Study: Being a Pastor’s Wife Is Bad for Friendships

"Unlike the spouses of the older generation, the younger ones have a lot more to say about the stress related to their husbands’ jobs." WRN

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TylerR's picture



At the same time, they also have to face a lot of hardships. 72 percent of them say that their significant others had to face resistance while serving in the church. Only 69 percent of the people have a handful of trustworthy friends to confide in their problems. 59 percent of the participants strongly believe that commitments to the church hamper family time. Also, 68 percent of them keep stressing about whether they have enough money to survive once their husbands retire from the church.

Also, the article notes 60% of ministry spouses say they aren't paid enough.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

G. N. Barkman's picture

As a pastor, I relate to this.  Many pastors are not very well prepared for retirement.  But it is also true that many laymen are not as well.  Churches should make reasonable provision to help their pastors prepare for retirement.  Pastors should also contribute to the process.  As in the public workplace, few businesses today provide a comfortable retirement.  (Government workers are the exception.)  So, pastors, like everyone else, should follow sound financial advice, and do what they can to add to their retirement savings.

In the final analysis, however, we must rely upon the promises of God.  If we seek His Kingdom first, all of these things will be added unto us.  Right?  Sometimes worry about retirement sufficiency is lack of trust in the promises of God.

G. N. Barkman

Ron Bean's picture

Imagine the awkward predicament of a church with a parsonage when their pastor dies. I've seen it more than once.

We also have an older generation of pastors (I'm one) who were willing to accept positions where they lived paycheck to paycheck because they had been taught that that was one of the sacrifices that pastors made. As an end result they often left the ministry late in life to find secular work to sustain them in retirement and, for those who had opted out of SS, to gain enough quarters to get some SS.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

G. N. Barkman's picture

Ron, 'm watching this unfold presently.  A faithful pastor in a near-by city died of cancer a few weeks ago.  He was beloved by his church.  His widow, also dearly loved, is packing up house.  Although she has been told to stay as long as she likes, she knows she has to move to make room for the next pastor, whoever he is, and whenever he may be called.  She is applying for low income government assisted housing in the same city, as she wants to remain in the church.  It is a bit awkward, but mostly just sad.  My heart really goes out to her.  And yet, she is strong in faith, and rejoicing in spirit.

My church wanted to build a parsonage for my family years ago.  I said, "Thanks, but no thanks."  We struggled to buy a house which was smaller and less nice than the one proposed by the church, but I wanted to build equity in a home.  Now, more than forty years later, we have retired the mortgage on our second home, and are thinking about down-sizing.  We have sizeable equity, which will help with retirement, whenever the time comes.

G. N. Barkman