Desperate Pastor's Wives Discussion Questions: by Ginger Kolbaba and Christy Scannell


1. Jennifer struggles with ways to reinvigorate her faith, so she ends up at birding and pottery classes. Has your faith ever lost its luster? Why? What do you do to reenergize your faith when it is lagging?


2. Mimi has a need for perfection. In her way of thinking, something is either perfect or it is a failure. What kind of impact could that have on her kids? What kinds of expectations do you have in life—tangible or intangible—and how do those expectations affect your loved ones?


3. Felicia suspects her husband is cheating on her by spending time with another woman. We can assume she doesn’t have issues with his having female friends, but the intimacy of his relationship with Nancy is uncomfortable for Felicia. How far is too far in a platonic friendship, especially when both parties are married? If you are married, does your spouse have a friend of the opposite sex? How does that friendship affect your relationship with your spouse? Have you discussed boundaries? If so, what are they? If not, what should they be?


4. Lisa goes to visit Mrs. Bentz for advice because she suspects the older woman will be less judgmental than Lisa’s peers in the church. Why do you suppose she though that? How does age affect a person’s worldview?


5. Throughout the novel, we read about the desperation of each pastor’s wife. Jennifer is desperate for faith; Mimi is desperate for peace; Lisa is desperate for love; Felicia is desperate for fulfillment; and Kitty is desperate for forgiveness/redemption. With which character’s desperation do you most closely identify? Why? What are some ways you exert that desperation?


6. Unbeknownst to everyone, Lisa, Felicia, Mimi, and Jennifer sneak away to a café 40 miles from their town in order to connect. What do you think these women gain by meeting every other Tuesday at Lulu’s? Do you have close friends you can share secrets with? What is it about those people you feel connected to? How have those friends invested in your life?


7. These “DPWs” feel the weight of the role they play in their church and sometimes it feels overwhelming to them. Have you ever dealt with a situation in your church or community that felt overwhelming to you? How did you handle it? If you could go back and retrace your steps, would you do anything differently? Why or why not?


8. As much as these pastors’ wives love God and the church, they question and worry that their church may not be a safe place to share their life and vulnerabilities. Why do you think they would feel that way? Have you ever felt that way? If so, what are some things you have done to feel safer there? What are some ways you wish you could feel safer there? Is there anything you can do to change the atmosphere at the church to make it a safe place for everybody?


9. Kitty Katt has her own secrets—and seems to cover them well by appearing to be much more secure than she really is. How do you deal with your insecurities? How do you handle other people’s insecurities?


10. All the “DPWs” have secrets they’re hiding from their spouses. Do you think it’s okay to keep secrets from a spouse? If so, what type of secret is okay to keep? When should spouses not keep secrets? What kind of impact do you think secrets can have on a marriage relationship? Is it ever okay to share a secret? Why and with whom?


11. Felicia struggles with her feelings of unfulfillment as she tries to balance her professional career, her “church career,” and her home life. One solution was to hire a housekeeper. What are some other ways Felicia could have balanced her life? Do you ever feel a tug-of-war between your home life and “outside” life? How have you balanced everything that demands your time? What are some things you wish could be different?


12. When Mimi, Jennifer, Lisa, and Felicia finally confront Kitty about her secret, Kitty finally confesses the truth. When is a good time to confront someone? Have you ever had to confront someone about something you knew was wrong? How did you do it? Did you have friends help you? What was the outcome? What did you learn from that experience?

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