Equality Surrendered or Marital Bliss
The Surrendered Wife
In the battle of the sexes there is dissent in the ranks. Hard won equality is being surrendered by a new breed of women who are happy to let their men take charge. So when some promise to love, honour and obey; they mean it. Obedient wives, a rare breed of women who would rather iron trousers than wear them.
49 year old Leo has been enjoying married life for eight years. He works hard running his own garage in Stoke-on-Trent, but when he gets home it’s a very different story because 43 year old Pepita is a very devoted wife. Leo has do do nothing at home, his bath is waiting for him when he returns and Pepita will bathe him and leave him relaxing while she prepares dinner.
Nestled amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, 33 year old Glaswegian, Skye, leads a seemingly idyllic life as a devoted wife. She met Frank, a life coach, through the Internet. They married four years ago and have settled in the US. Frank quickly realised he’d got his work cut out “At the very beginning our relationship was a living hell, it was horrendous.
The fights and the constant arguing caused turmoil. Skye acknowledges this “I was trying to rule the roost, I was trying to take over”. After a turbulent first year of marriage, Skye decided something had to change.
The Surrendered Wife is an advice manual for domineering spouses, first published in America. It has now been translated into fifteen languages. It’s controversial philosophy is that the key to a happy marriage is for wives to give more control to their husbands. For better or for worse, the book has changed Skye’s life. After years of practise, Skye has transformed herself from a feisty Glaswegian into a well-groomed domestic goddess. In her house, whatever her husband says goes.
Karen is a 39 year old working mother of two who lives in Wakefield. She’s been married to Ali for six years and is about as far from being an obedient wife as you can get. She explains “Ali’s my second marriage, my first husband was very domineering and I was the wifey-wifey, vulnerable, weak person. When that broke up, when I had the strength to get out I promised myself that I would never let a man be dominant over me again”. She has become a control-freak and the domineering one. With this second marriage in trouble, Karen’s decided that she needs to leave the past behind.
Self-help best-seller The Surrendered Wife has spawned a controversial movement with a growing number of followers worldwide. Karen has decided to see if it’s philosophy works. Ellen Hale is one of 22 trainers certified to teach women how to surrender to their husbands, Karen is her first pupil in the UK.
Ellen talks us through the philosophy “The first principle is relinquishing control, which means that you don’t tell your husband what to do, how to do it or when to do it. You don’t complain about the way he’s done it or criticise what he’s done. More and more women are working and becoming CEOs of companies and have gained status in the work world. It’s very hard for them to come home and be a feminine person and a loving, soft, caring wife. They come home with the boss attitude. Step one in becoming a surrendered wife is learning to keep your mouth shut”.
In Louisiana, when 27 year old Caroline married 34 year old Chip they seemed like the perfect all-American couple. But, very soon Caroline’s marriage became an unhappy battle of wills. Two years ago, in an effort to save her relationship Caroline decided to train as a surrendered wife. She’s still struggling and her biggest problem is being in the passenger seat. Chip says “Whenever we get in the car, she wants to have control, she wants the power”. Unable to stop herself from criticising Chip’s driving, Caroline sometimes adopts an extreme method of restraint. She tells us “It was one of the tips in surrendered wife, so I blindfolded myself”. But, even wearing a blindfold isn’t enough to stop Caroline. For argumentative couples like Caroline and Chip, the surrendered wife movement has a number of exercises.
Ellen Hale advises “An experiment is to go on a no-control date where your husband decides what your going to wear, where you are going and, if it’s a restaurant, what you’re going to order. So the woman experiences how out-of-control she feels and how used she is to controlling every situation”.
Caroline confesses “Learning to surrender has, kind of, been exciting for me because I’m curious to see what happens in the end. I’m still a work-in-progress, it’s something I’ll always have to work on because it’s not my nature to be surrendered”.
In America’s Kansas City, dawn is breaking, time for 25 year old Crystal to make breakfast for husband Jesse. Before he leaves for the office, 26 year old attorney Jesse, gives his obedient wife a job list. He says “I think obedience is a good quality to have in a wife. An obedient wife has a quality of being submissive and yielding her rights to the needs of her family and the desires of her husband”. Crystal doesn’t disagree “I feel that God created the woman, from the very beginning, to be a helper to the man. So do I desire to be an obedient wife; yes”. After four years of marriage, Crystal is no stranger to taking instructions. Crystal believes it’s not her place to try and improve her husband even though she may dislike some of his habits.
3,000 miles away in Wakefield, Karen is continuing her surrendered wife training, the next lesson involves the bedroom. Ellen tells her “This has been a very controversial portion of the book, but surrendering sexually is simply saying ‘let the man pursue you’. Many women have become aggressive sexually and men feel like it’s one of the chores they must do. Many women feel that having sex is a chore as well. What we want to do is make ourselves available for sex at least once a week”. In North Carolina, Skye has been a fully-fledged surrendered wife for three years. In that time she’s come to terms with the movement’s teachings on marital relations.
70 year old, former motor cycle racer, Eddy has pretty set views on what makes a good wife. “In my opinion, a good wife is obedient, attractive, is a good cook and looks after all your needs and desires. I think the modern class of woman has lost her way to some extent. Thai women could teach English women how to treat their men properly”. So, he’s joined the ranks if the 1200 British men each year who marry Thai brides.
CREDITS: This information came from the UK Channel 5 “Hidden Lives” documentary series.
The Surrendered Wife – Laura Doyle
The Surrendered Single – Laura Doyle