The good wife I thought I was, before I learned I wasn't...

The Good Wife I Thought I Was Before I Learned I Wasn’t

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Did you know someone wrote a manual on how to be an “excellent wife?” I. Am. Serious. It’s called The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace, and she levels up “how to be a good wife.”

Before you stop reading, let me say, this isn’t really about the book. It’s about the lousy job I was doing as a wife. Before reading the book, I thought I was an excellent wife. Whether or not my husband agreed was of little importance.

So, when someone recommended the book to me, I almost laughed. I’d been a wife for long time. Compared to a lot of wives I knew, I was a pretty good one. I cooked and cleaned. I took care of kids and stayed home. Heck, I could’ve written the book.

The Good Wife: Who's standards are you judging yourself by? Share on X

I Was A Good Wife …Or Was I?

God has a way of tugging at my heart when He wants to teach me something. I decided to read the book. Quite honestly, part of the reason I read the book was to confirm my excellentness. I felt pretty confident picking it up. It begins with Martha defining the role of a godly wife.

“The role of a godly wife is to glorify and submit to her husband.”

Uh oh…

The “s” word was not popular in the circles I ran in early in my marriage. (It’s not popular in some of my circles now.) I’ve never been great at submission. (Okay, I stink). Sassiness, back talk, eye rolling, the silent treatment, withholding affection—what did that have to do with submission? Even with all that, I still thought I was a pretty good wife.

In the beginning of the book, Martha explains the challenges she faced early in her marriage. I could relate.

Maybe you can, too.

Women Rule vs …Submission?

I’d been a feminist. I wasn’t a card-carrying member of NOW (National Organization for Women), but I had a female superiority complex. And, submission, who does that?

Apparently there is more to being a good wife than cooking and cleaning...

Okay. You’re probably getting the picture. Things weren’t rolling so smoothly. No one’s perfect.

Blame, animosity, resentment, and frustration were just a few of our issues.

It didn’t take long to figure out I was not as excellent as I’d thought. As I read the book and began to understand the role of a godly wife, I knew I could never be that kind of wife without some help. I also knew I’d be making a conscious decision to disobey God if I continued wife-ing as I’d been.

Becoming The Good Wife God Called Me To Be

Trying to be an excellent wife isn’t easy. It goes against everything society says I should be. Some days, I don’t even feel like trying. I’m tired. Life’s hard. Not to mention, some days I don’t feel like my husband’s behavior is deserving of an excellent wife. (I don’t always get excellent-ness back.) But Ephesians 5:33 tells me to respect my husband. It’s not conditional. It’s a command.

But, as unpopular as the ideas may be, the book is biblically sound. Martha’s not advocating being a doormat or treating your husband like a god. She says loving and knowing God gives us a desire and the strength to become more like Him. In doing so, I become more excellent as a wife.

Reading The Excellent Wife hurt. It dented my pride. I thought I had it all together, but I’d totally missed the mark. The book did change my marriage because it gave me a desire to change.

Am I perfect? Absolutely not. Not even close. I fail daily.

But God has placed a desire in me to want to be the kind of wife He wants me to be. Not excellent compared to others, but excellent by His standard.

Are You A Good Wife?

Have you ever thought about the wife God wants you to be? Is submission something you struggle with? Do you have any books for wives you would recommend? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below!

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About the Author

Sheila Qualls gives women tools to minimize the effects of emotional baggage in marriage. Through a window of humor and transparency, she shares her successes and failures to encourage wives in nurturing and strengthening their marriages.  You can also find her on the MOPS Blog, Scary Mommy, Grown and Flown, The Mighty, and

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