The Dancing Puritan

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Honoring Your Spouse: The Example of Susannah Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon's library at his last home

Do you want the best for your spouse?  Love means that you are willing to joyfully sacrifice your own self-interests for the well being of your spouse. There is no other person that is to be as dear to your heart, as the person that you are bound to in covenant love.

Working for the best of your spouse is evident in small and large things. Susannah Spurgeon is a great example for us as we consider what this looks like. Following her honeymoon with Charles they moved into their first home together. As she thought of how to arrange the house, Charles was first on her mind. She believed that “the best room was always felt to belong by right to the one who labored much in the Lord. Never have I regretted this early decision; it is a wise arrangement for a minister’s house, if not for any other.”

Early in their marriage, after moving to their second home, and after the birth of their twins, Susannah writes:
Our children grew apace in the sweet country air, and my whole time and strength was given to advance my dear husband’s welfare and happiness. I deemed it my joy and privilege to be ever at his side, accompanying him on many of his preaching journeys, nursing him in his occasional illnesses, his delighted companion during his holiday trips, always watching over and tending him with the enthusiasm and sympathy which my great love for him inspired. I mention this not to suggest any sort of merit on my part, but simply that I may here record by heartfelt gratitude to God that, for a period of ten blessed years, I was permitted to encircle him with all the comforting care and tender affection which it was in a wife’s power to bestow. Afterwards God ordered it otherwise. He saw fit to reverse our position to each other; and for a long season, suffering instead of service became my daily portion, and the care of comforting a sick wife fell upon my beloved.
Charles Spurgeon also increasingly suffered affliction. He was often away from his wife, to seek healing for his own ailments. She was willing, though it was painful, to give her husband up for his preaching responsibilities or for extended times of separation due to his health issues. She wrote late in life:
 I thank God, that he enabled me to carry out this determination and rejoice that I have no cause to reproach myself with being a drag on the swift wheels of his consecrated life. I do not take any credit to myself for this; it was the Lord’s will concerning me, and he saw to it that I received the necessary training whereby in after years I could cheerfully surrender his chosen servant to the incessant demands of his ministry, his literary work, and the multiplied labors of his exceptionally busy life.
Charles Spurgeon was grateful to God for providing him such a wonderful wife. He wrote a letter of appreciation to Susannah in 1871:
None know how grateful I am to God for you, In all I have ever done for him you have a large share, for in making me so happy you have fitted me for service. Not an ounce of power has ever been lost to the good cause through you. I have served the Lord far more and never less for your sweet companionship.
Quotes above are from The Life of Susannah Spurgeon by Charles Ray