Friends Without Expectations

As a reminder to those of you who do not know me, I am not a pastor’s wife. I work in the home office of a home mission and work with pastors’ wives every day. My grandma, my aunt, and my sister-in-law were pastors’ wives. These ladies are my inspiration for many of my posts.

However, this one comes from an incident in my own life many, many years ago. At my church of about 200 at the time, I played the piano for services and another lady played the organ. I was excited when a new couple began attending and we learned that she wanted to serve by playing the piano. Imagine! Having a Sunday off to sit and sing instead of playing the piano!

A long time later (my memory isn’t good with time spans), she came to me after church one Sunday morning and said that she and her husband were leaving the church. The reason she gave me was that she thought we would become good friends. But I had never invited her to go out with my friends and me after church on Sunday evenings. She watched us leave and felt left out. I had not put in the effort to be her friend. 

I was devastated. Had I caused her to leave our church?

I apologized and tried to explain to her. I was a single mom raising two girls. I didn’t go out after church on Sunday evenings. I went home to be with the girls. I worked 50 hours a week at two jobs and, while I had great friends, we didn’t really do much together at that time in my life. I couldn’t understand how things had gone so wrong.

Sadly, she didn’t care to hear my explanation or give me another chance to be the friend she wanted me to be. I think that often happens to pastors’ wives. It is common for everyone to want to be friends with the pastor’s wife when they first arrive. Some expect her to reach out to them and develop a friendship. Some will reach out to her. Some prefer to watch and wait. Some allow a friendship to happen over time.

The valuable thing to remember is that, as a new woman in the area, the pastor’s wife needs friends. And as a pastor’s wife, she needs to have a friend that understands her role. There will be times she cannot share what is bothering her. There will be times she will carry her burdens and the only thing we as her friend can do is pray for her without knowing the details. 

Above all, we need to be her friend without expectations. Otherwise, we run the risk of losing the precious gift of her friendship.

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About Lynnette Goebel

Lynnette is the Director of Operations at RHMA Headquarters in Morton, Illinois. She has attended the same small-town church for most of her life. She adores her pastor’s wife.

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