It’s a tall order. I know. But, believe it or not, there’s a manual on how to do just that. Be an excellent wife. Before you get an attitude, here me out. The Excellent Wife was written by Martha Peace, and it’ll guide you in making changes in your marriage.
If you’re serious about it.And if you’re serious, read this book.
It’s called The Excellent Wife.
When someone recommended the book to me years ago, I almost laughed in her face. I then debated taking a slug at her. I was offended. I’d been a wife for long time. Compared to a lot of wives I knew, I was a pretty good one. I cooked, cleaned, took care of kids, stayed home. Heck, I thought, I probably could have written the book.
But, I decided to humor her and read it. I also wanted confirmation that I was already an excellent wife. I felt pretty confident picking up the book. Maybe even a little cocky. The book begins with Martha defining the role of a godly wife.
I’ve got this, I thought.
“The role of a godly wife is to glorify and submit to her husband.”
The dreaded “s” word. Even if I was not the greatest at the “s” word, I was still a pretty dang good wife. I kept reading. In the beginning of the book, Martha explains the challenges she faced early in her marriage. Boy, could I relate. I, like Martha, had been a feminist.
I, too, had thought the world revolved around me. I, too, had thought that I had married a man whose sole job was to make me happy, and it was my job to let him know when he didn’t. I laughed, literally, at the suckers who took on most of the responsibility of caring for the home when they worked just as hard as their husbands did. Okay. So things didn’t roll so smoothly in my marriage, but hey, no one’s perfect. Right?
Frequent discord, poor conflict resolution, blame, animosity, growing resentment, poor communication, commitment, he’s-the-problem syndrome, and frustration were a few of our issues.
But, by the time my friend recommended the book, I was an experienced wife. Far beyond the petty challenges that plague many marriages. I was closer to, well, excellent. So, I thought.
“Excellent” was rolling my eyes and grumbling under my breath when we disagreed.
“Excellent” was complaining to my sisters.
“Excellent” was reminding him of how hard I worked when he asked something of me.
“Excellent” was putting my needs above his.
“Excellent” was doing things my way.
It didn’t take long to figure out that I was NOT as excellent as I’d thought.
Right off the bat, Martha suggests that you pray and confess that you have not been the wife God wants you to be and ask for His help in becoming the wife He wants you to be.
Confessing? No problem. I was not the wife God wanted me to be because my husband was NOT the husband God wanted him to be. So, we were even. I was irritated. I really don’t know why, but I kept reading. God has a way of convicting us when we hear His truth.
I skimmed over the part that explained how that God wants me to blah, blah, blah “communicate in love” to my husband, my blah, blah, blah, “words are to be edifying; and my tasks sacrificial,” and all that jazz.
We are to help each other to become more like Jesus. Now we’re talking. I certainly could give my husband a few pointers on becoming more like Jesus. The straw that broke my back was her list of “Eighteen Ways a Wife May Be the Glory of Her Husband.”
Good thing she saved this until Chapter 7.
I choked through the first 17 but came to a grinding halt at Number 18.
And I quote: Just as God is glorified when man obeys Him; your husband is glorified when you obey your husband. (That’s a direct quote.)
O-what your who?
I dropped the book and called my friend.
“What are you trying to say?” I asked her.
I could hear her smiling through the phone. I hoped she could feel me glaring back.
“Just keep reading,” she said sweetly.
Listen, I explained, I come from a long line of women who don’t take kindly to the “O” word. It’s not in our vernacular. Not common parlance in my familial ancestry. What would my sisters think of me if I behaved like an “excellent wife?” I had five children. I stayed home. I provided meals. I cleaned the house. That was excellent enough. He was lucky to have me.
But as I read the book and began to understand the role of a godly wife, I did what any godly woman would do.
I cried because I knew I could never be the kind of wife God expected me to be.
I cried because now that I knew the truth, I’d be making a conscious decision to disobey God if I were to continue wife-ing as I’d been.
Doggone the truth.
Next time I saw my friend, I told her flat out that I could never be the kind of wife God wanted me to be. Ever.
She smiled (I hate it when she does that because I know she’s about to say something that I should have thought of.)
“Of course you can’t do it on your own, but you can with God’s help.”
Trying to be an excellent wife is not easy. It goes against everything society teaches us as women today. But, as unpopular as the idea may be, Martha Peace is right. The book is biblically sound. Every letter of it. She’s not advocating being a doormat. She’s not saying that you should treat your husband like a god.
She’s saying that loving and knowing God gives us a desire and the strength to become more like Him. In doing so, we become more excellent as wives.
Reading The Excellent Wife was painful. It really hurt (mostly my pride). But, the book did change my life and my marriage.
Am I perfect? Absolutely not. Not even close.I fail daily.
But God has placed a desire in me to want to be the kind of wife He wants me to be. Not excellent compared to others, but excellent by His standard.
Before I read the book and really understood what God expected of me, it was easy to be the kind of wife I wanted to be or to be the kind of wife I thought my husband deserved based on his behavior.
But, it’s my job to build him up not tear him down, to love him, to edify him, to encourage him, to respect him, to please him.
To glorify him.
My husband certainly is and always has been the kind of man who deserves an excellent wife. Even if he were not, it’s still my responsibility as a Christian to be a godly wife.
Become a member of the E Wives Club. It’s hard, but I am determined to give it a shot and rely on God to do the rest.
You’ll be surprised at what God can do.