Sunday, July 31, 2016

Words are powerful

I often get asked, "What do you call your husband at home?"

Obviously, I call him by his first name, Steve. But at church, or when talking to church members and others who only know him as a pastor, I always refer to him as "Pastor Anderson." Even when directly addressing him, I avoid calling him by his first name when others can hear. We have been in the ministry long enough to know that people who are too chummy with the pastor quickly become disrespectful and treat him as a buddy, not an elder as the Bible admonishes. This attitude then spreads like a wildfire.

I would no more talk about "Steve" to another church member than I would call him that to the kids when speaking about their dad, as in: "Please take this to Dad," and not "Give this to Steve". Married couples who refer to the other parent by their first name to the kids  show great disregard for the that parent's status of being an authority figure to the children, and not their co-equal. It is a passive aggressive way to show disrespect, and one the kids are certain to pick up on and perpetuate. These couples always have troubled marriages because they fail to appropriately honor the other out of a false sense of pride. A good wife who is interested in seeing her husband honored and succeeding will always strive to build him up in the estimation of others, and should never intentionally try to "take him down a notch", especially so publicly or to the children. 

In much the same manner, those who are legitimately on a first-name basis with the pastor but refuse to address him with his title of honor to those who only know him as that, do so out of pride, as well as a show-boating of the fact that they are in the pastor's inner circle. It doesn't get any closer than being married to the pastor, but I don't feel the need to rub that in to give myself more clout. 

I am thankful that when my husband first expressed his desire to be a pastor someday to our pastor at that time, the pastor's wife impressed the importance of this concept on me. In turn, I have tried to teach this to the wives of pastors we have sent out. My husband and I are both on a first-name basis with several pastors, but only ever address them as "Pastor so-and-so" publicly.

On my blog, which is read both by people who know him as Pastor Anderson as well as personal friends and family who know him as Steve, I avoid having to choose either by only ever referring to him as "my husband" which is neither awkward nor disrespectful. 

The words we use reveal much about ourselves and issues we struggle with, such as humility and showing honor to whom honor is due. 

5 comments:

  1. What I like about this post is most likely why in front of my children even today, I refer to my husband as Dad instead of by his name. We are to be the example and that is the first way a child learns is through our actions. One thing that seems very southern (I could be wrong) is a reference to Pastor Bill(as in my Husbands case) and Ms Jennifer. I corrected my children at home and told them to refer to Pastor as Pastor Anderson and for you it would be Mrs. Anderson. This area in New Mexico is much like when we lived in Louisiana and people would add the title then go straight to the first name-in my opinion negating the respect. Thank you for this post as it is one that makes one think.

    Jennifer

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  2. Thank you for the explanation, as it was confusing to me why only "my husband" is used on your blog.
    However, I wonder if you can explain why he refers to you by your first name on his own blog? Can I assume he would refer to you as Mrs. Anderson in front of others? And as Mom (or something similar) to your kids? I'm wondering how that works, unless he calls you by your first name at all times.

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  3. I really enjoyed this post I always wondered why my pastor's wife always referred to him as pastor while talking to us at church and i never asked in case there was some very serious reason they did and i was never informed.
    I love your blog i may not be a wife or mother (yet) but i love to learn about this stuff especially since i would like to be a pastor's wife. God Bless you and your family Mrs Anderson 💖

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