Monday, March 11, 2013

Do Other Introverted Pastor's Wives Hate Sundays?

*DISCLAIMER- I love being a pastor's wife. True, it's not all about me. No, I'm not always this cynical, nor do I think along these lines the whole time I'm at church. I do actually think about the needs of others, at least every other week or so. ;) Yes, there are many wonderful and rewarding parts of being in church leadership- I'm totally only talking about the negative stuff here. And finally, yes, my husband works incredibly hard on Sundays and it's exhausting for him too. Now with all that out of the way, can I be honest for a sec?

Last night I found myself googling the phrase, "Do other introverted pastors wives hate Sundays?"It was not my proudest moment, lemme tell ya. But at the same time, Sundays are so draining for me, and I need to find some better coping skills, or at least know that I'm not alone!

It's not as bad as you might be thinking. I love our church. I love that my husband is a pastor. I love listening to him preach. I love the people in our church.


The Getting Ready
Every Sunday morning, I wake up early to get myself and the kids ready for church. Of course, this involves dressing up, the most dressed up that any of us will get on most weeks, and also the earliest we'll wake up most weeks. Fun times already! Any other time we're all getting ready to go somewhere, I'd expect Thad to help me get the kids ready, but on Sundays it's all on me since he has a sermon and a million other things to be thinking about. So I'm in charge of the outfit picking, the breakfast, the snack and toy packing, the teeth brushing, the hair fixing, all on top of getting myself ready. I'm hyping myself up on coffee long before we get out the door. In fact, I'm probably on my second cup before we get out the door.

The Leadership Meeting and Sunday School
We get to church early for leadership meeting and Sunday school. As I've explained before, I'm an introvert. Being around people, especially large groups of people, drains me. During Sunday school, I'm often sneaking peeks at Facebook or Instagram, not because the speaker isn't interesting or because I enjoy being rude, but because those brief little escapes help me stay sane. Go right ahead and judge me for it! I know, so horrible to get online during Sunday school! (But thank God for ipads and wifi!)

The Being Friendly and Apparently Not Being Allowed to Have Even a Second to Myself
I'm the pastor's wife, so of course I need to be friendly and welcoming to everyone. It's not that I don't want to be friendly and welcoming. It's not that I don't care about every single person that comes, because I do care, deeply! It's that being friendly and welcoming doesn't come natural for me. I'm not good at it. It's exhausting for me. One Sunday I was getting a little overwhelmed so I took a quick break from chatting with people and ducked into the bathroom. A congregation member(someone that I don't even know yet, but who obviously recognized me) popped in and said, "I see you! You can't hide in here!" I'm sure she didn't mean to be so rude, but boy- talk about the WRONG thing to say to an introverted pastor's wife who already feels a bit on display and out of her element and needs just a second to breathe! I mean, really? I can't hide in the bathroom for a second to recompose myself? Okay, then how about you just watch me go crazy right in front of everyone! Trust me, you want to let me have those two minutes to myself.

There's me hiding in the bathroom. I felt a little better after just a few minutes to myself.

The Sitting on the Front Row and Worshipping Inconspicuously
Finally, service time arrives. As the pastor's wife, I sit right there on the front row. Most of the time, surprisingly, that doesn't bother me. I decided from day one that I wasn't going to let being a pastor's wife keep me from being myself. If I worship less flamboyantly than some people, that's okay. It's good for people to see that people worship in different ways, and that's normal. I'm pretty confident about that part of it.(Yay me!) However, this can be problematic if I'm having a particularly bad day(cause worshipping tends to bring out all those emotions, dontcha know), or if I have a particular hatred for one of the songs being sung. I may or may not be found singing "I really hate this song...I really hate this song..." instead of "I am a friend of God! I am a friend of God!" Thankfully, we don't sing that song very often.

The Sermon
My husband is a great preacher(not that I'm biased or anything, but really. I may be biased, but I'm also picky, and he's pretty darn good). I love listening to him preach. I'll be sitting there getting all inspired, writing notes in my notebook, resisting the urge to check and see if someone commented on my facebook post, and thinking about the blog post I'm going to write about how much the sermon inspired me. At that moment, I'm so fully of passion, so ready to run out into the world and do all of the things!!! I can make a difference in the world! I can learn and grow! Awesome Awesome Awesome!!!

The Aftermath
And then the service ends. More talking with people. More hand shaking and interacting and talking. (Again, it's not that I don't like people or that I don't care, it's that doing these things is EXHAUSTING for me and I've been at it for a good 4 hours now.) Then the kids come back in from their class, and they're in that lovely state of being excited/tired/hungry/cranky all at once, and it's just lovely trying to corral that energy. We usually go out to eat so that I don't have to go home and try to fix lunch two hours after it's normal time. I'm usually able to keep my energy going through lunch, but by the time we get home...

The Exhaustion
I'm exhausted. Physically exhausted from getting everything ready and doing and being the whole time. Mentally exhausted from interacting with all those people. Emotionally exhausted from the worship time and the inspirational sermon- and oh yeah, remember all those excited feelings about all the awesome things I'm going to do and awesome blog posts I'm going to write? They're still there, I'm just too exhausted to do anything about them. I don't know if you've ever experienced that before, but it's one of the most frustrating feelings. So not only am I exhausted, I'm exhausted and frustrated. And remember, I still have two small children who are wanting to play and eat and drive me crazy for the rest of the day until bedtime finally comes around, when all I want to do is lay on the couch for the rest of the day. And of course, totally understandably, my husband is also pretty much down for the count by this time also. Someone should start a business where pastoring families can drop off their kids after church and someone wonderful will take care of them for the rest of the day, feed them, bathe them, and drop them off asleep into their beds shortly after bedtime. They'd make a killing, I just know it.

So after all of that yesterday, (and then with DST thrown in, making my kids stay awake nearly three hours after their normal bedtime), I found myself on the couch at about 11PM, googling "Do other introverted pastors wives hate Sundays?" The bad news is that a link from came up, condescendingly telling me that I should sacrifice *all* of my own needs, even those related to my specific "personality"(as if that's a fake thing!), for the needs of the congregation members. It was the whole "You can't hide in here!" all over again, with an extra dose of "die-to-self!" thrown in for good measure. (I knew I shouldn't have clicked that one, but I did anyway.) The good news is that I also stumbled across a ministry for pastors wives and female church leaders that looks pretty awesome. I'm going to check it out further- maybe it's just the encouragement I need.


  1. Just stumbled upon you tonight as I googled "Introverted Pastor's Wife" Nice to know I'm not the only one who sometimes hides in the bathroom :)

  2. So reassuring ... glad to know I'm not the only introverted ministry wife. Back hallways and coffee helps get me through Sunday mornings.

    You are definitely not alone!

  3. I've been a pastor's wife for almost 20 years, and I relate to every piece of what you wrote. There have been Sundays when I have arrived late "by accident" (oops! how did that happen??) because I just couldn't stand the thought of having to stand around greeting people all morning. Sometimes I have to leave just before the service is over for the same reason. And, like you, I LOVE the ministry and love people. So it is frustrating to be wired this way, don't you think? I think we need frequent, brief vacations to stay in a place where we can do this without burn out.

    On the plus side, however, (at least for me--) I handle the inevitable losing of friends and acquaintances with relatively little angst. People can come and go from my life and it costs me little emotional energy. So this is a blessing, since we PW's know that as long as you're in the ministry, this type of thing is simply going to happen, no matter what you do.

  4. Thank you for this! I've been a pastor's wife for two months, and decided to google "introverted pastor's wife" after yet another exhausting Sunday, with many more to come! Glad to know I'm not the only one, and that there are humorous and honest resources out there. Signed, feeling encouraged :)

  5. What site did you find that was so encouraging? I'd love more resources.

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  7. Another introverted pastor's wife here! Lol! We should start a club

  8. 3 year old article but I needed it! Introverted wife of a bivocational pastor with 4 children, meaning as soon as service is done I have to rush lunch so he can be at his other job by 2-10 pm. Leaving me all day after service, and we live in a small city so the neighborhood kids are always dropping in. There is no rest, my husband is very extroverted and treats me as I have a disorder when I want to collapse exhausted after service. Honestly Sundays are my lest favorite days, especially when you add the awkward conversations, hearing the judgments of how you aren't enough for the members, and you honestly do feel like your sacrificing all of you to be available all the time but really I'm only asking for 5 min in the bathroom to breath! I wish there were resources for us. The ministry does play favorites with social extroverts.

  9. As the fiance of a pastor who just finished directing our VBS program,this was more than helpful today. Thank you for the honesty.

  10. As the fiance of a pastor who just finished directing our VBS program,this was more than helpful today. Thank you for the honesty.