Chapter 1 [part one]: The Impact of a Positive Wife
This chapter starts out asking the question, "If you could choose the one ingredient that makes a great wife, what would it be?"..."What if her every waking moment is motivated by the question, 'What can I do to make my husband's world a better place?'...this would be great attention, but the most important ingredient is God-centerdness." In this book, Karol Ladd stresses the important of a personal relationship with Christ, and spiritual growth. If we're truly God-centered, and trying our best to apply biblical principles to our lives, we will try to please our husbands to the best of our ability. Pleasing our husbands in everything, however, is not our #1 motivation. "Her walk with God allows her to keep the other areas of her life in balance".
Karol reminds that marriage is all about two unique individuals using their individual talents to strengthen and balance the marriage. For, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work" (Eccl. 4:9). We're encouraged to take stock of our talents and abilities, and find ways to use them in the best way.
In Romans 12:9-12, 15,16, Paul talks about devoted, true love. He never asks if the other person treats us with love first. "Showing love means helping others become better people". The book states that we should be as blind to our husbands faults as we can, and encourage him in his good areas. Obviously, she's not talking about a glaring sin problem, and occasions do arise when we'll need to point something out to the hubby that he can try to better himself at - she's simply talking about day to day life; encouraging us to dwell on the positive, not the negative!
When women are hurt by their husbands, they might often be tempted to try to get back at him by giving the silent treatment, use spiteful words, or even withhold intimacy. Karol gives us the example of Paul. He had "every right" to try to get even with his enemies, but he chose to forgive and move on. "We need to practice the profound principle of forgiving...what does an I'm-going-to-get-you-back attitude do for us? Do they make us better people or just bitter ones?"
Wives set the tone for their homes. Proverbs 19:13, 14 says, "a nagging wife annoys like a constant dripping...but only the Lord can give an understanding wife". Our attitudes and actions are like air fresheners. If someone walks into our home, they can either breath in deeply and smile, or wrinkle their noses in disgust.
The last part of chapter one talks about control; Let's see what Karol has to say. "What do wives want to control? Circumstances, for one. We want to keep the people and things around us healthy, happy and safe. Our families, for two. Many of us want to control our husbands and children - to micromanage their every action." She encourages us to identify what areas in our life we try to control, and turn it over to God. It's not our job to try to control our families, and every circumstance in our life; when we see flaws in our husbands, sometimes we're tempted to think it's our job to try to change his ways, but that's not our job. Our job is to encourage him in good ways, and take his name to God in prayer.
"What is your greatest weakness or challenge in your marriage? We all know marriage is not a stroll down Easy Street...it's more like a drive Flaws and Weaknesses Lane...The question is not, 'Do you have challenges?' The question is, 'Where do you go for help, power, and strength through the challenges?"