January 24, 2010

Nice to meet you too.

Last week I was in Target and saw a friend from church. I stopped and chatted with her briefly. She introduced me to a friend of hers who was standing close by saying, "I want you to meet Jacquie Reed." Her friend smiled and said "Hello" to which I replied, "Hello, nice to meet you." My friend proceeded to tell me that this woman was one of her daughter's neighbors, whose children played with my friend's grandchildren. Then my friend volunteered, "Jacquie is our pastor's wife." Then the woman said, "Oh, how nice."

I thought about this encounter as I continued my walk through Target. First, I haven't been introduced as a pastor's wife for many years. Second, somehow my " personhood " increased when I was introduced as "the pastor's wife." Then the next day I was in the locker room at the Y and one of the older women from church who takes a water aerobics class, spoke. We had a short conversation and then I left. However, as I was walking toward the door, I heard the woman say to her friend, "She is our pastor's wife." I heard the friend reply with those words of exclamation, "Oh she is?" but I was out the door before I heard a reply.

For many years I resented being introduced as "the pastor's wife" or "our little minister's wife" (which is such a joke because my husband is six feet tall). Anyway, I always said that I wanted to be introduced as, Jacquie Reed, person, period. However, in time as I became more comfortable with the "pastor's wife" introduction, people used the term less and less.

How about you? How are you introduced? What is your response when you are introduced as "the pastor's wife" or the "pastor's husband"?

Jacquie Reed, spiritual director Fishers, Indiana jreed46038@hotmail.com

1 comment:

  1. My spouse has been assigned to local churches but also to positions beyond the local church. While I really have mixed feelings about being introduced as the pastor's wife, I too have made peace with the introduction. The down side of being introduced that way is that people tend to see me only as an extension of my spouse's ministry. Being introduced other ways allows people to see me first as a person, rather than as simply part of the ministry package. But being introduced as the spouse also slots me in a role. I have some kind of place and I automatically fit in. And over time, I will change the role to better fit me. But when my spouse served beyond the local church, I didn't have that automatic recognition. True, there is an up side to that as well. But frankly, it's ok with me to be recognized.