Most evangelists are aware of John Wesley, that awesome itinerant open air preacher who God used to bring about the Great Awakening in the 1700s and was the founder of the Methodist movement. What you may not know is that he had a horribly lousy marriage.
William Carey is considered the father of modern missions, but did you know that he, too, lived a matrimonial nightmare?
John Wesley’s wife Molly was so unhappy she decided to make John’s life miserable as well. Because he was away often preaching to crowds of thousands in the open fields, she grew resentful of his long absences. She destroyed some of his writings, criticized him publicly and repeatedly accused him of adultery.
According to Church History Blog “on several occasions she left home, only returning after he begged her repeatedly. Although he had been unspeakably angry with her, he kept aiming at reconciliation.
“But the home life was unhappy. John Hampson of Manchester ‘once entered a room unannounced to find Molly dragging her husband across the floor by his hair.’ (John Pollock, Wesley, Hodder, p.238)
“Finally, she left for good. Wesley wryly reported in his journal, ‘I did not forsake her, I did not dismiss her, I will not recall her.’ ”
You’d think that this was straight from an 18th century edition of the National Enquirer, but sadly, it’s all true.
William Carey’s wife Dolly refused to go with him to India but was pressured to go. Once there, their 5-year-old died and the other children continually contracted tropical diseases.
His wife started to go insane and constantly followed him down the street berating him, accusing him of having affairs with women, even threatening him with a knife. Finally, he had to keep her in a locked room.
His motto for life: “Expect great things; attempt great things.” *
On one hand, I’m distressed that God didn’t change the hearts of these wives to support their husbands in their respective Gospel ministries. I’m bummed that these men didn’t love their wives like Christ loved the church. John Wesley’s philosophy about being married and ministering was this: “I cannot understand how a Methodist preacher can answer it to God to preach one sermon or travel one day less, in a married than in a single state.” (more…)