By Andy Constable
The most important decision for any man who wants to work in schemes, after professing Christ, is choosing a suitable wife (if you plan to get married). This ministry is tough and tiring and if your wife isn’t on board and supportive then you will flag very quickly. The last thing a male leader needs in this gig is a wife who drags him down and tires him out after a hard day of stressful ministry. To have longevity in this type of gospel ministry, (or any for that matter) it’s necessary to have a wife who loves the gospel and the work that you are involved with. If your wife isn’t fully supportive then your ministry simply won’t last. Here are a couple of things to think about when choosing a wife.
Firstly, and most importantly, is she a woman who loves the Lord? As the famous Proverb goes: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” There are plenty of ladies in the church but the woman you want to marry is someone who fears the Lord. Do they love the gospel and do you see that working out in their lives? This will be so important for your work and ministry. When you are tired, or stressed, or feeling down, you will need a wife who will pray for you and point you to Christ.
Secondly, is she a woman who loves schemes? I am very blessed to have a wife who was brought up on a housing scheme in Birmingham and who has had a heart to live and work in schemes since she was a young girl. As a couple you will be getting involved in this work together. It’s not a case of the husband working away leaving his wife to tend to the dishes. As a couple you will be counselling other couples, you will be inviting people into your home and you will be in the thick of things together. Therefore, your wife needs to be happy living in a scheme and facing the difficulties that life brings. If she hasn’t got a vision for schemes then, again, you will struggle as she will not be interested in the work and getting stuck in herself. She will complain about where you live. She will complain about the people you spend time with. She will complain when your hours are long or your plans change at the last-minute. If she loves the scheme and has a vision for the work then she will be able to support you well in the work.
Thirdly, is she a woman who invests in relationships? Working in schemes involves discipling and mentoring people. This doesn’t mean meeting up with someone once a month but persistently and consistently investing in local people. Those we work with will often have chaotic lives and have no gospel background. If your potential wife isn’t already involved in discipling girls around her then she will struggle to do the same in a scheme context. The last person you need is what I call a ‘clinger’. Clingers are girls who don’t have many friends, who want to spend all their time with you and don’t release you to invest in others! This is a fatal blow to any ministry. Look out for a girl who loves serving other people and has some friends.
I am very thankful to God for the wife that I have. She supports me and points me to Christ. I wouldn’t last long in this work without her. Is the same true of your potential/current wife? Is she a woman who loves the Lord? Is she a woman who loves the work you are involved in? Is she a woman who disciples other girls? These are all important questions to ask because if your wife’s heart isn’t in this work with you then you will not last long in this ministry. Choose carefully, choose prayerfully and choose wisely.