The Scottish-American preacher Peter Marshall is one of my heroes. Not only for his robust faith and his imagery-laden sermons that read like poetry. Not only for his distinction as one of the most respected chaplains of the United States Senate. And not just because his beloved Westminster Presbyterian was right here in Atlanta.I absolutely love the picture of a truly happy marriage that his wife Catherine gave me in her shining biography, ‘A Man Called Peter’. And I deeply respect a man whose view on women and marriage was old-fashioned enough to be unorthodox, even in the 1930’s. My family and I read this book aloud together, and I remember that upon hearing the following quote from one of his sermons, I grabbed the book as soon as we were done for the night and scribbled it madly in my journal. It was like a bright standard, a ray of light shed upon my future hopes…

Marriage is not a federation of two sovereign states. It is a union– domestic social spiritual physical.It is a fusion of two hearts–
the union of two lives–
the coming together of two tributaries,
which, after being joined in marriage, will flow in the same channel in the same direction… carrying the same burdens of responsibility and obligation.

Modern girls argue that they have to earn an income, in order to establish a home, which would be impossible on their husband’s income.

That is sometimes the case, but it must always be viewed as a regrettable neccessity, never as the normal or natural thing for a wife to have to do.

The average woman, if she gives her full time to her home
her husband
her children…

If she tries to understand her husband’s work…
to curb his egotism while, at the same time, building up his self-esteem
to kill his masculine conceit while encouraging all his hopes
to establish around the family a circle of true friends…

If she provides in the home proper atmosphere of culture
of love of music
of beautiful furniture
and of a garden…

If she can do all this, she will be engaged in a life work that will demand every ounce of her strength
every bit of her patience
every talent God has given her
the utmost sacrifice of her love.

It will demand everything she has and more.
And she will find that for which she was created.
She will know that she is carrying out the plan of God.
She will be a partner with the Sovereign Ruler of the universe.

And so, today’s daughters need to think twice before they seek to make a place for themselves
by themselves
in our world today…

-Dr. Peter Marshall


  1. Anonymous says:

    To the anonymous above: If you are a sincere seeker of God’s will, then trust that you are exactly where He wants you for today. Also, if your parents have encouraged you to attend college and live with your friends, that’s great. The Lord sometimes whispers His will to us through those who have authority over us and those in whom we place much trust. Be at peace. Although Mr. Marshall’s words are excellent, they are not the law for each individual. God bless you.

  2. DelightinginHim says:

    What powerful words and what a standard to live up to! Thank you so much for sharing. I really like the Marshall’s writings.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Those last few lines are a bit hard for me, becauseas one in her early 20’s God has not brought someone into my life, and I can not cout on that hapening soon. Though I would hope that it would happen soon so that I can become the helpmeet making his home for him and comming alongside, right now I am living with some other single gals, going to college and working- providing for my future because my parents encourage me to as I of yet have no idea when God will bring the right man into my life.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for your story, Lanier. I can really relate to it and it fills me with a true joy and a hope that the good Lord knows my heart and it is He who has placed in it these desires to be a wife and mother. I pray that He fulfills them in His time, but no matter what comes I will follow Him.
    Thank you again for the encouragement.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I agree with all the above comments. It’s sad that so many women today want to make a name for themselves in the career world, instead of being a wife and mother (which happens to be a woman’s highest calling).

    Recently, I was listening to some tapes about the life of Katherine Luther, wife of Dr. Martin Luther. On those tapes, it related Katherine and Martin’s marriage to that of Adam and Eve. Eve was made from Adam’s rib, and so Martin called Katherine, “Kitty, my rib”.

    What a wonderful anology of what we as woman are supposed to be to our husbands…their rib:). Thanks for the post, Lanier!


  6. So bold in today’s society…and so beautiful. I can think of many people, even in my church, who would laugh at such words. But I’m going to pass this on to friends anyway!

    I am deeply saddened by the fact that even some Christians no longer see the true beauty of being created to be your husband’s helpmeet. Personally, I cannot think of a more noble calling…other than the calling to serve God, of course!

    Thanks Lanier.

  7. What wonderful words:-) They were encouraging to read! Thank you for posting them.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Wow, what a powerful post!

    Thank you for sharing!

    Waiting on HIS perfect timing is sometimes hard, but very rewarding!

    Truly being a wife and mother is a very high calling, yet demands extreme sacrifice also!

    Isaiah 40:31

  9. YLCF Team Member says:

    Yes, this is Catherine Marshall’s husband. She was an excellent writer in her own right!
    You will find my love story here: 🙂
    *(You need to maximize the comment box to get the whole address.)
    It’s wonderful to think how many will be blessed by your obedience to God both before and after your marriage!
    God bless–

  10. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely beautiful words. I am a nursing student currently and have been encouraged by a favourite instructor to continue on after I graduate for my Master’s and become a nurse practictioner, but I’m not career-minded and I simply desire to be a wife and mother. Although I never know where God may lead, right now I am simply becoming an RN because He has lead me here for now, and when my future husband comes along (anytime, Lord! 😉 ) I would give up everything to be his wife and a homemaker.
    Lanier, I’d love to hear how you met your husband and the love story God wrote for you. Gretchen’s is wonderful and beautiful and full of blessings, yet it’s not quite as easy to relate because I didn’t fall in love with my future husband at 13. *wink*
    Waiting is difficult, but I learn so much from God during this season.
    By the way, is this Peter Marshall the husband of Catherine Marshall?

  11. Rebecca S says:

    That is beautiful Lanier! Peter Marshall is one of my heroes too!
    Thank You!

  12. Owen Family says:

    So true! Great post — thanks for sharing that!


  13. Gretchen Louise says:

    And what a bright standard…

    Truly, one to be held high!

    Thank you, Lanier!

  14. That is beautiful! Thank you so much for posting that!

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