he says: life is *really* unfair

>> January 14, 2009

This is the first in a series of guest blogs by a pastor for pastor's wives.

One of my high school history professors had a quote framed in his classroom that he would often point to when we would complain about too much homework or a test that was too long. He would remind us that as John F. Kennedy said, “Life is unfair.” If that’s true for the average person, I would suggest that for pastors and their families, “Life is REALLY unfair.”

Your husband’s schedule is probably completely different than yours. You work during the day, he works at night. You have the weekend off, he works hardest on the weekend.

Then you have to deal with disgruntled church members attacking the man you love. They’ll also come after you and start hurling accusations at the family. You are under the spotlight and held to higher standards than the average church member as every action, outfit, and word is analyzed. The list could go on but you know what I’m talking about.

So, how are you responding to this? As a pastor, here’s my suggestion. Your husband doesn’t need you to remind him over and over again about how unfair things are. He knows all the things that are wrong with the church and doesn’t need you to become just another disgruntled church member.

The reality is that things will never be as we wish and there will always be double standards, hypocrisy, and unsafe people in the church. Don’t blame your husband for that. Remember that we’re on the same team and are working for the same goals: a Spirit-filled church that provides a safe environment for all people to experience God’s salvation.

Yes, life as a pastor’s wife is unfair, but your husband needs you to encourage and support him and his ministry. The last thing he needs you to become is another person making him question his call to ministry.

Trevan Osborn pastors an Adventist church in Virginia. He and his wife Shari have been married since 2004.


Glenda January 14, 2009 at 5:18 PM  

i'm pretty new to this blog and maybe i'm completely missing it, but, after reading this post, i felt very chastised. i feel that we all need to be reminded that whining and complaining is never a good way to communicate, but i also believe we all need to be reminded that (hopefully) our opinions, concerns and thoughts are valuable to our husbands. again, maybe i completely misread the tone and point of the post, but it seemed to present the view that if we have an issue we should keep it to ourselves.

Sandra January 14, 2009 at 6:39 PM  

Thanks for this post! We're having one of those weeks when my husband is at meetings or doing visits every night. When I feel this way I take my complaints to God first. My husband doesn't really want to be so busy either, so knowing that I'm unhappy about it makes it worse. If I believe he is sinfully neglecting us, I prayerfully discuss it with him. But if it's just me having a pity party, I keep it to myself!

dpm January 14, 2009 at 8:14 PM  

Thank you both for the comments.

Glenda-- I've invited Trevan, the guest blogger, to respond to your comment. Please remember that this is just one PH's perspective (but probably one that is shared by other PHs) and you are free to disagree with him... and anything else on this blog, for that matter. We love it when you tell us when you think we've missed the mark. Thanks for posting.

trevan January 14, 2009 at 9:11 PM  


The intention was not to tell PW's to keep all their complaints to themselves but to pick and choose wisely as Sandra shared in her comment. I think pastors need a safe space where they can get away from church stuff and hopefully home is that place. That safe space needs to be one of nurturing, positivity, and encouragement.
Surely there are times when honest discussions need to take place but choose them wisely is my request.

Glenda January 15, 2009 at 9:35 AM  

Thank you very much for your response to my comment. It means a lot that you would take the time.

I guess I'm not usually full of a lot of complaints. My husband and I have worked really hard to have an very open and honest relationship. I definitely make sure I have not chosen the worst times to discuss a concern that I may have. But, I just don't think it's healthy to advise a couple to "edit" themselves...especially pastor's wives who, so many times, is already required to "edit" themselves in so many other areas of their lives.

But, all of that is my own experience and my view. I completely respect that everyone has a different perspective and a different take on how to best run the race.

Thank you again for taking the time to respond to me. I appreciate it!

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