7. I Surrender

Posted on February 17th, 2011

Came across yet another great source for marital bliss and wanted to share it with you all.

Read this article from The Dabbling Mum by author Laura Doyle about her book "The Surrendered Wife."

"Once while my husband, John, was waiting his turn at the barbershop, a woman was telling the barber exactly how to cut her husband's hair. "Not too short on top," she told him, "And take a little more off the sides." 



When the couple left, the remaining men in the shop sighed with relief. "That was awful," one man commented to no one in particular. John agreed, then said to the barber, "My wife couldn't come today, so you're on your own." 



I'm embarrassed to admit that during the first few years of my marriage I was very much like that woman at the barbershop. I thought I could improve my husband by telling him how to be more ambitious at work, how to be more romantic and especially how to be tidier. But instead of improving anything, I created wall-to-wall hostility at home. My husband resisted my "suggestions" mightily because he didn't want to be controlled. At the time, I didn't realize that I was acting like his mother instead of his wife, killing the intimacy and making us both exhausted. I thought he was lazy and oblivious. I never dreamed that he was reacting to me poorly because my approach was offensive. I told myself I was just trying to help, but things kept getting worse. 



As things deteriorated, we went to couples' counseling and even considered divorce. I thought I had married the wrong man. It turns out I was using an approach that wouldn't inspire intimacy and cooperation from any man. After talking to wives with happy, long-term marriages, I tried a new approach. I called it surrendering, because it boiled down to relinquishing control of my husband in favor of tending to my own happiness. That, in turn, improved the intimacy in a way that seemed magical. 



Something else magical happened, too. The man who wooed me was back. Instead of gluing himself to the T.V., my husband was constantly doing things to delight me-like cleaning the kitchen while I was out with a friend, bringing me flowers for no particular reason and showering me with spontaneous hugs and kisses. If I said I needed help getting dinner ready or wanted to park the car in the garage, he was proactive in chopping vegetables and eliminating things we no longer needed in the garage. He was volunteering to do the things that I had long tried to nag him into doing. Amazing! 



Women often shudder at the title of my book, The Surrendered Wife. But when they read it, they see that it isn't the ghost of a marriage book from the fifties. Nor is it the symbol of a feminism backlash. It isn't about women dumbing down or being rigid either. 

Rather, my book is about recognizing the following:

  • When you control your husband, you demean him, which causes him to doubt himself.
  • When you nag and criticize your husband, you squash intimacy in your marriage.
  • If you want emotional connection with your man, you must give up trying to run his life.
  • Your husband wants to make you happy, but he can't if you tell him what to do and how to do it.

My journey of going from being an overbearing shrew to a respectful wife has taught me that control and intimacy cannot co-exist. When I try to control John I may get to have everything just the way that I want it, but I also end up feeling lonely. When I adopt an attitude of loving trust - whether I feel like it or not - intimacy is sure to follow. In this way, surrendering is about having a relationship that brings out the best in both of us.

I know the title may conjure images of the Stepford Wife rising from the grave avenge the modern woman, but surrender simply means relinquish, and my book is about giving up control of your husband so that you can create an environment in which intimacy will flourish. Not so chilling after all, is it?

What I mean by "surrender" is that I refrain from commenting on things great and small: I don't mumble about John's driving, even if he's crawling along in the stupid lane. I don't complain if he wears a shirt with holes in it, nor do I remind him that we have a mortgage if he's considering leaving his job to start his own company. When I allow him to make his own decisions - and respect them- he has more confidence, and that, I've discovered, is when we have the best emotional connection.

Surrendering doesn't mean that I have stopped thinking for myself or given up my own ambitions. At work, I'm aggressive, tough and bossy. But I also recognize that those are not the ingredients for intimacy.

For romance to return in my marriage, I had to reacquaint myself with being vulnerable, feminine and soft when work was over. This wasn't easy. I'm much more comfortable with control because then I know that everything will go the right way—my way. But when I stopped criticizing, dominating and trying to "help" my husband, I had a revelation: I didn't need to dictate every situation for it to turn out right. Better yet, I experienced the delicious feeling of true intimacy.

If you're like me, you don't really want so much control anyway. I was exhausted and lonely from trying to do everything myself. I didn't want my husband to treat me like his boss. I wanted him to treasure, adore and protect me.

Surrendering is not for everybody. Women whose husbands have an active addiction, are chronically unfaithful or physically abusive should not surrender. Women with passionate, peaceful marriages don't need to fix what isn't broken.

For a woman whose husband doesn't fall into these categories, but suspects she may be at least a little controlling, surrendering—acting with loving trust—is powerful medicine."


Laura Doyle is a speaker, lecturer, seminar leader and author of this book as well as "The Surrendered Single: A Practical Guide to Attracting and Marrying the Man Who's Right for You" (Simon & Schuster 2002), and "Things Will Get as Good as you Can Stand" (Simon & Schuster 2004). She has helped "thousands of women find the intimacy they crave."

Visit her book's website www.SurrenderedWife.com and her radio show website at www.LauraDoyleShow.com. You can contact her at lauramdoyle@gmail.com


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2 Comments

Mai - February 17th, 2011 at 10:04 PM
I like how she explained that "surrendering" doesn't mean mindlessly dumbing yourself down or giving up, but it just means to not belittle him by controlling everything he does as if he's a child, and rather let him BE the man and trust and support him to do so. Good article :)
Angie - February 17th, 2011 at 10:17 PM
I really liked this article too and all her other work too. I contacted her a few days ago by email, and she called me today! She agreed to be a guest speaker for one of our meetings inshallah! Im gonna let everyone know details of upcoming meetings soon...

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