There are many ways in which a young minister's wife may help her husband to be successful in the work. A minister is very busy, and his wife should do all in her power to relieve him of caring for the little details of the home. (See "Testimonies," Vol. I, pp. 139, 451-453.) She and her children must be disciplined more than other church members, for they are examples.
One of the first things a young couple should do is to learn to live within their income. This is especially important for a young minister and his wife to learn. No business firm can succeed without a good bookkeeper and a budget. The budget does not need to be elaborate, but it is surprising how much money is wasted over a period of months in nickels and dimes. A budget helps one to find these leaks.
The wife can save her husband's time by taking over the bookkeeping and looking after the household expenses. This may be distasteful to her if she does not like figures, but she will soon learn the thrill of saving here and there. She should learn to sew, especially if they have children. It is a simple matter to keep small children inexpensively dressed from made-over clothes. A good policy is to buy for cash only. Credit in various stores breeds extravagance. Of course there are exceptions, but make these exceptions rare, and be a good example for the church members in financial matters.
A minister's wife must be hospitable. She can learn to cook tasty meals that will not be a burden on the family budget, serving simple meals daintily and attractively. She may buy her supplies at sales and thus save. She should keep her cupboard filled with enough things to enable her to get a meal in a few minutes for an unexpected guest. She should learn to properly prepare balanced, nourishing meals so that her family will be kept in good health, thus reducing doctor bills.
If a minister's wife puts her all on the altar and dedicates her life to her Master, she will be able not only to develop the talents that she already has, but through God's help she will be able to develop others' talents, and thus advance the Master's cause. A minister's wife may not preach in the pulpit, but she can develop the talent of storytelling to such a degree that she may win the children and youth to God. It is just as important to win the children to God as it is to win their parents. A story impressively told may be the turning point in some child's life. One minister's wife said, "Fifteen years ago I could not tell a story, but after taking the course in mothers' meetings, and listening to other good storytellers, and then practicing on our children. I can tell a story now to juniors and keep their attention."
And why not learn to do a little chalk drawing? According to a Chinese proverb, "One picture is worth a thousand words." Even the simplest stories are interesting if accompanied by a drawing either in white and black or in colors. Buy a book on chalk talks and see how simple they are to give. Chalk talks given in connection with an evangelistic effort will do much to secure the interest of juniors and smaller children. They will not miss these Bible stories for anything. It helps them to sit quietly during the remainder of the meeting after they have had their special treat. In one evangelistic effort this plan was carried out in the middle of the song service. The children came to the front at the beginning of the song service. After their story, they went back to sit with their parents. Thus some parents who could not be interested before, were brought to the meeting by their children.
If you buy or borrow a book on fancy lettering, and practice a bit, with God's help you may be able to do acceptable work. You might have someone write out several different kinds of alphabets to guide you. When you receive a card or anything else with artistic lettering on it, save it and practice the lettering. I find that the little knowledge I have has been very helpful many times in making mottoes and posters and goal devices for the church, and for lettering blackboard advertising for meetings in tent efforts. Fancy lettering pens are inexpensive, and are a great aid in doing fast and uniform work. I bought a set of six graduated pen points for fifteen cents to do medium and small work. One or two air pens will be enough for larger work. Pens that shade as you print can also be bought. One minister said he did not have a spark of artistic ability, but with some pen points and practice he surprised himself and others with the work he was able to produce.
A few years ago a minister's wife learned to play the piano, but she was not satisfied to play just the piano. She bought a Vibra Harp and learned to play it also. Some people first came to the meetings to hear the Vibra Harp. Their souls were stirred by her husband's preaching, and they were drawn back the following evening. She had taken vocal lessons in college and had a sweet contralto voice. She and her husband, who sang tenor, often sang duets. Many times people had tears in their eyes at the close of a simple heart-stirring hymn so feelingly sung. People knew that this couple were in touch with God by the way they sang.
Oh, that more of our ministers would use simple, dignified, truth-filled hymns in their meetings, instead of cheap, catchy tunes to get the people to sing louder. (See "Testimonies," Vol. IX, pp. 143, 144.) The minister's wife may select songs on her husband's subject for the evening service and hand the list to the song leader. One wife trained her baby boy to go to sleep in a crib in the mother's room at the rear of the tabernacle. Thus she was free to play the piano and help her husband. Rightly trained children are not a hindrance to a wife's activities.
Be a Master Comrade and your worth will double to the young people, as well as to your husband and the cause of God. Other ways in which a minister's wife may help is to give health talks or food demonstrations to parents, particularly if she is a dietitian or a nurse. She may prepare herself to give Bible studies in homes or in public meetings. After the service, she may greet all with a friendly smile and a hearty handshake, and drop an encouraging word to someone who needs it. If the minister's wife does not have a kind, friendly spirit, she should cultivate one.
A minister's wife should talk over matters of dress with her husband. She should not tie her husband's hands by dressing so that he cannot mention standards of dress in the pulpit. A wife can counteract all the good her husband may do if she does not live up to God's standards in dress as well as in other matters of life. She must learn how to dress herself and their children -neatly and attractively, but not conspicuously. By all means she should not try to follow the latest fads and fashions in the matter of hair and clothes.