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Wifely Submission, but Secular...


Soldier of the One

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Has anyone heard of the 'Surrendered Wife' movement?

I think it's a few years old by now but it was founded on the basis of a book written by Laura Doyle. It looks secular to me but incorporates many of the concepts that Christian submission incorporates:

http://www.surrenderedwife.com/

From the website:

This controversial approach has transformed thousands of relationships, bringing women romance and intimacy.

Like millions of women, I wanted my marriage to be better. But when I tried to get my husband to be more romantic, helpful and ambitious, he withdrew-- and I was lonely and exhausted from controlling everything. Desperate to be in love with my man again, I decided to stop telling him what to do and how to do it.

When I surrendered control, something magical happened. The union I had always dreamed of appeared. The man who had wooed me was back.

The underlying principle of The Surrendered Wife is simple: The control women wield at work and with children must be left at the front door of any marriage to revitalize intimacy.

What I find interesting about the approach (and I share this interest with the Christian approach) is that it claims to address a real or perceived need in marital relationships (of the hetero kind, that is). There is this perception that 'egalitarian' or 'feminist' women harp on their men and are overly controlling and break down their husbands, or at least undermine the relationship through their assertiveness.

It is this assumption that I as an egalitarian wife strongly disagree with. I actually have a loving, intimate and romantic relationship with my husband: all based on authenticity, equality and mutual respect.

Thoughts?

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I have that book. I bought it even I knew I wouldn't agree with it :lol:

I was mosly bothered with assumption that ALL wimminfolk are overcontrolling and bitchy. And I found some parts to be just pure laziness...Why on earth should I give up all the financials matters to my husband and just receive some money to buy food and such. Why should he be the only one who have to stress about bills and everything? What if I am better bookkeeper than he is (I am, really)? For me relationship is sharing and sharing hard decision making, too. For me it is rude to put everything on partner's shoulders.

I can quote the book later if needed. I am bit tired now and I know I sound disoriented, sorry :oops:

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I'd heard of this book and remember thinking it sounded a little weird. I guess it plays off the whole "Men need to be the pursuer" idea. I haven't read the book, but from what I saw on the website, it seems like the author doesn't get that there's a middle ground between being a total doormat and being a control freak with your husband.

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I haven't read this book but it sounds to me like the same old same old age old advice that the woman should never be "above" her husband, should never appear to be smarter than him, taller than him, etc. If she is, she should hide it, because men don't want a woman who is equal, they want a woman they can, well... own, because that is what makes them men, reinforces their place in male society. And of course, the woman should be happy to be validated by being pursued, so it should be worth it.

I suppose I got lucky, but rejected that advice, did not censor myself, and managed to find someone who is okay with me just being myself. I think I'm the happier for it.

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Thanks for your responses.

I read a few pages of the book from on the website and I could find very few redeeming factors.

The assumption that it is either 'doormat' or 'harpy' is just too bothersome for words. And off-loading all (financial) responsibilities on your spouse is inane, if not, dangerous.

The book seems to promote active inequality between the spouses. Apparently, the book also states that a woman should never initiate sex nor turn it down. I am sure this piece of writing evoked the ire of many a feminist.

But in the end, I can hardly see the book as being effective. Sure, men don't like being harped on (no-one does!) but men don't like a spineless spouse either. Any human being (and women are human beings) have a right to free agency in a relationship and have a right to petition the other in the relationship if they are doing something wrong. Keeping quiet if your husband 'misses the exit on the freeway'? Sure, you don't have to be snide. But what's wrong with, 'oops honey, I think you just missed the exit. Oh well'.

If there's any take-away message from the book that's redeemable is that women should treat their spouses with consideration and respect, just as men should.

That wifely submission exists on a theological basis is one thing. But to re-invent the wheel on a secular basis just baffles me. Apparently, there are entire fora of 'surrendered wives' who exchange tips. I just found one:

http://www.experienceproject.com/groups ... 7630/forum

Uhm... 'enjoy'?

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Men are individuals, just as women are. Some of them are insecure little babies who will freak out and think their penis is gonna fall off if their wife is smarter or even as smart. Others are more secure and want an actual partner. And that's where these advice books go wrong. Not all men are the same and they don't all want the same thing. But quite frankly, if I had to hide my intelligence to get a husband, I'd rather be single.

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But quite frankly, if I had to hide my intelligence to get a husband, I'd rather be single.

Exactly bananacat. Exactly.

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How many men don't want their wives to initiate sex?

I'm actually intrigued, because it's something my husband has specifically asked me to do: it never occurred to me that it might be seen as controlling or uppity or whatever.

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That was the one that had Crystal Paine on it. Wasn't it?

I can't remember but here is picture: http://www.mymultiplesclerosis.co.uk/in ... wives.html

Edit: I think this Crystal was the one who got detailed work list and it was so dumb. She had to keep husband's socks in right order in drawer and I rolled my eyes...

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Guest Anonymous
Keeping quiet if your husband 'misses the exit on the freeway'?

I read this as a euphemism, and I lol'd.

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I wonder if there's overlap between the Surrendered Wife movement and the Biblical Womanhood/Patriarchy movement.

I just have a hard time understanding this discontent. Do 'feminist' women nag their husbands? I don't see any of my feminist friends (or myself, for that matter) do that. All egalitarian relationships I see are healthy and loving. I, too, am under the impression that most men like more assertive women that they can be 'friends' with as well as lovers. I was also under the assumption that men like a confident lover who can initiate and appreciate marital intimacy. Surrendering/submitting, in my view, probably just creates more, rather than less, conflict in the long run because it does not foster healthy respect or open communication.

I wonder if this book is based on a charicature of feminism. And I wonder about the irony that the Surrendered Wives featured in the articles are probably of the more domineering type naturally. That makes it even more dangerous: how much of your own character do you have to give up for 'love'?

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I read this as a euphemism, and I lol'd.

:clap:

Never even dawned on me :D But no, it actually is about missing the exit on the freeway. Nothing more.

I would *never* defraud anyone on FJ with such pernicious thoughts ;)

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Ha, 'keeping quiet if the husband misses the freeway exit' was in the Law and Order episode. Turns out, the guy who wrote the book on wifely submission, and a psychologists, talked his own daughter in law into suicide Believe he had done it to his wife too. Been a while since I've seen that episode.

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A lot of the rhetoric about submission, both religious and not, reminds me of the people who assume that atheists have nothing holding them back from running wild on a killing-and-stealing-and-raping spree.

It's like they can't perceive of an alternative other than "vicious bitch" and "restricted by submission."

Perhaps some of these women need rigid rules and specific directions to keep from being harpies because they are vicious bitches by nature -- would explain a lot about some the bloggers discussed here. Maybe some assume that every woman needs to be taught/forced to respect their husbands.

Funny, I seem to know lots and lots of women who are just plain kind -- egalitarian in their marriages, fair in their treatment of children, honest and gentle. They don't mock their husbands or make wild demands because they have no desire to do so.

Hey, they even like their husbands, without any teaching about submission.

Fancy that.

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I pursued my husband... xD (in a manner of speaking)

You GO girl! :text-bravo:

I am so curious about the submissive wives doc. I found it online in Spanish, but sadly I only speak English and French!

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notTHATkind, do you have a link to the documentary in Spanish? Would love to take a peek at it. Thanks!

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Don't forget the men who actually want their wife to pretty much control everything... they exist.

As far as this:

Do 'feminist' women nag their husbands? I don't see any of my feminist friends (or myself, for that matter) do that. All egalitarian relationships I see are healthy and loving. I, too, am under the impression that most men like more assertive women that they can be 'friends' with as well as lovers.

There's a definite perception that feminist women nag their husbands (you can generally substitute "dare to have an different opinion from their husbands" here for what ACTUALLY happens) - those feminists who have managed to marry and aren't man-hating, cat-owning, not-shaving-their-legs, screechy harpies bent on oppressing the poor little men.

I don't think it's true, but the ex-Mr. Vixen dragged out the standard "you're a pushy aggressive bitch" argument when we were getting divorced, so mileage may vary...

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