First of all, thank you to the person who emailed this question in. It is an excellent question.
In my own time in ministry and what I have come to learn, is friends come and go. Every relationship needs to be meaningful, regardless if they become someone close to you or not. I have heard it said, you will be lucky if you find one or two people you become close to in a lifetime. These are people you can be real with, and they are for who you are. Not everyone is someone you can confide in, and that is ok. Don't ever feel the pressure to become best friends with someone. There are people who may refer to you as their best friend, but on your end they are just a friend to you.
There are different levels of friendships, and God brings you people in different seasons of life. Jesus was a friend to many, but he only had a few close friends. He had his disciples, and he had his three. Jesus took Peter, James and John up the mountain of transfiguration. Jesus also had his one. He was closest with John. Throughout the gospels John is referred to as the one whom Jesus loved.
God has called you to shepherd alongside your husband. He has brought you many people in ministry. Some a joy, some a burden, and others a pain. But God wants to use you to speak truth into others lives, as well as use them to speak into your life. There is purpose in people.
Don't feel obligated to make a relationship meaningful. Every person you come in contact with, make it count! I just met a girl yesterday morning at church who struggles with depression, and suicide. I would have never known she faces that, had she not opened up to my husband and I about it. This is a relationship God has just placed into my life. I probably would have never had a relationship with her other than a Sunday morning hello. But now, I have a relationship that isn't obligatory, but an honor to be a part of.
(Other answers from pastors and pastors' wives below)
Pastor's Wife -We've been in ministry now for 12 years. I've seen people come and I've seen people go. I've also seen people come back. I recognize that I have some relationships just because someone is in the church. You know, total opposites, completely different upbringing, different educations, life goals, etc. But I have found that when I look at people and recognize that God has brought them to our body, and that they have something unique to offer, that I form a genuine relationship with them. I once had a friend say "There is all kinds of kinds." There just is, and God made them and placed them at different churches. I think it's good to embrace people, after all, God does. At some point I started asking the Lord to reveal people's gifts and strengths, and when I started looking for "gold in the dirt" so to speak, I found it. Pray for God to show you people through his eyes, then the relationships are easier.
I will say this, I only have a few very close friends that I really share my heart with. I don't think that pastors' wives should ever feel obligated to be everyone's best friend. It simply isn't possible. You will naturally have people that you are closer with, and I think that is normal.
Pastor-Take off the pastor's wife hat, and just be yourself and see how that works. Also, understand that you are not going to be "besties" with every woman in the church. Some women you will not have anything in common with nor connect with. THAT IS OK. You are not called to be every woman's best friend...or even good friend for that matter. No one can wear that mantle. So seek out ladies that you WANT to hang out with and get to know. Women that appreciate the fact that there is soooo much more to you than the label of pastor's wife.
Pastor's wife-One thing I have observed through the years being a pastor's wife and meeting so many other pastors' wives is loneliness. It is hard to establish true confidential heart to heart friendships. But not impossible! I heard a man say once, "if in a lifetime you should find one true friend, you have found a good thing". Most people (not only pastors' wives) have many acquaintance-ships but few find a true friendship. Show yourself friendly. Search for kindred spirit. Be yourself. And be willing to hurt.....Pray, Pray, Pray....God knows what we have need of and who we have need of!
Pastor's wife-Different times of ministry puts different people and personalities into our lives. And to be honest sometimes the role of ministry brings people into our lives that we don't "enjoy" being with. However, God has put those people in our paths for a reason and if we are living in the Spirit we will look for opportunities for new and divine friendships and serve the needs of our sisters as God calls us. I remember having multiple friendships through our life-groups that would sometimes suck the life right out of me, however, when I look back and I am honest, God used those friendships to teach me things about myself that I needed to change or reevaluate.
My husband and I often talk about how we should do nothing out of guilt or obligation but that we need to be talking to the Father and asking him what He is calling us to and who he is asking us to go deeper with.
(if you would like to submit a question for next week's Q&A email it to firstname.lastname@example.org)