Bad advice I once thought about taking
"God has created men to have more freedom than women in marriage."
Dealing with two babies who were just a year apart, I tearfully shared with another pastor's wife how it seemed Larry got more time for himself than me. At the time, I was feeling overwhelmed, and in need of a break. She answered back to me that men have always been more free in marriage and it's just the way it is, and the way it was meant to be. I'll never forget her words to me: "Men are more free, Deanna. That's just the way it is -- it's normal for us wives to feel that way. Just accept it and flow with it and things will be much better." She isn't alone in believing this. According to her and some other women who advised me over the years, wives have apparently have been ordained by God to be home with the children, serving tirelessly with only a break on Mother's Day or other such rare occasions while their husbands play golf, get together with the guys for football or basically do whatever else they want while their wives chase after kids. Women are not to complain or bring up our needs, but instead just thank God that we have been so blessed. Who makes this stuff up? Seriously. It's out of someone's head for sure, because I have combed my Bible and never found it. Am I blessed? Absolutely. But I need renewal just as much as much husband does, and it is not selfish of me to ask for it. Thankfully my husband now understands that and there is no issue with me taking that time and in fact he encourages it.
"Don't have friends in the church."
I have heard this one repeatedly ever since Bible College. We do know who makes this stuff up -- people who have served in ministry for many years who have been burned. Their answer was to pull back and only have friendships with other ministers because they say, "familiarity breeds contempt."
"If you get close to people you'll get hurt."
"Once they really know you they have the power to betray you."
Yep. All those things are true, but the bottom line is that relationships are worth it. You can build walls to keep the hurt out but you'll keep the love out too. I choose not to live that way. I am willing to go through the challenges that relationships bring because without friendship I'm a very lonely, unfulfilled person and I believe God created us for relationship - pastors and pastor's wives included. Isn't it strange that God included three whole books of instruction in His Word to pastors as to how to run the church but He never once said in any of those three books that we shouldn't have friends.
"Don't ever be honest with your husband about how his sermon really was unless it was amazing."
Ughhh...one of my favorite pieces of advice that I love to hate. "Women of God" advise us to lie to our husbands, (lying can be what you don't say as well as what you do say) all because their egos are supposedly too fragile to ever be able to handle the truth. I was discussing this recently with a good friend who is a seasoned pastor's wife of a large church, and she said to me, "what does this advice say about our men? This advice implies that they are fragile weaklings who are ego driven and can't handle anything."
While I believe truth does need to be shared with discretion and we should always point out anything positive that we possibly can first I don't see anywhere in God's word where we are instructed to lie because our husbands are preachers. If a man's self worth is so brittle that he cannot receive constructive criticism from time to time, he should get some therapy before assuming the pastorate or take a break from it to get some help. I definitely don't believe a wife should have a critical spirit, however we can serve as a positive sounding board as well as advisor when our partner asks for feedback. While the Bible tells us to be encouraging, and does speak about discretion, it doesn't instruct us to lie. Last I checked there was no "unless your husband is a preacher" clause. My husband values my opinion and we both discuss the strengths and weaknesses of our messages to try to improve.
What advice have you received, considered, and disregarded?