Malevolent Marriages/Great Gospel


Most people know that John Wesley was the founder of the Methodist Movement  and a preacher who God used to bring about the Great Awakening in the 1700s. What most may not know is that he had a lousy marriage.

William Carey is considered the father of modern missions, but did you know that he, too, had a matrimonial monstrosity?

John Wesley’s wife Molly was so unhappy that 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.’

“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 the one hand, I’m distressed that God didn’t change the hearts of these wives to support their husbands in their respective Gospel ministries.

On the other, I’m greatly encouraged because God uses people who have lousy marriages. He uses less-than-perfect people to do his will. You don’t have to have it all together nor have all your ducks in a row to do God’s will.

Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:33-37)


*(The One Year Christian History. E. Michael and Sharon Rusten)(And William Carrey by S Pearce Carey) & ( ), (John Pollock, Wesley, Hodder, p.238)
Read John Wesley’s Journal here.


  1. hello pastor Steve,
    Could you tell me what does it mean,

    Get to work and quit yourselves like men.


  2. Great blog. Encouraging to see how God uses imperfect men with imperfect wives to still continue to carry out the Gospel.

  3. Great sermon, Pastor Steve. Thank you for encouraging (and convicting) me as usual.

  4. I understand you guys and gals think marriages are ordained or somehow “chosen” by God, but the stance against divorce confuses me. You see things as part of a fallen or corrupted existence. Why wouldn’t marriage fall under that? Clearly some marriages aren’t going to work. No matter how hard you try, some personality clash that went unforeseen during the courtship process has cropped up and made thing unmanageable.

    Clearly it’s best for this marriage to end in the hopes of each person finding another spouse that would be a better match. The alternative is to miserably work towards the futile effort of making a bad match work. Why force people into that kind of life?

    Not to say that you should abandon ship at the first sign of conflict, but you reach a point where you see that things aren’t going to work out in the long term.

  5. Great encouragement to believers with difficult spouses. Men and women can take heart in this blog post. Those who stay behind and help their spouses are a reward. Those who go out as husband and wife and evangelize the lost are a treasure and in my limited experience very rare.

  6. Garrett:

    Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

    To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:8-11)

    There’s also some silliness that follows about if your spouse is an unbeliever, you can’t divorce them, but they can leave you – go figure.

    Apparently, God hates divorce. And Newt Gingrich…

  7. Yeah Cynic, but that’s just a command with no rationale behind it. What I want is the reasoning behind it. Well, besides “Cuz God sez so.”

  8. Thank you Pastor Steve for sharing this info. It really is encouraging because of who God can use!

    God bless!

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