Here is a good conversation starter; something I think should be asked of every ministry spouse.
How do you [as a ministry spouse] introduce yourself? When you are at church, do you introduce yourself as, “the pastor’s wife” or as “your name”? How do you identify yourself, and how do you settle into other people’s expectations for your identity?
Recently, I was with several people visiting and socializing in the church foyer after services. I was aware that there was someone new that people were introducing themselves to. I also extended my hand to introduce myself. When it was my turn, I said “Hi, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Barb. My name is Shirley.” Pleasantries and welcome passed between all the individuals nearby. Later, one person came up to me and said: I noticed how you introduced yourself as Shirley. I wondered why you did that. Why didn’t you tell her you were the “Pastor’s Wife” ?
I could see in an instant that this person saw me as a “role” that I fulfill. The role was glamorized and sensational. Even slightly sensational is indeed sensational. I have always found that there are moments each Sunday where I could be who I am, or I could choose to settle into some other person’s expectation for my identity. In my view, however, that identity changes from one person to the next. So, how would I know who I am.