Some of the best Christians in the world are wives of missionaries. They live without things that most American women take for granted. Missionary wives may sacrifice more than any other group of Christians. It’s not easy to be a missionary’s wife, yet she plays a very important role in deputation. I hope the following will be helpful to missionaries—both husbands and wives.
If your wife stays at home with the children while you go to churches, her attitude will be a key to your deputation success. You may be gone much of the time, and it will be easy for either of you to complain about not being able to see each other very much.
In August of 1976, I left for a three week visit to the Philippines alone. When I returned to the states I traveled by myself for the next two months. About every two or three weeks I would come home to see my wife for two or three days, and then head out again. My wife worked while I traveled.
In a three month period, we were together no more than twelve days. After the three months she began traveling with me. The three months I was away meant a lot to me. I spent more time alone with the Lord than I ever had before. Also, I learned to enjoy the time I spent with my wife more than I ever had before. As the saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
If my wife hadn’t kept the good attitude she had during that time, it would have been very hard to travel as I did. To be honest, I’d have to say she had a better attitude about it than I did. The greatest asset I had on deputation was my wife.
Without a good wife it is next to impossible to raise support. This is especially true if she travels with you. If pastors think your wife is going to be a hindrance to you on the field it is likely that they will not support you—regardless of how much they may like you.
Here are five things a missionary’s wife should do if she travels with her husband:
1. She Should Have a Good Attitude
It is easy to gripe and be on edge when we travel. This is especially true in the summer when it is hot! Meeting new people all the time, having car trouble, not really having a home, and having no privacy to deal with problems can all push your attitude to the snapping point. A wife’s attitude will either tremendously help or hurt her husband. We soon discovered that all the troubles we had were good for us as they helped to prepare us for the field.
2. She Should Be Very Submissive to Her Husband
This is very important especially when she is in front of other people. Few things irritate a man of God more than a bossy woman. The wife should never tell her husband to do anything in front of others. If she has a disagreement with her husband, it should be discussed privately.
3. She Should Pray for Wisdom in All She Does and Says
4. She Shouldn’t Talk Too Much
It is good to be friendly; however, it would be good for all of us to keep in mind that the more we talk, the easier it is to put our foot in our mouth! When a wife is around her husband, it would be better to let him do most of the talking. (My wife would add here: “Right! Let him put his foot in his mouth instead!”) This is especially important when first meeting people. It is then that they form their first impression of you and your wife.
5. She Should Meet Ladies at the Churches You Visit
She should make friends with as many of them as she can. She should be genuine—doing it because she means it—not just to make an impression. People can often see through us if our motive is only to make a good impression and we aren’t really interested in them.
She should shake hands and introduce herself to others before and after church services. If your wife is shy she’ll have to work to make herself do this. Some wives go into a church and sit down without speaking to people. People often think the wife isn’t enjoying what she’s doing. If we are friendly to people, even those we don’t get to speak to will notice us and see that we are enjoying ourselves.
This is part one of this article. Click here for part two.