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The Surrendered Wife: A Practical Guide To Finding Intimacy, Passion and Peace Paperback – January 8, 2001

3.8 out of 5 stars 359 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Self-proclaimed "feminist and former shrew" Laura Doyle sets forth a whopper of a game plan for establishing profound intimacy in one's marriage. Building on the gender stereotypes defined by bestselling author John Gray (Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus), Doyle seeks to heal the overworked, underappreciated wife who snarls at her mate's every thought or action. Her message to these smart, self-sufficient types: check the nitpicking, the unsolicited opinions, and--egads!--the finances at the marital door (although she says it's still okay to wield control at work). Many women will find such advice archaic and offensive; some will simply laugh off this credential-free anachronism when they receive the book as a bridal-shower gag gift. Still others, identifying with Doyle's profile of a controlling wife, will be curious enough to dabble in her proposed art of "surrendering."

According to Doyle, the wife who chooses to surrender must learn to take care of herself first, overcome the desire to have more power, and abandon the myth of equality. Delving into the personal tales and sisterly advice shared within each chapter's pages, surrendering wives will further note the need to master unsavory phrases like "I can't," and "Whatever you think"--tough to swallow for a generation of women who value their own opinions. While she fully acknowledges that a few bills will go unpaid and a few deadlines or freeway exits will occasionally be missed, she also insists that surrendered wives will encounter less worry and fear, more money, and better sex. Hey, "Whatever you think...." --Liane Thomas

From Publishers Weekly

A natural for audio, Doyle is perky, enthusiastic, friendly and confiding as she shares her secrets for a happy marriage. Her main point is that when she criticized, nagged and tried to control her husband, the marriage suffered; but when she "surrendered," letting him do things his way and make decisions for the family, he rose to the occasion, becoming a responsible and loving husband and making her feel protected and cared for. Doyle's "one size fits all" approach is not likely to fit everyone; indeed, it's hard to imagine any wife (or husband, for that matter) feeling emotionally satisfied in a marriage where every one of the husband's suggestions is met with a demure "Whatever you think best, dear." Doyle's insistence that the husband should control all aspects of the family's finances is also likely to raise a few eyebrows. But such extremism aside, Doyle makes some worthwhile points. Nagging and criticizing are not conducive to marital harmony, and treating a man like an incompetent child turns the wife into his mother which isn't likely to make either party happy. Doyle also points out that wives need to take time to care for themselves (going to lunch with friends, getting facials or whatever activities they enjoy), instead of constantly martyring themselves to the needs of others. Based on the Fireside paperback.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Original ed. edition (January 8, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743204441
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743204446
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (359 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a recovering control freak, I loved this book, and am putting into practice, with modification, many of the author's suggestions. As a professional woman with my own business, I need to tweak Laura Doyle's suggestions regarding turning over finances, so that my husband and I find a financial arrangment which works for us. What Laura Doyle is basically suggesting is giving up inappropriate control in marriage, not all control, and each reader needs to determine what that is. I understand how people without control issues would find this book to be ridiculous, but for a woman who is afraid to trust an inherently good man with even small things, this book is an eye-opener and a vehicle for healing. So for you readers who realize your need to control your husband is ruining your marriage, give this a shot. The people who wrote the highly critical reviews are coming from a different place, and probably don't have difficulty with inappropriate controlling habits. All I can say is, that as I read this book, I started to relax for the first time in six years, because it was giving me answers I was seeking. I didn't agree in all the details, but the essence was a powerful tonic for me. Much gratitude to Laura Doyle.
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For those women who have actually read this book (not just the back cover) and still find fault with its overwhelmingly simple premise-that of respecting your partner in life-I can only suppose that complete control is more important to them than happiness.
To be sure, reading the book and following through with Doyle's suggestions require courage. I'll admit that I bought the book on a lark, since its title and wildly differing reviews intrigued me-but, as I read through the first chapter I began to realize that I wanted what Doyle promised; I wanted happiness and fulfillment in my relationship, and I wanted my partner to adore me. Yes, the prospect of relinquishing control over my partner was uncomfortable and even frightening, but the final payoff was so much more appealing to me that I decided to follow through with the rest of the book.
Careful reading through this book reveals no mention of "submitting," and Doyle is careful to mention that no woman should ever surrender to an abusive husband or one who is in the grip of an addiction. But, this aside, the chances are that your husband is a worthwhile and loving man who deserves to be treated the way you want to be treated-with trust and respect. I accepted this premise by reasoning that it didn't reflect well on me and my own judgment if I had chosen to be with a man who was untrustworthy and incapable of making his own decisions-and so much so that I had to take over the management of his life.
What Doyle means when she says to "surrender" is to let go of unnecessary control over your husband's life. It does not mean to relinquish control of your own life to your husband.
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By A Customer on July 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
I was desperate for intimacy in my marriage. I thought I had married the wrong man. I was depressed. After reading this book, I realized that my husband was not the problem - I was the problem, and that the reason our marriage was at an all-time low was because I was really a controlling person in every way - I barked orders at my husband all the time, controlled household improvement projects, told him how to drive, how to dress, when to send his mom a birthday card, what our social schedule was... I controlled all the conversations, finished his sentences, talked to him like a child! This is just the tip of the iceberg of the control I had over the marriage. Bottom line is that I believed that I was the smarter one, the better one, the more mature one... no wonder he began spending most of his time in the garage, far away from me!
What this book taught me is that, to create greater intimacy in a marriage, you need to surrender control of things and give some of that back to your husband.
It doesn't mean that you lose control altogether... in actuality, you really gain freedom, because you are not responsible for everything and anything. The book teaches you how to take care of yourself FIRST, to allow your husband to manage things such as the finances (this is hard to reliquish control of, but the freedom you get in return is priceless!), to allow him to have greater responsibility of the children, to take more control of household duties, etc., etc. - basically all the things you're always nagging him about! Surrendering these things lets your husband know you trust him, lets him know that you have confidence in him. Because he knows this, he is secure with himself, and more likely to take more responsibility... More than that, his happiness leads to your happiness...
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Format: Paperback
There seems to be some confusion over the content of this book. Please note: The word "surrender" refers to surrendering CONTROL over your husband's personal views, not submerging your own views or submitting to your husband's views; and, although universal spirituality is briefly addressed, neither Christianity, nor any other religious groups, are pushed.
I was sure before I read this book that I had no control issues with regard to my husband. My husband has often complimented me on how much fun I am, how mutually compatible we are, and we both felt we had the 'perfect' marriage. Of course, we had angry discussions and uncomfortable disagreements every once in awhile...what married couple doesn't? How shocked I was when I bought this book out of curiosity to find that, through reading stories of other women's marriages, my efforts to be "right" no matter what, was rather unflatteringly exposed. To realize that most of the disagreements we had off and on were about what I saw as his 'incorrect' behavior/ideas and my 'correct' behavior/ideas.
Sound familiar?
If so, then this book will no doubt benefit you and your marriage. That's the basic premise of this book; to learn to LET GO of unconsciously trying to control aspects of your husband's life that are not your business to try and control.
I saw a couple in Costco recently that I positively cringed over. Apparently, they had missed picking something up on one of the aisles, and she was pointing and directing her husband in a loud, annoyed, abrasive manner. "Over THERE! LOOK AT ME! Don't you SEE WHERE I'M POINTING??!!" She all but added the word...."Idiot!" Her husband looked briefly at her, simply sighed in resignation, and started off toward the area she had pointed to.
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