Over the years, I have discussed this curriculum and class with many people. The universal response is (1) that sounds really great and (2) you can't teach it. Why not? Because, they say, the wives will not hear it. They will be angry with you (I am told), they will reject both it and you (they say). If you teach that, you will have to move churches. Why? Because our culture has almost entirely rejected the idea of the excellent wife.
Or, to put it more simply, we have decided that every wife is an excellent wife. That every wife ought to be appreciated and cared for and admired because she has "sacrificed so much" for her family. Women are taught to think this way of themselves. Whatever they do, they are told they are "right" and that men are "wrong" and that wives ought to all be proud of themselves and how hard they are working.
But, the reality is that marriages are failing. Men who do counseling know that married men are not happy in their marriages. The divorce rate alone tells us that something is wrong. In Christian marriages, divorces also are far too frequent. The depth of marital unhappiness among men is stunning and would shock any Christian woman who spent a few weeks with a pastor in his meetings. Many men are so unhappy they have given up entirely on their relationships with their wives. It was years of dealing with men in marriages that drove me to create this curriculum in the first place.
Women have failed to adjust to the new world in a way that honors their marriages. The free time they have picked up from labor-saving devices has not been used for their marriages, but for their children and themselves. We have become an increasingly child-centered culture and our wives have become "mothers first, wives second." I have had women tell me that they do not worry about their husbands at all. "He's an adult, he can handle it, I have to take care of these children." If there is a problem, she thinks, it is his problem and he needs to "grow up."
Put simply - why is he married? What did he expect when he married? Did he expect a wife who pays him no attention? Did he expect a home that is in shambles? Did he expect to spend his nights alone while you focus on children and playdates and school activities and women's groups? He loved you. Remember? How often are you so tired at night that you just fall into bed and go to sleep, without a word or a kiss (or anything else) for the man who married you, who picked you of all the women in the world to be with forever? When I come home and my wife makes no effort to even come and greet me, then I know that whatever she is doing is more important than I am. How much of your life is now "more important" than he is?
"We build our lives around our children," we say. But why? And what will you do when they are gone? What will you do when there are no soccer games, no trumpet lessons, no band parent meetings? What will you do when it is just you and the man whom you rejected for years?
You should build in the proper order. First, Christ. Second, husband. Third, children. Your husband was, at one time, your darling and your dear. He was the man you loved and married. He was the center of your domestic life. You looked forward to seeing him, to being with him, to sitting by him. What happened?
Maybe there are things women do not want to hear anymore. Maybe there are truths women never wanted to hear. But they need to hear them. We need excellent wives. But an excellent wife, who can find? Her value is far above jewels.