I have a tough time making friends. I get around people and my brain seems to stop working. I can’t think what to say, and it’s hard for me to remember (until hours after the interaction) that I should be asking the other person questions. I’ve had a couple of those experiences lately. And it’s harder being the pastor’s wife to find those close friends that you can share anything with.
My sister (who is also a pastor’s wife) and I talked about this a few months ago. If there is something that upsets us that our husbands do, we can’t really talk to anyone about it. I’m not talking about the minor little annoyances that everyone has. But let’s face it, your spouse is the closest human relationship you have (ideally). He can do things that bring you great joy, but he can also hurt you better than anyone else. I’d be surprised if anyone married would be able to (honestly) say that they have never been deeply hurt by their spouse.
The thing is, television tells us to talk to our girlfriends about those hurts, to deal with them. I don’t think that’s wise for anyone to do, because it brings another person into the relationship. Which is why I’m talking in generalities here, not specifics. But even the minor little complaints are not things I feel comfortable bringing to my friends, because pretty much my friends are people I’ve met at church (members who look to my husband as their pastor) or through the church (usually other church workers who interact with my husband professionally, or their spouses).
Because so much of my life is tied up in being a pastor’s wife, there are times I feel left out of the close-friend thing. I haven’t really talked with anyone from our last church since we moved, because it hit me that all we talked about was church for the most part. Now what do we have to talk about? I’d feel bad sharing joys, like I was saying, “oh, it’s so much better here than being with you.” And sharing sorrows would be the equivalent of telling them “I wish we hadn’t moved.” Neither one paints an accurate picture.
I also get the feeling like people hold back when talking with me, because I am the pastor’s wife. Probably also because I hold back talking to them. In a lot of ways this blog is a good outlet for me, because it lets me voice my feelings in a way that I can think through before sharing, and that’s safer than conversation for keeping things private.
What prompted this musing about friends? Probably the comment from Becky from yesterday’s post. Becky was my college roommate, for all of you who don’t know her, and one of a handful of people I have always felt comfortable opening up to. Whenever I think about what a real friend is, I think about the time when I was being really stupid in college with a dating relationship and she told me so. It hurt at the time but was the truth I needed to hear (even if I did ignore it for a while).
As for the rest of you who follow this blog, from new friends at church to old classmates to people I’ve never met in real life, thank you for listening and allowing me to share my heart with you.