The Excellent Wife, Chapter 1


Welcome the first installment for our reading group! Not only am I excited about (finally!) reading this book, I am excited that you are reading it with me. Books are better experienced together. Yes, experienced. I believe that if we take to heart the admonitions from Martha Peace to trust God and obey His word, then reading her book could be a pivot point in our lives. Turning the last page could be one of those moments that we do not forget — a marker for when we radically changed in our thinking of what it means to be a godly wife. But it starts with chapter 1…

The Excellent Wife: Who Can Find?

Martha Peace begins by sharing her testimony of how she came to faith in Jesus Christ. Though she knew many facts regarding God and Jesus, she did not have a relationship with Him. His word had no place in her life and she did not want it to have a place in her life. Unable to find satisfaction through her career, her family, or partying, she developed a plan to leave everything behind and be “free.” God, however, sent three people into her life who used His word to convict her heart. Over time, she became increasingly uneasy and anxious to the point of having panic attacks. In a last, desperate effort to avoid “being hauled out of the house in a straight jacket,” she met with a pastor, began attending church, and she began reading the book of John. As a result, she confessed her sin, repented, and woke the next day with a profound understanding that she was no longer the lord of her life, but that she would submit to Jesus as Lord.

God has dramatically changed Mrs. Peace over the last fifteen years. She is eager to admit that she is not the perfect wife, however, God has given her “a deep desire to be the wife that He wants [her] to be” (emphasis mine). One key point to understand is that God has a will for every wife. “That’s the purpose of this book — that you might first consider what it means to be an excellent wife and then faithfully commit yourself to that end, so that you will become the wife God wants you to be.”

Using Proverbs 31, Peace creates a visual with the traits of the excellent wife (see page 5). The center of the flower are the words, “The Excellent Wife.” Each petal is a different trait. She emphasizes that each of these “excellencies” can be developed in EVERY Christian woman. “These traits are given in Proverbs as general truths. Any Christian woman who knows and obeys them can become a godly woman, an excellent wife!” How can she make this claim? Because 2 Peter 1:3 tells us that God, through His divine power, “has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”

Our only problem is sin. But God has provided the help we need in His son, Jesus Christ. Furthermore, when we believe on Him, God sends us the Holy Spirit to help us to obey His commands. This means that we are without excuse. No matter what our reasons may be, we women have no excuse for not becoming the women and wives God commands us to be.

My Turn

I read this chapter three times. The first time (three weeks ago) I thought, “Yeah, I already know all that.” The second time (last week) I found one or two important points to ponder. The third time (last night) I thought, “This woman is really getting up in my business.” Words that I didn’t really notice before jumped off the page. Words like, “every,” “any,” and “when.” This woman of excellence stuff is for every woman who calls Jesus her Savior? These traits can characterize any woman? The third time I read through the list in Proverbs 31, I noticed that I was mentally checking off the ones I do and “won’t” do. I realized that I’ve known this list for so long now that I had excused myself from a couple of them. After all, my husband isn’t complaining. One point Peace brings out, however, is that it’s not really about us or our husbands. My desire should be to develop those characteristics because it is part of God’s will for me as a wife, and because they glorify Him.

Martha writes that we “can become what He wants [us] to become if [we do] what He wants [us] to do.” This statement reminded me that we become by doing. If I want to become a triathlete, then I have to run, bike, and swim. If I want to be a woman of prayer, then I have to pray. If I want to be an author, then I have to write. If I want to be an excellent wife, then I have to start obeying God’s word. It’s going to take discipline.

The final point that jumped out at me on the third reading is that God wants me to make my ministry to my husband the primary ministry of my life. I have never been encouraged to do this. It hasn’t been a pull toward a career, but ministering at church that has done me in. I have always been encouraged to minister somewhere besides my home. In fact, I vividly recall times when my husband needed me to do something (or the kids needed me at home), but because of my obligations at our church he had to do for himself. Or because I was so busy serving at church, my responsibilities at home fell by the wayside. I can see an immediate point of application in this. I have to be discerning when it comes to making ministry commitments outside of those God has given me right here at home.

The good news is that Jesus stands ready to forgive me. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins ans cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). He also promised to help me obey Him in the future. “And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever, that is the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because he abides with you, and will be in you” (John 14:16-17).

Now it’s your turn. I want to know what you thought of chapter 1. You can leave a comment and/or link to your own blog-post. If you write a post, please link back to this one so I can find you.

We’ll meet back here next Friday for a discussion of chapter 2, A Wife’s Understanding of God — God’s Protective Authority.

Women who’ve shared on their blogs:

Keep reading! Click for Chapter 2.

18 Comments on “The Excellent Wife, Chapter 1

  1. Oooh…good points, Leslie! My own post isn’t as eloquent as yours, but it’s up. I read through a couple of times, too, before I was really convicted by what Martha Peace writes. Like you, I have had church commitments that have kept me away from home. But I’ve been learning to turn my heart toward home more and more lately. It’s been very rewarding.

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  2. So excited about this reading group and this book! There are few books that have challenged and transformed my thinking as much as this one. I appreciate you doing this!

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  3. The things that struck me with this chapter, and it was something that we talked about at length the first week our bible study group met, is the fact that we are equipped to meet the challenges before us.I Peter 1:3 tells us that we have been given everything we need for life and godliness. Very often, as regards our marriage, we think, “Oh, I just can’t do this!” when in reality we can. We just don’t take our sin seriously at times. And often, our confidence is in our flesh and not the Lord.

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  4. “A wife’s responsiblity is to put her confidence in the faithfulness of God and His word- to do what He says.” (pg. 6)What a great reminder for me. I can’t put confidence in myself or my husband, I can’t do what I do for anyone other than Christ.I can’t wait to read chapter 2.

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  5. Well, I can’t participate in the study (we leave for Africa in 11 days) but I can enjoy your commentary! I, too, sometimes find myself saying I can’t do things because of church obligations. Good point.

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  6. I love that we are doing this together, Leslie! Thanks again for this excellent idea! My post is up as well….I’m already challenged!

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  7. “This statement reminded me that we become by doing. If I want to become a triathlete, then I have to run, bike, and swim. If I want to be a woman of prayer, then I have to pray. If I want to be an author, then I have to write. If I want to be an excellent wife, then I have to start obeying God’s word. It’s going to take discipline.”Great point. I think sometimes people are offended when they struggle with an issue the Bible is clear about, and are told they need to “do” what they don’t want to do. Fortunately, God’s spirit helps us in our need, and gives us the strength to do what we could not on our own.I read this book about five years ago with a study group. I was encouraged that as I read this chapter again, I could see the fruit of God working on my heart and in my life over the years. It’s good to revisit hard concepts to further growth and too rejoice in God’s goodness in the growth he’s given.

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  8. To be honest…I found myself really struggling to actually do the commitment at the end of the chapter. I was stunned at how stubborn & angry I was inside!So I began journaling as I knew this was somewhat of a “crisis of belief” moment. If I REALLY believe God says who He is, that HIS WAYS are higher, better, purer, then can I believe that giving up more of ME will be glorifying to HIM?The sentence that brought me to such an emotional struggle was the first one at the top of pg. 4 – “God’s will for every Christian wife is that her most important ministry be to her husband.” Hubbs & I have been married 3.5 years & have a 20-mth old son. I was immediately convicted that my primary ministry for the last 2 years has been my son…big time. And I already deal with conflicting emotions of learning how to be a mom in the midst of marriage & still wanting more of ME & the things I desire for myself.I hope it makes some sense, but after about a half hour of prayer, honest journaling & tears, I prayed the prayer at the end of the book & immediately asked God for help in learning how to balance the 2 men in my life in a godly way.Page 6 – “A wife’s responsibility is to learn to put her confidence in the faithfulness of God & His Word…” So that’s what I need to DO & BELIEVE that I can be changed, that I can be a godly example to my son of an excellent wife to his father & that my husband can be confident in my love & devotion to him.Thanks for the opportunity to be challenged – I have a feeling my home will be filled with quotes & scripture verses on index cards by the end of this book!!

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  9. “After all, my husband isn’t complaining”I have used that exact same rationalization to ignore some of my own failings in this area. Mine’s finally up, and I am really praying for a teachable heart and that I won’t resist the hard truths.

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  10. I don’t have time this week to write an actual post about chapter one, but I am both comforted and convicted.I have been given the “supernatural power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to enable me to obey His Word and submit to His way and His will.”Not too many escape routes there, huh?Certainly I have made the countless excuses about my shortcomings(sins) as a wife but it is because I *always* focus on the husband instead of the Father.Great post! I am really looking forward to the coming weeks. I needed this.

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  11. I am bit late getting my post up, but I didn’t want to miss the first week. This first chapter just confirmed to me why I desire to read this book. I am taking notes and keeping a journal. Thanks Leslie for hosting. I am looking forward to the weeks ahead.

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  12. Leslie, thank you again for coordinating all this. I am humbled to be among all these accomplished writers. Great comments so far. Mine are posted on my brand-new blog.

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  13. Almost 7 years ago, this book was thrust into my life–albeit in an unwelcomed manner because I did not really want to be confronted with my wifely inadequacies. Long story short, this book was used by God to change my marriage from that of self-serving to God-glorifying. And it wasn’t an easy process. I went on to hear Mrs. Peace speak in person, and then to teach this book two different times to groups of women. Although I’m not currently reading through this book with you gals, I wanted to tell you that your honesty and conviction is a blessing to me. Leslie, I’m praying that your reading group is of great glory to God as His Word through these excellent books changes lives.

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  14. This is my third time picking up this book and, like Christina said, I’m thankful for seeing how God’s been at work in my heart over the past few years. A few years ago, this chapter rubbed me the wrong way. Now, I can see that I often have my priorities out of alignment. While I would verbally acknowledge my husband is to be #2 (after God), I often allow many “good” things, such as ministry, get in the way of what is best- being a blessing to my husband. This time, I walked way both convicted yet sooo thankful for the grace of God in my life! Thanks Leslie! I’m excited to be reading this along with all of you.

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  15. Love this book! Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I’m reading along.

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  16. Hi All, sorry for my delay in posting. I am very excited about reading this book with you. My post is up now and I reading through all of yours. Looking forward to chapter 2. Linda

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  17. First of all sorry I am a bit late in posting, I was away but how exciting it was to come back to all this! :)Wow, I have been doubly blessed. First reading the book and bible passages and now reading all your comments and insights! Like Leslie and some others I had to read the chapter a few times for it to sink in. I have posted my thoughts on my blog but here is a question for you – my husband and I hope soon to be parents and I imagine it is more of a challenge (as vicki mentioned – hi vicki! great to see you in here :)) to put your husband first once kids are in the picture, have you guys any tips or advice for me in this area?Thanks Leslie for hosting this, this is going to be a great journey together.

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