Lately I've been doing the Excellent Wife Bible study by Martha Peace, along with Lanae, another woman from church. She was in the same women's Bible study group with me year before last, and I didn't get to know her too well during that time, and have hardly talked to her since until this study. Still, in a five-minute conversation with her, we found by God's provision that we were both intending to do this study this summer and decided to do it together.
I think if I'd tried doing this study a year sooner, I wouldn't have been ready for it. Here I am, 46 years old, having been a Christian since I was 29, and having been married since I was 23. I wish I'd have studied these things back 23 years ago, or 16 years ago...if I had been ready. I've noticed that the study is not only helpful with marriage (a great focus, of course), but since marriage is of course the most vital earthly relationship in our lives, and the study therefore focuses on making the best of that relationship, it is good for all of our relationships in life. I wish there was one that was for young unmarried women, and another for young unmarried men, with a similar setup and without as much emphasis on marriage itself.
Part of what I like about this study is that the author writes with great insight and reasoning.The most impacting portion of this study, though, is of course the Scripture within it. So what I've been doing is what I do whenever I'm trying to memorize Scripture verses: I take the Scriptures that the study references and put them on index cards, and on the other side, I write the first letter of each word in the verse on the back, so I can quiz myself in studying the verse. I rarely can really memorize a verse so that a month later I could tell it to you verbatim, but even without being so sharp as that, I can still get quite familiar with it, and if that's the best I can do, then that is good enough--or at least better than if I never tried.
I take these cards and punch holes in the top so I can put them in a little binder designed for index cards. While I'm focusing on these verses, I keep them there; when I'm done I put them in a little bin of them. I also write what study they're from. Some I've reviewed two or three times since I started on them a number of years ago. At first I was making lots of cards and not putting them in the binder, but then they don't get used and they more or less go to waste--I have enough to fill a shoebox. So now I just make them with that purpose in mind.
This Bible study has a workbook, and so in it I respond to the various issues that are addressed in the book. My friend and I get together at least on the phone, usually once per week, and discuss the lesson. She's much younger than I am and I tell her I envy her learning it so soon in her marriage! What a good thing!
The study is having at least some of its intended effect. I was ready for it. I'm glad I started it, and hope to see that my worst character traits will subside and that I can more consistently be able to be obedient to God, and submissive to my husband as God wants me to be.
Update: Since this writing, I have mentally revised "I was ready for it" to "I thought I was ready for it." The other day, Gary and I had differing points of view as often happens. With this study in mind, I started saying, "You decide, you're the one in auth---auth--well, you decide." I couldn't quite vocalize that thought. But I'm trying. At least the step was in the right direction.