Q&A with a Priest: What Does It Mean to Be a Priest’s Wife?

Question: Your blessing, Father. What should I do: my husband has become a priest but I’m not the right kind of a person to be a matushka (a priest’s wife — translator’s note), unfortunately. I’m really bothered about that because I’m not a quiet, meek, and God-fearing girl. I’m a regular kind of woman who has led a fairly secular life. I didn’t have much of a religious upbringing. I have a burden of grave sins in the past: I had had affairs before I met my husband, and I’m not an example to follow even today: I often shout, quarrel, and get annoyed. I get upset easily, I can’t tolerate anything at all. I feel that my soul is seriously ill. I didn’t marry for love: I was just feeling lonely. Why did God send me a seminarian and a son of a priest who decided to follow in his father’s footsteps? Anna.

Answer by Fr. Andrew Lemeshonok: Dear Matushka Anna, although you refuse to accept this title, you’ve become a matushka for real. It is God’s saving grace and God’s mercy toward you. Perhaps, you don’t understand a lot of what is going on yet. You have a habit of sinful living. This is your new duty, and if you are patient, if you at least make some effort, I believe that you will become a very good matushka.

The matushka’s role is helping the priest. It is inner struggle to make sure that there is peace in your family, that you really love your husband. Who can we love when we are in such a sinful condition? In order to learn to love, you’ve got to change your life, you should correct all those errors that you’ve committed in your life. To do so, you’ll require quite a lot of hard work and time.

That is why you shouldn’t complain or whine that you’re so miserable, that you didn’t want it, that you didn’t know it or didn’t understand anything at all. You became a seminarian’s wife so you might have assumed in advance that he would become a priest in the end. Isn’t that the reason young men go to seminary?

Right now, it’s vital that the devil doesn’t break up your family, in which case the new priest will remain single forever. You see what could happen? The devil will do what it takes to destroy your family. He will whisper into your ear, “Ditch your priest and live freely as you please.” Haven’t you had enough of that freedom already? That’s why you currently need to brace yourself and start changing. To do so, you’ll need to open a prayerbook and the Gospel, and go to the church where your husband serves. You should feel that you’re a wife and begin to build up your family and your inner self, which is so pathetic right now. Work hard! You’ll never regret the fruit of your labour. May the Lord save you, Matushka!

November 23, 2018
St. Elisabeth Convent