Say "I Surrender" to Your Husband

Author Laura Doyle hit a collective nerve with The Surrendered Wife (Simon & Schuster). Her controversial action plan for reviving marital harmony has made the book a best seller and Doyle a popular workshop and seminar leader.

Doyle proposes that women give up inappropriate control of their husbands, trust them in every aspect of marriage and never criticize them. An avowed "formerly controlling, disrespectful shrew," Doyle relates that her marriage lacked intimacy because her harshness damaged her husband's trust and made him feel emasculated.

Doyle got into therapy, stopped criticizing her husband and started being as supportive as possible in her feelings, body language, speech and actions. As a result, she says her husband drew closer and they forged a more passionate and trusting union.

Reader Jane Litster of Burlington, Vt., says the book helped her "figure out why I was so combative with my husband." Litster says, "My mind was fixated on an unreal, perfect marriage and I blamed my husband for everything instead of coming up with solutions for making it work."

One of the main messages of the book, says Litster, involves the daily practice of "thinking and feeling grateful for the good things you have instead of feeling dissatisfied. The book doesn't sugar-coat marriage, but offers solutions for how to behave like a trusted partner instead of a bossy manager or controlling mother."

Los Angeles therapist Tara Fass, M.F.T., sounds a cautionary note about Doyle's suggestion that the wife cede control of household finances to her husband. "Any person, male or female, who lacks any power over the money they earn and their joint finances would seem to be at a crucial disadvantage in the relationship," says Fass, who specializes in divorce mediation and custody issues.Financial issues aside, Doyle professes commitment to helping women discover emotional independence and taking responsibility for their own self-care and fulfillment. Doyle writes, "Surrendering to your husband is not about returning to the '50s or rebelling against feminism."
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