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The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective

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Martha Peace, a nouthetic councelor of women, has written an Excellent Volume. Not only does it explain what God "requires" of a Christian wife, but it explaines clearly how to obey God's commandments in order to become that wife. Get it, read it and profit from it.""The Excellent Wife" is an absolute must for women today. This book is a welcomed first because it is a Scripturally based, systematic and practical work for today's women. Within its pages is a detailed portrait of a godly wife. Not only is the standard high and godly, but Martha demonstrates that by God's grace, it is attainable...

257 pages, Paperback

First published August 1, 1997

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About the author

Martha Peace

27 books60 followers
Martha Peace is a biblical counselor with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. She is the author of many books and speaks and teaches nationally and internationally.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 290 reviews
Profile Image for Marcie.
46 reviews
December 4, 2013
I am currently hosting our women's bible study & we are going through this book. I am a conservative Christian(for those of you wondering, I attend a Baptist church). I have finished 6 chapters in this book which was highly recommended. I, however, would not recommend this book to anyone, particularly if they are a non-christian or a new christian. Pearce is hypocritical as well as unrealistic in her expectations for women. She begins a chapter telling women that their purpose is to glorify God, however, she then spends the rest of the chapter instructing women that their purpose is to glorify their husbands at any cost (smacking of idol worship in my opinion). I disagree with Pearce's perspective in that she has strayed from the goal of honoring, respecting and loving one's husband and has moved to the extreme of glorifying the husband. This book is not very well written according to biblical scripture, although it quotes much of it. She does not go deeper in explaining or supporting her statements and often I believe she has either not explained herself very well, or worse, has said exactly what she means which is a skewed view of biblical principles. Many of the women in our group have felt the same and some who are married to non-Christian spouses or were single until being married for the first time in their 50's feel that this book is either an offense to their life's purpose prior to marriage, or is no help/unrealistic for the particular challenges they may face. Many have commented that most of the suggestions and teachings are quite superficial and/or unrealistic. We have decided to continue through to chapter seven, but I wouldn't be surprised if we scrap this study altogether.
Profile Image for Julia.
172 reviews14 followers
April 14, 2011
I do NOT recommend this book.

Although I do not necessarily disagree with the overall message of the book, it is delivered in a manner that, as one friend I lent the book to put it, "makes me feel bad about being a woman. She writes as though she thinks very poorly of women." Frankly, I couldn't agree more. The old adage says, "it's not what you say, it's how you say it," and that feels especially true with this book. The author may have some good things to say, but she says them in such a condescending and contentious manner, that, as a woman, I found it hard to take her seriously without feeling like a sub-human.

Also, not everything the author says seems to be truly Biblical, or at the very least, is written in such a confusing way that it was hard for me to understand the logic that led her from the scripture she references to the conclusion she comes up with and it's "practical" application for her readers.

To give an idea of what the author is like, she says at the beginning of the book that her husband suggested she write the book, so because he hadn't told her to do something sinful, she had to write the book because she had to obey him. This is in keeping with the major theme of the book, that "the wife" should be completely submissive to her husband, for this is the will of God. I am not saying that I disagree with men as the "leader of the household," but I feel that husband and wife are called to communicate with one another in openness and love when decisions are in question, and although the author does not say that it is wrong to tell your husband how you feel, she does not go very far to encourage it, or even discuss it as a possibility. Rather, she seems to focus solely on the fact that women who are following God's will should do everything their husband's tell them to - down to what temperature to set the thermostat at or how to arrange the spice cabinet, even if he never cooks -, and that a woman's first priority should be making her husband's ambitions reality. Her book would be more complete if she wrote about how to communicate your own needs, opinions, and desires in a Godly way, and then choose to take the husband's advice, out of the strength of one's spirit and desire for peace and God's will done, not out of lack of ability to make decisions.

I went through this with a group of women, and although some positive changes and discussions were generated from her book, an equal, if not disproportionate, amount of negative energy and confusion was generated. That does not seem like a good formula for a book to me. I am sure that there are books out there on this same topic that write with more love and respect toward women as a sex, and more compassion for those women who fall outside of the "typical" Christian woman mold: married to a Christian husband, with children. Indeed, I feel that I got better marriage advice from books on other topics (boundaries, communication, living a Godly life), than I got from this book.
Profile Image for Diana.
181 reviews5 followers
February 28, 2012
I'm not exactly sure what to say about this book. I read it for a very specific purpose and was about as appalled as I thought I might be. Among many questionable interpretations, the most horrifying piece was the graphic that represented a man's and woman's relationship with God as three points on a triangle. God, at the top, imbues His image on both Man and Woman. Man can offer glory to God in a direct way. However, a woman cannot glorify God, because she is created to glorify Man. Yup. Infographic = True.

Profile Image for Laura Cheek.
206 reviews5 followers
December 2, 2009
This book is really demeaning to women. My husband hated it and wanted me to throw it out - does that mean I should obey him and do it? Because I am supposed to obey my husband in all things, right? Well, in this case, I did. Chalk one up for the fire pit.

Upon reviewing my review - I realized I sounded...harsh. Some people may find this book helpful - I did not.
Profile Image for Andrea.
280 reviews62 followers
July 28, 2020
This book is a little tricky for me to review.

I consider myself to be a fairly conservative Christian. I would say that I am getting more conservative as I age (I'm currently 34). I grew up in an Evangelical Free church and now my husband and I attend an independent Baptist church. I believe in complementarianism (that men and women have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage) and that in God's design, the husband leads the wife. I believe that before God, men and women are equal in value and that they both have a responsibility to serve and glorify him. So I'm on the same page with the underlying theological views of the author. In my circle (mostly independent Baptist churches), this book has been highly recommended, though I have good friends who struggle with it as I do.

For context, I read some isolated chapters several years ago (I remember not being a huge fan at that time) and then I went through this whole book with a group of ladies for a small group that was focused on marriage (our husbands separately went through the companion book, The Exemplary Husband: A Biblical Perspective). I've also heard Martha Peace speak in person at a conference put on at our local seminary where I take classes for biblical counseling. I appreciated hearing her speak much more than what I read in her book. I'm not sure if it was the delivery or the content that was different (or my own heart and receptiveness)...probably a little of each.

As I think about it, there are about four main reasons reasons for which I would not recommend this book.

1. Tone - I really disliked the tone of this book. At times it was hard to put my finger on it, but I think the best way I can describe it is that it felt like the author was anticipating an antagonistic audience. Granted, the whole topic of biblical submission is a difficult one to tackle. Many people are antagonistic toward it and even someone like me who sees it taught in the Bible, struggles to accept/practice it. And the reality of that tension makes me even more disappointed that a book about it would take that tone. It's hard enough to try to be soft and receptive to hard truths without the author acting like you're a naughty child who must be scolded into submission. God didn't design biblical leadership/submission to keep women down or make them hate their lives. He designed it for good, because it represents something beautiful and pictures the relationship between Christ and the church. It's a beautiful, wonderful truth and I want to be compelled by the beauty/truth of it, not bashed over the head with it.

The book reads like a research paper with lots of lists and short sections. There's not a lot of material to connect the thoughts or flesh them out. It's just very matter of fact about what you should or shouldn't do to be an "excellent wife."

One of the things I've been paying more attention to lately is the have to vs. get to tone of Christian authors/teachers. This distinction first occurred to me between John Piper and John MacArthur. When I read John Piper, I catch a vision for the holiness and worthiness of God. That this glorious God has enlivened me so that I get to say no to sin and live a life that pleases him, in a marriage that he has designed for good purposes, is extremely motivating (by the way, his book This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence was extremely helpful for me). Piper consistently teaches in such a way that reveals Christlikeness as a wonderful and dear prize. Maybe this is not fair, but I don't get that same sense from MacArthur. MacArthur seems to convey a sense of duty more than a sense of love. Both men teach truth the vast majority of the time and I have benefited from both, but they have very different tones.

I definitely think this book is in the "have to" camp. Be an excellent wife whether you like it or not (and you won't like it because you're a sinner and you have to get past that). I just think it's a real missed opportunity to motivate from the drudgery of duty instead of the beauty of God's design. I bet that wasn't the goal of the author and it's not that she doesn't cover God's design, but that's how it comes off to me.

Tone is highly subjective. I don't want to ruin this book for someone by pointing something out that may not bother them, but it bothered me. A lot. I know a couple other ladies who also really struggle with this book. But I also know some ladies that I highly respect who don't have these same issues so the tone probably just hits people differently.

2. Portrayal of women - I found the author to be kind of condescending and to present a vapid caricature of women. In one section about the woman being available for sex, she writes something along the lines of "If your husband wants to have sex, you can call your sister tomorrow night." As if all women have to do is have long, chatty phone calls with their sisters. She frequently refers to a woman's period and its effects on her. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I don't really deal with PMS to a large extent. My husband doesn't know when I have my period unless I tell him. The author's assumptions about how drastically our cycle affects us got tiresome (to be fair, a lady in our discussion group did mention that it does affect her fairly drastically so maybe this is just a personal beef with the book and not representative of the larger audience). But there were lots of references to things that women do or things they care about that were just kind of insulting. At times I read some of the examples to my husband and he thought they were just as ridiculous as I did.

This book was written in 1995 and my husband suggested that the author's cultural context may have unduly influenced her ideas of the typical woman. There were many times when it seemed like the author did not have a very high opinion of women.

3. Going beyond scripture/prooftexting - there were several instances in which I thought the author was going beyond scripture in her teaching. There were a few that I can specifically remember. First, the author writes that anal sex is sinful with no explanation why. I did some basic research into it and couldn't find anything in the Bible to suggest that it's sinful (obviously most people go back to Sodom and Gomorrah, but what happened there was pretty far beyond anal sex). I don't really care; I'm not advocating for anal sex, but I don't think it's helpful to put things into categories where they may not belong (especially without explanation). Second, the author writes that a woman should only make a request about something one time. After that, she should let the man decide on his own if he's going to revisit it or change his mind or whatever. I see nothing in scripture to support this. Scripture does talk of not nagging, but I think there's a lot of distance between nagging, and a woman revisiting a topic that is important to her, especially if circumstances have changed since the initial conversation. Third, the author claims that Jeremiah and Elijah were sinning in their response to God about their situations. The book of Lamentations gives vent to Jeremiah's sorrow and frustration, but I don't think God intended it to be an example of what not to do. God is not threatened by strong emotion. The Psalms are full of it. If anything, I believe God has given us these words of lament as a source of comfort and permission to come to God with our sorrow and frustration. I need to study this more, but I've never heard it taught that Jeremiah was sinning and I think to say so misses the point of that scripture.

I would also add here that I thought her view of women/marriage was rigid and didn't allow for the great variation in personality and relational differences. Even as we discussed the material in our study group, there were some women who agreed that, in their relationship, what the author described was what they experienced, while others dealt with much different dynamics in their relationships. At times I thought the author confused biblical principles with preferences/personal experience that may or may not work for individual wives/marriages. For new wives/young Christians, I think this could do a lot of damage. My husband actually prefers for me to rearrange the furniture/decor on my own and doesn't care how often I do it (he knows I enjoy it and he would rather stay out of it most of the time). Another lady in my group said her husband got mad when she rearranged some furniture without telling him first. I use this example because it's an example that the author mentions. There are a lot of grey areas and I think it's important for each couple to communicate and work out with each other the best way to handle them (within a biblical framework).

In this section I will also say that I think there were times when the verse that the author used to illustrate her point didn't always seem to follow/match.

4. It's not really about marriage - Let me explain. This book is written to help women be "excellent wives." But really, 90% of the instruction in this book applies to every Christian (man or woman). Comparatively speaking, the Bible doesn't have a ton of material written specifically to the wife. What the author has done is take instruction written to the Christian and put it in the context of a woman in a marriage. So the wife should trust God and not be anxious. This may look a certain way for a woman that is married, but it's the same command that is given to a single woman, or a man or a child. That's not bad, but it's different than you might expect. At the end of this book, my husband and I both felt that it didn't really encourage us to grow together. The books we read encouraged us to each do our own part (this book talked to the wife, his book talked to the husband), but they didn't really encourage us together. Other than the chapters having the same topics/themes, there's not a lot that would lead a married couple to feel like they're doing this together. And other than the chapters about how to confront your spouse if they're sinning, I don't really remember much in the book that encourages you to interact with your spouse about what you're learning.

I can see how this approach could be especially helpful for a woman who is in a relationship where the man does not want to work on anything. In this case, the woman should be encouraged by the fact that she can faithfully serve and obey God in her marriage even if her husband has no desire to do the same. And, honestly, this truth is important for all women. We are responsible to be faithful wives regardless of what our husbands do. This book encourages personal responsibility in marriage and does a good job at constantly reminding the reader that she can be an "excellent wife" on God's terms, even if not on her husband's terms.

There were times, though, when I felt a little irritated at how this book was arranged. I'm not sure I get more out of scriptural truths about worry or anger or sorrow in the context of a wife than I would just in the context of being a Christian. But it's true that a godly, or "excellent," wife would need to obey all the commands of scripture so it makes sense that a book about wives would include general biblical teaching. I guess it just came off as kind of contrived by the end of it.

I realize I haven't given many concrete examples to illustrate my critique. Honestly, part of this is I just don't want to search back through the book to find them. I read this over the course of a year and I didn't always mark them as I came across them and I just don't want to take the time to locate them. I also didn't want this to turn into a nit-picky review (if it isn't already) which I think I might if I include lots of examples. I wanted to give some broad, personal impressions.

I personally struggled a lot with this book. And I don't know how many times I asked my husband (and a good friend of mine who was also in the couples' study) if I was just being resistant to the material because it was hard or because I truly disagreed with the author. I'm sure it was some of both. Which is partly why I can't really recommend this book. It's already a hard topic. Even as someone who is "on board" with the main teaching that the author espouses, I had a really hard time with many of the chapters. I believe this topic can be handled in a way that is winsome and I don't think this book does it.

The book isn't all bad by any means. There were a handful of chapters that were very helpful. The author is very straightforward so if you're looking for a compilation of basic, easy to reference truths, categorized by topics/themes that relate to marriage, you may find this book helpful. The author uses a lot of charts about putting off/putting on that you may find helpful and may want to replicate in your own life (I know women who do this and who love the author's charts/graphics). The book does share biblical truth about a wife's role and she does explore many topics that will impact a wife. I wouldn't necessarily discourage someone from reading it, but I don't see myself recommending it to anyone either. When I heard that the moms' group at a local church will be studying this book my heart dropped a little. I pray that it will be a source of encouragement and biblical challenge for them and not of confusion and frustration like it was for me. I thank God that we are all growing and that he does change our hearts, even when we least expect/welcome it. It would be interesting to read this again in 10 years and see what I think of it then (though I'm not currently convinced I will pick this up again).

I guess the bottom line is that there is some good truth in this book, but I found it pretty off-putting. I blame my own heart for some of my resistance, but I know I'm not the only one who struggled with the book and based on the reasons above it's not something I could confidently recommend.

Note: I didn't think very highly of the study guide either which I have reviewed separately.
Profile Image for Pamm.
11 reviews
October 23, 2009
My FAVORITE Book of all time for wives!!! I cannot say enough about this book. I was blessed to be a part of an online Bible Study with other women discussing this book in weekly lesson/discussion format. I was also doubly blessed to be able to take over the online discussion group and lead this study. This book is life-changing!! The light is taken off of the husband and focused on the wife. I learned that it wasn't my husband at fault...it was me that I needed to focus on. God changes and works in the heart of our spouses. We are resonsible for our own actions. Leave the rest to God! Very practical things to do that will transform you (wife) and bless your marriage. Totally Biblically based upon Scripture. A Must have for any wife and the married to be.
Profile Image for Latonya.
52 reviews
January 28, 2009
Let me go on record to say that I know Christian women who couldn't handle this book. Martha Peace, full of wisdom, leads the Christian woman in freedom from judging her husband and understanding her own God-given role as a helpmeet suitable. The call of a Godly wife is mandated by God, not based upon the conduct of her husband. This is a powerful book. If you aren't ready to submit to God and submit to your own husband as unto the Lord, don't bother picking this book up.
1 review
December 13, 2015
I threw it across the room once I finished reading it, then proceeded to pray for my daughter. May she never agree with this ideology.
2 reviews1 follower
November 12, 2015
In the book The Excellent Wife, Martha Peace claims to provide a biblical perspective on marriage. Instead, she provides a disturbing view into the dysfunction of patriarchal, authoritarian marriages, supported by the author’s own views and an array of twisted Scripture. In addition, the tone of the book presents an unbalanced and unhealthy dynamic within the marriage relationship, casting the husband in the role of “parent” and the wife in the role of “obedient child.” The husband is presented as the rightful center of the wife’s universe. For a wife, pleasing her husband is what it means to please God. In addition, the book falls woefully short of offering real help to women struggling with mental illness and/or abusive relationships.
The author repeatedly manipulates Bible verses and takes them out of context to support her own views. There is nothing wrong with having your own views, or even writing a book about them, but at least be honest about the fact that you are sharing your own views! In her attempts to make a strong argument for being kind and considerate to one’s husband, Peace over-spiritualizes and twists scripture to make her case. For example, based on 1 Corinthians 11:7-9, a passage about head coverings in public worship which says, “For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man,” Peace comes to the conclusion that “Man is to glorify God and woman is to glorify the man” (pg 49, underlining added). However, this passage is describing men and women in public worship, not the roles of husbands and wives in the home. We are to glorify God alone. Next, Peace provides a list of eighteen ways to “glorify” your husband, which includes helpful tips such as being willing to rearrange your schedule for him and always speaking well of him to others. These are good tips; however, to categorize them as “glorifying” your husband just sounds wrong to me. Again, on page 51 she refers to John 17:4 to make the following claim: “So, just as Christ glorified the Father by doing the Father’s ‘work,’ you are to glorify your husband by doing the husband’s ‘work.’ Your role is to glorify your husband. You were created for him.” Last time I checked, we were created for Christ.
In several chapters, the author equates joy and fulfillment in life with submission to one’s husband. You please Christ primarily by pleasing your husband. She sums it up best when she says, “Keep in mind that you will never be what God wants you to be until you place yourself under God’s plan by coming under the authority of your husband” (pg 17). This makes me wonder how single women could possibly hope to be joyful or fulfilled. On page 14, she claims, “In addition, he (God) wants you to ‘do what is right’ and to be joyful and fulfilled. The way for you to experience this fulfillment is for you to actively choose to place yourself under the authority of your husband.” Another example is on pages 133-134 where Peace shares her view that submission to one’s husband is equivalent to and evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Citing Ephesians 5, she says, “The joyful ‘Spirit-filled’ person will also be ‘subject to her own husband, as to the Lord…in everything’ (Eph 5:22-24). So, being filled with the Spirit encompasses both wifely submission and joy (singing and making melody in (her) heart to the Lord, always giving thanks in all things’).” Although being filled with the Spirit and wifely submission are both discussed in Ephesians 5, they are not connected in the way that the author claims.
It’s difficult to really explain the strange and robotic tone of this book. Here is just one small sample of the creepy dialogue throughout:
Page 163-164: A wife speaking to her husband…“Sweetheart, there is something I want to tell you that is troubling me. You know that I love you and I know that you love me, but I have observed what I believe is a sinful pattern of behavior in your life which is harming your reputation and Christian witness. It seems that you are so easily frustrated and angry toward me and others when things don’t go your way. For instance, you yelled at me and slammed your fist into the sofa when I interrupted you while you were watching the basketball game.”
If the husband doesn’t repent…
“Honey, James 1:20 says, ‘…the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.’ Would you prayerfully consider what I have said?”
If he still doesn’t repent, she should ask him to go see the Pastor. If he refuses, she should say…
“I still really believe that what you are doing is sin. One of us needs to get the counsel of another mature believer such as the Pastor. I am willing to go with you to see him if you like. Would you like to go and ask our Pastor if he thinks it is a sin or shall I?”
That poor pastor.
Finally, this book falls short because it is less about building healthy marriages and more about how to just endure dysfunctional ones.
• If a wife is fearful about the future, Peace tells her that “When you focus on the future, God may not give you grace to respond biblically (see Matthew 6:34). In fact, God never gives grace for rash conclusions that are not really happening” (pg 223).
• If the wife is lonely, it is because she has an “idolatrous desire for intimacy with her husband” (pg 231).
• The definition of sinful sorrow vs. godly sorrow: sorrow is sinful when you feel overwhelmed by it (pg 238).
• If a wife struggles with “wishing she could purchase a gun and kill her husband,” the solution is to “realize vengeance belongs to the Lord. Praying for and longing for his repentance” (pg 242).
• If a wife contemplates suicide, Peace’s only advice for her is to “continue to fulfill her responsibilities whether she feels like it or not” (pg 242).
One of my overall objections to the advice in this book is that the author takes an antagonistic approach to science and psychology; she claims that because the Bible has “all we need for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3), we do not need to resort to “various psychological theories” (pg 265). Psychology has some aspects that are anti-biblical, to be sure. However, so does medical science. But we still go to the doctor when we have strep throat or need stitches. Due to common grace, the Lord has blessed humanity with scientific knowledge and some helpful methods to help people improve their physical, mental, and emotional health. Peace uses little more than a repackaged version of The Power of Positive Thinking to help women overcome serious mental health issues including homicidal and suicidal thoughts and clinical depression (page 242). This is morally irresponsible. People who truly struggle with these issues need professional help in addition to biblical guidance.
Despite the few helpful sections of this book, I found myself constantly distracted by the objectionable aspects of her authoritarian arguments, the manipulation of Scripture, and the cringe-worthy dialogue. There are so many other Christian marriage books that are better than this one. I would not recommend this book to anyone, definitely not my daughters or anyone who is young and impressionable. I’m no feminist, and I truly believe that men and women complement each other best when they have defined roles in the home. However, this book presents such a one-size-fits-all model that it comes across as oppressive to women and places guilt and condemnation on any woman who does not conform to Martha Peace’s model.
Profile Image for Haley Annabelle.
230 reviews45 followers
August 27, 2022
Great book with principles for all women, married or not. I will definitely be referring to this book over and over. The addendums also are very helpful for yourself and counseling others.
My only complaint- the cover and over all style need a serious makeover.
Profile Image for Courtney Carlson.
70 reviews11 followers
June 2, 2014
I agree in principle with much of what she said, but unfortunately her tone was condescending, her writing style poor, and her emphasis decidedly unbalanced.

Scripture is clear on the fact that the man should lead and the woman should not. The principle of submission and headship is important and biblical but it's not the foremost theme of marriage. The first mention of marriage in Scripture is as a cure for loneliness -- Adam needed a companion and a helper; the Song of Solomon never mentions the dynamic of headship and submission, but is instead about the richest and deepest companionship; marriage is a covenant of companionship (Mal. 2:14); Paul urges the wife to respect her husband and the husband to love his wife. In the context of this -- with this companionship as the foundation -- the yoke should be easy and the burden light both for the husband, when he has to take responsibility for making difficult decisions over the course of his leadership, and for the wife, on the occasions when she has to joyfully submit to those decisions.

As a wise person once said, "Along with many other true and Biblical but minor aspects - like provision and protection, and symbolizing Christ and the Church, and seeking godly offspring – these [headship and submission] are like landscaping on the mountain. The mountain itself, the theme of marriage, is COMPANIONSHIP." (MEO)
Profile Image for Heather Hartman.
12 reviews1 follower
October 5, 2016
I can NEVER recommend this book to anyone. I understand her perspective, but it is poorly written. The author condescends to readers in such an insulting way. Marriage is more complicated than she makes it seem with her lists of things to do for your husband. I was truly saddened as I read this book to think of women who are married to abusive men and think that God has called them to endure beating and berating merely because they are women and that is their lot in life. There are many other wonderful books for a Christian woman to read that will encourage and uplift. Go choose one of those!
Profile Image for Unabridged_Michelle.
236 reviews1 follower
January 31, 2015
Some really mixed feelings on this book. While I agreed with so much of what was in the book, Peace has a tendency to state some unBiblical things regarding glorifying the husband. While most Christian women could read this and recognize some of the flaws in it, I could never recommend it to someone unless they knew what they were getting into and were ready to search out and disregard some unbiblical statements she makes. I'm sure there are more theologically sound books out there that encourage women to be submissive to leadership, serve their families, etc.
Profile Image for Melissa.
12 reviews
March 21, 2021
This was required for a class, and the only reason anyone should read it should be to understand other perspectives, however outdated they may be.

This is not, however, a "Biblical" perspective of womanhood or of submitting to one's husband. This is idol worship of one's husband, this is submission outside of the context of God's design for man and woman -- it is entirely possible to be unequally yoked within a Christian marriage and this is it.

As soon as I no longer needed this book I left it on the ground as a chew toy for my rabbits, after I caught them gnawing on my Bible (oops). They would give this book a 1/5, they know bad theology when they taste it.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
9 reviews
July 30, 2009
I hated this book. Possibly the worst book I've ever read. Really horrible.
Profile Image for Jami Balmet.
Author 8 books568 followers
August 21, 2017
Peace gives a thorough and Biblical breakdown of what it means to be an excellent wife according to God's standards and not our own. She takes Scripture and illustrates the main ideas with examples from her own life. If you want a great groundwork for what it means to be a godly wife, start reading this right away!
Profile Image for Ellen.
277 reviews3 followers
September 9, 2015
Looking at reviews for this book, it seems to be quite polarizing. People either love it or hate it! And I can totally get that. As for me, I loved it, but I'd be hesitant to recommend it to someone unless I knew them really well, because it is definitely a challenging book. The author makes a lot of great, Biblical arguments, but the reason I'm not giving it 5 stars is because I wish she dove a little deeper into some of her explanations. She gives a Bible verse, and a one paragraph explanation to support her argument, and then moves on. It's assuming a lot on the part of the reader. I would only recommend this book to people that I know have a really strong Biblical foundation already, and have previously studied the role of the Biblical wife. Drawing from past studies, I was able to get a LOT out of this book (lots of great practical advice, too!) but to a new Christian, or someone who doesn't have a firm handle on Biblical doctrine, I can see this book scaring them off.

Going along with that, I think the organization of the book can add to its "difficult to swallow" nature. A lot of the one-star reviews I read said they never got past chapter 6. (I read these reviews before I made it past chapter 6, myself.) Looking at it from their perspective, I can see why they were offended and put the book down. BUT IF ONLY THEY HAD KEPT READING!! Chapter 7 addresses almost all their issues! So if you ARE reading this book, and you find it difficult to swallow, I advise to KEEP reading, and to search the Scriptures on your own, or ask a trusted friend, an older woman, someone whose knowledge of the Bible is deeper than your own, and explore these topics further.

All that being said, I really liked this book, and I will definitely read it again. A lot of the chapters had such great, practical advice that I immediately put into action in my own marriage. It's very helpful!
Profile Image for Kim Frank.
10 reviews
February 19, 2018
If you ever want to give up your entire will and all of your senses to a codependent relationship between not only your partner, but your deity... THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU!!!! Your only job as a woman is to respond to the every whim and need of your husband. A great book for anyone to read if they have a few hours to kill and want a good laugh.
Profile Image for Bambi Moore.
243 reviews28 followers
March 13, 2021
Thorough, biblical, and not a modern view. In 26+ years of marriage I’ve read The Excellent Wife 3-4 times and it has always ministered to me. Now more than ever wives need to be reminded of these truths, and that with the grace of God, in his power and strength, these instructions to wives can be carried out.
Profile Image for Chelsea Cox.
39 reviews1 follower
April 14, 2021
As a Christian who is very comfortable with the concept of submission to my husband, this is... yikes.
Profile Image for Maegen Mills.
40 reviews33 followers
May 23, 2023
This book was hard to choke down at times. I kept debating how to rate/write a review, but honestly it comes down to this. Don’t open this book if you don’t want to expand your way of thinking. Don’t open this book if you can’t have an open mind and instead choose to conform to the worlds way of thinking. Don’t open this book if you don’t want to be told you might not be doing enough in your marriage.

It’s hard to read. Martha don’t play. And while sometimes I felt her writing was “old school” and she annoyed me at moments, aside from those tidbits the overall truth of this book was eye opening.

I have been married 11 years and my husband is my absolute best friend, always has been. But after 4 kids I hadn’t realized how much I was putting him on the back burner. Biblically he comes before my children and after Christ. I had some things switched around.

⭐️ Moral of it all, I don’t agree with everything Martha believes, but what this book DID do is point me towards seeking biblical truth when I felt like pushing back. And it did point me towards finding ways to serve and admire my very deserving husband again knowing that I am glorifying God in the process.
Profile Image for DD.
163 reviews7 followers
March 26, 2017
This is an excellent book for newly married or in between but would be very useful in marriage counseling.
2 reviews
November 7, 2016
I almost don't know where to begin with this book. There are so many problems in this book with hypocritical statements, shaming and blaming of women and misquotes of Scripture that it's hard to keep track of them all. One would almost think that Mrs. Peace is, herself, a misogynist. Her dislike and mistrust of her own gender is quite clear in reading this book.

In the beginning of the book, the author tells women that God deserves their worship. She then spends the remainder of the book effectively telling women to worship their husbands. "Consider their work more important than your own." Also, we are told to "cheerfully" announce that we need extra rest during our menstrual cycle. (one gets a vision of a woman saying to a crowded room "Excuse me, everyone. Can I have your attention, please? I have an an announcement. I have my period and need extra time to rest. Thank you.") *exits with cheerful smile on face*

Throughout the book, women are shamed and deemed sinners who are guilty of idolatry if they want a moment to themselves. To Mrs. Peace, a woman's entire world should revolve around her husband and if it doesn't, she's an idolatrous sinner. If a woman wants to read a book, she's idolatrous (which is loaded with irony, considering Mrs. Peace wrote this book for wives). If a woman takes any time for herself, she's committing idolatry. What I found particularly amusing is that on page 138, Mrs. Peace tells a wife she is to be submissive even if her husband is not a Christian. Well, I think Mrs. Peace needs to read her Bible because the Bible tells us that we are not to associate with unbelievers in the first place, much less marry them. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. She misquotes Scripture throughout the book to suit her own ideas about marriage. She also states that women are not to refuse their husbands sex and that stress and being on your period is not an "excuse" to not have sex.

I think the worst part is that Mrs. Peace actually encourages women to stay in abusive relationships; telling them they are "suffering" for "righteousness sake". I don't know what century this woman is living in, but her 'advice' is ignorant at best and dangerous and destructive at worst. She essentially tells women to be slaves to their husbands and admonishes them not to stand up for themselves.

While I consider myself a conservative Christian, I can not, in good conscious, recommend this book to anyone. It is full of absolute nonsense that has no place in our modern world or in a healthy, equal marriage.

Profile Image for Abby Brown.
13 reviews1 follower
March 2, 2020
I really enjoyed reading this book. It's filled with practical application and encourages self-relfection/evaluation. There is an admirable amount of wisdom from Martha Peace for Christian wives (or wives-to-be)! She thoroughly covers topics such as a wife's right (or true) understanding of God, sin, relationships, marriage, and her role within that marriage. Additionally, she writes about Christ, the home, love, respect, intimacy, and submission. Toward the end of the book she discusses the practical fulfillment of the "Excellent Wife" as well as biblical ways to attack common sin problems that wives struggle with. I would consider this a must-read.
Profile Image for Melanie.
561 reviews8 followers
February 20, 2018
I had to suffer through reading this book twice. The first time was for a collage class and I hated it. Years later at a different Christian collage I had to read it again. I decided to give it another chance because I was at a different stage of my life. Well my opinion of this book didn't change. I hate this book. I love God's word and there is nothing Biblical about this book.
Profile Image for Jen.
17 reviews
March 22, 2010
Facilitating a study on this book. Covers the basics of biblical marriage and wifehood. Somewhat impersonal, but well-packed with scripture. Comes across a bit legalistic. It's a good book to discuss with readers, to make sure the role of God's grace in becoming an "excellent wife" is understood.
Profile Image for Sara Larson.
66 reviews5 followers
May 4, 2018
Such a helpful resource for wives. It is PACKED with scripture and points to hard biblical truths with a lot of grace. The specific chapters in the last portion of the book are especially helpful.
Profile Image for Hannah Smith.
31 reviews
January 9, 2023
I had to stop reading this book because it made me feel icky.
As a newly married, Christian woman, I was excited to read a book that may help me navigate the newness of my marriage and what God wants Christian marriage to truly look like.
Sadly, as I continued to read the book, I kept getting the underlying message of, “if you don’t stay home and do everything your husband says, then you can not be a Christian wife.”
I don’t claim to be an expert, but I know that’s not true. The author said that the wife’s role is to glorify her husband, and then later said to consider all the things your husband does more important than what you do. Wives submission to their husbands often gets taken out of context and gets twisted. I think this book is a clear case of that.
If you’d like to read the book, please do, but this is what I personally felt while reading it, and why I chose to stop.
I do not think that Christian wives should read this or follow it, but if you’d like to read it and make your own judgement, please do.
Definitely disappointed, but more sad that people may read this book and think they aren’t a Christian wife because of it.
Profile Image for Emma Ferguson.
88 reviews1 follower
March 2, 2021
SO. GOOD. I really loved the amount of scripture the author included! This was a practical and encouraging book for a new wife like myself. I appreciated the lists with ideas on how to apply certain things like serving and submitting. I did struggle a bit with the later chapters on fear and sorrow. I think I may draw the line on where those emotions cross into sin differently than the author did, but it’s definitely worth studying out! Overall, it’s a bold and sound book that I definitely want to read again in the future!
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