The Influence of a wife – Coretta Scott King

“Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.”

Coretta Scott King

Each year since 1983 the third Monday in January has been celebrated as a US national holiday. On this day Americans commemorate the role of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in bringing racial justice to America.   As the wife of the 1960’s civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King worked side-by-side with her husband until his assassination on April 4, 1968.

Prior to their marriage in 1953, Coretta asked that one traditional detail in the marriage vows be removed.  The phrase “I promise to obey” was not something that this independent woman was willing to profess to God.  After her husbands tragic death she became an activist in her own right and an advocate for world peace.  In time she became a CEO, an author, a newspaper columnist, a television commentator, a recipient of more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees, all in addition to raising four children as a single parent.

Mrs. King died in 2006. A few days after her death thousands of people stood in line in the freezing sleet to pay their respects at her viewing in Atlanta in the Ebenezer Baptist Church. She is today interred alongside her husband in a memorial crypt in the reflecting pool of The King Center’s Freedom Hall Complex.  Hundreds of thousands of people visit from all over the world.  When they depart they carry with them out into our  world the spirit of the inscription on the crypt which memorializes her life of service. It is from I Corinthians 13:13 –“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Dr. King was a man of faith and high emotional intelligence. While Coretta politely refused to repeat the vow to obey at their marriage, he may not have seen the bigger picture but I’m certain that he had faith in the success of their union.

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wives have a tremendous amount of influence over their husbands.  How do you feel  you have influenced the men in your life?    I personally know that a deeper level of communication is something I need to initiate so I will ask specific questions, not just “did you like the movie” but “why do you think the main character did the thing”, whatever the thing is. Respect is a two way street.  What is something you do or say to show respect? I might bring up a memory where he was in the starring role.  Any other tips we can share?



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