A few years ago a book came out titled “The Surrendered Wife” by Laura Doyle. The book caught on very quickly due to its controversial premise, i.e. that the key to a happy marriage is for the woman to “surrender” to the designated head-of-household, the husband. This surrendering would also entail that the wife hand over all financial decisions to her husband.
I read so much about the book (alternately skewered and praised) in articles and op-eds that I had to read it just to see what the notoriety was about.
Here’s a Publisher’s Weekly review on the book: “[Doyle’s]…main point is that when she criticized, nagged and tried to control her husband, the marriage suffered; but when she “surrendered,” letting him do things his way and make decisions for the family, he rose to the occasion, becoming a responsible and loving husband and making her feel protected and cared for.”
While I agree that overly-controlling wives spouses (after all, control issues can exist in men and women) aren’t good for a healthy marriage, I couldn’t agree with the book’s practical applications. Cede all financial decision-making authority?? A shudder crept up my spine when I read that part. I have to admit that that advice very likely biased me against the rest of the book.
However, I have applied Ms. Doyle’s principles of, er, surrendering to another part of my life…
I’ve been taking classes weekly, and it’s truly one of the highlights of my week. A good salsa is like a great conversation – energetic, provocative, interesting, fun. I wonder how many classes I have to take before I am confident enough to go dance at a salsa club…
When I first started dancing, I had a tendency to anticipate choreographed steps . I’d get thrown off if the Lead improvises or does something differently than what the teacher had demonstrated. So instead of dancing WITH a partner, I was dancing TO a choreography.
Needless to say, dancing with a (good) partner is so more fun than memorizing steps. Now, I make a real effort to be more conscious of the Lead’s positioning and more responsive to his guidance.
You know what this means… if a couple does something wrong in salsa, it’s all the guy’s fault!
I’ve been fortunate to dance with some very good Leads in my classes, and a couple of not-so-great ones. The best part about dancing as a girl is the experience of dancing with a good Lead – someone who gently but firmly guides you through the moves so that you know exactly what you’re supposed to do, and you have enough time to display your own flair in the dance.
When I danced with more experienced Leads, sometimes I do turns and crossovers and I don’t even know how I did them! When the Lead is good, the Follow looks great, and everything flows. With all the emphasis on “leadership” in this world (ahem, bschools?!), I’m more than happy to “surrender” to the art of followership in this aspect of my life.
Besides, I’d much rather be a surrendered salsera than a surrendered wife. 😉