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The Excellent Wife by wulinqing

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									           The Excellent Wife

                 Study Notes




Teaching Team:
                 Heather Crowe
                 Heather@Crowes4Christ.com
                 www.crowes4christ.com
                 (web page for resources)



                 Cindy Lewis
                 cindy.lewis@reedhycalog.com




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                                          Table of Contents
Classroom Rules .......................................................................................................................... 5
Reading Schedule ........................................................................................................................ 7
Couple Study Guide – Optional Activity........................................................................................ 9

Study Guide .............................................................................................................................. 11
Chapter 1: The Excellent Wife – Who Can Find? ....................................................................... 13
Chapter 2: A Wife‘s Understanding of God – God‘s Protective Authority ................................... 15
Chapter 3: A Wife‘s Understanding of Sin – God‘s Provision ..................................................... 19
Chapter 4: A Wife‘s Understanding of Relationships – God‘s Pattern ........................................ 23
Chapter 5: A Wife‘s Understanding of Marriage - God‘s Purpose .............................................. 25
Chapter 6: A Wife‘s Understanding of Her Role – God‘s Perfect Plan ....................................... 33
Chapter 7: Christ – The Wife‘s Heart.......................................................................................... 35
Chapter 8: Home – The Wife‘s Domain ...................................................................................... 37
Chapter 9: Love – The Wife‘s Choice ......................................................................................... 39
Chapter 10: Respect – The Wife‘s Reverence ........................................................................... 43
Chapter 11: Intimacy – The Wife‘s Response ............................................................................ 47
Chapter 12: Submission – The Wife‘s Joy.................................................................................. 51
Chapter 13: Biblical Submission – Basis of the Wife‘s Protection .............................................. 55
Chapter 14: God‘s Provision – Resources for the Wife‘s Protection .......................................... 59
Chapter 15: Honoring Christ – Key to the Wife‘s Motivation....................................................... 63
Chapter 16: Communication – Control of the Wife‘s Tongue ..................................................... 69
Chapter 17: Conflict – Quietness of the Wife‘s Spirit .................................................................. 73
Chapter 18: The Wife‘s Anger – Overcoming Impatience .......................................................... 77
Chapter 19: The Wife‘s Fear – Overcoming Anxiety .................................................................. 81
Chapter 20: The Wife‘s Loneliness – Overcoming a Lack of Oneness ...................................... 85
Chapter 21: The Wife‘s Sorrow – Overcoming a Grieving Heart ................................................ 87

Appendix ................................................................................................................................... 91
Forgiveness & Restoration of Relationship ................................................................................ 93
What is an Attitude? ................................................................................................................... 97
Who Am I – Our Identity in Christ ............................................................................................. 101




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                   Classroom Rules



 All personal sharing is strictly confidential. It is never to be
  repeated outside the class.

 Please do not talk openly about things that would embarrass
  your husband. If you are in doubt that what you want to ask
  may embarrass him, please talk to us after class one-on-one or
  call / email us.

 Our focus is on God and how He wants to change us into
  becoming The Excellent Wife. We are not here to discuss how
  our husbands need to change.

 Please read your chapter(s) and do any homework assignment
  each week. The more you invest in the study, the more you will
  become The Excellent Wife God has called you to be. (The
  majority of the study notes have been taken out of The Excellent Wife
  book.)

 Pray for each other everyday. This study will challenge you with
  each chapter. We need to support one another as we go
  through this together.




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                   Reading Schedule
Week   Date   Chapter #’s                        Chapter Title
 1     1/8        1         The Excellent Wife
                  2         A Wife‘s Understanding of God

 2     1/15       3         A Wife‘s Understanding of Sin
                  4         A Wife‘s Understanding of Relationships

 3     1/22       5         A Wife‘s Understanding of Marriage

 4     1/29       6         A Wife‘s Understanding of Her Role

 5     2/5        7         A Wife‘s Responsibility - Christ
                  8         A Wife‘s Responsibility – Home

 6     2/12       9         A Wife‘s Responsibility – Love
                  10        A Wife‘s Responsibility – Respect

 7     2/19       11        A Wife‘s Responsibility – Intimacy

 8     2/26       12        A Wife‘s Responsibility – Submission
                  13        A Wife‘s Submission – Biblical Submission

 9     3/5        14        A Wife‘s Submission – God‘s Provision

 10    3/12       15        A Wife‘s Submission – Honoring Christ

 11    3/19       16        A Wife‘s Submission - Communication

 12    3/26       17        A Wife‘s Submission – Conflict

 13    4/2        18        A Wife‘s Special Concerns – The Wife‘s Anger
                  19        A Wife‘s Special Concerns – The Wife‘s Fear

 14    4/9        20        A Wife‘s Special Concerns – The Wife‘s Loneliness
                            A Wife‘s Special Concerns – The Wife‘s Sorrow
                  21
                            Personal Review / Conclusion




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Couple Study Guide – Optional Activity
An activity to increase Oneness
Our condition before sin:
Genesis 2: 23-25 ―At last!‖ Adam exclaimed. ―She is part of my own flesh and bone! She will be
called ‗woman,‘ because she was taken out of a man.‖ This explains why a man leaves his father
and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Now, although Adam and
his wife were both naked, neither of them felt any shame.

Immediately after sin:
Genesis 3:6b-7 She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. Then he ate it, too. At that
moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they
strung fig leaves together around their hips to cover themselves.

Objective
Often our current condition in marriage is not the oneness in Genesis 2, but covered in fig
leaves in Genesis 3. We search for flaws in each other while trying to hide our own
imperfections. The purpose of this activity is to help couples develop a relationship where
they can be open, vulnerable, safe and receive encouragement and affirmation from each
other in areas where they struggle.

Preparation
   Select a Time in Advance
       o Set aside 1 hour
       o No interruptions (phone/children/TV)
   Prepare your Heart and Mind
     Each should pray before you come together. Ask God for an attitude of humility.
     Focus on what God want to reveal to you, not your spouse. Ask God to give you the
       courage to be vulnerable and to be trustworthy with your spouse‘s vulnerability.
     Each should commit to themselves that any outstanding issues between them get a
       ―time out‖ during this hour.

We have select Sunday at 1 pm. We have our hearts and minds prepared by worship
service. Gives us time to get the boys fed and off on their own.




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Study Process
Remove the Fig Leaf/Receive Acceptance & Encouragement
   1. Husband begins with prayer.
   2. Each read the current weeks assignment while sitting together.
   3. When both are done reading, the husband begins.
         o Speak in the first person.
         o Husbands share the teaching and how it pertains to you. The goal is not to
            teach your wife how to be a husband. The objective is to reveal how God
            spoke to you, new things you have learned or areas where you may struggle.

We each use a highlighter and read the highlighted portions to each other and speak about
why we highlighted that section.

          o Wife actively listens. No interruptions. She should ask questions for
             clarification only. Beware of taking the opportunity to teach or rebuke your
             husband. Be a safe place for your husband to be vulnerable. Be very gentle.
             When he is done, thank him for the opportunity to learn more about him.
             Encourage, affirm and assure him.
4. Repeat step 3 reversing roles.


Warnings
      Guard against any form of criticism or rebuke. This would include pointing to this
       page and showing your spouse how they are not following the directions. This will
       usually result in your spouse ―covering up‖. If your spouse feels criticized, then you
       are not actively listening and responding with comfort and encouragement.
      If this activity is increasing defensiveness or anger in either spouse, stop the study.
       Don‘t keep going, if you are going the wrong way. Take a 15 minute break. If it isn‘t
       possible to come back together in the spirit of oneness, commit yourself to prayer on
       the issue. Ask God to show you how you could do better (not your spouse) and try
       again next week.
      Do not use anything your spouse shares with you during this time as ammunition in
       the future.




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Study Guide




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                            The Excellent Wife
                Chapter 1: The Excellent Wife – Who Can Find?


God’s Will for Every Wife
God‘s will for every Christian wife is that her most important ministry be to her husband
(Genesis 2:18). After a wife‘s own personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, nothing
else should have greater priority. Her husband should be the primary benefactor of his
wife‘s time and energy, not the recipient of what may be left over at the end of the day.

An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. (Proverbs
31:10)

Traits of the Excellent Wife (Proverbs 31:10-31)
      Respectful to Her Husband
      Of Exceptional Worth
      Good to Her Husband
      Generous
      Wise
      Worker with Hands
      Not Afraid
      Praised
      Careful
      Blessed by Her Children
      Fears the Lord
      Kind
      Trusted
      Helpful
      Plans and Prepares Each Day
      Diligent (energetic & strong) Worker

These are traits, not daily tasks, of the Excellent Wife. We can learn from her industry,
integrity, resourcefulness, hard work, fear of God, respect for husband, foresight,
encouragement, care of others, concern for the poor, and wisdom in handling money
because God has given us the power to do so.

…His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through
the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. (II Peter 1:3)

A wife‘s responsibility is to learn to put her confidence in the faithfulness of God and His
Word – to do what He says.




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The Problem of Sin
The only problem that would keep us from being a godly wife is sin.

Sin is, lawlessness, a transgression from God‘s standards, failing to trust in and do what
God‘s word says. It is wanting to do things her own way rather than God‘s. Sin is
presuming God will help us even when we are neglecting His truth. Sin is thinking we can
get by without God‘s help.

God Provided a Remedy for Sin
He (God) made Him (Jesus Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might
become the righteousness of God in Him. (II Corinthians 5:21)

…knowing this that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done
away with (rendered powerless), that we should no longer be slaves to sin… (Romans 6:6)

Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the salve of sin…If, therefore, the
Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:34, 36)

The Helper
God has broken the grip of sin in every wife‘s life, and He has given her the supernatural
power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to enable her to obey His Word and submit to His way
and His will.

And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you
forever, that is the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it does not
behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because he abides with you, and will be in
you. (John 14:16-17)

Because God has so richly provided for a Christian wife in her battle against sin, she is
without excuse. Her loving, merciful, and holy God has truly provided everything she needs
to become a godly wife – to become the excellent wife that God wants her to be. Even
when she falls short, she can be forgiven.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all
unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

Group Discussion / Questions:
   1.   What should be the greatest priority in the Christian Wife‘s life? See Matthew 6:33
   2.   What should be her second greatest priority? See Genesis 2:18
   3.   What distracts us from these two priorities?
   4.   What specific steps can we take to adjust our schedules to accommodate these
        priorities?

Homework:
Prayerfully consider one or two growth areas / challenges from today‘s lesson. Ask God to
help you plan your day to accommodate these changes. Be sensitive to His Voice
throughout the day. Prioritize your time and tasks each day to allow for your own spiritual
growth and your ministry to your husband.

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                            The Excellent Wife
    Chapter 2: A Wife’s Understanding of God – God’s Protective Authority


Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?


People often have misperceptions of God especially if they have not accepted Christ as
their risen Lord and Savior. What might be some possible misperceptions people or we
have had about God?

The God of the Bible is the sovereign, just, and loving Ruler over all the earth and all His
creatures. We are to bow in humble submission and adoration before Him, rather than Him
being here to serve us. He alone is worthy to be praised. Understanding our proper
position as a creature serving the creator is foundational to clearing up the many
misconceptions we may have about God and His protective authority over us.

What Wives Need to Know about God
God has planned a ministry for you. You are to be a helper suitable for your husband.
(Genesis 2:18)

God is gracious, righteous, and compassionate. Because God is holy, His care over you
will always be good and righteous. You can completely trust Him.
(Psalm 116:1, 2, 5)

God‘s strength and understanding are unlimited. This enables Him to determine what is
best for you and how you may glorify Him the most. There is not any limit in His strength to
care for you. He can heal your heart even if it is broken.
(Psalm 147:3, 5)

God is purposefully working in your life. God promises to use all of your life experiences,
including any evil that has been done against you, for your good. God promises to use all
things for your good if you love God. (Romans 8:28-29) You love God by being an obedient
Christian. (John 14:15)

God wants you to be a joyful and fulfilled wife. Joy will come to you as you look forward in
anticipation to what God has planned for you. There is purpose in whatever situation you
may experience, and God wants you to experience fulfillment in your role as a wife.
(Proverbs 31: 13, 18, 25, 28, 29)




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What Wives Need to Know About Their Works and Themselves
God has prepared good works for the Christian wife to do. The works that God has
prepared for you to do include not only what you do in your relationship with your husband,
but also your heart‘s motive or attitude. It will help you to have the right attitude if you focus
on what you are supposed to be doing, not on what your husband is supposed to be doing.
The issue for the Christian Wife is ―am I doing the good works that God intended for me?‖
(Ephesians 2:10)

The Christian wife‘s good works have eternal worth and reward!
(II Corinthians 5:10) Your ministry to your husband is profitable for all things, since it holds
promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
(I Timothy 4:8)

The Christian wife does not have to be afraid. She can obey and do what God has called
her to do because God is the determiner of what is right. He has clearly revealed right and
wrong throughout His Word. If you experience fear, stop and ask yourself, ―Am I afraid to
do what is right because I will not get my own way, be hurt, disappointed, embarrassed, or
taken advantage of?‖
(I Peter 3:6)

The focus of the Christian wife is to be on God rather than herself. If you take your eyes off
of Jesus and react in a selfish way, you will be miserable trying to fulfill your God-intended
role. Focus on the Lord Jesus and His purpose for your life rather than on yourself. Put
your husband first doing it for the joy set before you. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

A Christian wife does not have to sin. The power grip that sin had over you has been
broken by Christ. If you are a Christian, you are now free to think and do the right thing,
and God will help you by His empowering grace. You do not have to sin. It is your choice.
(Romans 6:6-7)

God’s Protective Authority
God does care about you and your struggles. His understanding of your full circumstances
is unlimited. God‘s plan for you includes good works. He 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; thereby, placing yourself
under God‘s protective authority.

But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head
of woman, and God is the head of Christ. (I Corinthians 11:3)
Even though husbands are not perfect, and may not be saved, God has chosen to place
the wife under the authority of her husband.

For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He himself
being the Savior of the body. (Ephesians 5:23)
No husband has absolute authority over his wife because God is the absolute authority. If
your husband asks you to sin, you must refuse.




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For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made
complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.
(Colossians 2:9-10)
When you are under your husband‘s (limited by God) authority, you are really putting
yourself in the safest possible place – in God‘s will. Even though God‘s authority is
protective, this does not guarantee that your husband will always do the wisest or most
godly thing. It does mean, however; that regardless of what he does, God is working in
your life to conform (you) to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29), and God can be glorified.

Why Does the Wife Need Protection?
The influence the world has on her. Undeniably, all of us have been wrongly influenced by
the world‘s way of thinking, humanistic worldly values, and worldly goals (I John 2:16). The
Bible says that being a worker at home is a virtue.
(Titus 2:5)

The Devil. Satan tries to undermine the home and the wife‘s role. We are to stand firm
against the schemes of the devil by being an obedient Christian. Obedience includes
graciously putting yourself under your husband‘s authority and remaining there (unless he
asks you to sin). If you do not, you are out of God‘s will and have not done everything
biblically possible to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:10-11, 13)

Women are often more easily deceived. Women are not less valuable or less intelligent
than men. God, in His infinite wisdom, restricted the woman‘s role in the local church
partially because she could be more easily deceived (The Garden of Eden). The main
reason, there are simply some responsibilities and burdens that God does not intend for
women to have. (I Timothy 2:12-14)

God‘s protection covers you by means of the authority structure God has set up for you.
You may never comprehend all the reasons why God does what He does, but you can trust
He knows better than you what you really need. A truly wise woman will accept that,
appreciate it, and submit graciously to God‘s plan of protection for her, by placing herself
under the authority of her husband.

Group Discussion / Questions:
Open

Homework:
Prayerfully ask God to show you areas where you are not placing yourself under your
husband‘s protective authority. Ask God for His strength and grace to make the necessary
adjustments each day.




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                            The Excellent Wife
         Chapter 3: A Wife’s Understanding of Sin – God’s Provision

Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?

Four Characteristics of Sin
1.   Sin is universal. No one is exempt. (Romans 3:23)
2.   Sin maybe open and obvious to others. (Galatians 5:19-21)
3.   Sin cannot be hidden from God. (1 Samuel 16:7)
4.   Sin is justly penalized. (Romans 6:23 and Isaiah 53:11)

Our Provision Through Christ
God is holy; He has to punish sin. Out of His heart of love and mercy, His provision was
the Lord Jesus Christ.
For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God
raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

Perhaps you have known about Jesus all your life and even attended church regularly. If
you have never trusted (faith) Jesus Christ or confessed Him as Lord and Savior, then you
only have the outward form of religion, and not the personal relationship God desires you to
have.

If you have accepted Christ, you are no longer under the wrath of God. All your sins have
been forgiven – past, present, and future.

How to Deal with the Consequences of Former Sin
(Are you trusting God?)
Don‘t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don‘t
fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male
prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers—
none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. There was a time when some of
you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have
been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the
Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you. (1 Corinthians 6: 9-11)

What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not
the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5: 17)

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, ―You are truly my disciples if you keep
obeying my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.‖ ―But we
are descendants of Abraham,‖ they said. ―We have never been slaves to anyone on earth.
What do you mean, ‗set free‘?‖ Jesus replied, ―I assure you that everyone who sins is a
slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the
family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free. (John 8:31-36)



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We can let our past sin identify us (slave of sin) – if our identity is in anything other than
Christ (sets us free) – we will not have victory over sin.
SHAME – I am wrong not what I did was wrong.

God does not always remove the earthly consequences of former sin; He always removes
the eternal consequences.

If you are saved, you have been forgiven and declared righteous before God (TODAY).
However, if there is something that might possibly affect your present marriage, you may
need to clear your conscience with your husband. If in doubt, consult a pastor.

Deal with Present Sin / A Process of Diligence / The Biblical Process of
Change
Christians should graciously accept the forgiveness that they have in Christ and graciously
bestow forgiveness upon their spouses (Ephesians 4:32). God provided Christ for us and it
is our responsibility to repent (change our thoughts / actions) when we sin. If our sin is a
long-standing habit, then our fruits of repentance will take time and much work.

All Christians bring into marriage old sinful habit patterns of thinking and responding that
hurt their marriage and grieve their Lord. Any sin will erode the oneness that God intends
for Christian couples to have. Repentance is a process that is done over and over again
until you get it right. (I Timothy 4:7)

Old habits and sinful thoughts and responses do not just disappear. They have to be
replaced with new, godly ways of thinking and responding. With persistence, eventually
the godly responses become the automatic response. (Romans 12:2)

Put Off / Put On (We often make the mistake of just putting off)
When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none.
Then it says, ‗I will return to the person I came from.‘ So it returns and finds its former
home empty, swept, and clean. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than
itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than
before. That will be the experience of this evil generation. (Matthew: 43-45)

Overt sin begins in your heart with what you desire.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart‘s desires. (Psalms 37:4)

The only real way to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ is to think according to his word.
Jesus replied, ―You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all
your mind‖ (Matthew 22:37)

Don‘t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new
person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do,
and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is. (Romans 12:2)

but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing
me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
(Romans 7:23)


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If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls
your mind, there is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)

How could they? For, who can know what the Lord is thinking? Who can give him
counsel? But we can understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ. (1
Corinthians 2:16)

► If you are letting fear and anxiety consume your thoughts – you are sinning!
Fear is the opposite of faith.
The fears of the wicked will all come true; so will the hopes of the godly. (Proverbs10:24)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.
(2 Timothy 1:7)

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do
not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.‖ (John 14:27)

Wrong, Sinful Thoughts / Right, Godly Thoughts
1. Changing sinful thoughts begins with recognizing thoughts that are selfish or unloving,
   vengeful or bitter, or in any way unbiblical.
2. Confess to God. Repentance means to change your mind, the repentance process is
   not complete until . . .
3. You replace it with a godly, righteous thought.

This process takes work. How hard you work at putting on the right thoughts and actions
will directly affect how much like the Lord Jesus Christ you become in this life. … training
yourself for the purpose of godliness (I Timothy 4:7).

See page 24 & 25 in The Excellent Wife.

Group Discussion / Questions:
   1. How can not dealing with the consequences of former sin cause us to sin today?
      Think about the sin of ―unbelief‖ as well as the effect on our walk and relationship
      with others. Is dealing with former sin a ―one time event‖ or a continual walk of faith?
      Is shame over former sin and the associated paralysis a way the enemy keeps us
      from glorifying God?

   2. Is it a new concept to identify current sin as: A pattern of thinking and responding
      that grieves our Lord? Are you tempted to focus on the impossibility of not ever
      having an unkind thought verses the power of the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts?
      Does the idea of repentance being a process and not a single event change your
      ideas about forgiving others? Can you identify areas where you need to ―Put On‖
      the mind of Christ?

Homework:
 Prayerfully ask God to show you areas where you need to put off Wrong, Sinful Thoughts.
Confess your sin to God and ask forgiveness. Repent by putting on Right, Godly Thoughts.


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                             The Excellent Wife
      Chapter 4: A Wife’s Understanding of Relationships – God’s Pattern


Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?

Shortly before Jesus was arrested and crucified, He prayed that believers would have
perfect and complete unity.
My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father—that just
as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent
me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are, - I in
them, and you in me, all being perfected into unity… (John 17:21-23a)

Through the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross all Christian men and women
supernaturally have the positional unity that Jesus prayed for in John seventeen. If they
are husband and wife, they are also united by God into ―one flesh‖. God makes the
husband and wife into ―one‖ as the Trinity is ―one‖, a compound unity.

    The Trinity is a relationship in which three eternal persons (each being perfect in
    character and totally equal in being, power, and glory) reveal, know, and love each
    other tenderly and perfectly for the other‘s good within the context of an eternal
    commitment. When they decide to set and accomplish a goal, for the purpose of
    order and economy, God the Son and God the Spirit voluntarily subordinate
    themselves to God the Father in order to function according to their perfect plans.
    As they work together, they are totally unified in desire, thought and action until the
    goal‘s completion.

Even though they are equal in being, the Son and the Spirit voluntarily submit themselves
to the Father. It is God‘s desire and goal for husbands and wives to learn from God‘s
pattern and strive to achieve (by God‘s grace) the same character traits as the Trinity
(Ephesians 5:21-33). [The chart on page 29 is a good reference tool for listing
characteristics of the Trinity and Fallen Man.]

In order to be perfected in unity, you must stop asking yourself questions like ―What will it
do for me?‖ or ―How will it meet my needs?‖ Instead, ask ―How can I glorify God in this
situation?‖

God wants us to glorify and serve Him now, to think and act like the Lord Jesus Christ
would, and to actively participate in the process of becoming ―conformed to the image of
His Son (Romans 8:29; 12:1-2). God wants us to stop living for ourselves, to stop
destroying relationships, and to start living for Him. If we are to think and act like Christ,
our motivation must change from ―What can I get out of this?‖ to ―What can I give?‖ (I
Corinthians 13:5; Philippians 2:2-3).




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Giving yourself to your husband is not going above and beyond the call of duty. It is only
doing as you ought. You ought to be kind to your husband. You ought to be open,
transparent and honest with him. (Luke 17:10)

Because our natural tendency is to ―self,‖ it is important to be daily in God‘s Word. The
Holy Spirit will use the Holy Word of God to convict you at the deepest level, so that your
motivation in your relationship with your husband may be for the glory of God instead of
self. Remember that your pattern for oneness is the Trinity.

Group Discussion / Questions:
Living in the flesh results in selfishness in marriage. Living in the Spirit results in more and
more ―oneness‖ as modeled for us in the Trinity. We are not just one in the spirit with our
husbands but also one in flesh. How would it change your everyday thoughts about your
husband if you considered yourself ―One‖ with him verses separate and distinct?

Homework:
Pray for the women at your table this week that we will find an opportunity to do our
minimal duty to God by serving our husband without expecting thanks or recognition from
our spouse; all for the glory of God.




                                                                                              24
                            The Excellent Wife
      Chapter 5: A Wife’s Understanding of Marriage - God’s Purpose

Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?


God’s Goal for Marriage
The goal of the Christian husband and wife in their marriage is to have a oneness that is
characterized by a loving spiritual and physical bond that glorifies God and thereby
enhances personal spiritual growth (Ephesians 5:22-23; Galatians 6:1).
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and
they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

This spiritual growth and oneness in marriage does not happen by chance. It happens in
direct proportion to how diligent a couple is in pursuing it. Oneness and spiritual growth are
achieved as each partner helps the other become as much like the Lord Jesus Christ as
possible.

Biblical Means to Achieve Oneness and Spiritual Growth
Make your marriage a matter of faithful prayer and commit to a biblical course of action.
Begin by regularly and faithfully praying that your marriage will glorify and please God. Be
specific in your requests to God. Name your weaknesses, confess your sin, and ask God
to change you and your husband‘s weaknesses into strengths.

Take personal responsibility for your own failures and repent. Begin by praying and asking
God to show you the sin in your life. Achieving God‘s purpose in marriage begins with one
partner ―getting the beam out of his or her eye,‖ by confessing and repenting of one‘s own
sin.
―Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother‘s eye, but do not notice the log that is
in your own eye? ―Or how can you say to your brother, ‗Let me take the speck out of your
eye,‘ and behold, the log is in your own eye?‖ ―You hypocrite, first take the log out of your
own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother‘s eye.‖
(Matthew 7:3-5)

You must first make sure your life is in order before you will be able to see clearly enough
to confront your Christian husband with the sin in his life. When you pray, ―Lord, take the
log out of my eye by showing me the sin in my life,‖ God will answer that prayer. It is a
prayer of humility, and therefore glorifies Him.

There are two ways God shows you your sin.
By convicting you when you read or hear God‘s Word.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and
piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge
the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)




                                                                                               25
By having someone tell you (such as your husband).
Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but
deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. (Proverbs 27:5-6)

When you find that someone believes you have a sin problem in your life, you have a
choice about how to respond. You can respond with a grateful heart, confessing your sin
and turning from that particular sin, or you can respond with a prideful heart that is
embarrassed, angry, defensive, resentful or revengeful.
Through pride comes nothing but strife, But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.
(Proverbs 13:10)

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.
(Proverbs 16:18)

You becoming more and more like Jesus is the process of progressive sanctification. It is
your responsibility to work hard to become more like Christ. God will enable you to grow
spiritually by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is God‘s responsibility to convict, discipline,
and enable you by His grace to do His will and grow as a Christian.

Submit to and participate in the process of mutual sanctification. Mutual sanctification is
the process of helping each other become as much like the Lord Jesus Christ as possible.
but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the
glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)
► Note: grow is an ―imperative verb‖ meaning it is a command!!
Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual
flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is
far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart.
(1 Timothy 4:7-9)

The husband as spiritual leader of the family is to help his wife grow as a Christian.
Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the
weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not
be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

The wife is to be a ―helper suitable‖ to help her husband grow and mature as a Christian.
Then the LORD God said, ―It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper
suitable for him.‖ (Genesis 2:18)

Mutual sanctification is accomplished by both the husband and wife learning how to
properly receive and give a biblical reproof.




                                                                                              26
Biblical Reproof
A biblical reproof is telling someone what they are doing wrong with the intent to restore
them to a right relationship with God.
Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one
in a spirit of gentleness, each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. (Galatians
6:1)

A biblical reproof is to be done in private.
If your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your
brother. (Matthew 18:15)

The Right Way To Respond To Reproof
   1. Take the time to think about what you have been told. (Proverbs 15:28)
   2. Search the Scriptures to determine what the sin is and how to ―put it off.‖ (Ephesians
      4:22-24)
   3. Ask your husband to give some specific examples of how you could have better
      responded to his reproof. (Proverbs 14:8)
   4. Confess your sin. (1 John 1:9)
   5. Show the fruit of repentance. Stop doing the sin and start doing the right thing.
      (Hebrews 12:11)
   6. Do not justify or defend yourself. (Micah 7:9)

How you respond to reproof is the difference between a maturing, growing Christian and an
immature Christian. In fact, it is probably the paramount mark of maturity.
Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, But he who regards reproof
will be honored. (Proverbs 13:18)

He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. He who neglects
discipline despises himself, but he who listens to reproof acquires understanding. The fear
of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility. (Proverbs
15:31-33)

You Are Receiving Reproof From Your Husband Sinfully When…
   1.   You become angry and lash out at him. (Proverbs 13:10)
   2.   You feel hurt, resentful, and unforgiving. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
   3.   You focus on the things he is doing wrong. (Matthew 7:5)
   4.   You suffer intense personal hurt. (Hebrews 12:10-11)

Any reproof may be humiliating and may make you feel badly. If you do not respond with
humility and gentleness, you will compound your sin. Even if your husband reproves you in
an angry and unkind manner, you are still responsible before God for how you respond
back.




                                                                                               27
Guidelines for Reproving Your Husband
   1. Choose the right time. (Ecclesiastes 3:1,7) When you are alone, feeling well and
      rested, plenty of time to talk, in control of yourself and relying upon the Holy Spirit
      and God‘s Word for direction.
   2. Choose the right wording. (Proverbs 15:28) Think about what you are going to say,
      write it out and practice saying it out loud. If there is any doubt about expressing the
      reproof, ask an objective, godly person.
   3. Comfort him as you correct him. (Revelation 2:2-3) You may comfort your husband
      and praise him for what you can before you give the reproof. This is not required nor
      should it be done in a manipulative way.
   4. Be specific regarding his sin and offer a biblical solution (scriptures).
      Speak the truth in love and he will be much more likely to understand and possibly
      repent. Give him hope by offering a biblical solution.
      (1 Thessalonians 5:18; Ephesians 4:25; Philippians 4:6; James 1:19-20)
   5. Communicate a spirit of unconditional love and respect. (Romans 5:8)

If he does not receive your reproof in a loving, humble manner, read Chapter Fourteen,
God‘s Provision – Resources for the Wife‘s Protection.

Group Discussion / Questions:
Open

Homework:
Write out the correct way to respond to your husband who has just said to you, ―You are
speaking to me in a disrespectful tone of voice.‖ Use all of the six steps in ―The Right Way
To Respond To Reproof.‖

Write out a sample reproof from you to your husband using all five of the ―Guidelines For
Reproving Your Husband.‖

Prayerfully ask God to show you areas, times, or attitudes when you are not acting in a
Christ like manner. Confess them and ask forgiveness. Take time to reflect on the
situation and determine how you might have responded differently.




                                                                                            28
       Ways God Helps us be more like Christ
Getting along with your husband
Results - humility, patience, love, diligence and forbearance
 Ephesians 4:1-4 (NASB) 1Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in
  a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2with all humility and
  gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,3being diligent to
  preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Suffering for the Lord’s sake
Results - joy, gratefulness, deeper trust in God
 1 Peter 4:12-13 (TMNT) 12Friends, when life gets really difficult, don‘t jump to the
  conclusion that God isn‘t on the job. 13Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of
  what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the
  corner.

Other’s sin-possibly your husband’s
Results - harmoniousness, sympathy, brotherliness, kindheartedness, humility
 1 Peter 3:8-9 (NASB) 8To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly,
  kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving
  a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a
  blessing.

Financial Pressures
Result - contentment
 Philippians 4:11 (TMNT) 11Actually, I don‘t have a sense of needing anything
  personally. I‘ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. 12I‘m
  just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I‘ve found the recipe for
  being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. 13Whatever I have,
  wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Daily Work
Results - working heartily from the heart, behaving properly, financially responsible
 Colossians 3:23-24 (TMNT) 23Work from the heart for your real Master, for God,
  24
     confident that you‘ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind
  always that the ultimate Master you‘re serving is Christ.
 I Thessalonians 4:11-12 (TMNT) Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own
  job. You‘ve heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts. 12We want you
  living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off
  your friends.




                                                                                                29
Illness (due to sin)
Result - repentance
 James 5:14-15 (TMNT) 14Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and
  anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. 15Believing-prayer will heal you, and
  Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you‘ve sinned, you‘ll be forgiven—healed inside
  and out.

Trials
Results - joy, endurance
 James 1:2-4 (TMNT) 2Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come
  at you from all sides. 3You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the
  open and shows its true colors. 4So don‘t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it
  do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
 James 1:12-13 (TMNT) 12Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and
  manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God,
  the reward is life and more life. 13Don‘t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say,
  ―God is trying to trip me up.‖ God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one‘s way.

Providentially Hindered
Results - mindful of God’s sovereignty
 James 4:13-15 (TMNT) 13And now I have a word for you who brashly announce,
  ―Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we‘re off to such and such a city for the year. We‘re
  going to start a business and make a lot of money.‖ 14You don‘t know the first thing
  about tomorrow will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off
  your friends. You‘re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before
  disappearing. 15Instead, make it a habit to say, ―If the Master wills it and we‘re still alive,
  we‘ll do this or that.‖

Death of a loved one
Results - hopeful in the Lord
 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (TMNT) 13And regarding the question, friends, that has come
  up about what happens to those already dead and buried, we don‘t want you in the dark
  any longer. First off, you must not carry on over them like people who have nothing to
  look forward to, as if the grave were the last word. 14Since Jesus died and broke loose
  from the grave, God will most certainly bring back to life those who died in Jesus.

Bearing other’s burdens
Results - love
 Galatians 6:2 (TMNT) 2Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share
  their burdens, and so complete Christ‘s law.




                                                                                              30
Admonished by others
Results - perseverance, patience, wisdom, diligence, gratefulness, humility
 Romans 15:14 (TMNT) 14Personally, I‘ve been completely satisfied with who you are
  and what you are doing. You seem to me to be well-motivated and well-instructed,
  quite capable of guiding and advising one another.
 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (TMNT) Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a
  move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling
  them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs.




                                                                                       31
32
                             The Excellent Wife
   Chapter 6: A Wife’s Understanding of Her Role – God’s Perfect Plan

Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?

A Christian wife‘s goal is to glorify God. If your desire as a Christian wife is to glorify God,
you must first understand God‘s perspective.

God’s Perspective
Men and women are created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27) As His ―image-bearer‖
you are in charge of God‘s creation and to glorify God.
(Genesis 1:26;I Corinthians 10:31)

Because you were created by God, you are accountable to God (not just believers).
Therefore you have the task of making responsible choices.
…..then choose today whom you will serve… (Joshua 24:15)
It is easy to slip into quiet rebellion. (Life Application study note)

In the order of creation, man was created first. (Genesis 2:7, 18, 21-22) The husband was
created to rule over the earth; the wife, later, was created to be a ―helper‖ that would be
suitable for him. Each one was created in God‘s image, and each one was created to carry
out a different role.

Woman was created for the man, not man for the woman.
…for man is God‘s glory, made in God‘s own image, but woman is the glory of man. For
the first man didn‘t come from woman, but the first woman came from man. And man was
not made for woman‘s benefit, but woman was made for man. (1 Corinthians 11:7-9)

Notice woman is not said to be the ―image of man‖ since both male and female were
created in the image of God. Woman was formed out of man, thus though created directly
by God; she derived existence and glory from God through man.
Man is to glorify God and woman is to glorify man. We are glorifying God when we glorify
our husbands.

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.

glo•ry (noun)
   1. very great praise, honor, or distinction bestowed by common consent; renown:
   2. something that is a source of honor, fame, or admiration; a distinguished ornament
        or an object of pride:
   3. adoring praise or worshipful thanksgiving:
   4. resplendent beauty or magnificence:
   5. a state of great splendor, magnificence, or prosperity.
   6. a state of absolute happiness, gratification, contentment, etc


                                                                                                33
glo•ry (verb)
   7. to exult with triumph; rejoice proudly (usually fol. by in): Their father gloried in their
        success.

The effects of the fall of man.
Before the fall there was harmony between Adam and Eve in fulfilling their roles. After the
fall, there was a power-play as they both sought to dominate the other.
And though you may desire to control your husband, he will be your master. (Genesis 3:16)

Christ came to redeem us from the curse. As Christians, you and your husband have the
potential to regain much of what was lost at the fall of man. You do have the capacity to
have the harmony in your marriage that God intended.

The husband was and still is to be the head of his wife.
For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He
Himself being the Savoir of the body ... (Ephesians (5:23)

See page titled: ―The Model of Christ and the Church.‖

Christians are to submit to Jesus‘ authority and utilize their energies to glorify Him.

The wife‘s role is a model of the church‘s relationship to Christ. The church/wife should
submit to your husband‘s authority and use your energies to glorify him.

The husband‘s role is a model of Christ‘s relationship to the church. The Christ/husband
should cherish, self-sacrifice for, nourish and love his wife.

It is only in fulfilling and living out these roles as God intended, that you and your husband
will have close unity and harmony in your marriage. In Christ, the closeness that was lost
at the fall of man can be regained.

What if your husband is not a Christian? What if he is not glorifying the Lord? A Christian
woman/wife can do the right thing and fulfill her God-given role regardless of whether her
husband fulfills his or not.

Review the list of 18 ways a wife may be the glory of her husband on page 55.

Group Discussion / Questions:
What hinders us from eagerly accepting the responsibility to give our husbands glory?

Homework:
Prayerfully consider sitting down with your husband and go over the 18 Ways A Wife May
be the Glory of Her Husband.




                                                                                                   34
                              The Excellent Wife
                         Chapter 7: Christ – The Wife’s Heart


Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?


What is an idol?
An idol is something that we set our hearts on that God does not want us to have, or does
not want us to have right now. It can be anything, even a good thing. It is a desire we are
willing to sin for…become angry, frustrated, self-pitying, anxious, manipulative, bitter or to
lie about in order to get what we want. It is indicated by what we worshipping …what do we
serve, speak about, sacrifice for, spend time and money on, and trust in?

Note the list of common idols on page 60-61. Do any of these surprise you? Would you
have considered any of these ―entitlements?‖

Don‘t be greedy for the things of this life, for that is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)
You shall not make for yourself an idol… (Exodus 20:4)

What are the results of our idol worship?
God may frustrate our idol worship because he wants your pure devotion to Him.

       ―He is obligated to keep us dissatisfied, until we come to Him
       and His plan for satisfaction.‖ Beth Moore in Breaking Free

Painful emotions will increase and pressure will build if we do not repent and turn to God for
comfort and relief on His terms; we will probably find relief in a false savior. Review page
63.

These relief measures may enslave you, become additional idols and compound your sin.




                                                                                           35
How can we have God-honoring, heart’s desires?
Focus our thoughts on what God is like-especially His goodness.
For the Lord is a sun and a shield, the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does
he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. (Psalm 84:11)

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. (John 1:16)

Read scripture, meditate on scripture, and memorize scripture. Build contentment in your
life. Look forward to what God is going to do in your life and how he is going to be glorified
through you. Make it your goal to please the Lord, not personal happiness.
He desired, sought after, and longed after God with all his heart. (Psalm 119)
Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth. (I Timothy 6:6)

Cultivate a grateful attitude by deliberately thinking grateful thoughts to God, even if you
don‘t feel like it. Learn to trust that His ―portion‖ for you is good—He has a plan!
Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The
boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
(Psalm 16:5)

Ask God to change the desires of your heart.
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalm 37:4)

Caution: Always be alert to sinful anger (you‘ll feel frustrated) and / or anxiety as an
indicator that your motive is likely not righteous. Confess it to God and think a God-
honoring thought in place of the idolatrous thought.

Group Discussion / Questions:
Review the list of Wrong Desires / Right Desires on page 68-69.

Homework:
Prayerfully ask God to show you ways to change your Wrong Desires to Right Desires.




                                                                                            36
                            The Excellent Wife
                      Chapter 8: Home – The Wife’s Domain

Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?

A ―worker at home‖ is someone who guards the dwelling or is a keeper of the household.
Older women are to teach what is good…that they may encourage the young women to
love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind,
being subject to their own husbands. (Titus 2:3-5)

Therefore, I want the younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give
the enemy no occasion for reproach; for some have already turned aside to follow Satan. (I
Timothy 5:14-15)

Oikodespoteo — ―keep house‖ — means to rule or guide the house.

9 out of 22 verses in Proverbs Chapter 31 also refer directly to the wife‘s work in the home.

This isn‘t a matter of having an outside job, or not, it is a matter of the heart!
We may be able to hold an outside job, and still ―look well to the ways of our household.‖ If
you must work outside the home and you have small children, be sure the surrogate
childcare is continuing to raise your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
(Ephesians 6:4)

We may be a ―homemaker,‖ but not really have as our hearts focus, the care and guidance
of our households.

Question: What does a ―worker at home‖ do?

A wife should be good and efficient at what she does, not waste time, and not be lazy.

Possible obstacles that keep us from being ―good and efficient‖ workers at home:
    Too many outside activities
    Outside work overload
    Undisciplined
    Unaware of God‘s expectations for us
    Failure to see the tremendous value in our work in our homes
    World‘s values instead of God‘s
    Idols
    Coveting

Caution: A perfectionistic wife unnecessarily overworks herself and makes every one else
miserable in the process! People are more important than clean houses! If your heart is
set on having a clean house, you probable have an idol in your heart. Instead set your
heart on glorifying the Lord Jesus.



                                                                                            37
Creating a Godly Atmosphere
A wife who has a gentle and meek spirit from the Lord provides a calming, soothing, and
reassuring atmosphere in the home. She trusts God deeply, and does not panic at difficult
circumstances. She has a quiet confidence that God will work all things for good to those
who love God… (Romans 8:28). Her confidence and faith in God grows daily as she
studies the scriptures and because she is growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18). She has a calming effect on her family, not the
effect of alarming and upsetting them. It is reassuring to be around her.

This week be filled with joy, optimism, and delight in the Lord!

The Joy of the Lord is your strength! (Nehemiah 8:10)

Group Discussion / Questions:
Open

Homework:
Prayerfully ask God to show you ways to become a better ―worker at home.‖




                                                                                       38
                            The Excellent Wife
                       Chapter 9: Love – The Wife’s Choice


Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?


Loving others is so important the Lord Jesus taught that the second greatest
commandment is to love your neighbor (Matthew 22:39). Husbands are our closest
neighbors! Thus, loving your husband is something that you must choose to do. Even if
your husband does not respond in love, it is a choice you must make as a wife, because of
Christ‘s command.

Wives are to love their husbands.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you,
that you also love one another. By this all, men will know that you are My disciples, if you
have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)

The Greek noun for love here is agape. Agape love is sacrificial love, giving. It is a love
that gives to others even if nothing is given back in return. It is primarily an attitude. The
Greek verb for love here is agapao. It is primarily a practical action. Both are a choice and
we are held responsible for our choices.

Loving your husband as your closest neighbor is also a manifestation of God‘s grace. Even
under the most trying circumstances, you can show love to your husband because God‘s
grace is sufficient for you (II Corinthians 12:9). Because you are Christian, God will give
you supernatural power to show love to your husband, if you obey God by thinking loving
thoughts and doing loving actions.

Remember: at times, you will have to go directly against your feelings. Godly love is not
primarily a feeling, it is a choice. You must work at it.




                                                                                               39
Selfishness Hinders Love
All people are naturally selfish. God tells Christians to deny ourselves and put others first.
To have the happiness, joy and fulfillment you desire, you must put yourself aside and
place God and others first. Set your heart on glorifying God whether you ever have your
way or not.
Don‘t be selfish; don‘t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of
others as better than yourself. Don‘t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in
others, too, and what they are doing. Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus
had. Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. (Philippians
2:3-5)

If God did not demand His rights, do you think He will approve of you demanding yours?

Christians are to counteract evil with blessings and reproof, not more evil and selfishness.
You are to be unselfish even if your husband is always selfish. You do not have to feel
―led‖ to be unselfish; you just have to do it.

If we are going to show agape love to our husbands, we must guard our thoughts,
especially since in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self …
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (II Timothy 3:1-4). Do you watch soap operas,
read romance books, masturbate, or daydream about other men? You must stop! You are
making provisions for your flesh (Romans 13:14). Begin by repenting of the idol in your
heart. Replace your self-pleasing thoughts with God honoring thoughts (put-off, put-on).
Then focus on what God wants you to do: love your husband unselfishly. (I Corinthians 13)

Bitterness Hinders Love
The emotions of feeling ―hurt‖ and ―resentful‖ are usually how you feel when you are bitter.
As you think about the bad, hurtful things your husband has done, you are feeding
bitterness. Review pages 88-90.

God wants you to begin biblically dealing with your bitterness by taking 100% responsibility
for your percentage of the problems in your marriage.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if
there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way. (Psalm 139:23-24)

You must repent of your bitterness by asking God‘s forgiveness and your husband‘s
forgiveness (I John 1:9). Your bitter feeling will improve as you clear your conscience and
then begin to make second mile investments (doing something extra special for your
husband). As you make second mile investments, keep in mind that you are not returning
evil for evil, but giving a blessing instead (I Peter 3:9). God does want you to fight back, but
with ―good‖ and not evil.

You must continue to put off the bitterness by putting on kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving
thoughts.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of
malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, for giving one another,
just as God though Christ has forgiven you.
(Ephesians 4:31-32)


                                                                                             40
Review pages 94-96.

The initial hurt you feel is not necessarily sinful. How you respond to your hurt is critical.
You can choose to respond to hurt in humility, or pride. Bitterness destroys love. It stirs up
overwhelming ―hurt‖ feelings. There is nothing your husband has done that you can not
forgive. If your husband is not trustworthy, he can re-earn your trust. Regardless of
whether your husband is a failure before God, you do not have to be. Think about all that
the Lord has forgiven you.

Fear Hinders Love
Fear is a common struggle. You may be afraid of not getting your own way or living in fear
because your husband is angry or an alcoholic, etc. Either way, your feelings of fear will
make it very difficult for you to love your husband. The key to overcoming your fear is
trusting God and loving your husband. The wife is specifically told to do what is right
without being frightened by any fear.
(I Peter 3:6)

God‘s love in us expels all fear. (I John 4:18)

The Wife Is To “Put on” Love
And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of
compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and
forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave
you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond
of unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)

We are commanded in scripture to pursue love and walk in love. We do this by putting on
love and having loving thoughts. Review pages 100-105.

Putting on love begins with biblical thoughts and motives then progresses to your actions.
Putting on love does not happen automatically. You must work on it diligently. It is the
greatest commandment. It should be the character quality on which you work the hardest.

Group Discussion / Questions:
Open

Homework:
Prayerfully ask God to reveal any areas where you may be selfish, bitter or fearful. Ask
forgiveness and repent. Make an effort each day to put on love, especially toward your
husband.




                                                                                            41
42
                            The Excellent Wife
                  Chapter 10: Respect – The Wife’s Reverence


Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?


The Wife Is To Respect Her Husband
Regardless of the era, God says …let the wife see to it that she respect her husband.
(Ephesians 5:33)

But each individual man among you must love his wife as he loves himself, and a wife must
respect her husband. (Ephesians 3:33 - NIV)

Greek word for respect is phobeo: to be in awe of, to revere to reverence, or to treat as
someone special.

… let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband—that she notices him,
regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him, and that she defers to
him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly. (Ephesians 3:33 - AMPLIFIED)

Notice this is an imperative, or command. It is something we are to choose to do
continuously. We are not released from this command if our husband‘s personality,
character, talents, abilities, or habits do not deserve our respect, because ...

The Wife Is To Respect His Position
Husbands have been given authority over their families by God. Because God has
appointed positions of authority, in the home, church and state, that always require respect
from the one under authority.
(I Peter 2:17, Hebrews 13:17, Ephesians 5:23)

      This respect is not only an outward show, but an inward heart‘s attitude of obedience
       to God.
      The respect is not necessarily to the personality, but to the position.
      It involves being grateful, for your ordinary, every day husband.
      Our respect will be aided if we set our mind on the things of the spirit (the things God
       desires) and are grateful for what we have instead of what we do not have.
      Our respect may be hindered by pride, thinking we deserve better. (Romans 12:3)
      It is the method the Bible teaches to win an unbelieving husband to Christ.
       Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do
       not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their
       wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. (1 Peter 3:1-2)
      The attitude of a woman married to an unbeliever must not view him as a cross to
       bear, but pray for him, enjoy, him, love him and show him respect!



                                                                                            43
The Wife Is To Behave In A Respectful Manner
How does a wife respect her husband?
   She cultivates the heart attitudes we just discussed.
     For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
     (Matthew 12:34 - NIV)
   She does not act in ways that make fun of, are sarcastic, impatient, short or
     irritated, or are cut downs.
   She does not wear a ―look that kills‖ or simply an unhappy countenance that
     continually reminds him she is not happy with him or her circumstances.
     Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
     (Psalm 43:5 – NKJV)
   She does not let hormones, weariness or illness be an excuse for her behavior.
     No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is
     faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the
     temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to stand up under
     it. (I Corinthians 10:13 - NKJV)
   She does use a gentle and calm tone of voice.
   She does use wholesome and edifying words.
     Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful
     for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
     (Ephesians 4:29 – NIV)
   She does ask her husband to hold her accountable for showing respect to him.
     The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours
     forth evil. (Proverbs 15:28 – NKJV)

The Wife Is To Reprove Her Husband Respectfully
How does a wife reprove her husband respectfully?
    Privately
    With the goal of restoring him to a right relationship with God
    With gentleness
Your husband will be much more likely to receive and at least consider reproof if it is done
respectfully. If you are disrespectful, he will almost certainly react to your attitude rather
than the real issue.

Think: How does God want me to respond to help my husband change?

Remember to be compassionate, kind, and merciful. These are also tools to help restore
him to a right relationship with God.

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get
anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High,
because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is
merciful. (Luke 6:35-36 – NIV)




                                                                                             44
The Wife Who Is Disrespectful May Experience Severe Consequences
What are the consequences of a wife‘s disrespect?
   He is obligated to rebuke you.
   He may feel hurt, lose motivation to be your spiritual leader, allow himself to be
      paralyzed from taking responsibility as leader of the family, and experience
      embarrassment and humiliation.
      An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who causes shame is like
      rottenness in his bones. (Proverbs 12:44 - NKJV)
   Your sin of disrespect tarnishes the reputation of the Lord Jesus Christ since you are
      to respond to your husband as is fitting in the Lord.
      (Colossians 3:18)
   Your example will likely make it hard for your children to honor their father [and
      mother!] as they should.

If a husband is not reverenced [respected], and honored as the head of the family, he
cannot be the man [husband] God called him to be. He may think, ―I can‘t manage my own
home‖, when he lives with criticism and contention, and no one follows his leadership. He
becomes broken in spirit and his own wife contributes to his downfall!

God designed the husband to respond to honor!!
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
(Proverbs 14:1 – NIV)


Group Discussion / Questions:
Discuss the 13 Self Assessment Questions on pages 115-117.
Which ones are the hardest for you? Which ones are you going to work on improving this
week?


Homework:
Prayerfully ask God to show you ways that are disrespectful when you are interacting with
your husband. Quickly ask his forgiveness and God‘s. Then replace the disrespectful
words, actions, looks, attitudes, etc. with respectful ones. Ask you husband to hold you
accountable.

Review the list, ―Types of Wives,‖ on the next page as a reminder of what to watch for in
our own lives.




                                                                                            45
Types of Wives:
The Drip: This woman, through her words and countenance is a constant reminder that she
is not happy with him.
        A foolish son is his father's ruin,
        and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping. (Proverbs 19:13 - NIV)

      A continual dripping on a very rainy day
      And a contentious woman are alike; (Proverbs 27:15 – NKJV)

      Better to dwell in the wilderness,
      Than with a contentious and angry woman. (Proverbs 21:19 – NKJV)

The Professor: This woman thinks, ―If only he would listen to me, I could solve his
problems.‖
      21
        For three things the earth is perturbed,
      Yes, for four it cannot bear up:
      22
         For a servant when he reigns,
      A fool when he is filled with food,
      23
         A hateful woman when she is married,
      And a maidservant who succeeds her mistress.
      (Proverbs 30:21-23 – NKJV)

The Bitter Woman: This woman is a gossip and a complainer and brings shame to her
husband by her indiscriminate speech.
      Like a gold ring in a pig's snout
      is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion (Proverbs 11:22 – NIV)

      An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
      But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.
      (Proverbs 12:44 – NKJV)




                                                                                      46
                            The Excellent Wife
                  Chapter 11: Intimacy – The Wife’s Response


Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?


The sexual relationship is a low priority in the minds of many wives. It isn‘t that the wife
cares nothing about that part of her life. It is that there are so many other things screaming
for her attention, such as raising children, work, finances, managing a home, emotional
stress, exhaustion, sickness, and marital strife.

For a wife, sex comes out of affection. She doesn‘t want to be affectionate with a man who
makes her feel angry, hurt, lonely, disappointed, overworked, unsupported, uncared for, or
abandoned. But for a husband, sex is pure need. Wives sometimes have it backwards.
They think, ―We can have sex after we get these other issues settled.‖ Actually, there is a
far greater chance of settling the other issues if sex comes first.

Whether all conditions are perfect or whether you feel like it or not, isn‘t the point. The
point is meeting the needs of your husband and keeping communication lines open. A man
can easily be made to feel insignificant, beaten down, discouraged, destroyed, or tempted
in this area of his being. There is probably no more important means of fulfillment for a
man, and no area where he is more vulnerable.

Sometimes there is the opposite situation, where the wife is sexually neglected by her
husband. His lack of interest can happen for many reasons. If he is content to go month
after month without sex, something is wrong. If there is no physical problem, maybe he is
having deep feelings that need to be addressed. Prayer can help reveal what the problem
is and how to solve it. See Power of Praying Wife / His Sexuality.

It is never too late to pray for sexual purity, no matter what has occurred in either of your
pasts. Sometimes sexual problems in a marriage happen as a result of sexual experiences
before marriage. Pray to be set free and healed of those memories. Purity happens the
moment it takes root in the heart.

Sexual problems are quite common because many women don’t have a clear grasp
of what God’s view is on the subject.

The sexual bond between husband and wife is a gift from God for the enjoyment of physical
intimacy and the procreation of life. Christian husbands and wives possess the potential to
have sexual relations and in the process remain pure in their thoughts, actions, and
motives.

The physical union of husband and wife is designed by God to meet a God-given desire for
companionship, to protect the husband and wife from temptation, and for the mutual giving
and receiving of great pleasure and joy between the husband and the wife.


                                                                                            47
But because of immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her
own husband. Let the husband fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her
husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and
likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.
Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time that you may devote
yourselves to prayer, and come together again lest Satan tempt you because of your lack
of self-control. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry
than to burn. (I Corinthians 7:2-5, 9)

A proper and healthy physical relationship between a man and a woman in marriage
protects either partner from the danger of temptation to adultery. Both husband and wife
should be so satisfied with each other‘s love that no one else would even get a second
glance or entice them in any way.

Since neither the husband nor wife have authority over their own bodies, neither has the
option to refuse the other unless he or she is providentially hindered or the couple has
agreed to temporarily refrain from sex because of devoting themselves to prayer.

What if your husband desires sex at a time that is inconvenient for you? If possible, you
should arrange your schedule so that you may have time together. This shows your
husband that fulfilling his desires is important to you.

If it is virtually impossible at that moment, the wife should give him a rain-check for a
specific time in the future. When she fulfills her promise, she should make it worth his wait!

You may ask, ―What if I am not in ‗the mood‘?‖ One of the best ways for a wife to get in
―the mood‖ and enjoy having sex with her husband is for her to concentrate on pleasing
him.

A wife should not only concentrate on pleasing her husband, but should also remember
that her pleasure enhances his pleasure. It is important that the wife tell her husband what
is pleasurable for her. She should talk to him, be specific, and help him to be a good lover
to her.

Sexual relations between a husband and wife should not be a chore, but a pleasure that is
enjoyed by both and anticipated by both. (Proverbs 5:18-19)




                                                                                             48
Principle 1 – Sex Within Marriage is Holy and Good
An undefiled marriage bed means the couple has sexual relations and neither one is
unfaithful to the other nor impure in their thoughts or actions. As long as your thoughts and
motives and actions are pure, you are pleasing to God and God views what you are doing
as good. (Hebrews 13:4; Genesis 1:31)


Principle 2 – Pleasure Is Assured And Is Not Sinful
Pleasure resulting from physical intimacy between husband and wife is assumed by
Scripture. It should be fun. Generally both husband and wife should come to a climax, but
if one or the other is too tired or is providentially hindered in some way (wife‘s period or
pregnancy), they can still express love to the other, if not through vaginal intercourse,
through manual stimulation.
(Song of Solomon 7:10-12)

Principle 3 – The Wife Should Be Other-Oriented And Not Self-Oriented
An attitude of ―How can I give pleasure to my husband?‖ will result in more pleasure for the
wife. Think about your husband – plan for him. You should seek your husband to satisfy
your sexual desires rather than seeking sexual release alone which is sinful and selfish.
(Song of Solomon 5:2-5)

Principle 4 – Sexual Relations Should be Regular And Continuous
The frequency of sex depends on the other person‘s need, not ours alone. If your attitude
about having sex comes down to only what you need or what you don‘t want, then you
don‘t have God‘s perspective. The goal is that neither is experiencing frustration or
temptation. Sexual intimacy should be a regular and continuous part of your relationship
with your husband. (Proverbs 5:19)

Principle 5 – The Wife Should Never Bargain With Her Husband In Return
For Her Favors
Bargaining with your husband in return for your ―favors‖ is selfish and treating your husband
more like a child by trying to manipulate him. Your motive should not be what you can get
from your husband. It should be for the glory of God. (Philippians 2:3-4)

Principle 6 – Sex Relations Are to Be Equal And Reciprocal
Equal and reciprocal sex means either the wife or the husband may and should initiate sex.
Anything goes as long as it is mutually agreeable, pleasurable, and not offensive to the
partner. Exceptions would include anything that is sinful such as sodomy, watching
pornography, and sharing sexual fantasies about other people. (Galatians 5:19; 1
Corinthians 7:3-5)




                                                                                           49
Summary
Wife‘s Biblical Obligations to Her Husband Regarding their Physical Intimacy:

   She is to satisfy him completely if at all possible.
   She is to go to him to meet her own needs in this area.
   She is to initiate sex and plan ahead, anticipating their time together rather than
    dreading it.
   She is not to participate in any sinful practices such as masturbation, pornography,
    sodomy, or sexual fantasies about other men.
   She is to have a pure motive before God and view sex as a good and holy act the God
    declares ―good‖.

If you have not been thinking about sex or participating in sex with your husband in a God-
honoring way, you must repent. Then you must do what James suggested to show your
faith by your works. (James 2:18)

Group Discussion / Questions:
Open

Homework:
Prayerfully ask God to show you any area regarding your physical intimacy with your
husband that may need improvement. Begin to take specific steps to move toward the
God-honoring, physical intimacy that we were created to enjoy.




                                                                                          50
                             The Excellent Wife
                     Chapter 12: Submission – The Wife’s Joy


Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?

God has created an orderly world. He has appointed three institutions with their own
spheres of authority: the family, the church, and the state. Within the family, God has given
the husband authority over the wife for her protection.
(Ephesians 5:28-29)

Submission to your husband is the heart of God and for the Christian wife. It is so
important to God that He made submission to your husband a manifestation of ―walking
with the Lord,‖ ―being in the will of God,‖ and ―being filled with the Holy Spirit.‖ (Ephesians
5:15-18)

So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every
opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don‘t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand
what the Lord wants you to do. Don‘t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life.
Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. Then you will sing psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. And you will
always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And further, you will submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. You wives will
submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord.
(Ephesians 5:15–22)

Many times a wife may fail to see clearly the importance of her submission because she is
so focused on what her husband is doing wrong. Because husbands are also sinners, they
will, at times, be guilty of sinning against their wives. The wife must focus on her THREE
MAIN GOD-GIVEN BASIC RESPONSIBILITIES towards her husband: to love him, to
respect him, and to submit to him. Her ―good works‖ are not dependent on what her
husband does, but on her obedience to God in these three areas. See Excellent Wife p
130.

Four Biblical Principles Concerning A Wife’s Submission and Joy
Joy results from Trusting and Obeying God‘s Word
Loving God means keeping his commandments, and really, that isn‘t difficult. For every
child of God defeats this evil world by trusting Christ to give the victory. And the ones who
win this battle against the world are the ones who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. (1
John 5:3-5)

God‘s commands are given for our good and our protection (Deuteronomy 10:13). God‘s
commands become a joy to you when you resolve to humbly submit to Him in advance of
the actual opportunity. Then when tested, you will have already made up your mind who
you will obey.



                                                                                                  51
Joy results from knowing that God is working to accomplish His purpose even in difficult
circumstances.
And we know that God causes everything to work together* for the good of those who love
God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28-9)

God wants to develop Christ-like character within us and give us special opportunity and
privilege to glorify him. Think: ―This is good for me and God has purpose in it or He would
not permit it. This is not fun (joy does not equal fun), but I do have joy in knowing that God
is working in my life to accomplish His purposes.‖

Joy results from following the example of the Lord Jesus in difficult times.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.
He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be
his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God‘s throne in
heaven. (Hebrews 12:2)

For our present troubles are quite small and won‘t last very long. Yet they produce for us
an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we don‘t look at the troubles we can
see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we
see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:17) [Eternal
Perspective]

You must train yourself to see all of life through God‘s providential care over you. You can
have joy in pleasing the Lord and will have joy in eternity because you chose to obey His
commands.

Joy results from a Spirit filled life.
Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is
God‘s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

We can not succeed if we are not living by the power of the Holy Spirit. Being Spirit-filled
means you are controlled by the Holy Spirit and by the Word of God. It is not an
experience you feel but it is a biblical responsibility which involves, in part; a way to think
about life and God that is described in Ephesians 5. One of the fruits of the spirit is joy.
(Galatians 5:22)




                                                                                                  52
Joy
Joy is not primarily a feeling – it is an attitude (of the heart, biblical perspective). An
attitude is a point of view about a situation. An attitude has three components:
      What you think.
      What you do.
      What you feel.

If you want to begin changing your attitude (experience joy) about your situation or your
husband, it is easier to change the way you think or behave than to change your emotions.
The feeling or emotional level is the most difficult to work on. Feelings are powerful but
vague. You must begin changing either your thinking or your behavior over which you have
more control. The secret in effectively changing your emotions is knowing that feelings,
thoughts, and behaviors are all related. When you change one of them (for example,
thinking) the other two (feelings and behavior) will change as well.

In understanding the biblical relationship between submission and joy, remember that
submitting will not always be fun, but there is always joy (your heart attitude) in glorifying
the Lord Jesus Christ. This is God‘s ordained purpose for you.

Group Discussion / Questions:
Open

Homework:
Prayerfully Plan to Obey: Set a goal this week to accomplish one of the four principles
outlined in this chapter, don‘t just wait for an ―event‖. Ask God to help restore your joy by
changing your attitude (thoughts, behavior).




                                                                                                 53
54
                            The Excellent Wife
     Chapter 13: Biblical Submission – Basis of the Wife’s Protection



Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?


Purpose of biblical submission is to glorify God (church).

Two common misunderstandings of biblical submission of a wife to her husband:
   Doormat Theology – Wife is to be totally submissive to her husband even when he is
      sinning against her. Some think a wife is more spiritual if she is suffering passively.
      The bible teaches that suffering unnecessarily is not ―spirituality‖ but foolish ―self-
      made religion‖. (Colossians 2:28)
   Liberated Woman Theology – Emphasizing ―mutual submission of the husband and
      wife‖ instead of clearly teaching the wife‘s responsibility.

Five Biblical Principles Concerning The Wife’s Submission
Principle 1 – A Wife is to be Submissive to Her Husband in All Things Unless Her Husband
asks Her to Sin.
You wives will submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord. For a husband is the head
of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior.
As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything.
(Ephesians 5:22, 24)

God is not partial to males or females. 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 submits in all areas of life such as finances, decorating the house, the length of her
hair, what to have for supper, and disciplining the children. Even though a husband has
God given authority over his wife, only God has absolute authority over her. If a husband
asks her to sin, she must ―obey God rather than man‖. (Acts 5:29)

We should fear less our husbands abusing their authority, and fear more our not
submitting our lives to God. See Examples of How Husbands Ask Their Wives to Sin in the
book, pages 140 – 143.




                                                                                             55
Principle 2 – A Submissive Wife is Not Afraid to do the ―Right Thing‖.
One key to overcoming fear is simply “doing what is right” (I Peter 3:6). It is right for a
wife to show love to God and love to her husband. As a wife seeks to love God and her
husband more, her fear will abate. If it doesn‘t go away completely, it will, at least, not
overpower her. Showing love to God and her neighbor (husband) is a much more powerful
force than any fear she may experience. In general, a wife shows love to God by obeying
Him. Her obedience is not dependent on her circumstances or feelings. It is a deliberate,
conscience choice.

What about a husband who repeatedly disappoints his wife by lying or deceiving her? She
must learn to place greater trust in God, but not necessarily in her husband. She has to
forgive him, but in some situations it would be foolish to trust him. He can regain her trust
over time by being faithful and honest, and she must be willing to give him this chance.
She never takes the position that restoration is not possible (hopeless). Review
Forgiveness Handout and Forgiveness Verses.

Principle 3 – A Wife is to be Submissive Even if Her Husband is Not a Christian (or She
Doubts His Salvation).
In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands, even those who
refuse to accept the Good News. Your godly lives will speak to them better than any
words. They will be won over by watching your pure, godly behavior. (1 Peter 3:1-2)

A Christian wife has the responsibility to live a godly life and respond to her husband with
respect. Her attitude should be for him and not against him. She should enjoy him.

She should watch out for idolatrous view of what she thinks marriage or husband‘s
relationship with God should be like. She should be ready to give an account for the hope
in her. (1 Peter 3:15)

Principle 4 – A Submissive Wife Does Not Dishonor the Word of God.
…being subject to her own husband that the word of God may not be dishonored. (Titus
2:3-5)

To Dishonor is to malign, slander, speak against, or speak of as evil.

When a wife is not submissive to her husband, she brings shame to God‘s Word because
she is not living up to the standard God has clearly laid out for the godly wife (she is
rebelling).

You wives must submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.
(Colossians 3:18)




                                                                                               56
A Submissive Wife Honors the Word of God When:
   1. Obeying God is more important to her than having her own way. (living sacrifice,
      Romans 12:1-2)
   2. She has appropriate reverential fear of the Lord. (He is Holy and she is here to
      serve God – God is not a genie, here to serve her.)
   3. She lets the Word of Christ direct her life.
   4. Her life is not an affront to the pattern of marriage given in Ephesians Chapter 5, of
      the church and its submissive relationship to Christ.
   5. She is submissive whether she feels like it or not. When faced with a situation in
      which the wife should be submissive but does not want to be, she can overcome her
      feelings if she thinks biblical thoughts. A godly, submissive wife can, by God‘s
      grace, as an act of her will, go against her feelings and do the right thing. He always
      enables what He wills.

Principle 5 – A Wise Wife Will Seek Training and Counsel on Submission From a Godly
Older Woman.
These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their
children, to live wisely and be pure, to take care of their homes, to do good, and to be
submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. (Titus
2:4-5)

Review Specific Ways Wives Are Not Submissive
Pages 151 - 153

Group Discussion / Questions:
Open

Homework:
Prayerfully ask God to help you begin today to be a gentle, godly, submissive wife to your
husband. It is the heart of God for you.




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58
                            The Excellent Wife
    Chapter 14: God’s Provision – Resources for the Wife’s Protection

Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?

God’s Provision
God‘s provision is the biblical means by which God protects a submissive wife, when her
husband sins against her and others.
    Most can be used whether or not one‘s husband is a professing Christian.
    As a ―helper suitable‖ for her husband, the wife has a responsibility to use these
      resources.
    They are not only for the wife‘s protection, but to help her Christian husband to live
      faithfully before God, or possibly to help an unbelieving husband come to know
      Christ.
    They are listed in the order they should be used.

Eight Resources for the Wife’s Protection

1. Communicate Biblically
   The heart of the wise teaches his mouth and adds persuasiveness to his lips. (Proverbs
   16:23)
   Biblical communication is based on the principles of God‘s Word. God‘s desire for a
   wife is to train her tongue to respond properly in every situation. This will take much
   practice and prayer.

   God-honoring responses are gentle, loving in tone, edifying to the hearer, and done with
   great care. For example, instead of ―snapping‖ at her husband in a harsh manner, a
   godly wife thinks about what she is going to say and how she is going to say it.

   Failure to communicate biblically is sin – disobedience to God. Failures will require a
   repentant heart to both God and the offended, with the resolve to improve next time.




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2. Overcome Evil With Good
   Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
   A wife must learn to respond with the right actions and attitudes as well as the right
   words. Instead of returning evil for evil, she must fight back with good.

   not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead, for you were
   called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
   (I Peter 3:9)


   Overcoming evil with good is a command and not an option. A wife accomplishes this
   by prayerfully considering a specific, practical act which will bless her husband, and
   then she must do it (III John 11). For suggestions see the list on page 158 in The
   Excellent Wife book.
   A wife must battle the sin of her husband with good and fight as long as it takes – some
   battles last for a day, some for years. Some battles are extremely difficult, but never
   overwhelming when fought God‘s way by His power and grace. Remember the battle is
   the Lord‘s (II Chronicles 20:15). You are partnering with Him by using His methods.

3. Make a Biblical Appeal
   Sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. (Proverbs 16:21)

   A biblical appeal is a request or plea to a person in authority for the purpose of asking
   them to reconsider or reevaluate a command, directive, or instruction. A submissive
   wife understands, that the final decisions are her husband‘s unless he asks her to sin;
   however, if a wife believes she has a better idea, as her husband‘s helper, she should
   be ready to give her husband the benefit of her wise counsel and advice (I Peter 3:7).

   A Biblical Appeal Must Be:
       Done for the purpose of achieving the husband‘s objective or desire.
       Not done to get her own way.
       Done with respect and a spirit of submission.
       Done at a well thought out time (if possible).
       Done only once unless there is new information available that her husband did
          not consider.
       Prefaced or concluded with a statement of her intent to submit to his final
          decision.

   When a husband is asking a wife to sin, she should propose a viable alternative.
   Scripture may strengthen a wife‘s appeal, but with an unbelieving husband, it is better to
   appeal to his conscience.

   When a husband does not listen or grant the wife‘s appeal, she must accept his
   decision as the will of God for her at that moment – even if she must suffer for the sake
   of righteousness.




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4. Give A Biblical Reproof
   Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. (Luke
   17:3)

   If a husband is sinning, the wife has the responsibility to give her husband a biblical
   reproof. A biblical reproof is telling someone that what they are doing is contrary to the
   Word of God, for the purpose of restoring them to a right relationship with God. If a
   godly wife refrains from ―speaking the truth in love‖ her Christian husband will be
   deprived of one of God‘s greatest provisions for his own spiritual growth – the words of
   encouragement and exhortation of his own wife. True biblical love rejoices in truth (I
   Corinthians 13:6). A godly wife‘s biblical reproof is not only an act of love, but it will (if it
   is done properly and he humbly receives it) strengthen the love of the husband for his
   wife, …rebuke a wise man and he will love you (Proverbs 9:8).

   A reproof must be done carefully (review Chapter 5).

   If a husband disagrees about or denies the extent of his sin problem, after a correctly
   delivered reproof, including several specific examples of his behavior, and the passing
   of several days to a week‘s time, the wife should suggest her husband speak to a pastor
   or a mature believer about their difference of opinion. If he refuses to go she should go
   alone, with his knowledge, and an invitation, again extended to him. Getting a third
   person involved will clarify whether or not there is a sin problem, bring appropriate
   scripture to light and provide the accountability essential to changing sinful behaviors. A
   reproof should not be given to a scoffer. (Proverbs 9:8, Proverbs 26:4, 5)

5. Respond Biblically To Foolish Demands
   Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Answer a fool as
   his folly deserves, lest he be wise in his own eyes. (Proverbs 26:4-5)

   When a Christian husband unreasonably and wrongly attacks his wife for her failure to
   carry out her responsibilities, the wife should first take note of the reproof even if it is
   given by her husband in a sinful way. If she has done wrong, she should first
   acknowledge her wrong. In demonstrating such humility, she sets a good example for
   her husband to respond similarly when she points out to him own responsibility to act in
   a biblical manner. A wife must do this with caution as she is not always without sin as
   Jesus was. It is best for her to acknowledge her responsibility and possible failure,
   before she points out the failure of her husband.

   Not answering back like a fool is easy to understand but hard to do in the heat of
   conflict. A wife does not have to immediately give her husband a direct answer. She
   may ask him for time to consider her answer.
   The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer. (Proverbs 15:28)

   A wife should (in a gentle, quiet manner) use God‘s Word in a wise way to not respond
   like a fool when her Christian husband makes foolish demands.




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6. Seek Godly Counsel
   Seeking godly counsel means seeking advice based on God‘s Word, the Bible.
   Additional guidelines for seeking counsel:
      Counsel Should Be Objective – not close family members or even friends; both
          sides must be heard
      Counsel Should Be Directed At Solving The Problem Biblically Using The Word
          Of God.
      Counsel Should Be Directed Toward Restoration.
      The Wife Must Not Slander Or Speak Evil Of Her Husband When She Seeks
          Counsel From Another.
      The Wife Should Limit The Number Of People She Tells Of Her Husband‘s
          Problem.
      The Wife Should Follow The Biblical Admonition That Older, More Mature
          Women Are To Teach Younger Women – if they meet the qualification of Titus
          2:2-3.
      Often Leaders Of A Church May Be The Best Source Of Biblical Counsel –
          Pastor‘s may recommend accredited counselors as well.


7. Church Discipline
   And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. (Matthew 18:15)

   Church discipline is the process of the discipline and restoration of a sinning Christian.
   This involves confronting an unrepentant husband personally, then with one or two
   pastors or elders, then as a congregation. Be sure your church practices this before
   involving them.

8. Involve the Governing Authorities
   Let every man be in subjection to the governing authorities. (Romans 13:1)

   The involvement of these agencies is an extreme measure and should only be used
   when there is danger to the wife or children or a serious criminal offense has been
   committed. Letting her husband bear the consequences of his sinful behavior at the
   hand of either church or governmental authorities is an act of loving obedience to God.

Group Discussion / Questions:
Open

Homework:
Prayerfully ask God to help you know when to use the resources He has provided for your
protection.




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                             The Excellent Wife
         Chapter 15: Honoring Christ – Key to the Wife’s Motivation


Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?


Wives respond to biblical teaching on submission in a wide variety of ways ranging from
immediate acceptance to outright rejection. Few wives naturally have the right heart‘s
attitude to be submissive to their husbands. Even if a woman desires to please God by
being submissive, she will not always feel like being submissive, especially when feelings
are intense. Regardless of her feelings, she should honor Christ by developing a mind-set
or a resolve to do the right thing in the right way with the right motive whether she feels like
it or not. In the process, her feelings will eventually improve.

A Wife’s Motivation To Be Submissive: Biblical Principles
   1. A Wife Should Be Grateful For What God Has Done For Her.
      Just thinking about all that the Lord underwent should evoke a deep gratitude from
      every believer. We show that gratitude by our loving obedience to God. As wives,
      part of our obedience to God is becoming biblically submissive to our husband‘s.

       And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites when he
       judges. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in
       reverent fear of him during your time as foreigners here on earth. For you know that
       God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your
       ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you
       with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.
       (1 Peter 1:17 – 19)

       What does gratitude to God have to do with being submissive to our husbands?

   2. A Wife Should Look To The Example Of Christ’s Submission To The Father.
      Even though the Lord Jesus Christ was equal to the Father in every regard, He
      chose to subordinate Himself to the Father in order to carry out their plan of
      redemption, even to the point of death. Christ‘s example is a compelling motivation
      for you (wife) to be submissive to your husband.

       Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did
       not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the
       humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he
       obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal‘s death on a cross.
       (Philippians 2:5-8)

       What was Christ‘s attitude about being submissively obedient to the Father?


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3. A Wife Should Repent Of Any Wrong Thinking By Renewing Her Mind With
   Scripture.
   Many wives have been taken captive by worldly philosophy: they should
   aggressively purse equality with or dominance over their husbands; husbands
   should always make them happy; ―having it all‖ is more important than anything else.
   The solution is to bring your beliefs and values in line with the Scriptures and then if
   your values are wrong, renew (change) your mind.

   Don‘t let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high-sounding
   nonsense that comes from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world,
   and not from Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

   Don‘t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a
   new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you
   to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.
   (Romans 12:2)

   How do we bring our beliefs in line with scripture?

4. A Wife’s True Beauty And Adornment Comes From Being Submissive To Her
   Husband.
   While it‘s alright for her to adorn herself with outward beauty, a godly wife‘s first
   concern is to adorn herself more with inward beauty by being submissive to her
   husband with the attitude of a meek and quiet spirit (1 Peter 2:3). This is
   accomplished by trusting God while being submissive to her husband.

   Don‘t be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles,
   expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that
   comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so
   precious to God. That is the way the holy women of old made themselves beautiful.
   They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands. (1 Peter 3:3-5)

5. Biblical Submission Shows Love To God.
   Biblical submission is a command from God to wives. Each time a wife is outwardly
   and inwardly submissive to her husband, she is showing love to God.

   Jesus himself said:
   ―If you love me, obey my commandments.‖ (John 14:15 15)

   Loving God means keeping his commandments, and really, that isn‘t difficult. For
   every child of God defeats this evil world by trusting Christ to give the victory. (1
   John 5:3-4)

   What does biblical submission have to do with love?




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6. Biblical Submission Is A Way To Show Love To Her Husband.
   A wife who is more concerned about showing love to her husband than she is about
   having her own way will have a righteous sense of purpose. When faced with a
   specific circumstance and struggling with not wanting to be submissive, think
   thoughts like:
       Love does not act unbecomingly …
       Love does not seek its own (way) …
       Love rejoices in the truth, it does not rejoice in unrighteousness…
       Love endures all things.

   Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does
   not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has
   been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins
   out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through
   every circumstance.
   (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

7. Biblical Submission Should Be Viewed Through God’s Sovereignty And
   Goodness.
   There is no such thing as fate, luck, or chance. God has purpose in your every
   circumstance (including your husband‘s decisions).

   It is God who saved us and chose us to live a holy life. He did this not because we
   deserved it, but because that was his plan long before the world began—to show his
   love and kindness to us through Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:9)

   How can we view life through God‘s sovereignty and goodness? Give practical
   examples.

8. God Uses Others To Put Pressure On A Wife To Be Submissive.
   If you receive reproofs humbly from your husband, friend, or an older woman, God
   will use them to help mold you into His character. Your responsibility is to humbly
   receive these ―wounds‖ as a good thing and admit when you are wrong.

   These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their
   children, to live wisely and be pure, to take care of their homes, to do good, and to
   be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of
   God. (Titus 2:4- 5)

   An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a friend are better than
   many kisses from an enemy. (Proverbs 27:5-6)

   How can a reproof help you to be motivated to be more submissive?




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9. A Wife Should Train Herself To Be Biblically Submissive.
   Training implies doing something over and over until a person does it right. So,
   when you are not submissive to a godly way, you can train yourself biblically by
   thinking through what you should have thought and done instead of what you did.
   Next, ask God‘s forgiveness, then your husband‘s forgiveness. This process takes
   work, but it will profit you not only in this life but the one to come.

   Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives‘ tales. Spend your time
   and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some
   value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both
   this life and the next. (1 Timothy 4:7-8)

   Can you think of an example of how you could ―train‖ yourself to be biblically
   submissive?

10. A Wife Should Learn The Biblical Dynamics Of Authority And Rebellion.
    God‘s Word is the final authority for the practice of your life. If you take matters into
    your own hands, or do something that you want to do, but it is not what God
    intended for you to do, you are rebelling against God. Rebellion is a very serious
    sin. If you disobey your husband, you are indirectly shaking your fist at God. You
    are saying in your heart, ―God, I don‘t care what You say. I‘m going to do this my
    way!‖ When you rebel against your husband‘s authority, you are grievously sinning.

   ―What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your
   obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is
   much better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as bad as the sin of
   witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have
   rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you from being king.‖ (1 Samuel
   15:22)

   How important is it to be submissive?

11. A Wife Should Seek Truly Biblical Counsel From Someone Who Will Exhort
    and Admonish Her to Be Submissive.
    All Christians are to exhort and admonish each other.
    (Colossians 1:28, 29)

12. A Wife Should Humbly Receive Her Husband’s Biblical Correction and
    Reproof. (Ephesians 5:25-27)

13. Study The Character Of God.
    Studying God‘s character will help you to take the focus off of yourself and to focus
    instead on the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23, 24)

14. A Wife will Honor God’s Word By Being Submissive To Her Husband.
    (Titus 2:3-5)




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15. A Wife Can Be Motivated To Be Submissive In The “Big Things” By Being
    Faithful In The “Little Things.”
    Every tiny infraction matters to God, even if it is very small. It is important to be
    faithful to God in every area of our life (thoughts/attitudes, words, deeds).

   ―Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won‘t be faithful in large ones. If you
   cheat even a little, you won‘t be honest with greater responsibilities. (Luke 16:10)


16. Biblical Submission Is One Way For A Wife To Be A “Living Sacrifice” For The
    Lord Jesus.
    Any time you submit to your husband and it is not what you would have preferred,
    you are sacrificing self for obedience to God. If you do the right thing “as unto the
    Lord,” then you can delight in knowing that He is pleased with your sacrifice.

   And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let
   them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will accept. When you think of what
   he has done for you, is this too much to ask? (Romans 12:1)

17. A Wife Should Realize That Being Submissive Is A Fruit Of Her Salvation.

   By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my
   disciples. (John 15:8)

18. A Wife May Be Motivated By Personal Testimonies Of Women Who Are
    Already Submissive To Their Husbands. (1 Peter 3:5-6)

19. Realize That Sometimes She May Be “Suffering For Righteousness.”
    If your thinking and actions are pleasing to the Lord and your husband continues to
    be selfish, etc., then your suffering will have purpose – it will be for the Lord‘s sake.

   Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer
   for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don‘t be afraid and don‘t worry.
   (1 Peter 3:13-14)




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   20. A Wife Should Remind Herself Of The Potential Grievous Consequences Of
       Not Being Submissive.
       Some of these consequences are personal embarrassment, loss of reward at the
       judgment seat of Christ, Divine discipline, church discipline, and / or disqualification
       of her husband from the office of elder or deacon. God will do what He has to do to
       turn you from your rebellion to humble submission to your husband.

      For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his
      children.‖
      As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own
      children. Who ever heard of a child who was never disciplined? If God doesn‘t
      discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are
      not really his children after all. Since we respect our earthly fathers who disciplined
      us, should we not all the more cheerfully submit to the discipline of our heavenly
      Father and live forever?
      For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how.
      But God‘s discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share
      in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it is painful! But
      afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this
      way. (Hebrews 12:6-11)

      A wife will never be what the Lord wants her to be until she graciously and joyfully
      comes under the authority of her husband.

Group Discussion / Questions:
Now that you have a better understanding of biblical submission, are you joyfully embracing
your duty or struggling?

What is wrong with being motivated primarily by how you feel?

Homework:
Prayerfully ask God to show you specific times when you are not joyfully and graciously
submitting to your husband. Take the necessary steps to correct each instance (ask
forgiveness, put on / put off).




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                           The Excellent Wife
        Chapter 16: Communication – Control of the Wife’s Tongue


Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?


But no one can tame the tongue…from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing.
My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. (James 3:8-10)

What we say and how we say it can hurt others. Words can crush and pierce people.
Husbands and wives have the potential to hurt each other deeply by the words they say.
The Excellent Wife must communicate rightly to her husband if she is going to love,
respect, and submit to him as God desires.

Communicating With Your Husband: Nine Biblical Principles
   1. A Wife’s Wrong Words Begin With Wrong Thoughts And Motives.
      For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornications, thefts,
      slanders. These are the things which defile the man: but to eat with unwashed
      hands does not defile the man. (Matthew 5:19-20)

      ―Heart‖ in Scripture includes a person‘s thoughts, choices, or motives. It is not some
      emotional part of you that you have no control over. What you think about is a
      choice you make (Matthew 12:34). Wrong words do begin with wrong thoughts. To
      renew your mind, read and mediate on Scriptures that are appropriate to the areas
      of communication you need to improve.

      Can you think of an example of a change in your heart that brought about a change
      in your speech?

   2. 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 judgment. (Matthew 12:36-37)

      Careless words are ―idle, lazy, and useless.‖ God is aware of every word you say;
      therefore, you are accountable to Him for every word you speak.




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3. A Wife Is To speak The Truth To Her Husband, But Speak It In Love.
   …but speaking the truth is love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the
   head, even Christ… (Ephesians 4:15)

   Speaking the truth is not always easy. You can tell your husband what he biblically
   needs to hear in a patient, kind, and loving manner.
   If your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won
   your brother. (Matthew 18:15)

   Why might it be difficult to speak the truth?
   What does speaking the truth have to do with maturity?

4. A Wife Must “Put Off” Any Wrong Speech.
   But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive
   speech from your mouth. (Colossians 3:8)

   Anger can express itself in extremes from a slight edge in your voice to screaming,
   cursing, and full blown wrath. Malice is meanness, desiring ill towards the other
   person. Slander is painting another person in a bad light. Abusive speech refers to
   ―obscene and derogatory speech intended to hurt and wound someone.‖

   Work extra hard to think about what you are going to say and to say what is right in
   spite of how you feel. This is how we ―put off‖ wrong speech.

5. A Wife Must Give Her Husband The Benefit Of The Doubt When It Comes To
   Judging His Motives.
   Therefore, do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord
   comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the
   motives of men‘s hearts; and then each man‘s praise will come to him from God. (I
   Corinthians 4:5)

   We are not to make judgments about the ―motives of men‘s hearts‖
   (I Corinthians 4:5). Give your husband the benefit of the doubt and place his action
   in the best possible light.

   Why is it wrong to judge motives?




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6. A Wife Is More Likely To Sin If Her Words Are Rash.
   There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the
   wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)

   Rash speech is like ―… the thrusts of a sword…‖ Rash words deeply wound the
   person receiving them, inflict pain.

   A controlling person tends to communicate in vengeful ways. Our example is the
   Lord Jesus who while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He
   uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously… (I
   Peter 2:23). Our Lord did not fight back with evil. Even if you are suffering an
   emotional battery from your husband, you are to look to Jesus as an example.
   Instead of wounding your husband, use your tongue to bring healing (Proverbs
   12:18).

7. A Wife Is More Likely To Be Heard If Her Speech Is Forbearing And Sweet.
   By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue breaks the bone.
   (Proverbs 12:15)

   The wise in heart will be called discerning, And sweetness of speech increases
   persuasiveness. (Proverbs 16:21)

   This ―sweetness of speech‖ is not to be used as a manipulative ploy for you to have
   your way, but it is a righteous way for you to persuade your husband to give you
   what you want. The test of your motive will be how you respond if you do not get
   your way. God is glorified by your righteous speech whether you get your own way
   or not!

8. An Excellent Wife Is Wise And Kind When She Talks To Her Husband.
   She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
   (Proverbs 31:26)

   A godly wife is wise and kind (speaking in a soothing tone) when she talks to her
   husband. Her wisdom comes from the Word of God and her kindness from the Holy
   Spirit.

   How would your responses be different to your husband if you opened your mouth in
   wisdom, and the teaching of kindness was on your tongue?




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   9. A Wife Should Purify Her Speech Until It Is More And More Flawless.
      The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver. The heart of the wicked is worth
      little. (Proverbs 10:20)

       How does a wife purify her speech? (See page 192)

       How you communicate is a reflection of your commitment to Christ. Certainly, these
       are skills that need to be fine tuned. Ask your husband to hold you accountable for
       how you speak and your tone of voice. When your husband points your failures out
       to you, immediately reconsider how you should have communicated. Tell him what
       you should have done and ask his forgiveness.

       An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels … She opens her
       mouth is wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Proverbs 31:10,
       26)

Group Discussion / Questions:
Open

Homework:
Prayerfully ask God to help you communicate with your husband by using the nine biblical
principles, every day. Practice, Practice, Practice!




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                            The Excellent Wife
              Chapter 17: Conflict – Quietness of the Wife’s Spirit

Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?


Communicating in a godly way is foundational to solving conflict in a manner that will glorify
God. Christian husbands and wives are to live together in unity. Unity is difficult in the best
of times because we all sin and we are all so very different.

There cannot be unity in the church as God intends when there is marital discord. Others
may take up an offense for one or the other of the quarreling couple and join in the conflict.
Sin that is not contained will most certainly spread!

The way we think can either hinder or enhance conflict solving. It is important to recognize
unbiblical thinking, because it is only with the correct thinking that couples can work
through conflict in a godly manner.

Review: Unbiblical Thoughts That Hinder Conflict Solving on page 196.
Thoughts like these are self-serving and unbiblical justification for giving up and no longer
trying to work through problems. They are sinful thoughts.

Instead of justifying an escape from the conflicts, a wife must be transformed by the
renewing of her mind (Romans 12:2). In the process, her emotions will be more bearable,
and she will be in a much better position to continue to work on the problems. What
thoughts would make it easier for her to work through conflict biblically? . . . .




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Biblical Thoughts That Enhance Conflict Solving
  1. “What is God trying to teach me in the midst of this conflict?”
     Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity
     for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let
     it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character
     and ready for anything. If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants
     you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.
     (James 1:2-5)



  2. “I am a Christian. For me to initiate a divorce just because we are having a lot
     of conflict is not an option that I have.”
     But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not
     leave her husband…And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he
     consents to live with her, let her not send her husband away. (I Corinthians 7:10, 13)

     Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.
     (Matthew 19:6)

  3. “God will help me to endure these conflicts.”
     No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful,
     who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the
     temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it. (I
     Corinthians 10:13)

     ―I can‘t‖ verses ―I won‘t‖

  4. “If I must suffer through this conflict, I want it to be for doing what is right, not
     because I have sinned.”
     Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to
     suffer for doing wrong! (1 Peter 3:17)

  5. “God has a purpose in this conflict.”
     And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who
     love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28)

  6. “What can I do differently to make it easier for us to solve this conflict?
     Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of
     you regard one another as more important than himself…
     (Philippians 2:3)




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Three Kinds / Sources of Conflict
  1. Differentness
     Examples: Time you go to bed / Time you get up / Holiday Traditions / How to clean
     house / How to put silverware in the dishwasher / more?

     It is important to remember that differentness is not right or wrong. It is not sinful. It
     is alright for your husband to have a different opinion than yours. If not handled
     correctly, it can culminate in sin.

     We overcome differentness with forbearance (Ephesians 4:3) and leaving our
     parents and cleaving to each other (Genesis 2:24).

  2. Selfishness / Sinfulness
     The sin of selfishness is the number one reason why people do not get along.

     Don‘t be selfish; don‘t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble,
     thinking of others as better than yourself. Don‘t think only about your own affairs,
     but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.
     (Philippians 2:3-4)

     We are naturally rebellious and selfish. We don‘t like to be told what to do. Conflict
     as a result of selfishness often results in angry outbursts, pouting, manipulation,
     nagging, or resentment.

     If you are selfish, your husband will likely react more to your bad attitude than what
     you actually want. If you realize you have been selfish and caused conflict, ask
     God‘s forgiveness as well as your husbands. Learn from your sin and stop seeking
     your own way.

     If your husband is being selfish, lovingly and gently confront him with his sin and
     give several clear examples.
     (See Chapter 5 for complete discussion on how to give a biblical reproof.)

  3. Righteousness
     A conflict over righteousness occurs when one partner believes the other is violating
     the moral will of God as revealed in scripture. Righteous conflict can manifest itself
     in a myriad of ways including child rearing, movies, books, television, truth telling,
     moral purity and not profaning God‘s name.
     A wife needs to be careful to separate her own personal interpretation of God‘s
     Word from the level of God‘s absolute Law.




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Attitudes Needed to Solve Conflict (What you think, do, feel)
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for
you have been called by God. Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other,
making allowance for each other‘s faults because of your love. Always keep yourselves
united in the Holy Spirit, and bind yourselves together with peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)

   1. Humility – lowliness of mind
      I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring
      your value by how much faith God has given you.
      (Romans 12:3)

       let each of you regard one another as more important than himself…
       (Philippians 2:3)

   2. Gentleness – strength under control
      Pursue a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. (1 Timothy
      6:11)

       Gentleness suggests that a wife is to have her emotions under control and not to
       overreact to conflict. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23). It incorporates
       tenderness and compassion. It is not hard, harsh, or sarcastic. It is not hysterical
       and fearful.

   3. Patience – manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
      God teaches us patience through tribulation (Romans 5:3) and testings (James 1:3).
      It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23).


   4. Forbearance – self-restraint and putting up with one another
      You must make allowance for each other‘s faults and forgive the person who
      offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
      (Colossians 3:13)

       It is not through our sinful flesh that we forbear, but with God‘s enablement and in
       obedience to His Word. It means putting up with your husband.

Group Discussion / Questions:
If there is conflict with our husband, does that mean we have not been submissive?

Homework:
Prayerfully ask God to help you recognize sources of conflict in your life / marriage. Ask
Him to help you have the right attitudes and biblical thoughts to resolve conflicts without
sinning.




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                           The Excellent Wife
           Chapter 18: The Wife’s Anger – Overcoming Impatience


Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?


Greek Words for Anger
Orge is raging anger. It is a primary root word which means violent passion, anger,
indignation, or vengeance. An outburst of anger is wrath, angry tempers, fierce, indignation
or rage. Parorgismos most basically connotes to provoke to anger. These forms of anger
are one of the deeds of the flesh we are to put aside in Colossians 3:8 and Galatians 5:19.

There are many examples of people‘s anger throughout the Bible and they all share a
common thread: Their anger began in their heart by what they wanted and subsequently
thought.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don‘t they come from your desires that
battle within you? You want something but don‘t get it. You kill and covet, but you can‘t
have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You don‘t have because you do not ask God.
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may
spend what you get on your pleasures.
(James 4:1-3)

Biblical Principles Concerning Anger
   1. God has righteous anger.
      God is a righteous judge, And a God who has indignation every day. (Psalm 7:11)
      Because God is holy, He has to punish sin. God shows patience and restraint in this
      anger (Psalm 30:5) toward those who have accepted Christ as their risen Lord and
      Savior. Christ bore the wrath of God in their place.

   2. Man can have righteous anger also.
      Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger. (Ephesians
      4:26)
      You can know your anger is righteous if in spite of provocation, you continue to think
      God honoring thoughts and do not take into account a wrong suffered and not be
      provoked (Philippians 4:8 & I Corinthians 13:5). Righteous anger is a rare
      occurrence.

   3. Man’s anger does not achieve God’s righteous ends.
      …for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
      (James 1:20)
      Anger is not a good long term motivator because we would be sinning against God.
      God‘s way is to confront the erring husband with gentleness, and so our approach
      should be the same.

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4. Man is to be slow to anger.
   This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to
   speak and slow to anger; (James 1:19)
   Some keys to avoiding anger are to first listen (cultivate the art of listening) and then
   be slow to speak (think about what you are going to say by choosing words that
   edify).

5. Anger does not come alone, it brings its cohorts.
   But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, an abusive
   speech from your mouth. (Colossians 3:8)
   Often this entire group of sin comes bundled up together in one big ugly vile
   package! You rid yourself of the entire package by thinking right thoughts
   (compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient, forgiving and loving – Colossians
   3:12-14).

6. Angry outbursts are deeds of the flesh.
   Now the deeds of the flesh are evident…idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy,
   outbursts of anger, disputes, dissension‘s, factions,
   (Galatians 5:20)
   Become keenly aware that each and every time you have an outburst of unrighteous
   anger, your sinful flesh sets itself in direct opposition to the Holy Spirit.

7. There is a biblical contrast between the man who stirs up anger and the man
   who subdues anger.
   The contrast between the one who stirs up anger and one who subdues anger is
   abundantly clear. One is a fool. The other is wise. One is harsh. The other is
   gentle. One produces strife. The other pacifies contention. One will spout folly.
   The other ponders carefully before he answers.
   (see pages 209-210)

8. Pride frequently results in anger.
   By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom. (Proverbs
   13:10)
   We see how pride produces strife when….. we hold on to our right to have life
   proceed the way we would like. Instead, we should gratefully submit to God‘s
   sovereign control over every detail of our lives. Only you can decide if you are going
   to let God reign in your life. If you graciously submit, you are responding in humility
   and God will give you grace.
   God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)

   And we see how pride produces strife when ….. we wrongly judge another‘s
   motives, instead of believing the best about them and leaving the judgment of their
   minds and hearts to the only one able to read them – God.




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Biblical Steps to Change Character from Anger to Gentleness
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in
righteousness, so the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (II
Timothy 3:16)

   1. Teaching: Study and memorize verses on anger until you can say them
      automatically and are very familiar with the principles. Use the following or others
      meaningful to you:
      My dear brother, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak
      and slow to become angry, for man‘s anger does not bring about the righteous life
      that God desires. (James 1:19-20)

       Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is
       not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
       Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always
       trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (I Corinthians 13:4-7)

       Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who
       takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32)

       The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes
       evil. (Proverbs 15:28)

   2. Reproof: Ask others to hold you accountable and point out when you seem to be
      angry or even slightly harsh.

       Keep an anger journal and write down exactly what you are thinking and what you
       said or did, each time you feel irritated or angry. Write down your thoughts and
       actions as quickly as possible. Writing angry thoughts and actions will help you see
       more clearly where you are wrong.


   3. Correction: Analyze each thought using the Bible as your standard. Then write out
      a new Biblically correct thought. Do the same for your angry words, actions, tone of
      voice, and countenance. Practice out loud what you should have said. Ask yourself,
      ―If I had this to do over again, what would I think and do?‖

       Confess each specific, angry incident to God and to others if you have offended
       someone. Do this every time, even for small incidents. If you turn to God in your
       sin, He will help you.


   4. Training: Think and act according to the Word of God repeatedly until the gentle
      and loving responses are your first thoughts instead of afterthoughts. Keep praying
      and asking God to change your heart and your character.




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Group Discussion / Questions:
What makes you angry? Did you identify with any of the above principles concerning
anger? In what areas do you struggle with anger?

Would anyone like to share any victories you have had over your anger? What strategies
have helped you?

Homework:
Prayerfully ask God to show you any area where you are experiencing the sin of anger.
Follow the steps to correct each instance. Ask a trusted and knowledgeable friend to hold
you accountable.




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                            The Excellent Wife
              Chapter 19: The Wife’s Fear – Overcoming Anxiety


Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?


Fear is a common problem. Some fears are legitimate and some are groundless. Not
being afraid is an element of trusting God, of being a godly person, and of being a godly
wife (Proverbs 31: 21 25; I Peter 3:5-6).

Biblical Principles Concerning Fear
   1. Fear may keep us from fulfilling our God-given responsibilities.
      ―Then the servant with the one bag of gold came and said, ‗Sir, I know you are a
      hard man, harvesting crops you didn‘t plant and gathering crops you didn‘t cultivate.
      I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth and here it is.‘ (Matthew
      25:25 – 26)

   2. Fear may motivate a person to commit other sins.
      And when the men there asked him about Rebekah, he said, ―She is my sister.‖ He
      was afraid to admit that she was his wife. He thought they would kill him to get her,
      because she was very beautiful. (Genesis 26:7)

      Examples: Untold number of lies have been justified because of fear; being
      impatient or harsh with others because you are anxious. It is very difficult, if not
      impossible, not to compound sin while experiencing sinful fear.

   3. Fear may motivate a person to deny the Lord Jesus and His Word.
      Meanwhile, as Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, a servant girl came over
      and said to him, ―You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.‖ But Peter denied
      it in front of everyone. ―I don‘t know what you are talking about,‖ he said. (Matthew
      26:69-70)

      Peter openly denied the Lord. It is also possible to deny the Lord or His Word by
      just saying nothing.

   4. Fear may be of other men.
      Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but to trust the Lord means safety. (Proverbs
      29:25 25)

      Fear is a fact of life in a fallen world. How we respond to our fears depends on our
      relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.




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Nine Solutions to Fear
  1. Do not be a man pleaser (Galatians 2:12). [Motive]
     What if the man you want to please is you husband? Is that still wrong?
     A man pleaser is one who seeks the approval of man rather than God. Seek God‘s
     approval by having strong, clear biblical convictions and living them out.

  2. Remind yourself of God’s Word (Psalm 119:52, 114, 143, 165). [Thoughts]
     The promises in the Word of God are tried and true. There is no substitute for
     scripture memory and meditation. If you continuously remind yourself of God‘s
     Word, your fear will either ebb away or perhaps even dramatically disappear!

  3. Make wise decisions (Proverbs 3:21-26). [Action]
     Wisdom is the ability to relate truth (God‘s Word) to life situations. You will sleep
     better and not be afraid. Your life will be easier. The Lord will be your confidence.
     If you are not wise, you are likely to set up many unnecessary snares for yourself.

  4. Realize the power of God working within you. [Thoughts]
     For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-
     discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)

     The power of God is unlimited. If God has given us enabling power so we won‘t be
     afraid, why are we afraid? You become fearful because of what you think about
     particular circumstances, not because of the circumstances themselves. This is an
     inward focus and is a selfish focus, and the fear that results from selfish thinking is
     not from God.

  5. Fear the Lord and delight in His commands. [Attitude]
     Praise the Lord! Happy are those who fear the Lord. Yes, happy are those who
     delight in doing what he commands. (Psalm 112:1)

     How foolish when we fear sickness or death, but do not fear God or His
     commandments.
     ―Don‘t be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill your body; they
     cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.‖
     (Matthew 10:28 – 31)

  6. Realize God is ever-present with you. [Thoughts]
     Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are
     close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)


  7. Trust God to keep His Word. [Attitude]
     O God, I praise your word. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can
     mere mortals do to me? (Psalm 56:4)

     ―Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words shall not pass away‖ (Matthew
     24:35)



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   8. Seek after the Lord when you are afraid. [Action]
      I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who
      look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their
      faces. I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and he heard me. He set me free from
      all my fears. For the angel of the Lord guards all who fear him, and he rescues
      them. (Psalm 34:4 – 7)

   9. Overcome your fear with love. [Action]
      Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for
      fear of judgment, and this shows that his love has not been perfected in us. (1 John
      4:18)

Philippians 4 is a Command!
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are
considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don‘t worry about
anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he
has done. If you do this, you will experience God‘s peace, which is far more wonderful than
the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in
Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this
letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that
are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of
praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me
doing, and the God of peace will be with you.
(Philippians 4:4-9)

Philippians 4:6-9 Summary
   1. Pray a prayer of supplication and thanksgiving (verses 6 & 7).
   2. Replace unbiblical thoughts with biblical thoughts (verse 8).
   3. Perform practical acts appropriate for the specific situation (verse 9).

Group Discussion / Questions:
Open

Homework:
Prayerfully ask God to help you put Philippians 4:6-9 into daily practice along with the Nine
Solutions to Fear.




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84
                            The Excellent Wife
   Chapter 20: The Wife’s Loneliness – Overcoming a Lack of Oneness


Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?


Biblical Examples of Loneliness:
      Elijah : I Kings 19:10 (self-pity – whined to God)
      Jeremiah : Lamentations 3:6-8 (felt completely alone, felt sorry for himself)
      Jesus : Matthew 26:37-44, Mark 15:34 (sought refuge in God)
      Paul : II Timothy 4:6-14 (sought refuge in God)

Like Elijah, Jeremiah, Jesus or Paul, you may be experiencing intense loneliness. A
woman does not have to be single to be lonely. She can be married and living with her
husband. In fact, her loneliness may be exaggerated because of feeling trapped in a
marriage with a man who is withdraw and aloof. Elijah and Jeremiah were overwhelmed
with their loneliness. Jesus and Paul were not. The difference is Elijah and Jeremiah felt
sorry for themselves while Jesus and Paul sought refuge in God.

If you are lonely, who are you most like—Elijah and Jeremiah or Jesus and Paul?

Sin often results in isolation (see causes on pages 229-231).

Another cause of loneliness is an idolatrous desire for intimacy. It is not wrong for a wife to
desire intimacy with her husband unless she desires it so intensely that she sins if she
cannot have it. Then her desire becomes idolatrous (see pages 231-233).

Loneliness is exacerbated by self-pity. Regardless of our circumstances, if we feel sorry for
ourselves, we are likely to experience intense loneliness.

To counter a selfish tendency towards self-pity, a wife must cultivate gratefulness to God
and to her husband and learn to be content in her particular circumstances. Realize God
could remove you from the circumstances you face today. If he does not, be confident He
must have some purpose in them for you.
    To mold your character to be more like Jesus. (Romans 8:28)
    To remind you how much you need Him.
    To give you a special opportunity to glorify Him.

In any event, God is good, but you must persuade yourself of His goodness towards you. It
may help you to gain the proper perspective if you consider what you truly deserve—death!
(Romans 3:23) God wants you to go against your feelings. Cultivate an attitude of
gratefulness wholly trusting in the goodness and sovereignty of God.

In addition to thanking God and praising His goodness, adopt a high view of God. You are
here to serve God, not God here to serve you.
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Serve God through ministry to your husband and your family. The more you serve Him the
less lonely you will feel.

The more lonely you feel, the more you should let God talk to you. He will talk to you
through the Holy Scriptures either by your reading them, singing them, meditating on them,
or recalling previously memorized verses.

Nothing you could desire would be better than a closeness to God. When you experience
loneliness, let your emotions be a signal that you need God. Draw close to God in grateful
submission to Him.

Loneliness is painful but it is not the occasion for sin. Your husband can be a complete
failure before God, but you do not have to be.

Draw close to God and have this attitude:
      Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. My
      flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion
      forever. For behold, those who are far from thee will perish; thou hast destroyed all
      those who are unfaithful to thee. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I
      have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all thy works. (Psalm 73: 25-
      28)

Group Discussion / Questions:
Open

Homework:
Prayerfully ask God to help you draw closer to Him, especially when you feel lonely.




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                             The Excellent Wife
       Chapter 21: The Wife’s Sorrow – Overcoming a Grieving Heart


Would anyone like to share how you put last weeks teaching into practice?


Sin hurts others. Far too many wives have allowed their lives to be destroyed by their
husband‘s sin. Our only hope is in God. God will walk through their situation with them
even if their husband‘s sin is especially difficult. Husbands (like wives) are capable of
extremely gross sin. His sin can be enough to put a wife into a state of hopeless despair
and to break her heart.

The disciples experienced a similar emotion. When Jesus told them He was going to be
killed, they were devastated. They were overwhelmed with sorrow. Jesus said to them,
―Sorrow has filled your hearts.‖ (John 16:6)

When we are ―overcome‖ with sorrow it is probably because our response to the
circumstance is sinful. Godly sorrow does not ―fill‖ our hearts or ―overcome‖ us.

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have
much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the
secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or
little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I
need. (Philippians 4:11)

Typically, our problem is not that we can‘t ―do all things through Christ who strengthens me‖
but that we don‘t want to ―do all things‖.

Godly sorrow is manageable. It does not overwhelm us. The Lord Jesus experienced
godly sorrow. In spite of His grief, Jesus was never sinfully filled with sorrow.

Being sinfully filled with sorrow is a result of unbiblical thinking or actions. Grief is never a
justification for sin. If we have selfish motives and think and respond in a sinful manner, we
will likely be overwhelmed and unable to function. Sinful thoughts result in sinful acts.
Guard your thoughts!

Review Heart Chart / Sinful Thoughts Chart and Sinful Actions Chart pp 238-244.

When a wife responds sinfully to sorrow, the sorrow fills up her heart and crowds out her
God-given peace, joy and love.




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So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won‘t be
doing what your sinful nature craves. The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just
opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite
from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other,
and your choices are never free from this conflict. But when you are directed by the Holy
Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law. When you follow the desires of your sinful
nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts,
eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility,
quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that
everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties,
and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort
of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Here there is no conflict with the law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the
passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. If we are
living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit‘s leading in every part of our lives.
(Galatians 5: 16 – 25)

Overcoming Sinful Sorrow
The key to overcoming excessive and sinfully overwhelming sorrow is to repent of any
specific sinful motives, thoughts, or actions and to concentrate on showing love to God
and others.

Righteous love will grow in a wife‘s heart as she is obedient to God‘s Word. As a rule in a
difficult marriage, the more grievous a husband‘s sin, the harder the wife should fight
back. Fighting back, however, is not with evil but good towards her husband.

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you
are honorable. Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible. Dear
friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, ―I will take
vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,‖ says the Lord. Instead, do what the
Scriptures say: ―If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them
something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you.‖ Don’t let
evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good. (Romans 12:17 – 21)

Good ways to overcome evil include prayer, speaking the truth in love, giving him
blessings, doing kind things, working at getting the beam out of your eye (Matthew 7:5),
and being biblically submissive, respectful, and loving.

We are not to take our own revenge. Revenge is the prerogative of God. (Romans 12:19)




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If you do not retaliate with evil and if you stay in the battle for as long as God requires, God
will apply tremendous pressure on your husband to repent (Romans 12:20 – 21). God will
use biblical means to avenge your husband‘s sin and protect you. The resources God has
given you to protect you, you are to pursue.

You must actively seek your comfort and hope in God. He is to be your refuge and
strength. Have a grateful and submissive heart in all circumstances. Seek him humbly,
desire to do His will, and ask for help. He will freely give it to you. Remind yourself over
and over of God‘s goodness. Keep your guard up – it is easy to sin when you are in pain!

Your sorrow will lessen as you seek refuge in God, as you go against you natural feelings,
and as you show love to God and your husband.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke
upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest
for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and my load is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Is there anything too difficult for God? (Genesis 18:14)

Group Discussion / Questions:
Open

Homework:
Prayerfully ask God to help you seek refuge in Him everyday and to overcome any sinful
sorrow.

Continue to pray for one another and support one another.

Practice, Practice, Practice!!!!

Review, Review, Review!!!!




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90
Appendix




           91
92
              Forgiveness & Restoration of Relationship
               From the book: The Art of Forgiving by Lewis B. Smedes

Premise: When in a relationship with a partner who is tempted to respond in shame, the
other partner often over emphasizes the need for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is done alone.

Step 1 - Identify Need for Forgiveness
   o We forgive persons, not institutions.
       o General Motors laid off 50,000 workers. GM did not lay off anyone. People
           did.
       o President Clinton apologizing for slavery.
   o We forgive persons for what they do, not for what they are.
       o Do not forgive people for being lazy, ugly, arrogant, or being ―bad‖ people.
       o Do not forgive people for not agreeing with us.
       o People do not wrong us by being liars, but by lying to us.
   o We forgive persons for what they do to seriously wound us.
       o We all get in each other‘s way, step on each other‘s feelings, say silly,
           thoughtless, painful things to each other. Pains like these we can put up with.
           In the plusher language of more elegant times, we bear them with
           magnanimity – the quality of a large spirit. The deep ones we save for
           forgiving.
       o Not getting my needs met is not cause for forgiveness.
   o We forgive persons for what they do to wrong us when they wound us.
       o There are pains and then there are wrongful pains. If you are doing time for
           larceny, you are experiencing pain but not wrongful pain. Pain as a natural
           consequence of sin, is not wrongful pain.
       o If your friend betrays your trust, you experience wrongful pain because you
           did not have it coming and it is morally wrong to betray a friend.




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Restoration is done together.

Step 2 - Restoration of Relationship
   o Acknowledge the hurt you caused.
   o Acknowledge the wrong that caused the hurt.
   o Express the commitment to change the behavior.
   o Offer Restitution.
   o The person harmed determines what/if restitution is required.
        o If I have stolen your pen, I cannot be forgiven and restored if I still keep your
           pen.
        o Honest restoration has reasonable and measurable conditions.
        o Restoration list.
   o The person harmed commits to “remember it no more”.

Usually, the phrase ―I‘m sorry.‖ does not denote an apology but rather a feeling of empathy
for another with out acknowledging responsibility for the cause of suffering.

sor•ry 1. feeling regret, compunction, sympathy, pity, etc.: to be sorry to leave one's
friends; to be sorry for a remark; to be sorry for someone in trouble. 2. regrettable or
deplorable; unfortunate; tragic: a sorry situation; to come to a sorry end. 3. sorrowful,
grieved, or sad: Was she sorry when her brother died? 4. associated with sorrow;
suggestive of grief or suffering; melancholy; dismal. 5. wretched, poor, useless, or pitiful: a
sorry horse. 6. (used interjectionally as a conventional apology or expression of regret):
Sorry, you're misinformed. Did I bump you? Sorry.




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Forgiveness Verses

We forgive in order to stay relationship with God. We can not lose our
salvation, but we can compromise our relationship.

2 Chronicles 30:9 For if you return to the Lord, your relatives and your children will be
treated mercifully by their captors, and they will be able to return to this land. For the Lord
your God is gracious and merciful. If you return to him, he will not continue to turn his
face from you."

Psalm 34:16-17 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to
their cries for help. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase
their memory from the earth.

1 Peter 3:11-12 Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil."

Psalm 66: 16-19 Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for
me. For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke. If I had not confessed the sin
in my heart, my Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to
my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer and did not withdraw his unfailing
love from me.

We do not forgive because the other person deserves or forgiveness.
We forgive because we were first forgiven.
Matthew 18:21-35 Then Peter came to him and asked, ―Lord, how often should I forgive
someone who sins against me? Seven times?‖
 ―No!‖ Jesus replied, ―seventy times seven!
 ―For this reason, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring
his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process,
one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn‘t pay, so the
king ordered that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt.
 But the man fell down before the king and begged him, ‗Oh, sir, be patient with me, and I
will pay it all.‘ Then the king was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave
his debt. ―But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few
thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. His fellow
servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‗Be patient and I will pay it,‘
he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn‘t wait. He had the man arrested and jailed until the
debt could be paid in full.
 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the
king and told him what had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven
and said, ‗You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with
me. Shouldn‘t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?‘ Then
the angry king sent the man to prison until he had paid every penny.
“That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers
and sisters in your heart.

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Jesus words on Forgiveness


Mark 11:25-26
―But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so
that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. But if you do not forgive,
neither will your father who is in heaven forgive your sins. ”

Matthew 6:11-15
“Give us our food for today,
and forgive us our sins,
just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if
you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”




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                               What is an Attitude?


What is an attitude? An attitude is a point of view about a situation. An attitude has three
components. An attitude is made up of:

      What you think.
      What you do.
      What you feel.

No matter what situation you are in you always have certain thoughts about it. You also
have an emotional response to it, and you behave a certain way in it. To begin changing
your attitude you either change your thinking, the way you act, or the way you feel. Two of
these choices are easier to influence than the third.
It is easier to change the way you think or behave than to change your emotions. However,
it is usually our emotions that get our attention in regard to the situation. It is our emotions
that we most want to change. When we feel sad, angry, anxious, or frustrated we don‘t like
it. We want the feeling to quickly go away. So we start trying to change the emotion. We
often begin by trying to change others so we can feel better. It doesn‘t work. We engage in
behaviors like alcohol and drug abuse to numb the feelings. It doesn't work. Working all the
time or excessive shopping are attempts at avoiding emotional distress. They don't work.
Our initial tendency is to focus on the feeling level and to change it first. The feeling or
emotional level, however, is the most difficult to work on. You can‘t "grasp" a feeling and
force it to change. Feelings are powerful but vague. You can not get a grip on a feeling. If
you want to change your feelings you must start elsewhere. You must begin with either
your thinking or your behavior over which you have more control. The secret in effectively
changing your emotions is knowing that feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are all related.
When you change one of them ( for example, thinking) the other two (feelings and
behavior) will change as well. Since it is easier to get a "grasp" on thoughts and behavior
this is the place to begin your work of staying resilient. Change what you think! Change
what you do! The emotions will change and you will be creating resiliency.

You Are What You Think
You are responsible for your thinking. Change your thinking and life will get better. But,
what thoughts do you change? Your troublesome thoughts about a situation can easily be
found in your self-talk. Self-talk is that inner running dialogue you have with yourself. It is
what you tell yourself about life's situations.

All of us have a voice that talks to us. You might think of it as your conscience. It might be
that "inner observer" who seems to sits in the corner and watches everything you do. You
may recognize it as that voice that starts talking to you upon awakening in the morning.
Sometimes it may wait until you look in the mirror before it actually speaks. It is that voice
that says, "You sure are handsome." or "What a wonderful person you are." Or "You are
going to have a great day." It might say, "You are so slim and your hair looks beautiful." If
you don‘t' recognize this voice then yours may be speaking to you in a different tone. You
might be hearing, "You look like crud today" or "You sure have gained a lot of weight."
"Your hair is a mess." "It's is a terrible day! Get back in bed." This voice, the negative,

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critical one, is one of the main reasons we have so many problems. It can destroy
resiliency by opening the flood gates and draining away your energy.

This voice can make anything worse. You may be like most people and know how to take
any small problem, think about it for awhile, and have a bigger problem. That little voice
keeps telling you what might go wrong. All of the dark possibilities are pointed out. The
imagination creates a very bad situation. The problem goes from a mild annoyance to a
major catastrophe as you convince yourself that the imagined situation is the real situation.
You are now busy confronting a problem that only exists in your mind.

Any response, at this point, is going to be out of proportion to the original problem. The
normal reaction to the original problem is most likely some degree of emotional distress. If
you have been laid off from a job, you may be feeling some combination of tense, worried,
anxious, sad, irritated, frustrated, or angry. All of these are normal emotions for the
experience. However, that inner voice may be busy exaggerating, " This is horrible and
terrible. It is the world‘s worst thing. You will never find another job. You are a hopeless and
helpless person. No one will ever hire you. You won‘t be able to pay your bills. You will lose
everything you have. You should just give up." With such a running dialogue you will soon
fall into depression or become enraged at your imagined mistreatment. In a deep
depression you may decide that the situation is hopeless and become suicidal. In a state of
rage you may act in an inappropriate, violent manner towards your former employer. Either
reaction is too intense because the response is to a situation you have created in your
mind. Change your mind, your attitude, and the problem can shrink back to its original size.
The original problem may be bad enough but it is not the catastrophe you have invented.

To change your attitude you must change the inner dialogue. To change the dialogue you
must catch it in action. To do this you have to pay attention to yourself. You must engage in
self-observation and listen for that inner voice.

The next time that you find yourself feeling "bad" don‘t start asking, "Who did this to me?"
Don‘t start looking around for the external cause of your problems. What you should do is
to ask yourself, "What have I been thinking?" "What have I been telling my self?" You may
find that your inner dialogue has put you deep into emotional distress

Rules for Living
Every society has rules for interpreting life. These rules explain the way things are. Some
rules help you create and maintain resiliency and other rules hinder you. A common rule in
our society is that, "Mistakes are bad." Following this rule you try not to make any mistakes
because if you do, it means that you too are bad. You try to be perfect.

Let's say you adopted the rule, "Mistakes are bad". While working on a project (building a
table, baking a cake, or completing a work assignment) it did not turn out as expected.
Somewhere along the way a mistake was made. Once the mistake is discovered that inner
voice starts talking and you hear, "Well, look at this. You really screwed up. You can‘t do
anything right. You are so stupid. Why do you even bother to try. You should just give up."
Soon you begin to feel miserable. Your mood plummets. You are angry and frustrated and
ready to give up.



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If a friend comes along, finds you in despair, and asks what is wrong, you might say, "Well
look at that table I was making. See how it wobbles. It is all wrong." You are suggesting that
the table is responsible for your mood.

What has actually brought about your distress? Was it the mistake you made or your
reaction to the mistake? The answer is that it was your reaction to the mistake. It was the
negative inner dialogue that you engaged in. All that inner criticism upset you. A mistake is
just an event and there can be many possible reactions to it. The reactions all depend upon
what you think the mistake means. What you think the mistake means depends on your
rule for mistakes. Many of us learn that a mistake is a bad thing and a sign of failure. Our
rule says simply that, "Mistakes are bad. If you make one then you are bad."

This is just one rule. There are other points of view. When my daughter was six years old
and trying to learn to ride a bicycle she taught me a different rule. After falling off the bike
many times as you do with this learning process, she observed that, "When you learn to
ride a bike you have to start with the falling down." This was true. Fall off enough and you
learn to ride. So, we learn by making mistakes.

A mistake is actually the first step in learning. When trying to learn something that is new to
you, the learning comes from making a mistake and correcting it. If you make no mistakes,
you don't learn. I like snow skiing and when I take a lesson the instructor usually reminds
me, "If you are not falling, you are not learning." So mistakes are not bad, they are good.
Maybe you should make as many mistakes as you can in order to more quickly learn. The
next time that you make a mistake become excited and say to yourself, "This is great. I am
going to learn something now!" Try this "rethinking" approach to any problem and your
mood and behavior will improve.

Once my wife was baking a cake for our daughter to take to the school bake sale. She
does not like to bake but was willing to make the effort. After several hours when the cake
was removed from the oven and the icing was applied, it began splitting down the middle
with a large crevice. The cake was "ruined." It was late in the evening. Too late to start over
or to go to the store and buy a "real" cake.

My wife‘s inner dialogue was stated loud, clear, and audible, "This is terrible. I can‘t send
that cake to school. What will people think? I know I can‘t bake. Why did I try? Everything I
do fails. I will never bake again!" A mood of anger and frustration filled the kitchen. As an
outside observer I took a chance and suggested a theme cake. "Why not put a sign on it
that says, ‗Grand Canyon Cake.‘" This bit of humor helped her to change the inner
dialogue. It was no longer a disaster. It was only an annoyance and it did not have to be
that. The mood changed, the cake was sent to school, and it did sell.

Observing Yourself
Paying attention to what you think means that you practice the process of self-observation.
You try and catch that inner voice as it speaks to you. What is it saying? Is it helpful or not?
Learn to recognize the critical voice.

If you try this process of self-observation your first experience will most likely be to hear
that voice saying, "Well, damn, you did it again." You will catch yourself after the fact. You
will catch the voice after it has been speaking for sometime and you are already in the
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midst of a negative reaction. You may have been severely criticizing yourself for a mistake.
You may have been listening to how exaggeratedly "horrible" an annoying but innocuous
situation is.

Whenever you hear that voice saying, "Well, damn you did it again." You should
congratulate yourself. You have made a lot of progress because always in the past you
would have listened to that negative inner dialogue and never even know that you did it.
You would think that it was normal. Progress is when you are observant enough to catch
what you have been doing. You catch yourself after the act.

Now, you just keep observing and soon the inner voice says, "Here you are doing it again."
And, you go ahead and do it. Progress has been made because you now find yourself in
the act but are not yet able to stop.

More progress is seen when you hear the voice saying, "Well, you are about to do it again."
Once more you continue with the thinking and criticize yourself for the mistake. You are,
however, becoming more mindful. You are catching yourself in the act sooner and sooner.

Eventually, with a lot of hard work, you will hear, "Look out. You are about to do it one more
time." At this point you choose not to proceed. You don‘t begin the negative dialogue but
intentionally begin a positive one. You hear, "Mistakes are good. Now you can learn. Let‘s
try it again and see what happens." You are now getting out of the negative pattern and
consciously shaping your reaction to life events.

When you listen to your inner dialogue and choose the more positive and realistic attitude
you become a resilient person. Remember: Attitude is the key to resiliency




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Who Am I – Our Identity in Christ
  God meets all our needs. No one else can. If they could, we would be tempted to worship
them instead of God. He has provided through marriage, a mechanism to meet many of our
needs. When your spouse meets your needs, thank God. When you have an unmet need,
seek God not your spouse. This does not mean we should not ask our spouse to meet our
needs, because we should. It means that our spouse meeting those needs in us is
dependant on our spouse‘s relationship with God. Remember, sometimes we confuse our
needs and our desires. God has promised to meet all our needs, not all our desires.


 God gave us all the law we need. Resist the temptation to make new ―laws‖. If it is
necessary to make a rule between you, make it for a short time until the one requesting the
rule has grown in trust and faith.


 Your character answers the question: Who’s your daddy? Watch your own behavior –
not your spouses. Your character is reflected by what you do, not how you think of
yourself. Character issues are between God and self, not spouse. Your spouse is required
by God to treat you in a godly way regardless of your character. It is not possible to have a
godly character and behave in the following ways:

      the accuser of our brothers (Revelation 12:10)
      the enemy (Matthew 13:39; Luke 10:19; 1 Timothy 5:14)
      your enemy (1 Peter 5:8)
      a liar (John 8:44)
      the father of lies (John 8:44)
      the lawless one (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9)
      murderer (John 8:44)
      the tempter (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5)
      the thief (John 10:10)




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                                           God
    Trust
    Can I trust you? Will                               Test
    you be a responsible                                Will you honor and respect
    steward?                                            me? Will you follow in faith?

                 The husband is                  The wife is
                         Child of God                    Child of God
                         Brother of the                  Sister of the King
                          King




                  Your eternal identity is in your relationship to Christ.
                            Nothing else matters or will last.

              Husband
                                                                       Wife
Christ- like role
Your relationship to your wife answers       Church-like role
the question:                                Your relationship to your husband answers
What does Christ do for us?                  the question:
                                             What is our response to what Christ has
                                             done for us?
 Make her clean, holy & blameless by         If you love me, you will obey what I
giving yourself up for her. Eph 5:25         command. John 14:15
 You have been entrusted with the Kings        You will be asked to follow, even when
sister. To care for her, to ― increase‖ her. the directions seem ―wrong‖. Moses
Parable of the talents.                      walking in circles & Noah and the ark.
You will put her first.                      You will honor and respect him.
Treat her way Christ treats you.             Respond to him as Jesus representative
                                             on earth.
How she treats you has no bearing on         How he treats you has no bearing on how
how you treat her. How you relate to her     you treat him. How you relate to him is
is between you and God.                      between you and God.
The King is coming back. There will be an The King is coming back. There will be an
accounting.                                  accounting.




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