MARRIED TO THE MAN AND THE MINISTRY

Amid changing expectations, the minister's mate chooses a challenging role.

Barbara Myers remembers meeting the board of a church where her husband was candidating early in his ministry: "After they had exhausted his capabilities and probabilities, someone turned the spotlight on me and asked, 'And what can you do?' I was not prepared for that question, but I spent ten years trying to answer it by doing everything."

Mary Bouma, a pastor's wife and author, says that at one time, ministry couples were hired as "two for the price of one." While times have changed, as have many of the expectations, she feels many congregations still have an agenda for the minister's wife, even when they don't acknowledge it.

"Today the minister's wife may serve a more political purpose: befriending the right people, being a peacemaker, smoothing ruffled feathers," she says.

Most ministers' wives have experienced the tension of adjusting their role to the stage and the players. Whatever role they choose, it is pressure filled in spite of the increased sensitivity of today's congregations. ...

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