Book Review Series, The Excellent Wife, Martha Peace, Complementarianism
For those new to the blog this will be my third book review series. I also reviewed, “God’s Design” by Sally Michael and Gary Steward and “The Power of a Transformed Wife” by Lori Alexander. (Links are the last article of each series. These posts contain all links for the series.) For those who journeyed through the others with me, here we go again!
I stumbled upon “The Excellent Wife” many years ago while attending a women’s prayer group. It wasn’t really a stumble, but more mandatory reading as the group was going through the book each week. I think I barely read it either because there were points I didn’t agree with, or my then young children were draining my energy and time. I think the latter is more likely as nothing about this book stands out to me.
This book was originally published by Focus Publishing in 1995. I am reading the 2005 tenth anniversary addition on my Kindle.
Chapter One – The Excellent Wife: Who Can Find?
Martha Peace begins the chapter describing her upbringing as an only child who was spoiled by her indulging parents. She married her high school sweetheart at 19, and details a marriage in which she found no joy. She sought out happiness through having children, education, jobs, and partying. At one point in her life she recalls being a “full blown feminist” trying to make a mark on the world.
She states her conversion was like “Taming of the Shrew,” meaning she went from a disobedient wife to a submissive wife. Sounds a little bit like Lori Alexander to me.
After her conversion to Christianity and living a life submissive to her husband, her life and purpose changed:
God has not only given me a deep love for my husband, but also a passion for His Word and for teaching younger women to be the excellent wife described in Scripture.
Peace states that:
God’s will for every Christian wife is that her most important ministry be to her husband (Genesis 2:18).
Her husband should be the primary benefactor of his wife’s time and energy, not the recipient of what may be left over at the end of the day.
Peace then divulges that the answer of finding the excellent wife is in Proverbs 31: 10 – 31. On one page she posts a diagram listing thirteen traits of the excellent wife and on another page says there are twenty traits. Now I’m really confused, and I’m really hoping that later on in the book one of the traits will include a wife working outside the home to provide for her family.
The chapter winds down by exhorting wives that they are not excluded from sin. If wives try to do wifely things their own way instead of God’s way, they are sinners. Only a truly Christian wife will want to leave her lawless ways and submit to God’s word. There’s somewhat of an altar call (I’m not kidding) and a prayer to pray before diving into Chapter Two.
I think I can see where this book is leading. Perhaps it wasn’t my young children causing me to not read it after all.