Are you still with me? We’ve made it to chapter 14 of The Excellent Wife together! Only seven more chapters to go.
You may recall from chapter 13, Peace writes,
Some Christians teach that a wife must be totally submissive to her husband even when he is sinning against her (eg. threatening her or actually harming her with physical or verbal abuse). Does the Bible really teach what some call “doormat theology?” No, the Bible teaches that God has provided several ways to protect a wife whose husband is sinning and that it is the wife’s responsibility to take advantage of His protection. Some even think that a wife is more spiritual if she does nothing and that she is called to suffer passively for the Lord’s sake. But what merit is there in failing to take advantage of the measures God has provided for her protection? (p. 137)
The note at the beginning of chapter 14 says that the material presented in it is adapted from Lou Priolo’s, Biblical Resources for a Wife’s Protection, which you can download here.
These eight resources are listed in the order a wife should usually implement them. They are:
1. Learn to communicate biblically.
2. Learn to overcome evil with good.
3. Learn to make a biblical appeal.
4. Learn to give a biblical reproof.
5. Learn to biblically respond to foolish demands.
6. Learn to seek godly counsel.
7. Learn to biblically follow the steps of church discipline.
8. Learn to biblically involve the governing authorities.
God wants me to train my tongue to respond properly in every situation. How can I do that?
1. Practice gentleness, speaking with a loving tone of voice, and edifying speech.
3. THINK before I speak.
Overcome Evil with Good
A friend of mine offered me this same advice several years ago when I was particularly angry with my husband. At the time, it seemed that every single thing he did infuriated me. She advised me to do something good to him. She figured that my bad feelings toward him would change if I improved my actions toward him. The problem was that I wasn’t looking to change my heart. I wanted him to be different. Besides, I was enjoying being angry with him too much. My anger was like a drug. When I noticed I wasn’t angry with him I reminded myself to be angry; anger felt better than love.
But I’m sure none of you know what I’m talking about.
Peace lists 14 ways to do good to your husband. Love and sacrifice, “blessing instead,” trusting Christ for endurance, these honor the Lord.
Make a Biblical Appeal
One of the ways I can fulfill my role as my husband’s “helper suitable” is to give him wise counsel and advice. A biblical appeal has several conditions:
1. It should be done for the purpose of achieving the husband’s objective or desire. Most of the time this is easy because Karl and I often want the same things.
2. The motive of the wife must not be manipulative.
3. The appeal should be made in a respectful manner with a spirit of submission.
4. The appeal should be done at the proper time.
5. An appeal should be made only once.
6. An appeal should always be prefaced or concluded with a statement by the wife that she is willing to do whatever her husband decides.
7. If her husband is asking her to sin, she should propose a viable alternative which seeks to accomplish the husband’s intent.
Give a Biblical Reproof
I underlined quite a bit in this section, but this is the part that encouraged me most: The idea here is that love will not broadcast a person’s sins to others, but will “cover them” by dealing with the sins in a loving, biblical manner. A Christian wife does not have the option of whether or not to reprove her Christian husband who continues in sin. She is commanded to reprove him because her husband is also a professing Christian brother in the Lord.
Respond Biblically to Foolish Demands
It is at this point that Peace admits ways that husbands can be abusive. At this point, a wife may need to…
Seek Godly Counsel
Seeking godly counsel includes using God’s word, appealing to one’s pastor or counselor, and getting the advice of an older, godly woman. Two important things to remember is that you do not want to talk to too many people and you do not want to say anything evil about your husband.
Here Peace outlines and expounds on Jesus’ instructions from Matthew 18.
Involve the Governing Authorities
I have known two women whose husbands, or boyfriend in one case, eventually killed them. One woman was older than me, not a peer, but I did work with her every two weeks. She never once gave any indication that her husband was abusive. Her children were quiet about the abuse as well.
The other woman was my age. We were students together and we worked together in our dorm. She never spoke out about what was going on in her relationship, and eventually her boyfriend killed her.
Both of these women were Christians.
I know Peace says a lot in this chapter about how a wife needs to patiently endure. In the case of abuse, however, GET HELP BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! Don’t wait to see if the abuse is only going to happen once. The first instance of even a verbal assault, a woman needs to get help from a counselor or pastor. Get someone else involved as quickly as possible. From everything I’ve ever seen firsthand or read regarding abusive relationships, the abuse only escalates. The first instance of physical or sexual abuse, call the police. Make use of those men and women whose job it is to protect citizens. God has placed them in their positions for this very reason.
There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for a man to beat a woman. Men are to use their strength to protect.
In the case of my college friend who was murdered by her boyfriend, there was absolutely no reason for her to stay with him. They were not married. She should have sought help to get her out of that relationship. All the more reason for fathers to be involved in their daughters’ relationships!
What did you glean from chapter 14?
Keep reading! Click for Chapter 15.