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Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour Hardcover – January 26, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Gayle’s ‘risk of love’ reveals a healing path that few would have ever predicted. You won’t be able to put this book down. (Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott Founders of RealRelationships.com)

From the Inside Flap

“I kept asking myself the crucial question: Who am I going to be in our story? Will I be the woman who washes her hands of the situation and walks away from Ted, or will I be the woman who loves him and shows forgiveness? . . . The choice was mine. A mountain stood in front of me, a difficult climb, and I didn’t know what lay on the other side.” — Gayle Haggard

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers; First Edition edition (January 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414335857
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414335858
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,548,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By O. Merce Brown HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I watched Gayle and Ted Haggard on Oprah yesterday and immediately bought this book, because I was so impressed with what appeared to be Gayle's strength and authenticity as she shared about her choice to stay in her marriage. I was intrigued by Oprah's reaction to her as well; she seemed incredulous that anyone could make this choice under the circumstances. I had to know more. I am so very glad now that I read this book because it is an important one. No matter how you might feel about the Haggard scandal, your opinion is formed based upon media reports and second-hand information. Reading this book allows you to have firsthand information, but more importantly, to think critically about issues such as the role of the church in restoration, how we judge each other, marriage commitment, denial, forgiveness, grace, punishment, the nature of repentance, and more. No matter what your feelings about the scandal, this book will give you much to think about.

The book is written with Angela Hunt, a seasoned Christian writer. This was a great choice, as the book is well-written and riveting, hard to put down.

I began the book intrigued about how Gayle Haggard recovered from seemingly insurmountable betrayal. And I thought that perhaps I could learn something about love and forgiveness that could help me in my own marriage. Gayle's choice to stay could indeed have been written off to denial and weakness, but I suspected something different. And I found it.

Gayle describes the scandal from her point of view in detail. She then walks the reader through the steps she took to choose love and forgiveness for Ted, and why she made this choice; of course, the decision itself was a process, not a one time event.
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Format: Hardcover
This story, by the wife of exposed liar, hypocrite and drug-user Ted Haggard, is a frustrating view of how well-meaning Christians see everything in life selfishly, even when they commit terrible sin.

She jumps right into the problems of the marriage, not wasting a couple hundred pages telling readers about her upbringing. Instead she starts with meeting her husband and quickly goes through their years of building their Colorado ministry into a mega-church.

She fills these early pages with self-centered emotion, never stopping to ask obvious questions like why she broke up an engagement with another guy for this man she didn't like at first. Or why a man who had never led a church decides to pick up and move far away and start a church from scratch. Or why they sent away their mentally disabled son to Kentucky when they had been told it was best for him to live at home. So early on she exposes a lack of self-perception that becomes even more clear once the scandal is exposed.

Most shocking is her writing about the days when Haggard revealed he had done drugs (it's confirmed here even though he continued to claim publicly it wasn't true) and had a homosexual affair. She again goes inside her emotions and immediately starts to try to save her marriage, her family and her job (she was getting paid to be a women's leader at the church her husband pastured). Instead of realizing that what her husband did was a lengthy breech of rust with her or his gigantic church, she callously responds that she thinks the people in the church should sympathize with him since he has now proven that he's not perfect and is a sinner, just like his followers.
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Format: Hardcover
Regardless of whether or not you agree with Gayle or how you feel about Ted Haggard, this is an astonishing book and one of the most interesting memoirs I have read in a long time. There are many different angles to the story that I think will appeal to a wide variety of people--marriage and family, infidelity, sexual identity, healing, being judgmental, love and forgiveness, inner strength, betrayal, commitment, and the list goes on.

But what was most fascinating to me, and I think will be for many people, is what happened with the Haggards and the church they started--their forced separation and exile and the other half of the story about Ted's so-called "restoration" as a Christian. How the Haggards were treated by their church and other "Christians" is absolutely appalling. This will be a fascinating book for people who are at all interested in, baffled by, or irritated by religion and/or evangelical Christians, who are the ones that need to read this book more than anyone else.

Why I Stayed is a mirror evangelicals need to look into if they want to get a glimpse of how others view them. If they want to be taken seriously and not seen as self-righteous, they need to actually practice the love, forgiveness, and grace that they preach. Reading this book with an open mind would be a convicting way to start.

At the beginning of the book, Gayle details how she met Ted and gives an overview of their thirty year marriage and ministry together--crucial information to know in order to understand the scandal that erupted in November of 2006.
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