Top critical review
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Well-meaning but problematic at times.
on 14 November 2012
In some ways this is a wonderfully written book. Just over two hundred pages in length it consists of thirty short chapters discussing topics having to do with the individual's husband i.e. 2. His Work; 3. His Finances; 8 His Fears. 16. His Priorities; 17. His Relationships, etc. I loved that the author concluded every chapter with a special Prayer for the husband related to the topic discussed. Along with that she quoted scripture in her Power Tools conclusions. That was a very nice touch and potentially useful for any loving wife praying for her husband.
Where I run into problems with this book is this: The author, like a number of individuals in the world seems to advocate a very negative approach in the wife's treatment of herself. As a professionally trained social worker who for years worked with families experiencing domestic violence I have, on a number of occasions had Ephesians Chapter 5 Verse 21 repeated back to me as justification for domestic violence. Those of you who are Christians are familiar with Verse 22 where it states: "Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church," All well and good and, if you are married to a truly good person, that is not a difficult thing to do. I, therefore, like when the author writes in Chapter 1: "Submission is something you give from your heart, not something demanded of you." Just pages later, however, the author takes a different turn and basically tells the reader what is REQUIRED of them as wives. THIS is where I take issue.
About halfway into Chapter 1 the author starts to take a stance which, in my opinion, is very anti-woman. Do not forget that in the same chapter of Ephesians cited above St. Paul tells husbands and wives to "Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ." I DO believe that this way too often gets overlooked. The author herself does a rather good job of it. She makes a rather definitive statement when she declares "I don't care how liberated you are, when you are married there will always be two areas that will ultimately be your responsibility:home and children. Even if you are the only one working and your husband stays home to keep the house and tend the kids, you will still be expected to see that the heart of your home is a peaceful sanctuary....On top of this, you will be expected to be sexually appealing, a good cook, a great mother and physically, emotionally and spiritually fit." I started to wonder at that point WHERE the author was coming from as there is nowhere in the Bible where such requirements are so rigidly delineated.
The chapter which I had the most difficulty with, however, was Chapter 4 His Sexuality. In this chapter the author seems to support the husband's "right to sex on demand." No matter that the wife has so many demands on her time and energy the author herself admitting: "...there are so many things screaming for her attention, such as raising children, work, finances, managing a home, emotional stress, exhaustion, sickness and marital strife" that she simply doesn't have it to give (because she is so busy being the "Super Woman" described above) the wife is supposed to "do something to make yourself feel attractive....take a shower or a relaxing bath. Put on a scented body lotion or his favorite perfume...Comb your hair. Wash your face and prepare it with products that make your skin look dewy and fresh. Put on lip gloss and blush. Slip into something you know he finds irresistible....While you're doing this pray to God to give you renewed energy, strength, vitality and a good attitude. Hopefully, when you're ready. your husband will find you were worth the wait." Excuse me, Stormie Omartian, but how sexist can you get? A wife can be as well-meaning, caring and supportive as can be but she is ALSO a human being and she gets TIRED. Realistically even with the most hearfelt prayers the possibility of her falling asleep as early as the relaxing tub bath and as late as, say (heaven forbid) in the middle of sex, is there and should NOT be ignored. To do so is simply being heartless to the poor, exhausted woman.
In this same chapter where the author insists that the wife make herself sexually available she does not have the same expectation of the sexually unavailable man. It seems to be OK for HIM to be tired, exhausted, unable to perform and provide for his wife's sexual needs but NOT for her: "maybe he's having deep feelings of failure, disappointments, depression and hopelessness that needs to be addressed." Well, maybe she does as well but that does not seem to matter to the author.
It is important to note that rather than exalting the authority of men over women St. Paul tells "Husbands,love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church and handed himself over for her..."....in other words, husbands must give their very lives for their spouses--they must sacrifice themselves and their own wills for the good of their wives and their families. Where has the author incorporated this in her book?
In conclusion even though this book has some merit and can be helpful in some areas of marital life, it seems to have an underlying theme advocating women NOT to take care of themselves and to totally sacrifice to their husbands placing themselves at risk for emotional, psychological and physical abuse. I would be very cautious, then, in recommending it to anyone.