To begin this series, I want to first look at the struggles that so many wives face when they come to seminary.
Your husband is in class. You are either working full-time outside the home to support him, working inside the home by caring for your children, or a combination of the two. You hear the word "busy" more often that you can count. You may feel like you see your husband only at mealtime and bedtime. You are both working hard to utilize the time that God has ordained for you while in seminary, but sometimes working, taking classes, serving at the church, and caring for your family gets overwhelming. What results is tough questions about what you are doing here in the first place.
Can you resonate with any (or all) of these? I can. When Chance and I first moved to Dallas, we jumped right into our church and began serving, while also participating in a ministry outside of the church. I started a full-time job at a financial management company, while Chance took a full load of summer classes. I hadn't known what to expect, but I figured it would take some time to adjust to our new schedules.
In the midst of all that, I was trying to build new friendships and find time to invest in those relationships that I hoped would last a lifetime. This was all new. As I attempted to navigate the waters of seminary life, I realized that I could go through this whole experience feeling overwhelmed.
"I'm just here for him!" If you are at seminary with your husband, it is [hopefully] because the Lord has specifically called him to be trained for ministry. However, God has called your husband and you to the ministry. One mistake that I believe many wives make is that they come to seminary for their husband, rather than with their husband. What I mean by this is that wives will say that they are just here while their husband gets his degree, yet they do not see the unique opportunity that they themselves have to get trained to be in ministry alongside their husband.
At the opening event for DTS's seminary wives, I heard the advisor to SWIM (Seminary Wives In Ministry) say very pointedly that both you and your husband are getting that degree. That clicked for me. I began using the phrase "we are in seminary" rather than singling Chance out. This was due to her exhortation that my husband was not going to get through this experience without my support.
Both Chance and I, as a married couple, have been called to a life of ministry. As his wife, I am to fully support my husband no matter what, as long as he is obeying the Lord and living according to God's Word. I am here with my husband. I am not against him. I am not just tagging along. I am really with him in seminary.
Loneliness - At a place like seminary, the most ironic thing is that everyone is going through much the same experience as you are, yet oftentimes you can feel very alone. If I gathered 10 women in a room and asked them what their biggest struggle has been while at seminary, I would guess that 9 out of 10 of those ladies would confess to feeling isolated and/or lonely.
Unmet expectations - Lastly, many wives comes to seminary with a set of expectations. The expectation that we wives are going to build great community, as soon as they walk on campus, is common. Or wives expect that their husbands will gain crystal clear insight as to his future ministry within the first semester.
These are simply three ways that I have observed (and experienced) struggles in my time here at seminary. Thankfully, God provides us with everything that we need for life and godliness in his Word. In the next post, I will relay some of the tremendous ways that God has used this period of time to grow me and cause me to see his grace in my life.