Friday, April 23, 2010

Easier than being a pastor's wife

I have often surprised people with my statement that being a military chaplain's wife is easier than being a pastor's wife.

By far.

I should probably include the detail "small church single-staff pastor's wife" since my husband always felt called to small rural or small-town churches, with active attendance between 50-110 members.

There are expectations placed upon the pastor's wife of such a church. Mainly, she is expected to pitch in when necessary, as are other members. In small churches, that's how it's done, in theory. In practice, as in all organizations, the 20-80 rule is in full force: 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work.

I played piano, sang in the choir, taught Sunday school, taught VBS, led VBS music, etc.

In the military chapel, there was no such expectation. In fact, in the past, this particular chapel had seen a chaplain's wife who worshipped at their own denomination's local congregation and not in the chapel with her husband! (I have a big problem with that personally, but that's not something I wish to argue today.)

The other advantage I have had here in the military chapel is that we live in town, not on base. This is a far different experience than living in the parsonage (a.k.a. the fishbowl), where everything is visible and known.

In a single-staff church, guess who's on call 24-7? My husband. In the military, he gets to rotate on-call time with two or three others. Nice!

So yes, even including the whole TDY and deployment experience, it is far easier to be a military chaplain's wife.

PS: Thank your pastor's wife for her service next time you see her. She will probably be shocked, but she'll be grateful.


Disclaimer: this is based on my own experience. I can't speak for the hundreds of other military chaplain's wives.

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