About a year ago one of my women’s Bible study groups started the book Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney.
They are focused on Titus 2:3-5.
She starts with delight in loving our husbands. It is something we learn to do, can be trained to do. It doesn’t come naturally. She reminds us that tender behavior includes prizing him, cherishing him, and enjoying him. She challenges us with a statement that women tend to be weaker in displaying affectionate love. We’re great at sacrificial love, but need to learn to be better at affection in our love.
Next is the blessing of loving our children. She knows raising children can be exasperating, but reminds us to find our strength in the Spirit.
Next virtue she mentions is self-control. She’s starting to get personal here. Another reminder that “it is only as we cooperate with the power of the Holy Spirit that we will achieve self-control.” (p65) And a reminder that “self-control is our wall of defense against the enemies of our soul.” (p66)
Then she covers the pleasure of purity. Some advice was to be attractive, be available, and be anticipatory. This was a fun evening of sharing and encouraging.
She talked about the honor of working from home, without making those of us who work outside the home feel guilty. Instead, there is some freedom to know it is a legitimate choice. And she discussed our responsibilities to maintain a home (not just a clean house) for our family.She has some sobering comments on the feminist trends and why we should recognize them and re-evaluate them to see if we truly believe what we think we believe.
Then the rewards of kindness. Another timely serving of conviction for me. This chapter explored hindrances to kindness – such as anger (when our story gets stepped on), bitterness (wallowing in how we have been wronged), and judging. I love how she talks about how we must make loving judgments about our family members. “We should think the best that the nature of the case will allow, placing the best possible construction on their words, actions, and motives.” (p125)
She ends with a chapter on the beauty of submission. The beauty of living a life under the headship of a godly man. Not all have that benefit, and there is discussion of that. But none of us live with a perfect man, and none of them live with perfect women. We can display great inner strength when we let the husband lead. I believe this will look different in different households. It will depend on the strengths of the husband and those of the wife, certainly on the weaknesses of both, the work schedules and family needs at the time. Sure, many of us like to lead and do lead many groups and projects and even manage areas of companies. But we are given a role and obedience to God means submission to our husband, even when it means a lot of hard work.
Submission, in its simplest form, is trust in God, who is completely trustworthy. (p150)