OK, here's something I'm going to get full-on preachy about. Every human needs a pastor. Theology professors need pastors. Sextons need pastors. Pastors' kids need pastors. Pastors' in-laws need pastors. Pastors' widowed mothers need pastors. Pastors' maiden uncles need pastors. Pastors need pastors. Popes--they who believe, teach, and confess themselves to be the Vicars of Christ on earth by divine right!--need and have pastors. See where I'm going with this?
That's right, the pastor's wife needs a pastor. For all the boo-hooing spent on this pseudo-conundrum, I am mystified that the totally obvious provision our Lord normingly and our Confessions normedly make for it is endlessly overlooked. Which is to say, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." What? No special asterisk here for that extra-special person, the pastor's wife? As usual, Bob Dylan said it best: "Everybody must get loosed*" (*or bound).
I have not set out to say here that the pastor's wife's husband cannot be her pastor. Most of the time it is he who brings her God's Word of Law and Gospel, baptizes her children, and feeds her from our Lord's Altar. That's fairly straightforward most of the time. The place the pastor/husband thing is most likely to get tricky is the confessional. After all, against whom does the pastor's wife sin most? Whose sins are the second closest to the pastor, and therefore the second easiest and hardest for the pastor to judge?
Even yet I will not say that her husband cannot be her Father Confessor, for the complications I have cited are merely practical. He can be. Sometimes he should be or has to be. Sometimes she asks him to be. But often, he doesn't have to be, and often, this benefits both man and wife. Furthermore, the pastor needs a pastor, and here's where things really start coming together: the pastor and his wife and their kids can have the same pastor. They can go to confession as a family. Although it is still private, it is a pilgrimage of discipline they can make together, a blessed humility they can share, a divine comfort in which they can be united. And when the pastor's family needs someone to meet them at the hospital, to pray for them in their distress, they know whom to call: their dear pastor. Not just the guy at the next closest church or Dad's buddy or the circuit counselor no one else in the family knows. They can call a man who is Father to all of them.
If this doesn't sound right; if a Father Confessor isn't what the pastor's wife is looking for, then she's not looking for a pastor. She's looking for a therapist or a friend or a cheerleader. Any of those may be something she needs, and she would do well to secure them. But she definitely needs an ear to swallow her sins up in death and a voice to breath forgiveness and life into her, whether or not she feels she needs it or is comfortable with it. She definitely needs to make confession and hear her sins absolved, whether or not she perceives that confession will help her with her perceived problems. For her true problem is always sin, and the true cure is always Holy Absolution.
So, pastors' wives, get a pastor. Make sure your kids have a pastor. Your husband also needs a pastor.