[We wanted something for the wives of our interns. And why not get it from one of our younger minister's wives, for whom the experience and its lessons have not lost its freshness? Knowing of the outstanding contribution Mrs. Guild made to her husband's work in connection with one of our major city campaigns, we asked her for this article. She is also especially qualified to write because in the last few years she and her husband have had the responsibility of training several other interns—and their wives.]
It hasn't been so long since I was a ministerial intern's wife. How I wish I had known at the start just what was expected of my husband, and of me. Since that time I have observed much that has helped me, and that I hope will help you.
As an intern your husband is on a temporary basis—a trial basis, so to speak. No doubt he is working with an experienced worker who is endeavoring to give guidance, training, and practical experience that will be of help in later years. If right at the start you can realize that your husband is still in the stage of preparing for his lifework, and has not already attained his goal just because he has been placed on the payroll, you can be of far greater help to him. Now is your opportunity to "pitch in" and help in every possible way to make a success of his work. He needs your help now more than he will at any other time.
An intern usually does not fully realize all the responsibilities that a pastor must carry until several years later, when he is given a church of his own. He feels then that if he had understood these responsibilities sooner, he would have been a more efficient intern and a greater help to the pastor with whom he worked.
Suppose we list some of the duties and privileges of the ordained minister. These will comprise your husband's work, with God's approval, a few years from now: pastoral visiting; pastoral counseling at any hour of the day or night; public ministry; study; preparation of sermons; support of the church school; support and leadership in all church groups; presiding over church board; ministry to the sick and suffering; ministry to the shut-ins; ministry to the faltering and backslidden; unfailing companionship in time of crisis; problems of church finance; church building and upkeep; corre.spondence; publicity; Ingathering campaign; Signs, These Times, and Review campaigns; youth and adult Weeks of Prayer; promotion of special offerings. All these, and more, are the pastor's work.
Then there is the second phase of soul-winning work for which the minister is responsible —the evangelization of non-Adventists in the community. This includes giving Bible studies, organizing the church for service, and at times full-scale evangelistic campaigns. During such a campaign the minister has, added to existing responsibilities, several more seinions a week to prepare, advertising, and details and more details. Besides this he has a heavy visiting program, including the visiting of those with whom the intern studies.
If you and your husband realize something of the load resting upon the ordained minister with whom you work, you can be more understanding and cooperative, and better able to help to bear his burdens. He will not make your husband an errand boy. But undoubtedly he will give him enough work to keep him away from home morning, noon, and night. Help him, encourage him, pray with him, and spur him on to make the most of all these priceless opportunities that are fitting him to bear heavier responsibilities.
Perhaps the best way to get at the heart of our subject is to consider two check lists as follows:
How to Make Your Husband's Work a Failure
1. Separate yourself from his work and take no interest in it. Never go with him to a Bible study, never listen to or try to help him solve a problem.
2. Have your husband do your work. See that he doesn't neglect you by going to workers' meeting when you feel he should stay at home and take care of the baby while you go to town. Be sure that you send him to the store at least once each day, and that he helps you with the laundry.
3. See that he has plenty of interruptions. Never shield him from the telephone. When he is studying and the baby cries, have him tend the baby. If you are tending the baby and you know the cabbage on the stove needs to be stirred, call on him without hesitation. Be especially careful to see that you give him plenty to do before he leaves in the morning so that he doesn't have time for his hour of prayer.
4. Be certain that he never eats on time. It is possible for a minister to arrange his program so that his meals can be taken regularly at least ninety-five per cent of the time. This is simply a matter of being organized. But if you want to make your husband a failure be sure that his meals are irregular (this is the sure road to stomach ulcers).
5. Compliment your husband on everything he does. Never give him helpful suggestions on his sermons—his poor grammar, his awkward gestures, his mispronunciation of words.
6. Be careful to see that he does not dress too neatly. Never press or spot his clothes; be sure that he doesn't polish his shoes more than once a week.
7. Remember that you can wear what you want and act as you plcase and not let church members run your life. Why shouldn't you wear that costume jewelry, a little make-up, a slightly soiled dress? Why shouldn't you tell that bit of gossip? Your husband is the minister in the house, not you!
8. Keep your husband in debt. Complain about the small salary, and insist on having the latest in fashion and the best of everything.
How to Make Your Husband's Internship a Success
1. Give first attention to your own heart. Take time for the quiet hour, or make time for it. If you have children, it may not be possible to have it in the early morning, but make it at naptime then. If we are to be strong in the Lord, this is a must.
2. Make your husband's work your work. Counsel with him, pray with him, when things look dark encourage him, never allow yourself to become discouraged, but keep buoyant and happy in the Lord. You may have to spend those few dollars you would like to save, but do it and hire a baby sitter once in a while so that you can visit with your husband. If you do this, you will realize how wearing it is to visit hour after hour and day after day. You will understand his work better and can better counsel and help him in his work. Attend all the evangelistic meetings that he helps with, to get the feel of soul-winning work. Make some of his calls with him as he visits interested people. Later, when he holds an evangelistic meeting, you will become his most trusted counselor.
3. Be a good mother. Make your children an example to the flock by earnest prayer and careful training. Guard the worship hour. Morning worship may best be held at the breakfast table. Evening worship may have to be held at times alone with the children. Help your husband to be a good father. Under the pressure of the program it may be easy for him to neglect the children. Remind him occasionally that it only takes about fifteen minutes of play after supper to bring joy to the children's hearts, to give them something to look forward to all day, and to ensure a bond of confidence with his children that can mean his guiding their footsteps into the path of eternal life.
4. Be a friend to your neighbors. Make an effort to win them to the truth. Be a good church member. You may not be able to take a church office; it is more important for you to make certain of your husband's success. But you can be friendly to the members and to the stranger. You can offer a word of encouragement to the Sabbath school officer and to that girl or boy or that young mother. The older women, too, will appreciate your interest and your friendliness.
5. Encourage your husband in his spiritual life. Guard him from the telephone, the salesman, the children—yes, even from his wife—during his hours of devotion and study. Spark his interest in reading. Help him to make time for study and prayer.
Remember that your husband is the shepherd. You are the shepherdess of his flock. The Bible says that those who "stay by the stuff" are every bit as necessary as those who go forth to battle. Yours is a privilege, a challenge, a responsibility. It is an impossible task but for the help of Him who says, "I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."