In many of our dioceses, it’s the time of year for ordinations. For some of us, our husbands will be ordained; some of us will celebrate ordination anniversaries. Still others, are early in formation with uncharted territory ahead.
What better time to take stock of our experiences, and to share them with others?
Recently, a group of diaconate wives in our area were invited to speak with women whose husbands are discerning their call to be deacons. The aspirant wives had questions, and we were eager to share our experiences with them. Our conversations were rich with warmth, laughter, and insights. Here are just a few highlights.
Q: We don’t get the information we need! What can we do to improve communication from the diocesan formation organization, and even the deacons or deacon-candidates themselves?
Wives who must plan family lives around their husband’s ministries without needed information get understandably frustrated!
Ask the formation leaders to include wives’ email addresses on ALL relevant communications (or even include ONE wife who is willing to serve as an information liaison).
Ask the formation leaders to post information on milestone events and requirements on a website that the wives can access.
“Gently” pressure our husbands to keep us informed so that we can handle the household with harmony and balance.
Network with other wives – they’re a great source of best practices and support!
Q: How do we handle husbands being much less available for family events or for household help? WE have full lives, too!
Simplify your schedules and prioritize demands on you and your husband’s lives as much as possible! This might include simpler meals (even ordering takeout more), hiring a lawn-mowing service, or saying NO, nicely but firmly.
Open space on your calendars is necessary to accommodate ‘the new normal’.
Be willing to let less important things go, for your sanity and serenity.
Q: Will our own relationship with the parish and the pastor change after their ordination?
Most likely, YES!
- “I’m more thoughtful in choosing my words when speaking with parishioners”
- “I feel so loved by the parish!”
- “I have been lifted by their prayers during hard times”
- “As a deacon’s wife, it’s up to you to be as public or as private as you want to be – don’t feel pressured to be different.”
Q: What to do when parishioners bring their issues and complaints to me?
Answers: Encourage them to speak directly with the pastor or, if appropriate, a ministry leader or diocesan representative. Don’t take on problems that aren’t yours to solve!
Finally....It can help each of us to remember that even when there are bumps in the road, we can rejoice that we were called to the blessed sacrament of marriage, and be grateful that our husbands were called to serve God in this special way. What God is asking of them, He is also asking of US.
- What questions would you like answers for, whatever your stage in the journey?
- What have you found to be an issue?
- Have you found solutions that could help others?
- Share your own experiences to help others!
2 Thoughts on “The Journey of Formation or Post-Ordination – Wives’ Perspectives, FAQ Pt. 1”
I love the idea of a Social! We’ve gathered the wives for many spiritual events, and those are wonderful too, but a Social provides a different way of connecting and reinforcing our community. How did you fund expenses for food, etc? Any other tips for organizing the event? Thank you for sharing this!
This article is very timely. In our diocese we were asking the same questions and, interestingly, came up with some of the same answers.
Another thing we recently did was to hold a “Deacon Wives Social”. We mailed invitations to every woman in the Diaconate directory (including widows) to gather for a social for the purpose of sharing experiences. It was very fruitful.