By Ogbeni Lanre Banjo
Proverbs 18:22 says: “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” What that suggests is that a good wife and mother is one of the qualifications to obtain favor from God. A home without a woman cannot be a completely happy home. As will be proved, one would be convinced that husbands may be heads of household, women are the necks. There are many great men in the world that would not have been great without the unflinching support of their wives. I will mention just a few.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
When Mrs. Coretta Scott King married Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1953, Coretta Scott asked that the part of the vows asking her to “obey” her husband be removed. This small detail is an example of the independent streak that characterized Coretta Scott King. She later became a supportive and obedient wife who believed completely in her husband’s mission. Trained to be a musician, Coretta Scott’s marriage to Martin Luther King changed her life considerably. She became deeply involved in causes of racial justice and non-violent change.
When John Edgar Hoover, the FBI Director at that time was not able to resolve the continued mayhem and brutality inflicted upon the black people in the deep South, Mr. Hoover under the FBI’s domestic counter intelligence program (COINTELPRO) subjected Dr. King to various kinds of FBI surveillance that produced alleged evidence of extramarital affairs. The motive was to crash the home and aspiration of Dr. King by getting Mrs. King to seek divorce. Mrs. King did not dump her husband, and today black people in America are better off for it.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd U.S. President
President Roosevelt married Eleanor Roosevelt who set the template for the modern political wife – a talented, educated, independent woman who used the platform provided by her husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to pursue her own interests and causes. Mrs. Roosevelt supported her husband by promoting issues of social equality, while her husband shepherded the country through the Great Depression and World War II. She didn’t truly flower until she became First Lady – first, of New York State, when her husband was governor, and then ultimately, of the nation. When her husband was stricken with polio, she began to fill in for him at appearances. Eventually, she did more than parrot her husband’s party line. She kept the name of her husband in the minds of Americans till she died. She supported her husband in his endeavors, by believing in him and following him to make him feel he can conquer anything.
Barack Hussein Obama
President Barak Obama, the 44th President of the United States, is another example of a positive man influenced by a woman. Michelle Obama an, Ivy League graduate built a successful career, first as a lawyer, and then in the private sector, which she maintained throughout her husband’s early political career. Concerned about the effect the campaign would have on their young daughters, Michelle was initially reluctant to support the idea of her husband’s run for the presidency. Despite her initial misgivings, she proved to be an effective surrogate for him on the campaign trail. As a young mother, a fashion icon and the first African-American first lady, Michelle Obama became a role model to many Americans. Can you imagine if she did not cooperate, work with Barak to animate his glory and destiny, would there be the first black president today?
Chief Obafemi Awolowo
He was the first Premier of the Western Region in Nigeria. He married Mama Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo popularly known as HID. He famously referred to her as his “jewel of inestimable value”. She was also a successful businesswoman and astute politician. While her husband was in London, she took care of the home front. She did not disturb her husband about funds. When her husband returned to Nigeria and joined politics, she played an active role in the politics of Western Nigeria. She stood in for her husband in the alliance formed between political parties while he was on trial and in jail. During the time her husband was being tried for treason, she never wavered.
Chief Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi
Chief Fawehinmi was an attorney of outstanding repute in Nigeria. He was our own Martin Luther King of Nigeria! Was in out of prison from 1969 till 1996, He married Mrs. Ganiat Bukun Fawehinmi, before all his political tribulations. Throughout this period, Mrs. Fawehinmi a non-lawyer ensured that all the businesses of her husband including the law office were running well while taking care of her seven children in addition to regular visit to her husband in various prisons throughout the length and breadth of Nigeria. She suffered brutality in the hands of military dictators and was never undaunted by the callousness and inhumane force of the Nigerian Police. Without her, there might not have been Gani Fawehinmi and many fights of Gani to liberate Nigerians would have been futile.
The scripture is therefore right when it says in Proverb 18.22: “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” All these men found good things and obtained favor from the Lord.
Let me now conclude by sharing with you 10 ways a wife can influence the heart of good and responsible husband.
Be a wife he can trust. Influence comes from trust and without trust, there is no influence.
Be kind and gracious to him. He feels welcomed by this.
Stand in his corner and fight with him against the world, rather than back him into a corner. Every man wants a woman who is on his side when they’re in the midst of a trial. Be the kind of wife who cheers him on so he can win the battle.
Support him in his endeavors. By believing in him and following him, this makes him feel like he can conquer anything.
Esteem him in public. There is no higher compliment in his eyes.
Be a safe place for him. Accept him for who he is rather than judge him for his shortcomings.
Let him know you’re praying for him. This shows you care about his spiritual well-being.
Be a passionate wife. Pursue him intimately.
Put him before the children. Show him you respect him by teaching your children to respect him.
Choose to be a joyful wife. Be content with life rather than gripe about life.
If a woman practices all these, she would be a valuable asset to the man in her life and would not be a deadly liability.
- Banjo delivered speech during the District of Columbia Democratic Women’s Club celebration of Mother’s Day at the University of the District of Columbia Ball Room.