“It is a disgrace to have a Clergyman’s wife doing things that is abhorrent to the congregation.”
This statement was made by the Primate of all Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh at the formal opening of year 2013 Clergy wives Retreat of the Abuja Diocese.
Speaking on the theme of the Retreat, “Vessel of Honour”, Archbishop Okoh opined that it is good once in a while to gather together away from the hustle and bustle of work in the vineyard to relate with peculiar things and ask questions with a view to discussing and providing solutions in advance.
Quoting from Genesis chapter 2 verse 18, the Primate recalled the creation story and summed it up that the ministry of the Clergy wife is to be first and foremost a friend to her husband in the management of the home, his work, in-laws, other people outside, and the social contact adding that the relationship is not easy because of frequent demands being made from inside and outside. He said in all circumstances the Clergy wife must do her best to support and make her husband her best friend when convenient and when not convenient, because according to him, a friend in need is a friend indeed.
The Primate said the Clergy wife performs the pivotal role of a respected wife, friend and mother who must respect herself to command the respect of her husband, for respect begets respect; love he said, is reciprocal. He said there are many prominent women who value other people and are good outside whereas at home they are terrible; they cannot even introduce their husbands. He therefore admonished women to identify with their husbands and do everything to be a good wife with good testimonial at home and outside, for charity he said, must begin from home. He advised against an intermediary posing as cook adding that wives should try as much as possible to cook and prepare food for the home as a mother even when responsibilities are increasing because according to him, if there is food poisoning in the house, she cannot escape being arrested.
As a wife, Archbishop Okoh said she is the Chief Administrator at home and must consult and brainstorm with the husband to chart a new way forward on the domestic front, the care of the children and make plans in advance so that things will work out well. He said although hospitality is very important, the wife must discuss it with the husband because things like this bring problems especially among the family. He added that family devotion should not be limited to prayers alone, but issues about the home could be raised and discussed because relationship is a joint venture. He called on the women not to cover some lapses among the children out of sentiment adding that whatever they cover in secret will eventually come out and may become an embarrassment to all and sundry.
He warned Clergy wives that the fact that their husbands have taken an oath of monogamy does not mean he should be taken for granted or frustrated adding that there is nothing to gain by being heady, every problem must be solved.
He cautioned that children should not be pampered; they should be treated equally, the same way without being selective especially when the children are growing. In a transition period young people according to him, want independence even when not qualified they think they are grown up but when given responsibility they cannot perform.
The Cleric asserted that notwithstanding the claim for independence by the youths and modern times, parents should be careful as there is nothing like modern God, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is still the same and there is nothing like modern marriage. According to the head of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, certain principles are permanent in marriage and parents should take note of it, and caution the young people before they get into deep waters. Admitting that the work of the mother is tasking and energy sapping, Primate Okoh encouraged them to look after themselves so as to avoid slumping adding that they should periodically do medical checkup so that they can be fit to function well.
He admonished that whoever wants to be a Pastor’s wife must be filled with the Spirit of God because her work is multidimensional and humanly speaking it is an unfortunate one but he quickly added that what is humanly impossible is possible with God; because he said, the Holy Spirit will give the grace to cope with the work as wives of the Clergy.
By Ven. Foluso Taiwo