Dr. Soul Aniebue I Executive Vice President, African Pastors Network APN
1If you have been in the ministry long enough, and have been challenged by the devil, people and situations, you will not need anyone to tell you that it can be difficult for a Senior Pastor’s wife to have many close friends other than their husbands. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a wife making her husband her best friend, but sometimes you need someone of the same sex, not lesbianism, but a friend whom you can fellowship with without fear of your private issues being discussed all over the world. The Bible says that friendship is a defense and wisdom is also a defense.

According to Lois Evans, “The late Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ and the Global Pastors Network, gleaned these figures from various sources a few years ago:

Eighty percent of pastors and 84 percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their roles.
Eighty percent of pastors' spouses feel their spouse is overworked.
Almost 40 percent of pastors polled said they have had an extramarital affair since beginning their ministry.
Fifty percent of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.
Eighty percent of pastors' wives feel left out and unappreciated by the church members.
When pastors' wives have problems, they often go undetected because they can become isolated and lonely. In "What Pastors' Wives Wish Their Husbands and Churches Knew About Them," reported in 2001 that 56 percent of pastors' wives had no close friends in the church. Often these women, looked up to as leaders, are reluctant to approach members of their congregations for help. So next time you see your pastor's wife, be sure to offer some words of encouragement. She may need them more than you know.”

How can you overcome all the potential obstacles and find true friendship?

1 - Do not be in a hurry. Spend time with GOD and allow the HOLY SPIRIT to lead you. (Romans 8:14). GOD knows who is best qualified to be your close friend. While the Bible commands us to love everyone, the Bible never instructs us to place our trust or confidence in any human being. (Jeremiah 17:5)
2 - Ask yourself this question, why do I need a close friend? While it is absolutely human to have friends, it is also prudent for you to examine your motives for everything you do. The reason is simple, GOD will only bless things that we do with pure motives. If you want GOD to give you quality friends that will be mutually beneficial, you must make sure that your motives are right in the very beginning. (1 Cor.3:11), the foundation of the friendship must be GOD centered, otherwise, the devil will get into the relationship and use the friend to vex you, your family, and the ministry.
3 - Involve your husband when you are considering someone as your close friend. This does not mean that you are not independent to some extent, but in ministry, friendship is an instrument of war. If you have wrong close friends, it will only be a matter of time before the devil will use them to attack you and your ministry. (1 Cor.15:33), says that a bad company can corrupt good morals. Take heed to the WORD of GOD, involve your husband, don’t be hasty, it is more beneficial for the two of you to agree than for you to do your own thing with some friend that is based on the flesh.
4 - Never make anyone your best friend because you need them. Generally, in ministry, people will always disappoint you the moment they realize that you are dependent on them. I can’t really explain it, but this is really the truth. (Psalms 121), you must trust GOD completely for all your needs, including your desire for having a close friend. Remember that GOD, your husband, and your children are really your only true friends. Learn to enjoy each other and make the decision to get along with each other. Sometimes church members come and go, and the only real persons there for you in all situations are, GOD, your husband, and your children. Learn from JESUS CHRIST, our LORD. HE had twelve friends, and three closest friends. But when HE needed them the most, at Gethsemane, they all abandoned him, and the ONLY Person that was there for HIM, was GOD and HIS Angels ministering to HIM.
5 - Sometimes it is safer to have friends outside of the church such as other ministers' wives in your community, parents of your children's peers or women who share similar activities (i.e., craft classes, local fitness center) may offer great friendship, as well as an environment for non-church related conversation and fun. Friends you make here will not face the obstacle of knowing you as their pastor's wife. Even them you must be careful not to engage yourself with someone who is not solid in their personal relationship with GOD. Do not be unequally yoked….
6 - Ministry is fun and challenging at the same time. It is really GOD who will fulfill your spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. The bottom line is this, as you submit to GOD and stay within HIS WILL and walk in unity with your husband, GOD will strategically position and bring the right people to you. Now, when HE brings them, do not make them your own, the only real thing you have is GOD and your immediate family. Study the WORD, Work Hard, Laugh A Lot, and Do not Make Anything in Life A Big Deal. Luke 1:37.
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