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 – Chapter Eight – Chapter Nine – Chapter Ten – Chapter Eleven – Chapter Twelve – Chapter Thirteen – Chapter Fourteen – Chapter Fifteen – Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen is titled, “Conflict: Quietness of the Wife’s Spirit.” This chapter is all about biblically solving conflict with your husband. I’m not entirely sure what this phrase means, but you can be sure that there are lists to help us understand. Four lists to be exact: nine unbiblical thoughts, six biblical thoughts to help problem solve, three causes of conflicts, and four attitudes a wife needs to biblically solve conflicts.
For the sake of time, space, and everyone’s sanity, let’s discuss the six biblical thoughts to help problem solve. Because I have heard how destructive this book was to women in abusive marriages, I am coming from the perspective of abuse. The six thoughts, along with associated verses, are:
What is God trying to teach me in the midst of this conflict? (James 1: 2-5)
I am a Christian. For me to initiate a divorce just because we are having a lot of conflict is not an option that I have. (I Corinthians 7: 10,13 and Matthew 19:6)
God will help me to endure these conflicts. (1 Corinthians 10: 13)
If I must suffer through this conflict, I want it to be for doing what is right, not because I have sinned. (I Peter 3:17 ad 1 Peter 4:19)
God has a purpose for this conflict. (Romans 8:28 and Genesis 50: 20)
What can I do differently to make it easier for us to solve this conflict? (Philippians 2:3)
What is a wife in an abusive marriage to do with this list? Endure abuse, suffer at the hand of her abuser because it is wrong to divorce, and pinpoint the ways she is contributing to the abuse. She is also led to think that God allows the abuse to happen to teach her something. This falls in line with the biblical counseling teachings that we read in previous chapters.
These “right thoughts” make it easier to biblically solve conflict with little emotion to influence wives. Conflict is difficult, and it is unreasonable to expect that someone isn’t going to have any feelings about the experience, let alone always thinking the right thoughts. Reading this list leaves me with all sorts of emotions: sad for a wife that has to put up with her abusive spouse; anxious to think if this were happening to me, I couldn’t do anything about it; and angry on behalf of the wives who are told that this is the way they are to be in their marriages.
Let’s end by thinking of some “wrong thoughts” that Peace might think an excellent wife shouldn’t have:
- I am valued by God and deserve to be treated better.
- Even though I am a Christian, I can divorce my abuser to save myself.
- I do not need to put up with abusive behavior directed toward me.
- Nothing I do will change an abuser who is bent on maintaining power and control.
- A loving God weeps at injustice. He would not condone my abuse.
- My life is too important to be destroyed by abuse.
Wives, please don’t hold on to the destructive teaching that God has a purpose and plan for abuse that happens to you. You can leave an abusive marriage and remain honored, valued, and loved by God.