I have read my fair share of books about being a pastor’s wife and, with rare exception, I find them to not go deep enough. Rather, they focus on shallow or superficial concerns rarely venturing past what it looks like to “keep up appearances” for the sake of your husband or whether or not you should hug a member of the opposite sex. Needless to say, when I see a book for the pastor’s wife, I tend to cringe just a little. It’s hard to stifle the small voice of cynicism echoing in my head before I even get to page one, “I wonder if this one will counsel me in chunky, beaded necklace versus cleverly tied neck scarf for Sunday morning.”
Enter The Pastor’s Wife by Gloria Furman. This book is not new, but if you’re like me, your stack of books to read is higher than the books actually read. Even just a few pages into the Introduction, I knew this book would be different. The context in which the author and her husband do ministry is far more wrought with turmoil than my own, instantly quieting my inner cynic to pay attention. This lady, while likely younger than me, will have something to say. And she did.
Broken into three parts, “Loving the Chief Shepherd, Loving an Under-Shepherd, and Loving the Bride of Christ,” Furman’s writing was very approachable with many personal stories, insights, and tales of not quite getting it right, while still keeping the focus on God and his Kingdom work for his people.
Though our contexts are different, the book was less about the specific context she and her husband are in and more about the importance of a biblical grounding in the Word of God and who Jesus is for the pastor’s wife. To me, it felt like a recalibration of sorts to focus the mind and heart not on what one should or shouldn’t do as the pastor’s wife or even ministry itself, but on the true Word of God as a believer and then how that outflows into loving your husband and the church he serves.
By the end of the book, the everyday commonplace life of the pastor’s wife in Furman’s ministry was as plain as my own. With that, the read became less about what I can learn and more about how I can relate. Sometimes the relating is even more important than the learning. Fortunately, in this book, the reader can do both.