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 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.