A vocal and aggressive clothing salesman was urging a timid little man to buy a gaily colored sport suit. Squaring his shoulders, the little man said, "In such matters I always use my own judgment, and my judgment tells me to seek my wife's opinion." Happy is the man who seeks his wife's opinion. Another has said, "The road to success is crowded with women pushing their husbands before them."
Therefore, I take this opportunity to make a bow before the wives of our workers. It is the woman's encouragement, inspiration, and wise counsel that keeps the husband going when the grade gets steep. Because of our mutual interest in these husbands, the following suggestions deserve our consideration.
Protect his study and devotional hour. Your husband's success rests neither in his sparkling personality, nor in his acquaintance with prominent brethren, but in his acquaintance with God. Safeguard his study and prayer hour, for this is the source of his power. Encourage his reading of books that deepen piety and humility and increase the fruits of the Spirit. Do not infringe on this hour with petty demands. If the telephone rings, have the party call back later.
Enhance his respect and appreciation. Our members respect and appreciate a minister who knows them, their children, their troubles, and joys. A man who gets into their homes and prays with them is greatly beloved. They will do anything for him. They will overlook a poor sermon, but not a poor visitor. Therefore, keep that man visiting.
Give him a leadership complex. Sermons, evangelistic campaigns, missionary activities, Ingathering, church school, church budgets, and other projects do not succeed of themselves. They must be carefully planned and worked intensively. Everything must be done with energy and dispatch. Give your man a leadership complex. Never agree with any suggestion that the task is too hard or beyond him, but spur him on to more careful planning and organization. Always remind him that he is a leader, and that a leader always finds a way to do it. Assure him that he, too, can finish projects successfully and on time. Don't allow him to drag his heels.
Loyalty is a must. A man bearing conference credentials must be loyal to the movement, its teachings, its doctrines, its standards, and its leadership. At times disgruntled members or ambitious brethren will endeavor to enlist your husband in some personal peeve or cause. Beware of such. They are prolific at camp meetings. A sure way for your man to blight his future is to become entangled with dissenters. If that urge ever comes upon him, besides pointing out the wrecked careers of those who have become disgruntled and disloyal, read him Romans 16:17, 18.
Keep him in health. Faddists will prevail on your husband with pills, juices, and miracle diets. Do not permit them to make an experimental laboratory of your husband's stomach. Feed him well with God's true health foods, those grown from the soil, tastily prepared, and watch him prosper. Make sure he gets his share of rest, exercise, fresh air, sunshine, water, fruit, milk, and homemade bread. The best representative of health reform is a healthy-looking minister, and it is your business to make him so. Permit nothing to interfere with meal regularity, and be sure to make a big fuss over him at mealtime. He loves it!
"Continue the early attentions." Take a day off by yourselves occasionally. Court as you used to in younger days. There is nothing-wrong in holding hands as long as it is your husband's hand. Repeat to each other the sweet things of your youth. Since you have to grow-old, do so tenderly and lovingly. Let it be known that you are devoted to each other.. Love him and coddle him. Make him love his; home and family more than anything else on earth. This is your job. Do not fail!
Keep him out of debt. A worker who con sistently involves himself in debt may have to seek other employment. Therefore, insist that the monthly check be budgeted, and then stay by the budget. When your man gets to dreaming about a new car, wake him up with the budget. If the budget does not permit any expenditure, wait until sufficient funds are in hand. "Avoid debt like leprosy." Learn to sew and make clothes for the family. Take advantage of sales and bargains. Insist that your man keep within the family income. If he cannot do this at home, then he will never do it in his church.
Encourage him in kindness and gentleness. A scolding minister will soon have no people left to scold. Sadder still, he may never be given another opportunity to scold a congregation. Pulpit ministry and personal ministry are mediums to display the kindness and gentleness of Christ, not our tempers. While situations will arise to try your husband's patience, encourage him to self-control under every provocation. "He that offendeth not in word, the same is a perfect man."
Keep after your man. Pick out his mistakes, but never in public. Look him over, fore and aft, before he leaves the house. Make sure his shoes are shined, hair trimmed and combed, clothes pressed, shirt and cuffs clean, teeth brushed, et cetera. Discourage hackneyed expressions. Insist that he pronounce words correctly. You can do wonders for him by encouraging him to be the best husband and the best preacher in the conference. And why not?
Assist him in avoiding extremes. The Church Manual clearly outlines the principles and practices regarding marriage, divorce, remarriage, rebaptism, church discipline, election of church officers, et cetera. Counsel him never to perform a marriage or a baptism out of harmony with denominational procedures. Neither permit him to set up standards higher or lower than denominational standards. Keep him from becoming an extremist. Remind him constantly that he is representing the denomination, and not his own personal views.
You have a good husband. He may get tired and worn at times, but he is still good. He may complain that the work is hard, the goals are high, and the hours are long, but he is still good. He is much like the rest of our good workers who are of great value to the cause, and they are good because their wives have helped to make them good. Let us keep him good!
In his behalf, I wish to thank you for the countless meals you have prepared, for the numberless shirts you have ironed, the socks you have darned, the long hours you have spent alone while he was out visiting, the constant prayers you have offered while he was preaching, and many other things, too numerous to mention, that have contributed to his measure of success.
May God bless you, and may your grace, loveliness, charm, and consecration continue to gladden your husband's heart as he labors for God and His message of truth.