Thought For The Day 09/24/14


The Preacher’s Spouse

Clergy Families Of The 21st Century

Thought 1291




“Every minister worthy of the name has to walk the line between prophetic vision and spiritual sustenance, between telling people the comforting things they want to hear and challenging them with the difficult things they need to hear. In Oxford, Daddy began to feel as though all the members wanted him to do was to marry them and bury them and stay away from their souls.”

Timothy B. Tyson

 “Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story”


One of my all time favorite movies was one that was released in 1947…..67 years ago, and before I was even a twinkle in my father’s eye. It starred Loretta Young, David Niven, and Cary Grant as Dudley, an angel sent to earth to help a Bishop who prayed for divine guidance to build a cathedral but instead, Dudley helps him to find his way back to his faith and back into the arms of his loving family. However, it is the character portrayed by Loretta Young, that I am thinking about with what I write today. In the movie, she plays the silently suffering wife who fears she has lost her husband, the Bishop, to a golden idol, one he zealously pursues at the expense of the things in his life that really matter. And I began to think how often it is that the spouse of those who minister God’s word are so often the forgotten piece of the puzzle that is the life of the person with whom we seek both time and counsel, at all hours of the day and night. Often acting the role that many single parents do, changing the hats they wear and the roles they perform with a speed that could rival Houdini’s speed at escape, if it were not for the self-sacrifice these spouses willingly give, it would be impossible for the clergy member to function in his God-given role! And suddenly I began to wonder if the marriages of these couples survive the challenging life that they have chosen. Are marriage struggles as prevalent among this group of individuals as they are among mainstream marriages?


According to an LA Times article written in 1995 (1), the marriages of members of the clergy have about the same change of survival as does the marriage of the two people whose union they are blessing as they stand at the altar making their “to have and to hold” forever promises. Especially today, when the clergy role may be just as likely to find either a husband or a wife or a life partner fulfilling the supportive role within the family dynamic. One interesting footnote to the studies done finds that women clergy were more likely to have been divorced before they were ordained, while more male clergy became separated after taking the pulpit. Now there are differences within denominations as to their policies regarding divorced clergy and the roles they are permitted to perform, so there may be inherently fewer divorces among more fundamentalist faiths. However, it seems that, like most people in the world, members of the clergy put their pants on one leg at a time!


I write this to remind everyone that ministers are just as fallible as are the rest of the members of the human race. They have their warts and foibles and yes, some even wear their very own “Scarlet Letter” branded to their hearts. The one difference is that, unlike almost everyone else in the world, members of the clergy are expected to live exemplary lives and serve as role models for everyone else. Because of this, many will not seek help for their own personal, as well as interpersonal, struggles. Often there exists a degree of naivety regarding the demands that being a minister entails. However, just as it is with the rest of the population, those who willingly acknowledge their very human side, who accept criticism with grace, have a firm and realistic view of their egos, and finally, who have a high regard for the importance of interpersonal relationships, are more likely to not just have successful interpersonal relationships themselves but will also be a much more valuable member of society as a whole. So before you look for that halo above the head of your minister, take a long look in the mirror at yourself and then ask whether you hold unrealistic expectations for the person who seeks to share with you God’s plan for His people!


He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

2 Corinthians 3:6 NLT


Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

About Mandy Bruscella

Mandy's Story: As a Registered Professional Nurse with Certification in a number of specialties including home care, I was afforded the opportunity of working closely with various Social Service Agencies in NY and NJ. ~ A lifelong Christian, I was ordained as a Presbyterian deacon in 1993 and, after relocating to SC in 2000, elected to become ordained as a non-denominational minister. ~ I established "MandysPath" Ministry in 2011. "MandysPath" Ministry is a member of Pacific Life Church, El Sobrante, CA, network of ministries. ~ I direct an outreach ministry in an alternative setting, providing spiritual care to a congregation of more than 500 people from around the world via the Internet. ~ As part of this outreach, I write a daily faith based blog. In March, 2012 I was asked to become a board member of Heroes For Children which is a non-profit foundation, established to assists the Guardian ad Litem program of Horry County, SC. Guardians ad Litem are a group of court appointed advocates who represent the best interests of children in Family Court proceedings involving allegations of abuse or neglect. Working closely with these men and women who make a difference in the lives of children, I completed training and have been sworn in to serve as a Guardian ad Litem for the state of South Carolina . ~ I have been married since 1975 to a wonderful man, Daniel. I have a son Daniel and his wife Melissa who live in NYC. My daughter Sabrina and my grandson Landon live here in SC. ~ My father Harold continues to share his wisdom with me and is responsible for many of the ideas I write about!

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