Dear Abigail

My husband's first wife passed away and I am being compared to her. What can I do?


I was a single Christian woman for many years. Having never been married, I began to pray and boldly ask God for a mate to join me in life. God recently honored that request, and it became apparent rather quickly that He was unfolding a plan for me and my future mate. However, it wasn’t quite the “arrangement” I had envisioned for myself. My husband’s first wife had passed away, leaving him with two small children. I wasn’t prepared for a ready-made family, and, to my surprise, I found out that he was also a pastor!

I am facing some challenges with his children and church members. I am being compared to “her” (the first wife), and this is very uncomfortable. I love my husband, and he is very supportive of me, but I’m just feeling inadequate and need direction.


The “Second Pastor’s" Wife

Dear "Second Pastor's wife":,

It’s apparent that you took on a “not so typical” role as a pastor’s wife! You are to be commended for your positive attitude in this situation.

I recently visited with friends who have experienced the same situation that you described. They shared some insights that I hope and pray will be applicable to you. And, just so you know, they also described many challenges in the beginning—from complete disrespect by the children to church members suggesting that maybe she wasn’t the “right” pick for the pastor! The good news is that God blessed and smoothed the way for a successful pastoral family who brought honor and glory to God.

First, a Christian family counselor is a must for the husband, wife, and children. It is not easy for you, your husband, the children, or even the church congregation to step into new roles, but with some learned skills it can become a beautiful relationship for everyone.

Second, plan for regular “family meetings.” Establish this as a “safe time” for everyone to voice their feelings and concerns so that good relationships will be fostered.

Third, prayer is a non-negotiable. The family that prays together . . . yes, stays together. Fasting is optional but proven to be another positive factor in this journey. Ask your church to lift your family up in prayer every day. Most members are willing to be supportive, but they just need to be encouraged in this direction. In time, positive adjustments will ease the awkwardness of being the “second pastor’s wife.”

Lastly, connecting with friends, walking, baking, and volunteering are great ways to take your mind off the cares of the day.

Challenge God to reveal Himself in each difficult situation. Find courage and comfort in His promises. He is faithful and will supply all of your needs. Jesus will see you through! “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Pet. 5:7, KJV).