to google "Rebellious Pastor's Wife" and your site came up, it would be counted as a visit with no time unless I actually clicked the link and spent some time here.

I didn't like that when I first found that out. I get a lot of them, too, and I want them to be real people reading what I have to say!

But then I found out that a LOT of people get missed by free counters, so I'm happy again.

ness said...

hi there...been to your blog a couple times now...and usually longer than 0:00!

if you asked my hubby why he fell for me...he'd probably tell you that I was hot and liked to talk theology.

I always wanted to marry a pastor...I guess I just felt like I'd be good at it. But I dated lots of different guys and mostly, what I couldn't do without was somebody who was really serious about following Christ. I think we ended up together because we had met our match...we were equally intense about the same things. Ministry happened to be one of those things.

11 years, 4 churches, 3 kids...it's been fun so far!

Thanks for the smiles!

Pastor David said...

As a Mr. Pastor, that is a tough question to answer. I think the first answer is (1) many pastors get married or meet their future spouses prior to the decision to pursue ordination - and in such cases the question is moot. However, that is certainly not always the case -- especially for first career pastors. So ...
(2) Some pastors do not take their current/future career into consideration at all when choosing a spouse. This is the pastor's wife (or husband in the ELCA) who may or may not be involved in the life of the church, and that suits the pastor just fine.
(3) I think, for myself, I was aware of the path that I was heading on, and it was important that my wife -to-be was also aware of it, and willing to be supportive of it. Beyond that, I was looking for someone I matched with -- all those things that would have been the same - ordained or not.
What I wound up with is a wife who is a partner in my ministry -- and it is a greater blessing than I could have possibly anticipated.
David

whyudo said...

I had to first say that I love your page...I have the same type of silly humor. Im helplessly in love with a pastor(I didnt even know that single ones existed). He is such a difficult creature...very hot and cold. I actually remember praying to God as a teenager to never allow me to fall in this trap, and Lord beholds I fell for this character,(Way to go God on this one..JUST JOKIN). I do think that he's wonderful and I do think that he's a great leader, but we have a few stumbling blocks( we live 2hours away, he quick to run away, etc.). I know that he's who Im suppose to be with(God has a funny way to show confirmation sometimes..lol), and this fellow "claims" that Im his "wife," but it's very frustrating because he's ran away again because Im my own person and I live by God's rules, not man's. What is a girl to do with such a difficult guy? I do commend you women. Im a Admin Assistant at my church and it takes a strong woman to marry a pastor, an even stronger one to work for one ;)

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

Whyudo,

Thanks for the compliment.

As far as what do you do with a guy who is so quick to run away...I'd say you be very very careful. A man who is scared to commit doesn't become Mr. Wonderful when he says "I do," pastor or not. In fact, the obligations and pressures of being a pastor often give him a great excuse to be a bad husband...to be distant, to leave it all on you, etc. Really REALLY stand back and put your emotions aside and ask yourself "Will this guy be a good husband? Will he treat you the way that you deserve to be treated? Will he trust you and be one with you? Will he make a good, attentive, loving father? Will he provide a good example to my daughters of how they should be treated by a man, and to my sons of how they should treat a woman?"

Ask him "how do you see our family structure? What do you see my role is in our family? How do you see our relationship" and get concrete answers.

My husband was almost never inattentive, even when he did struggle with hours between work and home, and he never had the habit of running away while we were dating. And even while sometimes it is not so black and white, he always believed that while his calling is sacred, God CLEARLY tells pastors that they are husbands and fathers first. (I Timothy 3).

A pastor is a sinner, like any other man. The baggage that comes with marrying a pastor can be a hard one. If you are looking to marry one, make sure the rest of his baggage is not going to be too difficult to bear when the blush of new love wears off.

If that is where God is putting you, then God bless you. My general advice to any woman who is looking to marry a pastor is to run if you can. If you can't...God give you strength. And also remember...he is called to the ministry...not you. Your vocation is wife and mother, and Christian layperson. Whatever you do in the congregation, whether it be admin. assistant, altar guild, ladies Bible Study, or person in the pew...Do it because you are a believer..not because you are married to the pastor

livingunderchrist said...

Greetings,

Thank you so much for your God given talent. I am being pursued by the Pastor at our church who is single. At first when I hugged him and felt his spirit come into mine. My first reaction was "I bind that demon in the name of Jesus" However, he began to flirt more. I was supposed to move to another state for a postion. I had to send in a resignation letter for a leadership position I hold. He told me when he got the e-mail he was praying immediately I would not go. His prayer came true. The contract drop the next day. There are other events that this is God working and not me. Because I did not want this at first. Now my hospitality has grown. Now that persons in our church know this and I am younger than he is. What do I do when feeling betrayed, weary from greeting, praying half the night because I feel his burdens? These are questions I have for someone who has been at this for a while?

Nonhlanhla said...

Thanks very much for the blog. Like Whyudo I didn't know single pastor's existed, lol. I met this guy, he is great, initially I just thought he was very involved in his church, until we went out for coffee and I asked him what he does for a living. He is a pastor... I have fallen so deeply in love with him and am scared now that he talks of marriage and stuff. I am glad that my prayers are finally answered, but can't help thinking will I cope as a Pastor's wife. Thanks again for all the comments and for reminding me that I am not alone and that God is always there. All that I can say is we must stand strong as the women mentioned in Proverbs 31.

twofortheroad51 said...

I'm divorced, the pastor's divorced...and have "liked" him since I first set eyes on him....catch him catching glancing my way too when he thinks I'm not watching....lol....but we're both too chicken and inexperienced to know what else to do...any ideas? There's definitely chemistry, but no guts on either side...I was previously married to a doctor, so know the meaning of image, behavior and such niceties....

I need guidance here...:)

Anonymous said...

I have been pursued bya pastor for nearly two years. I could not undestand why me? I didnt sing, I wasnt one of the any girls falling at his feet and nor was I thee holest I have a past... I am 23 he is 24 and everything I have ever wanted in a man, but my I am so afraid to say yes because of what pressures come along with being First Lady... My golly gosh this is soooooooo stressful