Book Review Series, The Excellent Wife, Martha Peace, Christian Relationship
This is a book review series of The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. If you are just joining us, you may click on previous chapter reviews if you’d like to catch up.
Chapter Four – A Wife’s Understanding of Relationships: God’s Pattern
This chapter is an adaptation from a Sunday school study (1995) given by Dr. Stuart Scott, Associate Professor of Biblical Counseling at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Honestly, I would love to skip this chapter. It’s all about the theology of relationships. This theology states that the husband-wife relationship is similar to the Trinity, which reminds me of Eternal Subordination of the Son.
The Trinity is a relationship in which three eternal persons (each being perfect in character and totally equal in being, power, and glory) reveal, know, and love each other tenderly and perfectly for the other’s good within the context of an eternal commitment. When they decide to set an accomplish a goal, for the purpose of order and economy, God the Son and God the Spirit voluntarily subordinate themselves to God the Father in order to function according to their perfect plans. As they work together, they are totally unified in desire, thought and action until the goal’s completion. Thus, they are a plurality within a unity.Taken from Robert Thomas, ed, New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the bible (Nashville: Holman Bible publishers, 1981), #3626, p. 1669
Peace admonishes husbands and wives to strive to have a relationship that follows God’s pattern described above. She notes that this relationship reflects godly love, humbleness, and perfect unity. How does this relate to a wife? Peace offers the following:
Wives are expected to suffer (even at the hand of cruelty) to reflect Jesus:
You may be thinking, “I’m willing to work at having a close relationship with my husband, but he is not.” If he is unwilling to communicate or is cruel and yet you respond in a godly manner, you will be suffering for righteousness sake and God will meet your needs.
What you do for your husband is nothing extraordinary:
You are just doing your minimal duty to God.
Giving of yourself to your husband is not going above and beyond the call of duty. It is only doing as you ought.
A wife is to help her husband become like Jesus:
In your relationship with your husband, God wants you to communicate in love and experience a righteous intimacy through sharing thoughts, present and future desires, aspirations, goals, struggles, and spiritual insights. He wants you to be open, honest, and transparent. Your words are to be edifying. Your tasks sacrificial. Your motive for the glory of God. Remember that your pattern for oneness is the Trinity.
I’m reading this last quote thinking about the wife who has a cruel husband. Think of how difficult it would be to follow this teaching when abuse is present. An abused wife is told she needs to help her husband become like Jesus. She does all she can to reflect Jesus, she is giving her all to her husband, and her husband does not reciprocate. She is told that she is enduring for “righteousness sake.”
Yet, if she is to have this perfect and unified relationship, can you see how she might have doubts in herself and consider that she is not doing good enough to reflect Jesus? An abused wife cannot win in this situation