It sucks being a pastors wife... but it is paradise compared to being a pastors wife "in transition". Being "in transition" means you have no church to serve in.
You are traumatized because you left a good church with people you loved, or you are traumatized because you left a difficult church with people who hurt you, or you left because of some fault (or death) of your husband. Those are your choices.
The longer you are "in transition" the more risk you won't get hired... people assume things...
Then there is the job search. It is strait out of the pit of hell. (I'm serious) Job boards are messy and inconsistent. They even will state: If you have been divorced, laid off, believe in (...) , only employed by small churches, only part time DO NOT APPLY. It can take a full year to get another church assignment from resume to first Sunday. PASTORS DO NOT QUALIFY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT! So you must maintain some form of employment, typically not the one that your masters degree was intended for, typically not for your skill set. Often all while battling PTSD.
Over 3500 churches close their doors every year... (Some sources state 7000/year) those pastors are looking for work. Your resume is one of hundreds applying for each full time job. It takes months to narrow down the results. If you get a call that you are in the top 5, then the real hell begins. You will be given a questionnaire... asking all sorts of questions. Hours worth of work... painful work.
Every square inch of your life will be examined. You must provide video of your sermons, leading worship, etc. They want pictures of you and your family so that they can be scrutinized. You will have to provide dates of your marriage and your children's birthdays. (To make sure they came in the right order). Your education, beliefs, job history, gifts, personality and voice are all considered. Your friends and coworkers will be called. You will get fingerprinted, every ounce of your criminal/ financial history will be stared at by strangers. Then voted on.
A pastors search comittee knows more about you than we know of a president. A pastor tends to have more education than the president. A pastor almost always lives below the poverty line. If you divided his income by the hours he works (please include the texts, emails, phone calls, hospital visits, travel time, etc) Often he makes around minimum wage. It is worse than american idol...
So you finally get the job! So awesome! You move... You are welcomed, loved on, etc. Everyone invites you over, (Unless you have 5 kids) takes you out to eat, compliments you on everything. But years later you are nit picked to death. You are once again analyzed by those same people and the things they loved 2 years ago, now drive them crazy. They feel that they have the right to critique your clothes, personality, guitar playing, hair, etc. Every word out of your mouth (OR YOUR WIFES) or on facebook is gossiped, emailed, blown out of proportion, then brought up at deacon/elder meetings.
People leave, it's all your fault. Tithes are down, it's all your fault. Everything is your fault. You are depressed and the church doesn't feel connected to you. That is then complained about.
You hand in your resignation...
...people feel sad... maybe even cry...
Your name is taken off the sign and the newsletter.
Nothing else is said.
You no longer exsist.
Close friends may still keep in touch... but the life of the church goes on. (As it should) But:
Maybe something needs to change. (Read more of the link to see a glimpse of the statistics)