Of all Winston Churchill’s achievements—saving the Western world, defeating Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, dropping some really effective one liners—he believed marrying Clementine was the greatest. He said, “My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.” He knew that he couldn’t have accomplished what he did without her by his side. Just as Winston Churchill was one of the greatest leaders in world history, Clementine was one of the greatest wives.
In his book, My Darling Clementine, Jack Fishman wrote that Clementine’s mother, Lady Blanche, “recognized that, although a natural rebel, her [Clementine’s] disciplined modesty, her discretion, her gift of devotion, plus sense of duty, would make her the right woman for Winston. … Her sense of dignity would never allow her temperament to create domestic turmoil that would intrude into her husband’s public or private life.”
For our young men to be great leaders, they will need wives who possess these qualities that Clementine Churchill exemplified. Notice that Clementine had these five qualities before she married Winston! Likewise, young women in God’s Church should develop these characteristics now to become great wives in the future.
1. Disciplined Modesty
One dinner guest at the Churchills’ commented: “Her clothes are impeccable. You always remember her elegance, but never the details of what she wears—which is the hallmark of a well-dressed woman.” Though modest, Clementine had a high and elegant standard in dress, which complemented her husband’s high office in the national government.
Start developing your own style of dress that is elegant and sets a godly standard while still reflecting your personality. We are royalty and must present ourselves as such. Just as Clementine’s appearance honored her husband, our appearance should honor the God Family.
Clementine was often in the company of great diplomats and world leaders. She had the mindset of a good listener, not forcing her own opinions on others—and she had opinions!
If she didn’t agree with a strong stance of her husband, she would respectfully give her view. Clementine had a great influence on Winston’s speeches. Whenever she said, “I would not say that, Winston,” he would promptly make amendments. But Clementine was always deferential to her husband’s position; she never publicly disagreed with him.
Fishman wrote, “The art of not being overshadowed, yet never stealing the limelight, became one of her special achievements.” Clementine never tried to draw attention to herself, but strove to edify those around her. She spoke with grace and discernment, never rashly. This quality does not develop overnight! Start by listening before you speak and exercise patience when conversing. Don’t try to force your opinion upon others.
One of the most endearing qualities of Clementine Churchill was her devotion to her husband and her people. Her loyalty pulled Churchill through the many dark years of political isolation and wartime leadership. Churchill once said with tears in his eyes, “It would not be possible for any public man to get through what I have gone through without the devoted assistance of what we call in England one’s ‘better half.’” Churchill often looked to Clementine’s smiling presence for the encouragement he needed when speaking. This was most important to Churchill in the early years of their marriage as he worked at overcoming a speech impediment. Churchill would practice his speeches in front of Clementine alone, and she would give him advice and thoughts in return. She saw the tremendous potential in Churchill and gave him the motivation and inspiration he needed.
Clementine devoted herself completely to serving her husband. She stood by him through the entirety of his political career. Fishman writes that, “fortified by his wife’s unwavering support and belief in his destiny, he never lost courage, never lost faith in himself.”
Clementine was sacrificially devoted to her people. This was the responsibility of her husband, so it was hers as well. She always spoke to one with her full, earnest attention. One man commented upon a visit from Clementine, saying, “I watched her greet some of our sailors and airmen, and she approached each one as if he were the one person she had come to meet.”
She showed care and concern toward everyone, no matter their rank or status. A dinner guest commented, “There are few more flattering experiences than to be one of Clementine Churchill’s guests. This is not because she is Winston’s wife, but because she has the quality of being able to get the best out of everyone.”
Clementine’s devotion endeared her to the people of the British Empire. We need this same devotion toward our family, congregation and peers. We are here to serve and bring out the best in each other. Devoting ourselves to our physical family now and in the future shows God our devotion to His Family.
4. Sense of Duty
Clementine was aware of her husband’s duty to their people and the West as a whole. Clementine believed that Churchill would become a powerful leader, despite accusations that he was a political failure. Fishman writes, “Her conviction then that a great destiny awaited her husband was as unshakable as it remained throughout the years of his stormy career.”
As Churchill rose to the challenge of leading Great Britain into World War II, Clementine rose with him. She matched her husband in courage and fearlessness—though she had to work hard to keep her husband out of danger, for he had a strong attraction to it.
Clementine worked diligently behind the scenes to enable her husband to focus completely on his responsibilities. She was efficient, organizing events at home to the hour. During the war years, Churchill was often unaware of how much Clementine was working because she was always available whenever he needed her.
God has given us a duty: to become a teacher in His Kingdom. All our energies should be invested in this future. We have a duty to embrace and apply the training God gives us. If we do, it will not only build within you the attitude of a supportive wife but that of service to the God Family.
5. Emotional Control
Clementine was naturally “excitable, vivacious, bubbling,” Fishman writes. But her most useful skill was her ability to remain calm no matter the strains and stresses that she and her husband endured together. Fishman continues, “Churchill’s day is a day of surprises. Almost hourly crises arise, which require the most delicate handling by Clementine. A swarm of Cabinet Ministers may arrive unexpectedly for a lunchtime conference, a visiting statesman invited to dinner may have special dietary requirements. She deals with such problems coolly, efficiently, without fuss.” Clementine rarely lost her composure but handled these daily surprises with dignity.
She knew that it was imperative that Winston’s home was a place of peace and comfort. Winston loved to entertain, but he would sometimes get into conversations where Clementine had to intervene. She had the ability to gracefully interject herself into an icy conversation and melt it with her warm smile and positivity. She created a peaceful, positive and composed environment for her husband to relax or work in. Clementine’s emotional composure gave her husband the strength to fulfill his many jobs.
One of the most important character traits to establish is emotional control. This starts at a young age but must grow and develop with you. When unforeseen circumstances arise, how do we react? Do we find ourselves acting impulsively? Emotional control is a necessary trait in a strong wife. We can all grow in our emotional composure in order to better serve our families.
Clementine Churchill is an example of a dignified wife that young women in God’s Church can aspire to. Think about it: Those called now will assume permanent roles in the World Tomorrow. Our examples will be visible for the whole world to see. We can prepare now by building disciplined modesty, discretion, devotion, a sense of duty and emotional control.
By developing these qualities as a youth, you are setting yourself up for success in your future marriage—and into eternity.