Something I never bargained for when I became a pastor's wife was the amount of confidentiality that would be bestowed upon me. My husband offers counseling in his day to day worklife and occasionally I become privy to certain things if he thinks my opinion would be helpful. But as a general rule, he does not tell me everything. Most people assume he does and come to talk to me as well. So there I stand as people tell me their innermost thoughts thinking I know what the hell they are talking about and I really don't have a clue.
Other times I become a confidant in the innerworkings of the association of churches. I know when a pastor is about to be moved to a new church and when another pastor has been having an affair. I know when a wife has filed for divorce. Occasionally I even know when grand poobahs are about to be moved by the supreme poobah before it is announced. All of this I am expected to keep closely guarded. And I do. I have no problems keeping the largest of secrets. A lot of times I keep my secrets by keeping my mouth closed during conversations and just listening. People ask me things and I will smile and move my head. When I do this, people translate this action however they want and they feel as if I have answered when I really haven't.
But today I got tripped up. There is a woman in our church who has a very effeminate husband. He is a great dad, a loving husband and an all around nice guy. But if you gave me truth serum and asked me if I thought he was gay, I would have to say yes. But I also know that some gay men choose a heterosexual lifestyle because they want the family and kids. They don't want to "be" gay. That's their choice and who am I to judge? Surely the woman could tell that he was not as manly as other men in her life.
Apparently her family took her to task for marrying a "gay" man (remember, he claims he is not) and they both got really offended. So there I was, listening and head bobbing when she said, "I've always just accepted him for being who he was. I never thought he was gay. But now I am having my doubts." Nod, nod, head bob...."OH MY GOD!!!! You think he's gay too!" EEERRRPPPPP!!!! Abort, Abort.
I must have looked like a deer trapped in the headlights. I have learned over the years that when people are talking to me in the pastor's wife capacity, I must act like a counselor and never give a definitive opinion. I can't risk someone coming back and saying, "Well, the pastor's wife told me to do such and such." I stumbled for a minute and said, "I do think he's metrosexual." And that was the truth. Her anger was diverted by that comment and she assumed because I didn't finish with "and gay" that her marriage was happy and safe.
But lord help me when he finally can't live with himself in this manner anymore. And I need to brush up on my nod, nod, head bob routine.