Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Excellent Wife

The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective
by Martha Peace
paperback, Focus Publishing Inc.
257 pgs.

The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace has to be one of the most influential books I have ever read for women. It was first introduced to me by the ladies of our church when I was a newcomer, young wife, first-time mother, and a very self-reliant Christian - all of which was futile ground for the seeds of a 'modern womanhood' to take hold. I can only praise God for His working to bring such a humbling book to my attention at the perfect time in my life. Don't get me wrong, I've not reached the desired status of the Proverbs 31 woman simply by reading Martha's book - instead I've been shown just how very far I am from her!

Martha Peace has done what very few authors writing for women do: she's bluntly honest, convicting, humbling, and she asks questions and covers topics others tip toe around. All of this while being scripturally sound, organized and presented in an easy to understand and practical format.

I know, it sounds too good to be true, doesn't it. But no, Martha has taken the time to create chapters that covers what it means to be a biblical wife from all angles.

The Excellent Wife is divided into four parts. Part One - A Wife's Understanding covers understanding God, sin, relationships, marriage, and a wife's role. These chapters go in depth and give a good foundation to understanding who God is.

Part Two - A Wife's Responsibility gets into the area of the home and what a wife's responsibility is to her home and family. Other chapters in part two are bluntly honest about the choice to love our husbands, respect them, have sexual intimacy with them and learning the joy of being submissive. Yes, you read that right. The JOY of being a submissive wife. That was one area I always thought I was pretty good at. Not excellent, but passable. Can I laugh out loud now?

She lists ways wives are not submissive to their husbands by:

  • doing things that are annoying to him

  • not disciplining the children

  • more loyal to others than to him

  • arguing, pouting or giving the cold shoulder when you don't get your own way

  • spending over limits of the budget

  • correcting, interrupting or talking for him

  • manipulates with tears, begging, nagging, complaining, etc.

  • making important decisions without him

  • defies him purposely

  • worries about his decisions and 'takes matters into her own hands'

  • does not pay attention to what he says

All of these are followed with verses that convict as well as help remind you that when you are not submissive, you are not only unsubmissive to your husband but to God as well.

Part Three - A Wife's Submission goes deeper into this topic explains that being a submissive wife does not mean being a doormat, as many women argue. This section is important because of how the word 'submissive' has been trampled on by today's woman and literally thrown into their husband's faces. Martha effectively lists common questions and doesn't give pat answers.

Part Four - A Wife's Special Concerns brings up problem areas we face such as anger, impatience, anxiety, and loneliness. One of my favorite tools she uses throughout the book is the comparison charts. For example, she takes this thought: "How dare he 'snap' at me on his way out the door. He's not the only one who's had a bad day" and encourages you to replace it with a thought such as: "He doesn't usually 'snap' at me like that. I wonder if he's had a bad day or has a headache. What can I do to help?"

The Excellent Wife gets into heart issues. It's a book I've given many times as a wedding gift as it's one every wife should read. Martha Peace did an excellent job when she wrote a book that doesn't give wives the answers they wanted to hear, but the ones they need to hear. There is a study guide and a Teacher's Edition available as well.

Martha was born, raised, and educated in and around the Atlanta area. She became a Christian in June, 1979. Two years later, Martha ended her nursing career and began focusing her attention on her family and a ladies' Bible study class. For five years she taught verse-by-verse book studies. Then she received training and certification from the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors. N.A.N.C. was started by Dr. Jay Adams for the purpose of training and certifying the training of men and women as biblical counselors.

Martha is a gifted teacher and exhorter. She worked for eight years as a biblical counselor at the Atlanta Biblical Counseling Center where she counseled women, children, and teenagers. For the past five years she has presented workshops on various biblical counseling issues for women. She also instructed for 6 years at Carver Bible Institute and College where she taught women's classes including The Excellent Wife, Raising Kids Without Raising Cain, Introduction to Biblical Counseling, Advanced Biblical Counseling, Personal Purity, and The Book of Esther.

Martha is active with her family in Faith Bible Church located just outside Peachtree City, Georgia, where she teaches Children's Church and ladies' Bible study classes. In addition, she conducts seminars for ladies' groups .

Martha has been married to her high school sweetheart, Sanford Peace, since September 24th of 1966.

Paula Miller