The Excellent Wife Chapter 9: Love - The Wife's Choice
Its been several weeks since I have been able to put some sentences together on this Blog. I'm still battling the effects of a long time sinus infection and my ears and my throat come come to join in the party. All I can do it seems is wait it out.
Needless to say I am a BIT behind in my reading of the the Excellent Wife. Though the other ladies have moved ahead, I am am going to continue where I left off. This book is truly worth completing. It has blessed me, taught me, and challenged me; and I'm sure there is more to come.
With that said, lets get going with chapter 9.
"The bond of love between a husband and wife is special because of the "one flesh" intimacy that God has given them (Gen 2:24). And even if the husband does not respond in love, it is the choice of the wife must make because of Christ's command" page 81.
A wife must chose to love her husband whether he reciprocates that love or not. We do it because Christ requires us to. That is something to think about. We are required to love our neighbors and be kind to our enemies and this is no different, in that sense.
Mrs Peace list 5 biblical principles regarding our love as a wife:
1. Just do it, Love our husbands
Since we are commanded to love one another, it should be very easy to understand the command to love our husbands. We can sometimes put a lot of time and attention into our friendships "Making sure we are known as a caring and loving person..." But do we make that same effort for our husbands. I would have to answer no. I take him for granted many days. One thing I do is neglect to tell him that I love him, often... thinking to myself , he already knows that so I don't really need to say it. Mrs. Peace says, even in the toughest of circumstances, we can still show love to our husbands. "We have to commit ourselves to think biblically about our husbands and our relationship with them and not let our feelings lead us around."
2. Selfishness Hinders Love
"Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interest, but also the interest of others." Philippians 2:3-4
"be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor..." Romans 12:10
We need to put our husbands first...as hard as that my seem, it is true. We need to set our hearts and goals on doing that which will glorify God, even if we do not get our own way. Sometimes this will be hard and it may even feel like the opposite of what we should be doing, but just remember...Gods was are different from our ways and that's a good thing. We should strive to do all that we do for the glory to God and to honor our husbands. If our husband is behaving selfishly, Mrs. Peace is not saying that we should ignore it, we will learn in future chapters how to deal biblically with our husbands in that situation, right now she is still laying down a foundation.
3. Bitterness Hinders Love
Mrs Peace says..."bitterness and feeling hurt are essentially the same thing" left to themselves they will yield the same bitter fruit - vengefulness, self-centeredness, brooding, loss of joy.
One thing we can do to counteract that bitterness in us is to focus 100% on our own sinfulness in that situation. Her example: I feel bitter toward my husband, he is 60% responsible for the problem and I am 40% responsible. Instead of focusing on his 60% I need to focus on my 40%, taking the beam out of our own eye first. It can be difficult to hold things against another after taking a long look at our own sinful hearts. Mrs Peace says
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Eph 4:31-32
She also gives us a chart on page 94-95 to help us replace bitter thoughts with kind ones. This chart was very helpful. This chapter has helped me see where the bitterness is in my own marriage. I tend to judge my husbands motives and be critical of him all be it silently, then I brood about it, which compounds the situation even more. If I address my husband at this point it is not going to be in love or in gentleness. My hurt feeling's have become bitter feelings. I am grateful to God for opening my heart to this. I plan on making every effort to change and also apologize to my husband.
4. Fear Hinders Love
When I first read the heading I thought Oh well, this wont apply to me. This must be about husbands who are abusive to their wives. Then I read..."she may be afraid of not getting her own way..." and that got my attention. I am often afraid that my husband will not see things the way that I do. If I get completely out of hand I will resort to manipulating the situation which then turns out in disaster. Manipulating my husband to do what I want is not loving.
"The biblical key to overcoming (MY) her fear is to trust God and love (MY) her husband." Pg 99.
5. Put on Love
"Putting on love begins with biblical thoughts and motives then progresses to your actions." Pg 104.
Spending time in the word and in prayer is the best way to renew my thinking. Getting my thoughts focused on what God says and not what I want.
This was a very challenging chapter for me; I thought I was going to just breeze through it because, I love my husband already and do some pretty wonderful things for him - Ha...think again. It made me realize that I am still selfish, can be bitter and unloving and need to guard my heart and my marriage by the word of God and prayer.
Leslie from Luv Venit Reading Group is hosing this book study and there are several women who have great thing to share on this chapter and and the ones beyond. Please go to here to read what others have said or jump right in and join the group. God Bless.