Martha Peace has done Christian marriage a great favor by accumulating and explaining the biblical teachings and principles for being a godly wife. The Word of God is clear when it comes to roles and responsibilities, and Peace has written a valuable book to remind women of their biblical role. The Excellent Wife is comprehensively filled with Scripture, exhortation and practical advice. It is also counter–cultural. Even some within evangelical circles will bristle at Peace’s strong emphasis on submission, being workers at home and other duties seen today as subservient by many. But Peace refuses to compromise, laying out the biblical mandates as she comprehends them and, with a handful of exceptions, I believe she understands the Scripture’s teachings correctly. Any concerns I have about Peace’s teachings are minor in nature. For example,
- I would question her suggestion that a wife should “think about what you would like for him to do for you then do it for him” (p. 93). My experience as a pastor/counselor tells me that the husband is not necessarily pleased the same way a wife is.
- The appeal process as outlined in the book is interesting, and parts are worth pondering, but it is not based directly on Scripture. For example, where does the Bible teach that an appeal should be made only once and the she must always preface or conclude an appeal with a statement that she is willing to do whatever her husband decides (p. 160)?
- I believe Peace misses the mark when, based on Proverbs 9:8, she tells women not to reprove their husbands if they are scoffers (p.164). The book of Proverbs is not a list of commands, but of statements of general truth and wise sayings. Therefore while it may be difficult, and even costly, to rebuke a scoffing husband, the Bible does not command us not to do so. This too easily gives a wife an excuse for not speaking to her husband when she should.
These are minor issues and do not in any sense mar the overall contributions of The Excellent Wife, which is solidly biblical and extremely helpful. Due to the amount of information found in the book it would make a great counseling tool. The volume would also be valuable for a women’s Bible study.