An interesting little thread developed on my Facebook page yesterday that I felt the need to clarify in more than 160 characters.
Those of you who blog know that statistic programs (Sitemeter, etc.) exist that show what google searches people used to arrive at your blog if that is indeed how they found it. It’s a crack up to look at them because you’ll see anything from “My wife dresses me like a girl” to “I’m in love with my preacher and he has a wife.” Both real searches that someone, somewhere on the planet used to arrive at my blog this week.
To the dude whose wife dresses you like a girl: Did you find something here that helped? If you did, I’m closing down this blog immediately.
As for the woman in love with her pastor, let’s talk about that.
Firstly I need to clarify that this ‘googler’ could be from anywhere in the world. Just because she found me doesn’t mean this is someone in our church. Or like my Facebook remark that started this whole thing – at least she better not be. (It’s a joke, y’all. I don’t think that for a split second.) I first made light of the search because that is just how I roll, but the more I thought about it the less funny it became.
I talked to a couple of friends about this topic today and I think they were both shocked at how common an unhealthy attachment to the pastor can be. In fact, this search is by far not the first. I’ve never written on this loaded topic, but apparently the ‘preacher wife’ aspect of this site leads some to believe an answer may be found here.
And don’t let me leave it as though needy parishioners are the only ones who can instigate some inappropriate behavior. Pastors can be just as guilty – not mine mind you – but only because Luke and I know full well how Satan would love to destroy our family and we are diligent in protecting our relationship. Let me be clear that neither one of us thinks for a single second the other would be unfaithful but we also understand the concept of ‘be careful if you think you stand lest you fall’.
So what does that look like for us?
Primarily, we have been ultra-intentional in preserving our relationship and friendship through ministry and parenting. We’ve fought long and hard for the marriage we have and there’s no stinkin’ way we are giving up on it at this stage in the game. One of the things I believe most strongly is that there is no such thing as a ‘successful’ ministry if our homes are in shambles. Can’t storm the gates of hell outside your house if you are busy raising it on the inside. I pray for ministry wives often that the Lord would preserve your relationships in the midst of the obvious stressors your family will face as you serve His Body.
Practically, Luke does not nor will not meet with a woman alone. Period. If a female needs counsel then it is agreed in advance that either I will be there or the door will be wide open in full view and hearing of the secretary so that there can be no misunderstanding as to content of the conversation. I do not mean to suggest that every woman who needs the advice of her pastor is automatically on the prowl. However, it is naive to think that someone in desperate circumstances – especially one experiencing marital discord – is not more vulnerable to form an emotional attachment to someone she may perceive as being everything her own husband is not.
And again, let’s not let the pastor off the hook. This is why strong marriages in ministry are so vital. It is not unheard of for a chivalrous male to suddenly become attached to a woman he feels the need to rescue – especially if he feels unneeded at home. Considering both sides, I think it is pretty easy to see how sharing intimate life details can create an environment ripe for indiscretion if we aren’t wise to the devil’s schemes.
I’m interested in hearing from you girls about this – ministry wives and lay people alike. What safeguards have your families put in place? What advice can you give? Does your pastor/church have policies to protect both parties? Please feel free to discuss all of the many angles I didn’t cover because this short post is in no way meant to be exhaustive. Really, it’s just more of a discussion starter so…let’s discuss! I’ll be answering in the comments…