There are many great men who are unworthy of imitation as husbands. I am thankful that Charles Spurgeon is not among them.
One of the things I loved about working on the Spurgeon documentary last year was learning about Charles Spurgeon’s marriage. I’ll be honest, though, I was kind of terrified about what I’d find out. After reading of how awful so many marriages were—such as those of John Wesley and A.W. Tozer—I kind of expected that with Charles and Susannah Spurgeon. I was expecting the story of a wife quietly resentful of her absentee husband, whose mistress was his ministry.
But that wasn’t what I found. What I found instead was a marriage deeply united and centered around the gospel. Charles was a man deeply devoted to his wife. His heart was for the Lord first, yes, but of earthly ties there was nothing greater for him, and for Susannah also. She was his steadfast companion through trial and illness, joy and hardship, success and controversy.
And years after his death, as she compiled Charles’ autobiography, she testified that her love continued to abide:
Ah! my husband, the blessed earthly ties which we welcomed so rapturously are dissolved now, and death has hidden thee from my mortal eyes; but not even death can divide thee from me, or sever the love which united our hearts so closely. I feel it living and growing still, and I believe it will find its full and spiritual development only when we shall meet in the glory-land, and worship “together before the throne.”
This is the sort of love all married believers should aspire to—a love rooted not merely in our enjoyment of our spouses, but in our union with Christ. This is the kind of marriage I want to have, and by God’s grace, am trying to cultivate. One that centers on the gospel and reveals the beautiful mystery of gospel as it was always intended to do. May ministry never be a hindrance to that.
Lord, never let ministry be an enemy to marriage, but rather ministry be a blessing to marriage.