Everyone is always going to have their opinions positive or negative. In ministry it is often good to surround yourself with people who are for you. People who will have your back no matter what you do. These people will defend you to those criticizing, and will stop gossip. These are also people who will be honest with you, and protect you.
I can remember a time in ministry when a girl pursued my husband. She however, was close with one of our staff member's wives and unfortunately gossip spread like wild fire about how I was wrong to set unrealistic boundaries in my marriage. Boundaries set to protect my marriage weren't fair to any female in our church, because females should be allowed to talk with the pastor in private about things. Unfortunately, that won't fly in our church. I can remember my husband and I not really knowing how to handle it all. I mean, there isn't a rule book about these sort of things. Bitterness starting creeping up in me about how people could talk about my husband and I behind our backs. How could they? The very people doing ministry with us are suppose to protect us.
Long story short, we ended up confessing to the whole church our boundaries, and that we have to protect ourselves because the devil is out to destroy, and if we leave our doors open he will burn our house down. Looking back, we could have handled things differently. Yes, announcing it church wide about our boundaries certainly cleared the air of the gossip and future women trying to meet privately with my husband. But, we could have stopped bitterness from creeping in, prayed for the people who were saying nasty things, and loved the people through it.
When people hurt us, it is so easy to build our walls of protection. I am not saying not to protect yourself and just let the horses trample over you. But I am saying, to love people the way Jesus loved. A lot of people had nasty things to say about Jesus, but he didn't throw a pity party. He held his head high and walked in his calling.
Next, dont defend yourself. Jesus never did. He said, "I am that I am." We are daughters of the king called to a position of shepherding in the role of a pastor's wife. You don't have to prove yourself you anyone. Where God has called you, he has equipped you. Walk in love. Have a spirit of compassion towards everyone, including those who persecute you.
Also, you aren't perfect, and neither is anyone else. If the gossip is true, own it, and apologize for the wrong. It is as simple as saying, "you know what, I was wrong in what I did, and I am sorry. But gossiping about me is wrong to, and I would appreciate it, if you forgive my wrong, and don't spread hurtful things about me."
Last, how do we protect our husbands to those persecuting? Always speak life and positive things about your husband. Build him up to people, always. If people see you talk negatively or see that you will allow them to talk negatively about your husband then they will. However, if they see you have his back, and speak encouraging words about your husband, then they won't want to talk negatively to you. Anytime someone is coming to you with something mean, stop it before it comes out of their mouth, look at them with love and say, "what is it worrying you, that I can pray with you right now in this moment for?" I bet that will work ;)
xo a girl who sleeps with the pastor