Oct 182013 5 Responses

The Preacher’s Wife (Funny Friday)

On our first date, Jenny told me should would never move for a man, never marry someone younger than her, and never be a preacher’s wife.

Within a year she moved to be with me, within two years she married someone younger than her, and for over a decade she has been a preacher’s wife.

She is what she never wanted to be, yet her fear of being a preacher’s wife came from a great misconception of what a preacher’s wife was. Growing up in a rural, small church, she assumed every preacher’s wife had to play the piano, attend church 8 times a week, and be the perfect, quiet, wife who submitted to her husband’s every desire.

I was attracted to Jenny, in part, because:

  • she loved Jesus, but she didn’t want to attend every church event
  • she can play the piano but it’s not that important to her
  • she is submissive, if she is heard, validated, and I am equally submissive to her

While Jenny is great, I’m comfortable in knowing there would be severe penalties if she ever decided I wasn’t necessary to her happiness. When you are who I am and do what I do (particularly on stage), it’s good to have the threat of life in prison if she decided to kill me.

Yet a few years ago, that threat was greatly weakened.

Mary Winkler was a pastor’s wife in Tennessee. One average Tuesday morning, Mary woke up, loaded a shot gun, went to her bedroom where she shot and killed her pastor husband in the back as he lay sleeping their bed. She then took her kids to the beach for a vacation.

When the police found her she confessed. A check-writing scheme had collapsed around her and the day of the shooting her husband was going to find out. Instead of feeling the pain of betrayal, he felt the pain of a single shot through the heart (and he wasn’t to blame because she gave love a bad name).

Mary prepared to spend life in prison until a sympathetic jury convicted her of voluntary manslaughter and a crazy judge sentenced her to ONE MONTH in jail. One month?

Paris Hilton went to jail for a month and a half for DUI.

Scooter Libby served 5 years for possibly committing perjury.

Martha Stewart served 5 months for lying to the Feds.

Yet Mary Winkler got one month.

Even O.J. Simpson thought she got off too easy.

The night I watched the verdict on the news I was outraged. When I told the story to Jenny I expected the same response. But she was not outraged; instead she seemed reflective. It was as if she was evaluating this new piece of information.

Our whole life was built around the knowledge that if she ever killed me—which I likely would deserve—she would lose everything. Yet it’s possible her only punishment would be 30 days in jail.

One month is not a threat. One month of not working, not being a mom, not being a wife—that’s not a deterrent, that’s a vacation.

My life is dependent on two graces—God’s and Jenny’s. Thankfully God is perfect, but Jenny could have a bad day. This knowledge causes me to tread lightly when we are both in the kitchen around the knives.

Happy Friday.


5 Responses to The Preacher’s Wife (Funny Friday)
  1. Becky Moore Harris Reply

    I like Jenny more and more every day.

  2. Sydney Linam Goodwin Reply

    I have never met Jenny but I love her too. I love all of your articles, this was one of the best because I was also a preacher’s wife for 18 years. That marriage ended after 18 years because of death. Oh, maybe I should clarify, he died of a heart attack, way too young. I, too, told my husband the first time I met him that I would never marry a preacher. The age thing did not come up because he was 8 years older than me. Actually it was a problem for my dad, but never for me. I should have known we would move a lot, I grew up in the Methodist church, after all. Nothing prepares you for moving your children to different schools that you did not choose, moving into parsonages and living with furniture you did not choose. Of course, as the years progressed most of our houses were very nice but then we had the pressure of not letting our dog damage the furniture, not to mention kids (no names mentioned here) writing on the wall with red magic markers! I had an idea of what preacher’s wives were supposed to be including how they dressed, how many times they went to church every week (8 times is not an exaggeration), how they felt, ect ect. All I knew was that I would never measure up. I spent several years in anguish about this until the day I realized that none of this mattered and found out about God’s grace. So I guess people would wonder what took me so long, but I did not mean to write my life history here. There is not enough room here to do that anyway. I have to respond to your blog today too. We know about disabilities and how much we love our grandchildren. Thank you for your blog and for allowing us to respond, Kevin.

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