What do you expect of your pastor’s spouse or partner? Do you expect him to be present at every church gathering? Do you expect her to teach Sunday school or lead your women’s group? Should she quilt? Bake? Visit the sick? Should he sing in the choir? Or play the piano?
Are your expectations different for male spouses than they are for female? And if so, why?
I am a clergy wife, and the expectations of others can be a concern. I work full time and then some, if you count Sundays as a half day of work. On Sundays, I show up at church not only to worship but to greet, smile and ask about someone’s health (or remember health woes from a previous conversation).
And there are dinners and birthday parties and church picnics and church work days when I feel that I should be present because it’s expected. As a sociable introvert (who really does like people), these activities can drain me. Sometimes all I really want to do are my own chores around my own house. Maybe I want to spend a Sunday morning without church, reading the paper and sipping my coffee. Reverence can take many forms.
Are these expectations self imposed? Maybe people really don’t care what I do as long as my husband does his job. Nobody at my office ever asks where my husband is; nobody here wonders why Bob doesn’t show up with me at my job. So maybe nobody at church would wonder at my absence.
Do you have unexpressed expectations of clergy spouses/partners? Do you believe God’s call to ministry includes both partners, or only the one on your congregation’s payroll?