One of the things that we are required to do with Campus Crusade is come up with a Personal Development Plan (PDP) every six months. Essentially, this is a plan that lists goals that we have in regards to growing in our walk with the Lord, friendships, marriage, ministry, personally, etc. and challenges us to list very specific steps to meet these goals. I LOVE that we are required to do this and I think it would benefit everyone to have these types of goal lists. To quote Zig Zigler “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”
One of sections of my PDP is marriage and lists very specific ways that I can work on maintaining and growing our marriage. Here are the three goals that I have listed: 1 – At least once a month date nights with Ed 2 – Pray together at least once a day 3 – Read “The Excellent Wife” by Martha Peace (which is on my reading list as well) Well, today I finished reading that book. We actually got this book free from the church we are now attending as a gift for visitors the first time we attended (thanks Redeemer Community Church!). I had heard mixed reviews about this book and while it was not my favorite book ever, I will say the Lord has taught me a lot through it and it is a must read for wives. Here are a couple of things I learned:
1 – Submission. Before Ed and I got married and even the first year we were married, I honestly thought this was the dirty “S” word! I had been taught through school, friends, etc. that women are equal with men and no woman should submit to a man, even her husband but should pursue a career, having her own opinion, etc. The Lord really brought great women of God into my life that have shown me what true submission is and that by submitting to Ed, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have a voice but that if we have a difference of opinion, I defer to him and trust Him that the Lord is leading him to make a wise decision.
This book carried this even further for me by comparing my submission to Ed as how Christ submitted to God. Here is what she said: “Jesus Christ is not inferior to the Father, and the wife is not inferior to her husband. Christ subordinated Himself to the will of the father in order to carry out the plan of redemption. So, too, the wife submits herself to her husband so that God’s plan for the family can be carried out. She is not inferior but her role is different. The wife’s role is one of a “helper suitable” to her husband.” Just a great picture of submission and following Christ’s lead in this area.
2 – Control of the Wife’s Tongue. I felt conviction before I even started this chapter. I am truth oriented versus grace oriented meaning that I have no problem speaking truth into people’s lives if it is needed, but I do struggle with speaking that truth in love. While the Lord has grown me a LOT in this area the last 4 1/2 years or so, Ed will sometimes bear the brunt of this honesty and truth speaking. In “The Excellent Wife”, she says “A wife is accountable to God for every word she speaks. ‘And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgement.’ Matthew 12:36-37 ”
Ouch!! I am still hurting from that one. That scares me to no end!! She also says that “wrong words begin with wrong thoughts. If you are saying wrong words, take the time to realize what you are thinking. The Lord Jesus’ standard of holiness is not just outward conformity but inward transformation by what you think. Renew your mind with Scripture and change your heart.” and “A godly wife is wise and kind. When she opens her mouth to speak, wisdom and kindness flow out. Her wisdom comes from the Word of God and her kindness from the Holy Spirit. Her words are not rude, terse, harsh, or wounding, they are edifying and helpful. If you are to be wise and kind when you speak to your husband, speak your words in a soothing tone.”
This is by far the area that I need the Holy Spirit to work the most in my life. The area of controlling my tongue, to Ed and to others, but mostly to Ed. Thank you Lord for convicting me, challenging me, and giving me the power through the Holy Spirit to change!
3 – She says “Save some of your energy each day for your husband. Ask him what are his goals for the week, how can I help you to accomplish these goals, and rearrange your schedule if needed to help them get accomplished.” Since I am a goals and a to-do list type of person, I normally rearrange my day around getting my to-do list finished. This challenged me to think about how I can be a “helper” to Ed.
4 – She says “You can know you are receiving reproof from your husband sinfully when 1 – You become angry and lash out at him 2 – You feel hurt, resentful, and unforgiving 3 – You focus on the things he is doing wrong 4 – You suffer intense personal hurt.” I have been blessed with a husband who will give me reproof and speak the truth in love and while most of the time I am grateful for that, I know there are times when I react sinfully, except I have never thought of it as sin. This will definitely make me think twice of how I react the next time he corrects me in love.
Overall, it is a great read. While some people may read it and feel beat down, I was grateful that the Lord used it to convict me and show me specific ways I can change to grow our marriage and to grow closer to the Lord. Ed – if you read this, please know I am a work in progress and will fall short of perfection in all of these areas so thank you for your grace ahead of time!