Book Review Series, The Excellent Wife, Martha Peace, Complementarian Doctrine, Abusive Behavior
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 One – Chapter Two – Chapter Three – Chapter Four – Chapter Five – Chapter Six
Chapter Seven begins part two of this book which is: “A Wife’s Responsibility: Faithful Commitments of the Excellent Wife.” Chapter Seven focuses on the wife’s heart. Let’s see where a wife’s heart should be faithfully committed.
For those of you who have read this book, I am going to jump a bit here to put together Peace’s argument. Peace tells us that people may run to “false saviors” for comfort and relief. Some of the false saviors include: sex, sleep, food, sports, exercise, hobbies, etc. On this I agree with her. While none of these things in and of themselves are bad, if we focus so much on one that it affects our daily living or sense of reality, then that is not healthy.
Peace tells us that “idols/lusts in the heart are rampant.” Is it really “rampant,” or does she draw this conclusion because she doesn’t think women place their focus on right, godly things? Again, finding comfort in sleep, food, exercise, hobbies, etc. is not a bad thing. Having balance in your life is good for you. It seems like we will never get away from the constant badgering of how sinful we are. What are some of these “wrong desires” you ask?
- That my husband will be more affectionate.
- That he will anticipate my needs without my asking.
- That he will give me compliments.
- That he will make me feel special.
- That he will not hurt my feelings.
- That he will talk to me and share his thoughts and feelings.
- That he will put me first.
What should a wife have her heart set on?
- That I may know God’s word and obey it.
- That I may delight in Him.
- That I may seek Him with all my heart.
- That I may be pleasing to Him regardless of my circumstances.
- That I may cultivate an attitude of joy and gratitude in what God is doing in my life no matter what my husband does or does not do.
- That I may have joy in God deciding how my life and circumstances can glorify Him the most, that He can use me for His glory.
Let me try and understand this….a wife’s expectation of her husband treating her well can be an idol, yet the 18-point list in the last chapter for what a wife can do to glorify her husband isn’t a form of idolatry? And, why would a wife strive to bring glory to God when she is designed to bring glory to her husband? I honestly don’t understand how a wife expecting her husband to treat her with respect, kindness, and love is an idol. Everyone has the need and desire to feel worthy, loved, and valued. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these feelings.
What is more concerning about the second part of the list is that a wife should maintain joy and gratitude no matter what her husband does, or what her circumstances are. Is your husband viewing pornography, sleeping with other women, or a sex offender? Have joy and glorify God. Does your husband spend all of the family finances on a gambling, alcohol, or drug addiction? Be joyful and praise God. Is your husband emotionally, physically, or spiritually abusive to you and your children? Fake the joy.
It is clear that Peace is making an idol out of “biblical marriage” and “biblical gender roles.” I am beginning to get a grasp on the stories that I have heard of how damaging this book was for women in abusive marriages. Lord have mercy.
118 thoughts on “Book Review Series – “The Excellent Wife” by Martha Peace – Chapter Seven – False Idols and Faking Joy”
My one post up above still says it’s in moderated status? It says,
((DAISY June 12, 2019 at 7:55 PM Your comment is awaiting moderation.))
One thing I said in that post is that I have never identified as a feminist,
so I don’t appreciate it when these entitled, women-hating trolls, incels, and MRAs show up here and insist any woman who disagrees with their sexist garbage is a “feminist.”
I vehemently disagree with their sexist views, but I don’t wear the “feminist” label.
That troll guy who was posting here under 3, 4 names here on this blog signed up to follow my Daisy blog under the name “feministdestroyer,” so I put that name on block on my blog.
I don’t want you on my blog at all, dude.
Stop signing up to follow or comment on my blog under any name.
I disagree with your interpretation of the scriptures, but you haven’t actually addressed my question which is what does it MEAN. You just say ‘god says’, which I disagree with.
What the **** is a ‘marriage’ with two people permanently separated for SAFETY? HOW IS THAT A ‘ONE FLESH’ relationship of any kind???????
Apologies for all the capitals but this is quite frankly ridiculous. Rabadash the ridiculous levels. This is not any kind of marriage, where people have to separate for safety. You do not have a spiritual connection that any god would approve of in this situation.
You ignore the fact that preventing divorces in these marriage causes pain, by saying people are wrong to wish to avoid such pain. People are wrong to protect themselves.
Well I say, you are wrong to insist that there is any spiritual value of a quote unquote ‘marriage’ when abuse exists. When safety is threatened. When people are constantly torn down by painful, mean comments from their partner. This is NO MARRIAGe, whether on paper or not.
The idea that any god worth worshiping would encourage such a thing for some mystical supposed reason is ludicrous.
What another painful chapter in a ridiculous book disguised as “speaking for god” or “proper righteous christianity.” You certainly are a strong person Kathi, for reading this rubbish, and I most certainly appreciate you educating all of us on the dangers of these wolves in sheep’s clothing. The words on those pages make it impossible for a woman to please a man, or anyone for that matter. I call it, “living in the land that’s never good enough,” and it sets women up to be the punching bags in marriage, in the church, and in our society. When man sins, blame it on the woman, or in some depraved men’s (and even some psycho-pseudo-religious women’s) minds, blame it on young girls and teenagers. What sick minds blame the female genders for all sins of the world???………I already know the answers to this one.
Regarding the word “feminisim,” to date, not one soul has offered up a truly clear and concise definition; it has different meanings for different folks, thus rendering it irrelevant as far as the east is from the west. And now, we have the term “Christo-feminism,” whatever in the world that means…..I have a strong suspicion this pertains to any woman who does not worship the man within the ranks of the visible c’hurch, being their proverbial cheerleaders on all issues of life. Visible c’hurch hierarchy bears no difference from the other religions they label “pagan,” as we are to bow down and serve the “felt needs” of the c’hurch leadership, instead of helping, serving, and ministering to the “least of these,” Jesus’ Words, not mine.
As stated before in other posts, I NEVER, EVER, heard this “gender garbage” during any sermon from the pagan pulpit system developed by man, growing up in a small, rather poor to middle class c’hurch system. And when we were dismissed, most of the girls and boys grabbed their “softball gloves” and went out and had some great “ball playing fellowship” behind the religious building made of brick and mortar. Gender wasn’t a big deal, and when families are not flooding with wealth, there’s basically no time for the gender debate, because BOTH genders pitch in and get the work done to provide for their families.
When a form of “religion” decides who can and can’t do certain jobs within any society, the freedom and liberty Jesus speaks of, particularly in Him, is abolished, and what we see today is a form of “religion” that denies the finished work of Christ in each and every born again believer. I know without a doubt that many a Scripture has been falsely transcribed by men who seek power and control over the masses, and have used and abused words to keep the “least of these” in their proper place, serving the “important religious folks” and addressing them properly with their “entitled titles.” The golden calf of idolatry was never destroyed at the edge of the Red Sea, for it is alive and well within visible evangelicalism (I do not identify with that movement any longer, for it worships man and not our Savior of our Scriptures).
Sharing the Gospel and serving/ministering to others, is not a gender issue, and religious folks are doing a sneaky job of destroying the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints (of which include both genders by the way.) 🙂
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KAS, I’ve been itching to reply to your comments for a few days now. It’s past my bedtime, but I’ve just got too much to say.
Or, perhaps, there were just as many miserable and abused spouses then as there are now. But the public just wasn’t as willing to believe and listen to victimized spouses, or they wanted to treat domestic violence as “a domestic matter” which people outside the family shouldn’t interfere with. These factors, as well as the stigma against divorce, would mean that oppressed spouses (most often women) were trapped in marriages that sucked the life out of them, and so they limped along as best as they could. If so, then how is it a negative that abused women (and men) now have greater chance at freedom and worldly happiness, for them and for their children?
I wonder if you’d say the same thing to the over 200,000 Americans who have been forced into marriage as minors since the year 2000. Many of them become pregnant underage — with many probably the victims of rape or molestation — and are coerced by their families into getting married to “preserve the family’s honour”.
Is it really your contention, KAS, that God requires women in this situation to “work at” a contract that was decided for them, sometimes before they were even old enough to drive? And that the only options he gives them are either to stay married to rapist husbands, or to live their lives and struggle to support themselves alone until these men croak? Is this really your concept of a loving God?
Heads up to Julie Anne and whomever else moderates this blog:
I’m not sure if this is a new troll, or the one who was posting here before, under like two or three names.
I think it may be the same guy.
Right after I posted a new post to my blog about a conservative Christian preacher who murdered his wife
(rather than divorced her – the blog post title is “Conservative Christian Preacher Stephen Allwine Thinks Murdering His Wife Better Than Divorcing Her” – post is based on a true crime television show I watched earlier),
this troll named
skanky53 showed up to leave this post (which I did not approve to appear on my blog):
— start quote by skanky53 —
And the problem with that is?
Of course he should kill her rather than divorcing her as it is far cheaper in the long run and l
This troll has a blog here:
“Men Are Better”
And his blog says at the top:
— start quote —
Destroying feminism 1 step at a time
Welcome to My New People Blog
—end quote —
I am assuming (but don’t know for sure) that this is the same person as “feministdestroyer,” “necron” etc.
I have blocked this new screen name on my blog and put his post into the trash.
By the way, I have never identified as a Feminist,
so I don’t know what his obsession is with posting about this nonsense on my blog, or directing it to me over here on this blog.
Serving Kids – thanks for your comment. Lest we (and Lea) be talking at cross-purposes, I think you have to start with what marriage is according to scripture. That marriage was something that existed in the mind of God before creation, and men and women are invited to accept and live out what God intended from the beginning – one man, one woman for life, freely entered into. A new unity, and new family unit in each generation.
This was reiterated by Jesus’ own teaching in the gospels, with some addition by the apostles. Once this is in place, you can then talk about how this works out in practice, how you deal with those who abuse the institution by abusing their spouse. Is a forced marriage between a child and a man a genuine marriage, did God join them together?
Large numbers of people in the English-speaking world and beyond cannot keep their marriages together. The institution has been under sustained attack for decades. Putting asunder is legally now relatively easy. We cannot start with that, and then go to the teaching of Jesus in the gospels to see if we can accommodate what he said then (‘let not man put asunder’) with how our culture behaves now, tempting as it may be. The expression ‘Jesus is Lord’ is not a slogan, but an acknowledgment that he gets to define what marriage is, and we don’t.
Who’d want to be a pastor in today’s climate? If my view on the indissolubility of marriage from God’s point of view is correct, then notwithstanding Jesus’ exception clause in Matthew’s gospel, which therefore applies to divorce but not remarraige, a pastor is going to have to tell real people in his study they cannot remarry. If he did allow them to do so, he could officiate at/permit an adulterous wedding.
To make if even more difficult, how do you put a second marriage right in the sight of God? After all ‘do not put asunder’ presumably applies to a second marriage, yet Jesus said the parties to it ‘go on committing adultery’.
If I’m wrong on this, and in certain restricted circumstances (immorality and desertion) Jesus did permit divorce and remarriage, I would be guilty of putting a burden on people that God doesn’t. And of course give an account either way, as those who teach will be judged more strictly.
There are people on both sides of this discussion who take the bible seriously, who are acting in good conscience and faith, having thought deeply and read widely about what they believe the bible to teach. It is a very complicated topic. Surely you would agree though that much of modern evangelicalism won’t face up to these difficult or hard sayings of Jesus. I don’t think I have ever heard a semon on it apart from cassettes (remember those?) or on the net.
You would be guilty of condemning the innocent to a lifetime of pain and slavery, or to death, KAS. That is no marriage.
Lea – I’ll repeat what I said earlier as clarification on divorce and remarriage: in talking about the lifelong indissoluble nature of marriage “There has been endless discussion, often trying to get round it, of any exceptions to this, and if so does any exception apply to divorce only, or divorce and remarriage. I think yes to the former (fornication, desertion) but no to the latter.”
There is reasonable agreement that Jesus permitted divorce for porneia, immorality, with discussion of what exactly that term means. Also that Paul permitted separation by divorce when an unbeliever refused to live with a believing spouse, who is specifically said not to be bound, that is, enslaved to continuing the marriage.
The disagreement starts when discussing whether such a divorce permits remarriage without the second marriage being adultery. I used to believe that it did, but no longer do so.
My sister has, incidentally, been given some grief I believe for refusing to get excited about the remarriage of a widow in my former church who moved away. She is of course free to remarry. She is planning to marry the man who left his wife for her, all supposedly Christians, and all former members of the same church. It’s amazing just how many supposed believers neither know, nor seem to care, what Jesus had to say on the matter. Who wouldn’t rejoice that a widow can enjoy the companionship of marriage again in normal circumstances, but not in these circumstances. What an appallingly low view of marriage.
KAS, you can talk in circles all you like, but you are ignoring the real hard questions by throwing out alternate examples.
You are the one who, to me, has a ‘low’ view of marriage if you think maintaining one with someone who is a literal danger is wise, required, or any other such thing. Or that remarrying once getting away from such a situation would be a sin.
You refuse to talk about what marriage in those circumstances would really mean so I will not entertain your counter examples involving adultery where you think you are right. That is not at all what I’ve been talking about.
KAS, I think the problem is that you’ve been told what the Bible says through a patriarchal lens. Take, for example, death. Jesus could easily say that from the beginning, God never meant for death to exist, and that anyone who kills another is a murderer. But, then we see in the law that there are appropriate reasons why people kill others – self-defense, other-defense, and capital crimes. Yet, Jesus would not be a liar if he said something to that effect.
So, in this case, it is not contradictory for Jesus to say that the original intent of marriage was a one flesh, permanent contract, and that, in a sense, anyone who divorced and remarried committed adultery under the original intent.
But, we have to realize that the law has different priorities. For example, a Hebrew slave who was given a wife during slavery had to walk away from his wife (and potentially children) when freed (Ex 21:4). A concubine (sex slave) was set free if her master did not provide her food, clothing and “conjugal rights”.
So, we see here that despite marriage being “one flesh” and a creation mandate, we see that marriage itself was a lower priority in ancient Israel than the rights of slaves and masters. Now, the question to ask is – how does this reflect the general equity?
At a minimum, it takes marriage off the Evangelical pedestal of being the second most important human relationship. If a marriage and parental rights can be dissolved over property rights, and a marriage can be dissolved over mistreatment, then something is majorly wrong with our interpretation of what Jesus is saying.