Crash Course for the Pastor’s wife-to-be: Don’t move into the rectory without it!

  1. Support your husband at all times
  2. Keep your mouth shut and pray
  3. Don’t put undue pressure on your kids; there’s plenty already in being the pastor’s child
  4. Keep your mouth shut and pray
  5. When your husband is offered a new parish, ensure they offer a good dental plan. Your job requires a lot of smiling.
  6. Keep your mouth shut and pray
  7. If you must cheat on a fast day, don’t get caught.
  8. Keep your mouth shut and pray
  9. Be careful whom you confide in. Call someone you know you can trust, and hang the long distance bill.
  10. Keep your mouth shut and pray
  11. Don’t hold too many volunteer positions in the church. Why should the parish get two full-time workers for the price of one?
  12. Keep your mouth shut and pray
  13. Insist on separate phone lines for the church office and your household. Otherwise your teenagers will tie up the line, and your husband will never get any calls and will end up under your feet at home all the time.
  14. Keep your mouth shut and pray
  15. Demand your husband designate one day a week as his day off, and tell parishioners it’s a mortal sin to phone him on that day for anything less devastating than an earthquake. This way, you may get as much as one complete day off every six weeks. (Training your husband will take much longer than training the parishoners, so be patient.)
  16. Keep your mouth shut and pray
  17. Keep your house clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy, but don’t be surprised to find parishioners whose definition of healthy differs from yours and who can’t be happy unless you aren’t.
  18. Keep your mouth shut and pray
  19. Laugh. It really is better than crying.
  20. Keep your mouth shut and pray
  21. Beneath those sombre vestments beats the heart of a man who adores you. Remind him of this as often as necessary.
  22. Keep your mouth shut and pray
  23. Seriously consider gymnastics or circus training. Your whole life as the priest’s wife is a balancing act, trying to be an integral part of the parish life without annihilating your privacy.
  24. Keep your mouth shut and pray

by an Anonymous Priest’s Wife. First Published in The Handmaiden, Winter 1997

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