Here’s what it looks like.
He lives what he preaches, he genuinely cares about people, and he wants to see Christ honored. He’s been this way from the start, and as he fills this role of pastor, he becomes more than a pastor to people. He becomes a friend, a confidante, a brother in Christ. And he’s loved for it… sometimes more than he should be.
He’s never inappropriate. He’s never counseled women alone, he never lets women get him alone, and he never approaches a woman, even a woman in church, alone. Too many marriages and ministries are destroyed with an innocent enough interaction between a pastor and a woman, and he goes to extreme lengths to protect himself from this, keeping all of his actions above reproach.
But still. He’s young in ministry, and I see the attention he gets. And I wonder sometimes if it will always be like this, even when he’s gray and softer around the middle, when people will no longer comment on how young he is, and when he’s even more confident in who he is in ministry, thanks to his age. I know he’ll be even more attractive to me, and I wonder if it will be the same with these women who seek him out.
And it worries me a little. Because even though he keeps things appropriate, the women around him sometimes don’t.
I’ve marveled, more than once, at a woman’s lack of self-awareness as she corners my husband in the hallway at church, telling him with radiance in her voice how much that sermon meant to her even as she puts her hand to his arm and beams at him as though he is, in fact, the greatest man in the world. I’ve wondered, more than once, at a woman’s ability to make flirty jokes and comments towards my husband, knowing that he’s a married man, thinking that it’s okay because he’s her pastor. I’ve been confounded, more than once, at a woman’s inappropriate conversation with me about Wes and how amazing he is and how she’d give anything if her own man would be more like my man.
Because I’m a very spiritual, godly pastor’s wife, I’ve offered to punch a few ladies right in the face a few times over the years. Or pull their hair out. You know, whatever works. Wes has declined my gracious offer but has mentioned that, yes, he sees what I see and that I have his word, just as he has my trust, that he’s always on guard.
It seems silly. And I’ve hesitated to ever write about it over our ten years of ministry together (and, yes, it’s ALWAYS been an issue because he’s always been this cute!), not wanting people to make judgments or speculate about other people or any of that. We’ve managed just fine this far into ministry, and I’m confident, thanks to Wes’s integrity and the hedge of protection I’m constantly praying around him, that we’ll continue to manage despite the attentions and intentions of others.
I only write about it now to encourage other wives out there, particularly ministry wives, to be wise. I promise you, if your man is a pastor, there are women out there who admire him more than they should. And though they might never intend to, there is the real possibility and threat of them forming emotional ties to him that will lead them to be inappropriate towards him.
And you better believe that one of his best defenses against the kind of temptation that could come with this is a godly wife who is thinking like a woman and knows what’s what when someone else is making the moves on her man.
You and your husband can’t control someone else’s actions, but you can be aware and ready and available to step up and redirect the attention, affirm your own marriage, remind the whole world how much you still thrill your man, and punch in some faces if necessary. (Okay, so maybe not that last one. Unfortunately.)
Be on guard, friends…