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The Surrendered Wife: A Practical Guide To Finding Intimacy, Passion and Peace
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The Surrendered Wife: A Practical Guide To Finding Intimacy, Passion and Peace

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  979 ratings  ·  163 reviews
I know, I know: You could never be a "surrendered wife." Just saying the words makes you feel like flossing. But that's exactly what Laura Doyle thought before she discovered the ecstasy of marital surrender. "When I stopped trying to control the way John did everything and started trusting him implicitly," she confides, "I began to have the marriage I've always dreamed of ...more
Paperback, 285 pages
Published January 8th 2001 by Fireside (first published February 1st 2000)
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Jul 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
The title of this book is horrible (as is the cover art). Who would want to be a "surrendered wife?" When a friend at work first told me about this book that she claimed had dramatically changed her marriage, I was skeptical. "Ryan and I already have a great marriage," I thought. "We're really happy." And we are. But then one day I took a good, hard look at myself and realized what most people probably noticed about me a long time ago: I am a perfectionist and a control freak. This may lead to m ...more
I gave this 2 stars because it gives us food for thought on the stability of traditional gender roles and family relations. To a lot of people, the male-led household, in which the female has little voice or influence, is an antiquated relic or limited to fundamentalist religious groups. But Doyle's book is from a basically secular perspective, and she roots it in ideas like these:
Men can't handle criticism from women.
Men like to be right.
Questioning men makes them feel bad, and feeling bad mak
May 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
When I decided to tackle this project, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

It happened so simply. I was clicking around on the web and stumbled upon a link to the author's website. "I remember when that book came out," I thought. "It sounded absolutely crazy and got tons of negative attention. I wonder what ever happened with all that." Feeling in the mood to gawk, I clicked over.

The first thing I noticed was that the author considers herself a feminist and says the approach is about su
Jul 31, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Right wing conservative bible thumping crazy people
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is absolute crap. I don't say that about many books, but this one completely deserves it.

Mrs. Doyle promises a happier marriage, mutual respect, and greater passion if you follow the lessons and suggestions within. These include handing the checkbook to your husband and having him make all the financial decisions - you just tell him what you need for your "allowance" every week. You never, ever criticize him or tell him he's wrong - so if you're driving from one end of the country to t
Connie Boucher
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: women who want to have a happier marriage
Recommended to Connie by: Kristine Hales
I wouldn't have liked or agreed with "The Surrendered Wife" twenty years ago but I do now. After three failed marraiges (mostly because I married guys I had nothing in common with) I finally married my best friend and I've observed that he loves it when I do the things the author suggests, while the things she says I should do but I don't do YET, are what he complains most about, which is mainly that I don't listen to him or respect his oppinion enough. I think this book offers good advice on re ...more
Aug 08, 2013 rated it did not like it

A feminist is not a woman who hates men or who tries to verbally castrate them, contrary to conservative, traditional belief. When a woman prefaces by saying, "I used to be a feminist," it tells me that she never was. In Doyle's defense, I don't know what it's like to be a woman who grew up in the 70s or 80s, where it was still considered very unconventional for a woman to say, "No. I don't want that. I don't like that."
I do appreciate that Doyle instructs wives to respect their husbands. I mea
Sep 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
Maybe a subtitle would help: Be His Wife, Not His Mommy. The book isn't about wives being doormats. It's about having a marriage without ANY doormats. He doesn't have to be the doormat, either. Mutual respect from one adult to another. Very worthwhile and practical.
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book was a real eye-opener. I NEVER thought I came across as a "nagging" wife until I read this book. In fact, most women do and say things that they think are "helpful," that actually come across as nagging to their significant others. This one is worth a re-read.
Jun 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any wife
Recommended to Jen by: Kim Flynn
I really enjoyed this book. I liked it better than Dr. Laura's book "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands". The Author is witty and made me feel like I was listening to my best friend. The book is full of quotes that are priceless like, "Some people find fault as if it were buried treasure." It has given me lots of inspiration. The main point of the book is that the more respect you give your spouse (in all ways of communication and action) the deeper your intimacy will be. Sounds simple, but ...more
Jane Jones
Oct 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who knows me would probably be shocked to hear that I read this book, and even more shocked to hear that I loved this book.

I read this in my post-divorce, where did I go wrong in my marriage phase. And while this book for sure does not have ALL the answers, it had the ones I needed at the time.

I would absolutely recommend this book to friends - male or female - who are in a marriage that's struggling, or contemplating marriage.
Skylar Burris
May 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: marriage
Much of the advice in this book resembles that of Dr. Laura’s The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, but without all the vitriol, generalizations, and general disdain for the female sex that book seemed to entail. At times, I think the book goes a little too far (particularly with regard to the author’s idea that women should have nothing at all to do with the finances and should not make a peep if the electricity gets turned off because the bill wasn’t paid), but overall there is a great deal ...more
Maria Elmvang
Dec 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: married women who want greater intimacy with their husbands
Recommended to Maria by: Kellchecker
Like Laura Schlessinger's "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" (don't read it - it's not worth your time or money), this is a book of how to stop trying to control your husband and act like you were his mother, and how to start treating him with the respect and love that he deserves. However, unlike that book, Laura Doyle actually cares for her sex, and the book describes how to get an intimate marriage, without loosing yourself in the process. While there naturally were areas where I disag ...more
Apr 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: changed-my-life
Well, the truth is that I can imagine a reader hating it and/or loving it. I first read this book over a year ago and put it down at pg 83. It seemed very stepford to me and I found that I would get a nose bleed taking the high road suggested by the author. However, in recent times, I thought it would be fruitful for me to try and pick it up again..I am so glad that I did. A second set of eyes I still my own)made all the difference... I still feel that giving up the bill control/finances is some ...more
Jan 31, 2009 added it
Don't let the title scare you, it's a great read and your marriage will be better for it. I was pretty sure my hubby was happily married until I read this book! It revealed a lot about me and how I was alienating him. Let's face it, "Happy Wife, Happy Life" just doesn't fill his buckets and as long as he's not happy in his marriage, neither are you. For true intimacy, the need to control and win has got to go and Laura does a great job of explaining the how and why. The fact is, men are simple a ...more
Jun 01, 2010 rated it did not like it
I wasn't a fan. Big surprise. Did things hit too close to home? Yes. Do I have work to do? Yes. Did everyone look at ME when we started discussing the book? Yes. But what I am most disturbed by is the fact that this book feels like manipulation. I love the idea of engendering respect in my marriage through my actions, but I don't like the idea of doing it to get something in return. It seems dishonest. But then again, I don't have a degree in marriage counseling. The problem is, neither does the ...more
Sep 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: christian wives
I love this book and highly recommend it to any woman looking to strengthen and reinforce her marriage (or save it). The principles are very basic and rooted in the bibilcal principles we already know but may have forgotten (or rejected). Doyle asks you to take a closer look at how you define and practice these principles, trust that you married a good man, and let him lead you and your family toward the future you are meant for. It's a wonderful book.
Mar 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-improvement
I am in the middle of this book. Some of you might be raising your eyebrows at the title...but it's not what you think. It's about giving up all of the control alot of us women these days feel the need to have over our households that causes us SOOO much stress. And also about letting your hubby just be a guy...even if he dresses funny, or says something wrong, it's not that big deal. I really like it, it is helping me a lot in my marriage.
Jane Dugger
Jul 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2005-books-read
I definitely learned a lot from this book. It takes a lot of work in relationship. I don't subscribe to all of her thoughts but there is one thing I took from this book & applied to my relationship. It has been very helpful. If you're really interested, email me.

I should read it again to refresh my memory & see if there are some other tidbits that may be more applicable now than 4 years ago since relationships are ever evolving.
Apr 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: never-finished
The Surrendered Wife: How to manipulate your husband into doing what you wanted him to do anyway while stoking your own ego about what a good person you are. *shudder*

Pro tip: If you begin communicating honestly and respectfully before you get married and continue to do so after you get married, then very little of what this book says will be applicable!
Jul 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Women who suspect they may be too controlling in their marriages
Recommended to K by: Skylar Burris; my clients; a local group who's reading it
Shelves: professionallit
I first became interested in this book when several women (and men) I see for marital therapy mentioned it. Like many popular self-help books, there's a lot of wisdom here but it does need to be read with a critical eye.

Gus Napier pointed out in The Fragile Bond In Search of an Equal, Intimate, and Enduring Marriage (an excellent book on marriage, though written for a more professional audience I believe), based on years of clinical experience, that the vast majority of couples who come for ther
Yellow Rose
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This approach of marriage has worked for ages on end, and only today do we such such a demise in society's moral standards all because we seem to think that women and men are the same. This is wrong because men and women have different needs. And this book helps you achieve the needs that women have.

Today many women ask where have all the real men gone? I tell them where have all the women gone? This lack of understanding between the sexes is a feminist creation to distort the being of society a
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
I approached this book with some reluctance after hearing the considerable hype. Anything that spawns a movement in the way this book has could be a little cult-like... (I can think of others e.g. the men's movement arising from books like Iron John by Robert Bly). Thus, with a little bias to begin with, I tried to remain open to the message Doyle was attempting to deliver.

Essentially, having your own life, forcing your your husband to take responsibility for his part in the relationship and hi
Apr 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book out of curiosity and was pleasantly surprised. It was not about how a wife should be a mindless little minion, it was more about how not to be a nag who is a gatekeeper of the kids.

The premise is that the man you married is a good guy, which is why you married him, presumably. There is some discussion about things that can indicate he is not a good person (he hits you, he hits the kids, he has a substance abuse problem he won't seek help for, and similar severe problems).

The au
Aug 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the title and cover of this book (which I had to disregard when I bought it), the information the author imparts regarding ways a woman can improve her relationship with her man make a lot of sense. You don't have to be a total control freak to see how "being in control" can be damaging to any relationship. It makes sense to focus on changing yourself if you want to see improvement in your relationships since you can't change other people, at the end of the day. Sometimes having less con ...more
Sep 28, 2007 rated it did not like it
Any book that starts out with "don't tell your husband you're reading this", loses my vote. And it didn't get much better throughout.
Sharon Kaufman
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interesting concept. Just doesn't work because of our personal family dynamics.
Update: I just read this book for the second time, a year after I first read it and wrote the review below, and I got even more out of it this time than the did the first time. It's wonderful. Also, I am currently reading "Fascinating Womanhood", which teaches the same principles, but from a gospel perspective. And I like it even more than this book, if possible.

In spite of it's somewhat off-putting title, this book is a treasure that I would recommend to all women, especially those with intense
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Three stars in 2001 Pretty good book. I'm a bit of a control freak and when I stopped working outside the home it was a little hard for me to let go of the control. This book helped me in my relationship. It is amazing how much of this stuff works, if you will apply it. Self help books - good stuff.

Ok, I just read this again 2015. I am a different person now. I am trying to surrender again. This is a very good self help book paired with the Proper Care and Feeding of husbands. I am changing my s
Mar 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
there are several things i don't agree with so far:
1. we have our own strengths. my husband would be furious if i knew how to get us un-lost and i didn't say anything.
2. maybe the problem is with FEELING and ACTING superior. instead of being completely silent and resenting his mistakes, ask him WHY he decided to do something the way he did. maybe it will turn out his way was better.

i honestly couldn't finish reading this. i don't know what kind of feminist this woman thinks she is but it's not t
Jan 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. I read it several years ago, a few times. It definitely changed the dynamics of our marriage. Believe it or not, but my husband is the one who recommended it to me. Dangerous ground....I know there have been times he has second guessed his actions. Sometimes in the past I have used the term...."I am surrendering this to you now".... on more issues than he would probably have liked. We have a good balance now. This book helped me learn how to relinquish, or at least relax the t ...more
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Laura Doyle is the author of the book The Surrendered Wife: A Practical Guide to Finding Intimacy, Passion and Peace with a Man (Simon & Schuster 2001), 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 leads workshops and seminars that have h ...more
“Ambrose Redmoon wrote, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the decision that something else is more important than fear.” 3 likes
“Try to want what you have, instead of spending your strength trying to get what you want.” —ABRAHAM L. FEINBERG” 2 likes
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