What my wife wears to bed is none of your business

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What does your wife wear to bed? If I asked you that question you’d probably be tempted to take a swing at me and then get some sort of context later.

None of your business.

Clothes. Pajamas. A raggedy old Yankees t-shirt. Whatever. (Those are not actual or accurate responses. My wife doesn’t own a Yankees shirt.)

Pillows Luc De Leeuw via Compfight

Really though, no matter the context it’s a completely inappropriate question for anyone to ask. So what’s the back story? Why am I bringing this up today?

Let me preface my answer by telling you that there are bad apples in every bunch. In religion, in business, in sports, in education, in finance there are people who give everyone else in that field a bad name. Stereotypes are unfairly created and the entire community suffers. Because one church does something doesn’t mean that all churches hold the same conviction. Just because one pastor falls or one husband errs doesn’t mean that none of them are worth trusting.

Just be careful who you do trust and above all else, trust Jesus.

Who was it then that asked what my wife wore to bed? It was a pastor and by association, his church—neither of which give license to ask such a personal and probing question.

It didn’t come from some depraved outwardly perverted individual but rather from the leader of a flock of believers. Albeit through the overreaching and intrusive form of a questionnaire that in the inquirer’s eyes apparently seemed less than harmless. Normal even. But in the name of all that is holy, I find it creepy, to borrow a word from my daughters’ vocabulary, that anyone would want to know how another man’s wife dressed when alone with her husband in the comfort of their own home.

The logic apparently was this: If she wears pajama pants to bed, then she’s wearing pants. If she’s wearing pants neither she nor her husband must be godly enough and biblically sound enough to represent us on the foreign mission field.

Sounds crazy, right? Sounds like it could never happen, right? But it does. More than you would probably guess.

When preparing to come to Portugal, we contacted hundreds of churches in attempt to raise the necessary support to sustain a family of seven and manage a fledgling ministry in a foreign country. The responses that we got were often eye opening. Far too often the first questions that I answered had to do with some peripheral position held by that particular church and other churches like it.

I was asked little about the gospel and a lot about garments. They cared little about Portugal and a lot about preferences.

The hoops we had to jump through were tiring and legalistic in many cases. I spent countless hours filling out questionnaires and being grilled over minor doctrinal issues. I spent even longer stressing out over how to answer the silly questions regarding personal choices. Individual liberties.

Where did you go to school?

What does your wife wear to bed?

What kind of music do you listen to?

How many movies do you watch in a month’s time?

I spent a whole lot of time worrying about what others thought about me and the way that I choose to spend my time, interact with my wife and raise my kids. Because of outward pressure I began to let the end justify the means.

“Well, if I just answer their questions and conform to their outwardly emphasized version of holiness, they will support us financially and we will be able to tell the Portuguese about Jesus,” I thought. Telling the Portuguese people about Jesus was the whole purpose, so I better get to filling out this survey.

Until that day when I stopped entertaining those thoughts altogether. I wasn’t going to waste my time telling another man how my wife preferred to sleep. It’s just not worth it.

Missionaries are servants. They are ambassadors who go and speak in the name of those that send them. They are not however robots, or slaves, or children. They should be trusted to deliver the good news of salvation in Jesus within the proper cultural context of their home away from home. They should be supported. People should intercede for them and try to minister to their weary souls rather than thread by precious thread picking them apart.

Paul said it better in 1 Cor. 9:3-5:

“Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?”

Do you trust us to make the proper decisions? Furthermore, is all of that stuff really important when determining if a man is qualified to leave the comforts of his own country, culture and language to preach the gospel in a foreign land—on your behalf?!

What do you think? Proper or not? Should missionaries be subjected to that type of questioning before being considered worthy of support? I’d love to hear what you think.

About the Author

Michael Andrzejewski

Michael Andrzejewski is a missionary in western Europe who loves to share his stories. An introvert by nature, he swims upstream while struggling to pastor cross-culturally. Passionate about both the Gospel and football, he constantly searches for really good sushi.

  • Oh my! What a silly question. You love Jesus and want to be a missionary. I pray this story will bring you more support.
    And really, how could you truly be a leader if your wife wore jammy pants?
    Oh, and no, missionaries should not be asked what their wife wears to bed.

    • It’s a crazy world we live in Pamela. I sincerely appreciate your comments, your kindness to missionaries and most of all your prayers. Have a blessed day in Jesus and tell Pooh that Trinity said hello, please.

  • Christa Sterken

    That is so crazy I am shocked. What on earth does that have to do with spreading the gospel? Interesting piece Michael.

  • I read this post of yours early today as I was scrolling through my facebook. First I read your story and then read a status update from another pastor friend. He said his first ministry job out of college was a youth pastor. He’s always played music and feel like music is one of his gifts from God. He was called into the office of his church and they asked if he wanted to be a youth pastor or play music. He said both of course as those were the areas God gifted him. He was fired. Your two stories were after just one quick scroll through facebook and it makes me so sad at the state of our church. If these were flukes, it would be one thing, but they are not and it kind of breaks my heart for churches. The heart problems start with the leadership and filter down.

    • Tricia you are so right. May the Lord help us as leaders not to err and stray from what pleases Him. May we remain humble in His service!

  • Tricia

    This question is not only offensive and stupid, it indicates that the source of the question has obsessions we dare not mention. Run, run as fast as you can from churches like that and from pastors like that. These types of questions are borne out of hidden, sexual sins and are not to be rewarded with an answer. I’ve been abused; I know their language. I’ve also been a pastor’s wife for more than 30 years; my hubby has never, ever asked such a question. As my very wise, autistic daughter says, “You are under no obligation to answer stupid questions. And the resulting awkward silence is not your problem.”

    • You’re right Tricia. I thought the same thing about the source but at the time didn’t “study” it too much. Thanks for your wise comment and for sharing your sweet daughter’s words.

    • You’re right Tricia. I thought the same thing about the source but at the time didn’t “study” it too much. Thanks for your wise comment and for sharing your sweet daughter’s words.

  • Julian Vaipan

    We are missionaries too, and I have filled out a few questionnaires as well, this kind of intrusion we haven’t had yet, and I know I’m really getting in the flesh here by saying this, but I cannot wait for a question like this to come up. The inappropriateness of this questioner begs the question, what is that pastor really concerned about, and the answer is, certainly not the salvation of the lost, certainly not the souls of men. We can live the most impeccable life, like apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:6 “touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” but Paul describes here his life before knowing Christ, so he looked good in the eyes of others, but were he to die in that state his eternity would be in the torments of hell. In the next verse he tells us though, that he counted all these outward things as nothing, as loss, as dung (vs 8), why? because he found what really matters, he found Christ, in whom anyone who trusts him enjoys the righteousness of Christ, (2 Cor. 5:21) in him we have perfection, not in the eyes of man, but God (Heb.10:14)

  • Lucie

    This is completely beyond my comprehension. I have to know, though – did you even ask, “Why do you ask?”

    • No Lucie I didn’t. I just threw the questionnaire away and never contacted them again. It could have been what they really wanted in the first place. Who knows.

    • No Lucie I didn’t. I just threw the questionnaire away and never contacted them again. It could have been what they really wanted in the first place. Who knows.

  • danielajoy

    Been there and have had these questions asked us. They are not appropriate and by far Biblical and I am so proud of you and Nina for writing about your experiences as I know it takes guts to step out. Hey you may even lose support over it. I know we will. It is a very sad commentary on churches today. Very Pharisitical! But like you said it is not the whole bunch.

    We have been on the mission field for 14 years and we are so thankful for the churches who have entrusted us to share the gospel in Spain. They have held the ropes. There has been and will still be a weeding out process though. We need to be upfront with these types of churches. Like you said in the beginning, I don´t think we should allow them to be part of our ministry.

    with you in this,
    Your neighbors

    • Thanks, Dani Joy. We pray that The Lord will bless you guys back in the States and will give you many more partners that will hold that rope and be faithful for years to come.

    • Thanks, Dani Joy. We pray that The Lord will bless you guys back in the States and will give you many more partners that will hold that rope and be faithful for years to come.

      • danielajoy

        Ditto!!! 🙂

  • Renee Baude

    Well, let me tell you what I where to bed–I wear a nightgown AND polar fleece pants–because it is freezing in our house and I’m up several times a night–being Mary or Jesus or Mom to my kids. I serve. It doesn’t really matter what I wear or what your wife wears–we serve, in our own way.

    I have a word for men like that . . .

    • Thanks Renee. I think someone on Facebook, with tongue in cheek, called this sort of person “special” but I think that could be offensive to those that are really special. Thanks for stopping by today.

  • troy mc laughlin

    We’ve got a world that needs to hear the good news, yet we have many that obsess over such things. Michael it doesn’t surprise me but it sure saddens me. I’m sure Christ isn’t too pleased either.

    • A whole lot of emotions arise when we face situations like this, Troy. Sadness, frustration, bewilderment, etc. I personally tried to learn from it and move on. It’s been several years since this happened and with our scheduled trip to the US coming up I was reminded of it last week. May the Lord Jesus continue His work in me, in us all, until we are perfect in Him.

  • Kendra Burrows

    This is really interesting, Michael! Knowing nothing more about it than what you’ve written, I wonder if some of the questions were to determine how much adjustment you would need? Depending where you’re going, I could imagine that a family who watches movies 4 times a week might have more difficulty adjusting to life in Uganda than, say, someone who isn’t as tuned in to American entertainment. It’s hard to imagine Portugal being quite that situation though.

    As for the nightie issue, that’s just odd. Again, if there were local customs and mores at issue, I would imagine a list of those things (“The locals will be offended if…” – which of course isn;t conducive to getting the gospel across) but jammie pants? Odd. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kendra, I wish it were as well thought out and purposeful as you mentioned here, but it wasn’t really a cultural questionnaire. It was in the doctrinal vein of things and had a very Pharasaic tone to it. I appreciate your well thought out comment.

      • Kendra Burrows

        That’s unfortunate! It sounds like a double whammy for you. Not only are your dreams of being a missionary being impeded, I assume your view of the church may have altered a bit from the experience. It sounds like you have a good attitude, but I feel for you! Of course, I’m sure God has something even better than this particular opportunity in mind for you. Blessings!

        • We’ve tried to always keep a balanced view of the church in general, Kendra. Of course there are those that disappoint but then there are those that are shockingly loving and gracious. A lot of minefields exist in missions that don’t always get discussed in such a public forum. It’s one of my burdens for this blog. Thanks again.

  • Karen Patterson

    We have seen these type of questionnaires in our ministry. It is so sad and frustrating. Usually My hubby will answer it with some silly answer and figure we don’t need their support which will always have strings on you. Good article!

    • That’s a good analogy, Karen–support which will always have strings on you. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • There’s a lot about this I would like to say, and most of it is probably better left unsaid. I would say that it is shameful anytime someone ignores the weightier matters of the law and strains at gnats. So, may the Lord help me be humble, love my brethren, and serve Him with all of my heart.

    • A scriptural answer is always best, Clint. May the Lord help me also be humble, love and serve Him like you also prayed. Thanks for contributing!

  • Cody Lane Slammer

    Man what does your wife wear to bed that made you get so mad about that question??