How Power of a Praying Wife Affected Women: Your Stories

by | Jun 23, 2023 | Theology of Marriage and Sex | 75 comments

How Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian affected women
Merchandise is Here!
Instagram Follow Mobile ad

How did Power of a Praying Wife Affect You?

This week we’ve been looking at the book Power of a Praying Wife. I summarized the problems with it on Wednesday, and then yesterday on the podcast Sarah McDugal and Gretchen Baskerville joined to talk through it.

There has been one thing that surprised me, though.

The book has sold 10,000,000 copies. It still sells well. So I thought more people in the comments would defend it.

And yet, over and over again, we heard comments from women who were seriously hurt by the book. 

There are far too many to post, but the stories were so many and so overwhelming that I wanted to honor you all who commented, and leave a post where readers’ voices were heard. And so today I decided to sift through and post some of the comments to show how Power of a Praying Wife affected readers.

(And if I didn’t use your comment–I was just trying to find a wide breadth of experiences! I did read them all and they did really move me. Thank you for contributing to the conversation).

So Many Said: Power of a Praying Wife Stole Years of My Life


I was 18 years old when I was given the book in a very promising manner. It was like the secret to godliness gifted to me. Spoiler alert: I followed it and the next 20 years were the most destructive years of my life.

I remember reading this book in the midst of my abusive marriage. It’s one of the reasons why I stayed as long as I did.

That and the fact that I believed that a “believing wife can save her unbelieving husband.”

I’m so thankful to have escaped and to be free.

This was my experience in my 24 year marriage. My Xhub worked most of the time but not all the time. He had 64 jobs in 24 years with several big gaps in employment. He said that his only contribution to the household should be financial. I was responsible for all inside and outside chores, including nursing the babies and homeschooling the older children.

My church loved that book. When I finally tried to speak to elders about how he was treating me, I was told to read the book again (& to read Created To Be His Helpmeet) and to pray harder, because no man abuses a wife, who is properly praying for him and giving him enough sex, a clean house & cooking his meals. It was so toxic but I didn’t know until years later.

My mom is still stuck in an awful marriage in her 70s and raised me on this book. I ended up staying with a domestic abuser for ten years because of being raised with this garbage.

I hate this book. I read it after my second baby was born when my abusive husband gave me 8 MONTHS of the silent treatment for gaining more weight than he thought I should during pregnancy. In reality, there was a serious medical error that contributed to the problem, along with emotional and verbal abuse and betrayal trauma. This book kept me stuck, when really I should have been leaving him, but I had no resources to tell me I was being abused and I was too afraid to tell anyone what was going on in private.

SDB Coming Soon Desktop
Instagram Follow Mobile ad

others said: My husband changed when I stopped following Power of a Praying Wife

Then there are the women who tried the Power of a Praying Wife approach for a time, found that it didn’t work, and instead drew boundaries, or did other things to improve their lives. And that’s what finally made things click for their husbands!

I wasn’t healthy enough at the time myself to recognize how unhealthy this book was, how damaging to me and to my marriage. I did all the things, all the prayers, all the work. And ended up more depressed and miserable than ever. Started getting healthy and setting good boundaries and that’s when change started happening.

Every time I would pick up this book, honestly a true miracle would happen in my husband. But small changes. I realized after about 5-6 years of marriage. I was doing ALL the work. I was going to counseling for us. I was changing for us.

So I stopped praying for him and doing everything for him and started working on things I wanted to do. I started a business, published my first book, gained my confidence back and no longer leaned into the mean male agenda. And my husband was a Baptist Pastor this whole time. I set a new expectation in motion that of course the church and church women did not like. And you know what? My husband has changed more as a result of me basically ignoring his demands and continuing to stand up for myself. 

Power of a Praying wife

One Sheet

Everything Harmful with Power of a Praying Wife Summarized on One Sheet!

Enter your email to get the free printout to share with your friends, family, and pastors

I’m so glad I finally learned that it’s okay to tell my husband, “I can’t do it all. I need YOU to do things I thought I was supposed to do all on my own.” We are called to carry one another’s burdens. Shouldn’t that be one of the greatest things about marriage? Having a life partner to be equally yoked with? Why do so many books like this miss that key part of Scripture?

This absolutely reinforces the belief that a godly wife IS supposed to do it all, AND treat our husband like he’s incapable of being a responsible adult and pulling his fair weight in the marriage/family.

I tried so hard to do all of that for so, so long. I prayed and prayed. I was so exhausted but felt such a burden to “obey God” and keep trying to do everything the books said was God’s will. I ended up in emergency psychiatric care. Yay!!! A lot of meds and a therapist and throwing away all the books and shelving my Bible for the foreseeable future have been the only way I could move forward at all.

That last bit–“shelving my Bible for the foreseeable future.” 

I hear this so much from women who have been hurt by books like these.  Because authors use Bible verses to support abusive advice, the whole Bible becomes associated with keeping you under control and trapped. And now the Bible feels triggering and oppressive.

I get it. That’s so heartbreaking.

What some women have found helpful is only reading the gospels, or only reading the Psalms. Forget everything else while you’re healing (and some people may have to stop altogether until they’re in a better place.)

But sometimes it helps just to stick to the gospels and look at Jesus. He has so much compassion and mercy. He’s different from the books you’re reading. Can you picture Him ever telling an abused, exhausted postpartum woman she needs to give her husband a hand job?

Sometimes we need to meet the Jesus that books like Power of a Praying Wife have stolen from us.


And now, just some final thoughts on Power of a Praying Wife:

That book made me feel like all our problems were my fault for not having been praying daily the right way.

I think I skimmed through this book in the worst years of my marriage. I was already emotionally so weighed down. It’s ridiculous when a Christian leader tells an abused wife to “pray”.

WHAT do you think I’ve been doing? I have a tender heart. I am shy and introverted so I don’t have hardly any friends, no support system. When I got married, I moved and took a new job with a long commute so it was difficult to connect with my coworkers.

I feel like I made a mistake to marry this person and I am full of grief that God didn’t rescue me from this deceptive, harsh man prior to marriage. But I also know that it is my fault, not God’s, I am the stupid one.
Books like these. Phew they are just too much. The victim does all the emotional work and spiritual work for their abuser… she does not protect her kids. The abuser gets a free pass while she supports the patriarchy and generational abuse cycle . Mainwhile, this author is lauded as the highest pinnacle of writing for Christian women.

“I read this book with a group of young women when I was a newlywed. The only thing I remember, was I went out and bought sexier pajamas because one of our takeaways was that we should try to be sexy for our husbands, even in what we wear to sleep in.

Newsflash: my husband still became addicted to porn, became verbally, emotionally, and financially abusive, and sexually coercive. And here I was trying to be the perfect little sexy godly wife. We’ve been married over two decades, and are currently in house separated.

But there is hope. Thanks to you, Sheila, and several podcasters who deal specifically with abuse, I think we may actually be on a path to recovery. We’ve surprisingly (and sadly) gotten more help seeking out resources on our own, than from counselors. Counselors kept pedaling the same crap that kept us in the cycle of abuse. I can’t believe more professional counselors aren’t more informed about abuse and betrayal trauma. It makes me sad that it took us so long to get here, because all those years when we sought out professional help, they just perpetuated the abuse. I hope enough people are beginning to become more aware, so that couples don’t have to suffer so long, or at all! Hopefully with healthier teaching and resources, they can get off to a better start!

Thank you for bringing light to what so many of us felt in our hearts was wrong, but couldn’t put our finger on it, because all of the Christian resources seemed to be saying the same things. It’s a relief knowing I’m not crazy!

No, you’re definitely not crazy! None of you is crazy. Far too many of us were given really bad advice within evangelical circles, and because we desperately wanted to please God, we went along with it.

Our devotion to God was actually the thing that made us susceptible to this terrible advice, and that’s what makes it even more heartbreaking.

But I’m so glad that people are now seeing the truth! 

I’ll end with this one, which I just thought was funny!

Power of No-Matter-What-It’s-Always-Your-Responsibility-and-Your-Fault-Unless-It’s-Good-and-Then-the-Credit-Goes-to-Your-Husband-(or-maybe-God-but-who-can-tell-the-difference?), Wife book.


How power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian affected women

What do you think? How did Power of a Praying Wife, or the idea that prayer can change your spouse, affect you? Let’s talk in the comments!

SDB Coming Soon Desktop

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

Related Posts

Can Focus on the Family Ever Accept Accountability?

So much has happened with Focus on the Family this week! We've had an op ed published, and there are signs that Focus is refusing to accept accountability. I wanted to write it all up in one round up post, so here we go! First, Focus on the Family has now deleted over...


We welcome your comments and want this to be a place for healthy discussion. Comments that are rude, profane, or abusive will not be allowed. Comments that are unrelated to the current post may be deleted. Comments above 300 words in length are let through at the moderator’s discretion and may be shortened to the first 300 words or deleted. By commenting you are agreeing to the terms outlined in our comment and privacy policy, which you can read in full here!


  1. Jo R

    This is an excellent visual of how ALL these “Christian” marriage and sex books made me feel.

    Fast-forward to 4:30 and watch for 35 seconds:

    (If someone knows how to edit the link to make it play just that section, feel free to do so.)

    • Nathan

      I can see that, although Bugs could have been more submissive (sarcasm)

  2. EOF

    In my case, the book reinforced the message that my husband’s abusive behavior was MY fault. People at church were telling me it was because I wasn’t being submissive enough. Stormie piled onto that with the message that I wasn’t praying faithfully enough.

    The message came across loud and clear: If I wasn’t such a failure as a Christian and a wife, then my husband would not abuse me. No man would abuse a truly submissive, faithfully praying Christian wife.

    The problem was ME. I was broken, rebellious, and undeserving of love and grace.

    I was definitely broken. The rest was lies fed to me by Christians who were twisting scriptures. Period.

  3. Angharad

    This book (and War Room and Love & Respect) were tools used to keep a dear friend in an abusive marriage years longer than she would have been otherwise. She was convinced that if she changed enough, her husband would stop with the drinking, the drugs, the porn and the abuse. She and her kids were damaged so much more than they need have been, and when the marriage finally ended, she had to deal with the guilt of ‘failing’ by not praying hard enough… I just wish I could tell every woman out there: “God does not hold you responsible for your husband’s sin.” Because that’s what this stuff teaches – if YOU acted right and YOU prayed right, then your husband would be living right.

  4. Mara R

    From above post: “That last bit–’shelving my Bible for the foreseeable future.’”

    I’m with you on this one. After years of gaining freedom and deliverance in a difficult marriage from The Songs, I got slapped in the face by Driscoll’s Peasant Princess series. This is what drew me into the fray.

    The very words of life and healing to my soul were being twisted and used to oppress and abuse. It was like pig’s blood in the most holy place to me.

    The verses that come to mind when dealing with these things are in Ezekiel and Matthew.

    Ezekiel 34:17 “As for you, My flock, thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I will judge between one sheep and another, between the rams and the male goats. 18 Is it too slight a thing for you that you should feed in the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pastures? Or that you should drink of the clear waters, that you must foul the rest with your feet? 19 As for My flock, they must eat what you tread down with your feet and drink what you foul with your feet!’”

    Driscoll was the biggest Living Water fouler in my life. Eggerichs is also a hug Living Water fouler. Especially against women.

    Matthew 23:13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.

    We all agree that Stormie’s intentions were probably good. But she also most likely wrote her book as a trauma response. But she wouldn’t go through the door of freedom and good news available to her and she wouldn’t allow other women to go through it either.

    If it grieves our hearts that people destroy the Bible for others, I can only imagine how much it grieves God’s heart.

    • J

      I love that you shared these passages! Thank you!! I’m so used to reading the Bible and seeing a discussion of how bad I am. Worm theology, these blame-shifting books, etc. have not taught me about God’s love. I’m starting to read the Bible differently now. I pray that God continues to silence the modern Pharisees and to tear down the false Jesuses of this era. He brings freedom, not bondage.

      • Mara R

        I was never subjected to worm theology. But even after being a Christian for over a decade and a half, I still didn’t like myself very much.
        So when I overheard a young lady worshipping God and quoting The Songs and applying it to the church, my internal reaction was, “My Bible doesn’t say that.”

        Back then, I was aware of the tradition of allegorical readings of The Songs. But the book the fouled up the waters for that reading was “The Act of Marriage”.

        Long and short, I found out that my Bible DID say what that young lady was saying. And that led to an over two and a half decade journey of meditating on that divine love poem. And that has led to freedom from so much hurt and rejection in so many areas.

    • Lasta

      Mara, if you don’t mind, I’m really interested in what Driscoll taught that wrecked you so bad. Driscoll is a character I have mixed feelings about, because he saw a problem that I also see when no one else saw it. And yet his solutions have poisoned the well to the point where it’s become a cautionary tale. I’d like to not repeat mistakes.

      • LMJ

        Maybe his solutions were fixing something that didn’t need fixing.

      • LMJ

        Maybe because his solutions were fixing a “problem” that was only in his own eyes?

      • LMJ

        Maybe his solutions were fixing something that didn’t need fixing.

      • Mara R

        Where do I even begin? There is way more info out there than I feel like wrangling in this moment. One big issue was his infamous sermon he preached in Scotland on “The Good Bits” of The Songs. I don’t have time to try to find it but you could probably find it yourself. But in it he tells women without batting an eye, that Jesus commands them to service their husbands orally. Not God, not just saying that oral sex is an option. JESUS COMMANDS. I consider that sexual and spiritual abuse.

        But there is, oh so much more. But for your reading pleasure, I will link to a review of Driscoll’s “Real Marriage” book by a lady who is both a complementarian and a former member of Driscoll’s church. She remains gracious and shows great integrity.

        As you have been commenting under Keith’s most recent post, I couldn’t help but slightly compare and contrast you with Driscoll. Long and short, you represent your position with far more grace, humility, and empathy than anything he ever could. I know we really shouldn’t armchair diagnose people, but, to me, Driscoll is quite the raging Narcissist.

        • Mara R

          Reticent? Had to look that one up. 🙂

          It actually had way more to do with being at work on a busy day of emotional and physical upheaval and having limited access to internet.

          There was no way that I could get to the bottom of everything and search out what I really wanted to link. So I just had to find a couple things and slap them down fast. I have tons more links but with continue to go easy because it can definitely be overwhelming.

          Here I’m going to link one of my responses to the Peasant Princess (PP) teaching and refuting what Driscoll said concerning a certain verse. This was back in the day when I wouldn’t name him for fear of any sort of law suit. Because, yes, that is how he was and still is. I went back and put his name in some of the posts where I deal with PP. But I can’t remember which. He is known as the main shock jock preacher.

          I look at his PP concerning Songs 1:4. While not flagrantly horrible in itself like his take on a few other verses, you have to consider that his series is like death by a thousand cuts.

          • Mara R

            Wanatcheethehatchet (WTH) was who I really wanted to bring into the conversation yesterday.

            Like Wendy Alsup who I link to above for her book review, WTH also attended Driscoll’s church for a time. I had him do a guest series refuting Driscoll’s claim that The Songs could ONLY be about married sex and that ALL allegorical readings of it were to be mocked, ridiculed, and slapped down with a much deadly, manly force as his pornified heart could muster.

            Again, a huge slap in the face to me, someone struggling in a marriage to a brain/personality disorder and meditating on some allegorical aspects of The Songs for healing. WTH and I agree that The Songs, as divine poetry, is big enough to be looked upon as being about sex AND being read as allegory.


            WTH was deeply disappointed in the Christianity Today Podcast on The Rise and Fall. He felt like it was a meandering mess that failed to deal with the real issues. So far, his favorite book about the problems of that time in Seattle is “Biblical Porn: Affect, Labor, and Pastor Mark Driscoll’s Evangelical Empire” by Jessica Johnson. I’ve read it. It’s written by a sociologist so can be technically heavy at times, but well worth the read if you are as invested in “What the h&ll even happened at Mars Hill” as I have been.

            Still no where near the bottom of everything that could be said about Driscoll. But this is where I will leave it for now unless there are other questions.

      • Lasta

        Definitely coming into focus there. I listened to the CT podcast a while back through that episode. Good to freshen up on it and look at that real marriage review.

        One lens of seeing manhood (now I’m working through any possible “that’s what she said” euphemisms every time I say that — thanks Jo R) is “proved trustworthy to wield deadly power,” since masculinity is dangerous stuff. The curriculum I use to train men is almost wholly dedicated to responsibly integrating the scary primal drives that we’d rather repress (that’s how you actually beat porn). I think of trained law enforcement officers or special forces operatives. Men who use deadly force are…calm. They don’t get easily flustered. They certainly don’t feel like online debates or political arguments are this life and death threat. And the closer they are to actually having to discharge a firearm or confront a madman, the calmer they are trained to make themselves. I feel the contrast with Driscoll, the way he throws around this macho “I’m gonna kick your ass” energy. It feels juvenile, like boys recklessly playing with guns or fire.

        The sex stuff is interesting. I’ll admit that I laughed the first time I heard Driscoll tell the “this is a great church” story since it was so audacious, especially going back to the 90s when so many churches wouldn’t dream of talking so frankly about sex. But yeah, there’s a pretty big difference between “hey, have you thought of trying this to get his attention?” (still an inappropriate conversation between a male pastor and a female parishioner) and “Jesus told me to tell you get over your hangups and blow your hubby.”

        The more I think about it, the more it makes sense how violating it would feel to a woman who loves the song of songs. It’s as if Peter had corralled Mary, Martha, and the other Women and said: “Listen, if you really love the lord, I want you to find the most expensive jar of perfume. A years wages is about the right amount. Get down there, break it over his feet, and use your hair to wash them with it. You think you’re too good for this? Got too many scruples? Come on – step up and serve! God commands it!” It turns something beautiful and vulnerable into something slavish and humiliating. If Mary had already wanted to do this out of her passionate heart, now it’s poisoned by the command. It’s like there’s no longer even the option to be loving with it.

        But here again I run into my central premise: the same thing that is abusive for women also deprives men of manhood. That’s why these directives need to be descriptive rather than prescriptive. It’s fine to say that in a good marriage sex should be abundant. But when it’s a dry bedroom, the solution isn’t “guilt the wife into putting out,” it’s to ask some “why” questions. It’s an indicator of a problem or series of problems that need to be addressed. Chief among them for me: how is the man presenting himself to her? Is he an overgrown child? Is he dumping a bunch of emotionality on her or checked out all the time? Is he working effectively? Is his fitness game on point? Does he make her feel appreciated and loved in general, flirt playfully with her, and use some teasing and push/pull to help her want it? And does she know deep down that she’s always free to say no, so that there is no hint of compulsion or recrimination? There’s a whole journey that these sexual drives would naturally take him on, if only we didn’t insist he get the payoff without any of the work.

        Thanks for letting me react to your thoughts. It’s really helpful.

        • Jo R

          You actually sum up quite accurately “Christian” marriage as preached in evangelical resources when you say, “if only we didn’t insist he get the [sexual] payoff without any of the work.”

          I didn’t include the first half of your sentence because it reduces every area of a man’s life to corraling his sex drive in various directions, which is an incredibly low view of men. That is, you seem to be saying that a man’s primary life focus and even his basic identity is wrapped up in his sex drive and what he does, or doesn’t do, with it. I’m just going to point out that that theory is quite disgusting, as it eliminates the image of God in human beings and puts humans on the same level as the animal kingdom.

          Are you by any chance new to this website? If so, you might want to look at Sheila’s past series on mental load and emotional labor. The quick summary is, women want partners in marriage.

          Women are not looking to become single mothers the moment they say “I do” because their immature, childish husbands think a wife is nothing more than a live-in maid, accountant, personal assistant, and on-demand prostitute who exists merely to serve his every whim with zero reciprocation. If that sounds crass, well, welcome to a woman’s world in twenty-first-century North American Christianity. And we’re supposed to be HAPPY about it, because it’s “God’s will.” 🤮

          Nor are women looking to be dictators themselves, though wanting to be treated with respect as God’s daughters is seen as somehow demanding absolute obedience to her iron hand.

          We want husbands who are going to actually be involved, responsible adults. If a man were single, he’d have to do more than just plop on the couch after work and all weekend long. He’d have to clean house, cook meals, shop, pay bills, schedule his own medical and other appointments, get to those appointments without being reminded seventeen times, and do all the other adulting that must be done. Women are tired of men who think that marriage somehow excuses men from all that adulting. And life gets infinitely more complicated as kids are added, so way too many women wind up with an extra child in the house, who refuses to lift a hand because … he’s the man??? 🤔

          It doesn’t matter how one frames it or how nice of vocabulary someone uses, but hierarchy and complementarianism are bad for women, and also for men.

          • Jo R

            Oh, and as for the observation that women in complementarian marriages are “happy”…

            That’s because we’re told ad nauseum:

            “Be content in everything” (which apparently is never told to men who think they should be having even more orgasms, but I digress.)

            “What are you complaining about? At least he doesn’t beat you up.” (Wow, THAT’S a low bar for what makes a good husband, but I digress.)

            “It’s better to give than receive, so give your husband the supreme pleasure whenever he wants, and don’t keep score, because love does not keep score.” (So when the orgasm count is a thousand to zero in the husband’s favor over several decades, apparently he’s not keeping track either, but I digress.)

            “Consider others as better than yourselves.” (Which obviously does not apply to husbands with regards to how they treat their wives, but I digress.)

            (Perhaps other would reply with the things they heard?)

            All of us who have responded to your comments put on that shiny, happy face, sometimes for DECADES, because we were told it was sinful for Christians to not show the joy of the Lord at all times, especially when we were out in public and super especially at church, because our “witness” would be damaged. We were so conditioned to ignore those little promptings, because the powers that be were absolutely sure that those promptings were just WOMEN’S sinful nature and rebellion against God. Yeah, we were never told that maybe, just maybe, those promptings were in fact the Holy Spirit trying to communicate that all was not well.

            And we all thought we were alone in our marital loneliness and despair, because every other woman had the shiny, happy face, so clearly it really WAS that I, as an individual woman, was truly just in rebellion to what God wanted.

            Then when women start to find out that no, we’re not alone in these thoughts and reactions, that maybe something really is wrong with what all these pastors, teachers, and ***the Bible translators on whom they relied*** said and taught, then yeah, there’s going to be a quite drastic response. Centuries of being held down, held back, and silenced WILL come rushing out.

        • Mara R

          Lasta: “But here again I run into my central premise: the same thing that is abusive for women also deprives men of manhood.”

          I find this sentence to be very troubling. And I’m not even going to get into what you are directly referring to.

          I honestly don’t think that women have the power, in any way, to strip a man of his manhood. Unless she’s a surgeon and can remove his testicles. I am not try to be disrespectful or dismissive of your concerns. I just truly believe that if a man is in the position of having his manhood deprived by a woman, the problem existed long before she showed up.

          Also not trying to oversimplify this. But every time I see this dynamic come up, the way it is solved is for women to make themselves smaller in order to not deprive a man of his manhood. I think I’ve heard enough from you that this is not your solution. But when you make statements like your sentence above, you set up an unhealthy dynamic that can slide very easily into this.

          Gonna link something else. The regulars here have already seen it, but you haven’t. I don’t like linking so much of my own stuff here, but I’ve had this conversation so many times, it’s just easier to do it this way.

          • Lasta

            I think you misunderstand me. Im not saying women strip men of their manhood. I agree with you that they don’t have that particular power, and blaming women is weak sauce. I’m saying that a church culture that gives them something for nothing stunts the growth of manhood. Make more sense? Mind rereading what I wrote with that understanding?

          • Jo R

            What I hear is that you seem to be saying maturity is gendered. Which is true as far as physical bodies go, because of puberty.

            What traits of spiritual, emotional, mental, and relational maturity are specifically male or female?

            Aren’t mature men and women much more alike than different in those areas?

          • Lasta

            We’re more alike than we are different, for sure. And few sexual differences in temperament are truly absolute, I just find the archetypes to be beautiful. Let me ask you this: what do you like about being a woman? And what do you find attractive about a man as a man?

          • Jo R

            Well, unfortunately, I don’t fit your archetype at all. I loathe basically everything that’s considered “feminine,” and no, “loathe” is not an exaggeration. I have a degree in aerospace engineering, I hate makeup, my hairstyle needs nothing more than a single brushing after a shampoo, I can’t stand dresses and skirts, I hate typical female chitchat, I like using power tools, I love driving on our curvy country roads, I love our Scag, and just yesterday, I did a house maintenance project with some of those aforementioned power tools.

            What’s attractive in a man, more specifically, a husband, is what I’ve been saying. Be the other adult in the house. Don’t make her be his maid, personal assistant, and on-demand sex slave, such that he thinks he gets to come home from work and plop on the couch all evening and all weekend. She shouldn’t be Mommy to a full-grown adult, and he shouldn’t expect her to be.

            Maturity, in my mind, has nothing masculine or feminine about it. Maturity is about behavior, attitudes, and actions, none of which are particularly male or female.

            Do you think there are masculine and feminine spiritual gifts? Masculine and feminine fruits of the Spirit?

          • Lasta

            I hear you. Is there anything at all you like about being a woman? Is there a single thing you like about your husband being a man?

          • Jo R

            If I have to fit some 🐄 💩 cultural stereotypes about being a woman, then no, there’s nothing I like about being a woman. Society may not have held me down too much, but the church most certainly has.

            You may as well ask me if I like my eye color or that I wear a size 9 shoe. Those things seem about as relevant at this point in history.

            I have two arms, two legs, all the usual parts in all the usual places (except for ones that had to be surgically removed for health issues). I do not focus on the fact that some of those parts are female only. Why do so many other people feel the need to focus on those?

          • Angharad

            “I just find the archetypes to be beautiful”

            Lasta, I’m guessing that perhaps you and your wife both fit into the stereotype of man and woman? (I don’t mean that negatively in any way, simply that your natural bent is toward being what has always been regarded as a ‘typical man’ and your wife toward being a ‘typical woman’.) There is absolutely nothing wrong with that as long as you don’t assume that every other man and woman feels the same way. I’m certainly not an archetypal woman, but my husband loves me for who I am. And vice versa.

            Jo R has just listed a lot of things she likes, and your response is to ask “Is there anything at all you like about being a woman?” Whether you intend it or not, the implication is that the things she has listed as liking are not ‘womanly’ and you are trying to find some ‘womanly’ things that she likes.

            The problem is that for many who don’t fit into the ‘stereotypes’, we’ve had years of being made to feel less mature, less spiritual, less godly because of this. Or of being untrue to our own natures by trying to take an interest in what Christian culture has decided are ‘appropriate’ interests for our gender.

            It’s my biggest beef with books like ‘Wild at Heart’ and ‘Captivating’ – I don’t have an issue with anyone saying how great it is that a Christian man can love wild camping or a Christian woman can love pretty dresses – my issue is when someone starts insisting that ALL Christian men have to love wild camping and ALL Christian women have to love pretty dresses.

          • Jo R

            Exactly, Angharad! You’ve expressed my thoughts extremely well.

            Lasta, I LOVE being a female who has done and who likes the things I listed. Is that good enough? Or, as Angharad suggested, is that not womanly enough, whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean?

          • Lasta

            Angharad, I agree that the archetypes don’t have absolute claim. I also think they have more claim than “completely arbitrary.” There’s a sweet spot I think between “let’s make people who don’t fit the average mold feel like they have no place” and “let’s have absolutely no gendered guidance for the average Christian man or woman.”

            It seems like there is a reactionary impulse here that ANY gendered guidance will always be bad, because a lot of it has been bad in the past. My observation, in having a professional interest in helping men to be better men, is that Sheila’s criticisms of evangelical gendered takes are pretty solid. I didn’t expect to come to that conclusion. I wouldn’t have agreed six years ago. I had to become a solid confident man to discover how infantilizing a lot of these toxic takes on women are FOR MEN.

            Are you sure that I’m the enemy here?

          • Mara R

            Lasta: “It seems like there is a reactionary impulse here that ANY gendered guidance will always be bad, because a lot of it has been bad in the past.”

            Not sure they are trying to make you the enemy. I know that I’m not. I much prefer your “The buck stops here” attitude than the horrible stuff we are used to dealing with.

            I would say that your sentence that I quote above sort of glosses over how truly bad it has been. I think it might be better to look at it as, “Okay, I see that the bulk of teaching on gender in the Evangelical church has been sexually, emotionally, and spiritually abusive besides being blasphemous. So I see why there would be such a reaction. It’s not only understandable, it’s needed in order to push back on all the trampled boundaries that women have faced for decades.” And “I hope to come alongside and help by making men understand how bad it has been and leading them into a place that isn’t sexually, emotionally, and spiritually abusive, and doesn’t lead to the husband idolatry that has been shoved down your throats for far too long.” Cause, if I understand your heart from your writings, you are also concerned about these teachings that give men all the authority while giving women all the responsibility.

            As mentioned before, I won’t stand in your way if you are truly helping individual men to grow up and become responsible human beings. And I have no reason to believe that you aren’t. For whatever reason, our culture has failed men. And for whatever other reasons the church’s solutions, historically, had only made things far worse.

            And I also go back to what I’ve said before. These gender constructs are more cultural than biblical. In Jesus Christ, there is neither male or female. When demanded which of the seven brothers would be the wife of the one who was widowed by all seven of them, Jesus told them that they just didn’t get it. We are looking to a spiritual kingdom. Obsessing over gender in the here and now doesn’t build that spiritual kingdom. And people don’t seem to get that.

          • Lasta

            What a generous response there, Mara. I’ll give your suggestions some thought.

          • Jo R

            Still waiting on your lists of male and female virtues, spiritual gifts, and fruit of the Spirit.

            What, in your mind, makes an ideal woman (and man), since my self-description is clearly not aligned with what you think or expect?

            And Mara’s rewordings at 1:35 pretty much nail the issues for me as well.

          • Lasta

            I think a list from me would not serve as a blessing to you, Jo. I won’t be making one.

          • Angharad

            ‘ There’s a sweet spot I think between “let’s make people who don’t fit the average mold feel like they have no place” and “let’s have absolutely no gendered guidance for the average Christian man or woman.” ‘

            Can you tell us what kind of ‘gendered guidance’ you think would be the ‘sweet spot’? I’m genuinely interested to know how this might work.

          • Jo R

            “I think a list from me would not serve as a blessing to you, Jo.”

            Hmmm, perhaps you wouldn’t mind letting me be the judge of that? I think it would actually be extremely instructive, and not just for me, but for everybody else who’s been hanging out here in the comments.

          • Lasta


            I have all of ZERO opinion on what would be helpful for women. That’s y’all’s rodeo. Best I can do is, “tell me how you want to be supported in what you want to achieve.” The message I’m getting here is, “these toxic teachings are doing harm, please help us call them out and stop them.” OK, maybe I lied there. I do have a strong opinion on NOT teaching women that they are called to modesty in order to help weak men not lust. My primary angle is on the male side: it’s bad for men to think that other people are in control of our sexual power and we’re just victims. But women tell me that this teaching is terrible for them too, making them feel like there is something wrong or wicked about their bodies. Anyway, scripture calls women to modesty on the basis of affirming their own dignity, not to protect the poor defenseless prince trapped in the tower by the lust dragon.

            I have a lot of strong opinions on what is helpful for men, particularly young men (though porn-addiction acquired during puberty keeps men in the state of being boys on the inside – 90% of men in the church). I think boys going through puberty are beset with crazy urges and feelings that they don’t understand: sexual aggressiveness, violent physicality, and a near infinite appetite for status. In Christian circles, they are ashamed of this, and try to repress it. “You struggle with lust, anger, and pride – how very sinful you are, young man!” I think these boys need seasoned men to show them how what seems scary is actually an amazing power, that wielded with love, their “radiant desire, noble strength, and aspiration for glory” is incredibly beneficial to the world. They need to be taught that they are like Miles Morales awkwardly trying to receive and control a superpower. Even though these things come with terrible potential for harm, the world is desperate to see them become alive. They have so much to offer. And that these steps are practically how it is done.

            If some of what I teach is helpful for women, great. Happy to share some of the wisdom I’ve learned. But for the most part, my wife doesn’t relate to it (unlike young men, that drink it like water in the desert). And that’s totally fine. But if I had been taught about masculinity when I was young, I would have not given my wife 15 years of misery. The church didn’t have to teach this in times past, for a variety of reasons (mostly because embodied LIFE taught this stuff to men). As far as who should hear this? Any young men that feel a real longing for it. We actually try to screen out anyone who isn’t bought in or is being guilted into it by someone else. If a Christian man is quiet and gentle and not doing a bit of harm to anyone, we’re not gonna tell him he’s not a man and look down on him.

          • Angharad

            Lasta, thank you for your response.

            If you are not able to say what ‘gendered guidance’ is appropriate, then it might be better not to suggest that ‘gendered guidance’ is appropriate at all. Any reference to gendered guidance is basically implying that there are some kind of behaviours/characteristics/interests that are appropriate for a specific gender and some that are not. This in turn implies that those of us who are non-typical somehow need to change, but without specifying HOW, so that we are not even able to consider if you may or may not be right.

            I wonder if the reason you are unable to produce any definite guidance is because, deep down, you realise that your insistence on gendered guidance is due to your discomfort with those who don’t fit your preferred stereotypes? I think this is very understandable – most of us have a tendency to feel more at home around people like ourselves – but it’s something that we need to learn to deal with.

            Perhaps instead of spinning in circles trying to work out what ‘gendered guidance’ is appropriate for Christians, it would be better to just get on with encouraging and supporting each other to make the best use of the gifts and abilities God has given us? After all, a lot of gender constructs have changed over time – I doubt you encourage many of the men you work with to take up embroidery, yet at one point in history, that was a male task, and there are many cultures even today where agriculture is primarily the responsibility of women, although in Western culture, it is usually considered more masculine.

          • Lasta

            Did you miss the part where it changed my life and saved my marriage?

          • Jo R


            I’m at a complete loss to understand how a man who so boldly proclaims he made his wife miserable for fifteen years due to his porn addiction cannot answer a simple question about male vs. female virtues, spiritual gifts, and fruit of the Spirit.

            You’ve given lots of broad strokes about your philosophy and viewpoint, so why are you so reticent to fill in a couple of details, especially when you’ve been directly asked for them?

            If I were cynical… Oh, wait, I am, a little. 🤔

          • Lasta

            I’m curious why you want the response so bad, Jo. Haven’t you responded negatively to all I’ve offered so far? What do you want to get out of this?

          • Angharad

            “Did you miss the part where it changed my life and saved my marriage?”

            No, I didn’t, and I’m very happy for both of you that your marriage is in a better place. If the changes you have made to your own life are working for you and both you and your wife are thriving as a result, that is wonderful. But something that works for one person may not be relevant for everyone. It’s one thing to talk about how adopting traditional gendered roles has benefitted you personally, and quite another to say that every Christian would benefit from ‘gendered guidance’.

            If you genuinely believe that Christian men and women should have specific ‘gendered’ virtues and behaviours, then why not tell us what those virtues and behaviours are? If you are simply sharing what has worked for you and your wife, then why not say ‘this has worked really well for us’, without suggesting that we all need to behave the same way?

            If you think women are wrong to like manual work, driving, engineering etc, then just be honest and say so! But don’t pretend to have no opinion while at the same time talking about the place for ‘gendered guidance’ for Christians and asking what we like about ‘being women’ when we’ve already told you but you don’t think our likes are ‘womanly’ enough.

            You may be wondering why this is a big issue for so many of us – it’s because we do not fit your ‘traditional gendered’ ideas, and we have had a lifetime of being made to feel abnormal because of it. For example, I can think of only ONE ladies’ meeting I have been to in my entire Christian life that I have found beneficial, and that was a woman with a testimony of God’s grace in her life that I think would have benefited anyone who heard it, male or female. I’m sick of being fobbed off with pink marshmallow fluff because that’s what women are supposed to need, while the men get to have church events that are interesting, fun and actually have some worthwhile teaching in them too! So perhaps you can understand why I’m not keen on the idea of the church issuing more gendered guidance!

          • Jo R

            I would like those lists because you have been speaking in a lot of generalities in lots of long paragraphs, so I, for one, would like to see you come down to brass tacks. I’m not asking for exhaustive lists, so how about giving four or five in each category for each sex?

            The fact that you refuse, funnily enough on the basis that YOU don’t think it would help me, is QUITE telling.

            Frankly, your lack of response has a pretty serious “Now listen, little lady, you wouldn’t understand what the big man is saying” stench to it.

        • Karen

          Lasta, please forget everything you’ve learned in that red pill inspired “recovery program”, apologize to the men you’re coaching, and get into counseling with good mental health counselor who specializes in getting to real root of sex addiction. My husband’s CSAT says sex/porn addiction IS NOT about sex. It’s a maladaptive coping mechanism usually developed in childhood.

          Jesus’ teachings are not gendered. Men and women have the same rights and responsibilities.

          You said “I think of trained law enforcement officers or special forces operatives. Men who use deadly force are…calm. They don’t get easily flustered. They certainly don’t feel like online debates or political arguments are this life and death threat. And the closer they are to actually having to discharge a firearm or confront a madman, the calmer they are trained to make themselves.” Yes, and that is toxic. I know. My husband was an MP in the Marines. After we were married, he was a SWAT team sniper and undercover narcotics agent. All the things that you consider manly. But in order to do that, he had to shut himself down and dehumanize people. He spent two years of therapy unpacking that and learning how to become an emotionally healthy, caring, empathetic, whole person. Please don’t romanticize things you haven’t lived and please don’t teach other men that it’s healthy.

          • Lasta

            Sounds like him shutting down his emotions and dehumanizing people wrecked havok on you and your marriage. I’m so glad he’s gotten to where he can be healthy, caring, and empathetic. Grace to you.

      • Nessie

        Among the many issues Mara shared and then some, you can add a pornified style of relating to Driscoll’s list. To learn about that, check out Andrew Bauman’s work, especially The Sexually Healthy Man.
        He works from a Christian perspective but I think there is enough there to share with the secular group I believe you said you work with.

        • Lasta

          It’s too bad I missed the commenting window on Sheila’s interview with him a few weeks back. I’d like to listen to that.

    • Annie

      That’s a great response! I have to say that in my early 50s I picked up the Boundaries book and it changed my life. It showed me through scripture how what I had been taught my whole life about being a woman was backwards. When I learned to change my behavior, those around me changed too—in a positive way. It made me wonder what else the church had wrong, since I had worked so hard my whole life at following their teachings but still wasn’t happy. Between COVID and caring for a relative in hospice I had a lot of time at home to really dig deep into the Bible. I decided I wanted no outside influences and would read the Word alone. Aside from looking up words or researching cultural, geographical or historical content related to what I was reading I purposefully read everything through a new lens. I asked God to reveal Truth to me. It was amazing what I learned and how, for the first time in 40+ years, I am not only excited about what I learned, but I’m confident, can defend it, and I’m happy and secure in what I believe. I had to be willing to unlearn the lies I had been taught, brave enough to walk away from the “church” I had been going to and release myself from the guilt and judgement that had been drilled into me my whole life. It wasn’t easy letting go of what I thought was true, but once the Truth was revealed I just couldn’t get enough of it. It’s so easy to spend hours at a time devouring the Word, talking about it, getting excited about it and living it out now. I know churches think they are sincere, but the entire institution has gotten so far away from its roots that’s it’s become difficult to tell the wheat from the tares. The ONLY way to find Truth is to spend time with Him and see what He has to say for Himself and stop trusting what other people say He says. Don’t shelve the Bible. Shelve everything else—even if that means stepping away from the church for a season and spending the Sabbath solely with God. He will reveal Himself to all who seek Him. Shalom

  5. J

    All of the books you’ve reviewed, Sheila, are showing us the larger pattern in this era’s teachings – the age old idea that keeps getting recycled and repackaged:


    “The woman you gave me, LORD . . .”

    I read this book around the same time as Every Man’s Battle. It’s really a one-two punch. “Your husband can’t help himself, so here’s all the things you need to do to keep him from sinning. Too late? He’s already an abusive creep? Okay, now here’s all the things you need to do to get him back on track. And if those things don’t work, it’s your fault. Don’t blame your husband for his behavior. Men deserve grace and to keep their power, regardless of what they do. You, little wifey? You’ll be rewarded for how pretty, sexual, organized, and forgiving you are. You have no power in life because you are an easily deceived woman, but you are responsible for everything,”

    It’s all a racket to keep the blame off of men and to keep the power with men. Do I think all men have this goal? Of course not. Some do (Gothard, et al), but most are just carrying on the lies that were fed to them. And, honestly, it’s pretty nice when someone absolves you of guilt or responsibility. My husband was overjoyed when he read Every Man’s Battle because it normalized his struggles with lust and it put the burden on me to “help” him instead of on him to grow up and practice self control.

    Jesus warned us about the enemy of our souls. As a young wife , I never dreamed of finding the enemy in the books the church was recommending. Yet there the enemy is, saying, “Didn’t God say . . . ?”

  6. Nathan

    From the user stories above
    > > I believed that a “believing wife can save her unbelieving husband.”

    I believe that this can happen, but there are two caveats.
    1. This happens very very rarely, and it’s bad idea to suffer for years in the hopes that your situation is the one in a million that will work itself out.
    2. The unbelieving and/or abusive spouse must, on at least some level, recognize their errors and WANT to change

    For the most part, especially when it’s husbands backed by certain “Christian” teachings, they have no intention of changing. After all, they’re in charge, they always get their way, they never have to worry about their wives feelings, and anytime they make a mistake, it’s HER fault. They have all the authority and none of the responsibility.

    • Estelle

      Nathan, I believe it is possible where the unbelieving spouse is a normal person who sees that the believing spouse has a ‘something extra’ and wants to have it too. I heard my friend’s testimony recently where they were Hindu and she became Christian and eventually he started going to church with her because he saw she was different and had a joy and light that he wanted to experience too.

  7. Amy

    I absolutely get the shelving the Bible comment. I had to shelve my Bible. I recently came to the conclusion that even attending church needs to be off the table for the foreseeable future. I have so much church trauma and my church (perhaps former church??) responded and continues to respond poorly, so I just can’t. I need healing and Church apparently isn’t a place of healing.

    • Jo R


      Mr. R. and I literally discussed this yesterday, and I mentioned that Jesus said “where two or three are gathered in my name…”

      Now, as a knitter who occasionally has trouble counting to three (and only to three, not going on to four, nor stopping at two without then proceeding immediately on to three), I’m almost positive Hubs and me is two.

      Will someone check my math?

      • CMT

        Your math is fine. But don’t forget, five is RIGHT OUT.

        • Jo R


          I knew I was forgetting a bit!

      • Nessie

        Jo R,

        I don’t have a STEM type degree, but I have worked with kids and, fwiw, I back up your math as correct. 😄

  8. Taylor

    “Power of an Praying (anything)” is basically name-it-and-claim-it theology. Which most of the very conservative male authors/pastors/churches would never subscribe to. It’s theological hypocrisy.

    • n

      yes! so true! I never thought of it that way before.

  9. Nessie

    I didn’t even read most of these books and they nearly destroyed my faith! The women that the pastor found favorable for their “wisdom,” were those that had read them and/or mostly grew up in these teachings. So I would go to them for advice, or discussion on scriptures, or advice and their answers were influenced by what they had read or been taught. Their advice, based on these teachings, kept me in a bad marital situation, guilty, and feeling worthless. How does that align with a good, loving God??

    I plan to get a new bible soon as my old one has many notes in it from my time at that church and, as I read over the notes, I:
    1. See how blatantly misogynistic some are,
    2. Feel triggered by some,
    3. Realize now that, if those pastors were that off their teaching and understanding of scripture (from the original, contextual, and cultural understanding) then I don’t trust anything they shared is accurate.

    I literally am shunning a decade or more of mostly false teachings that now mar my copy of God’s message. That makes me sad. And yes, I too have basically shelved my bible for several years now, and feel guilty over that at times. I so appreciate when there are positive verses shared on this site. It has become a semi-temporary bible study replacement for me (especially when it points to Marg M’s site, Mara’s, et al.) while I heal and try to rebuild trust again- in my bible. 😕

  10. Lisa Johns

    Y’all who have had to shelve your Bibles (and I do get that! I’ve actually had to somewhat shelve my prayer life, but that’s another story) — give the Passion translation a try. I don’t agree with everything, but the reading is so different and flows so well, and the footnotes are phenomenal! And you get the WORD without it feeling like the stuff that was so harmful!

  11. Laura

    I get the whole “shelve the Bible” bit. Not long after I accepted salvation nearly 30 years ago and heard a sexist message from the pastor, I stopped going to church and refused to read the Bible. I thought it was sexist and did not want to experience more harm. Had I read what the Bible really said after those verses on submission in Ephesians 5, maybe things would have been different. I was afraid that God was a male chauvinist like the pastor. Unfortunately, it took years for me to realize that God is not a chauvinist and does not believe that one sex is above the other. Trying to get others to realize that is another story.

    Those Power of a Praying [ ] is pretty much a franchise in the Christian publishing world. As if you need to have a different type of prayer for different people.

  12. SB

    I felt like God liked men more than women since I was a teen. I tried reading the Bible and going to church off and on over the years but nothing they said ever changed that view. After reading these posts I’m slowly starting to alter those thoughts but I’m almost 50 so it might be too little too late. Do these churches and the people in them realize how many women they are pushing away from God?

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I don’t think they care, to be honest. It’s not like it hasn’t been pointed out to them. They show that they are more interested in maintaining a power structure than in seeking God’s heart.

  13. Andrea

    Coming here a day late to say, Sheila, have you seen any of the peer-reviewed studies on forgiveness and how it can actually perpetuate abuse?
    Here’s a NBC News report on it:
    and here’s an entire list of journal articles free to download:
    (I clicked on the first one and noticed it included two authors from Christian colleges, Calvin and Hope.)

    Love your work, you know you made my day about a month ago! 🙂

    • Jo R

      I’m guessing because people and especially women, think that “forgiveness” and “reconciliation” are exactly the same thing.

      They’re not.

      • RS

        I really liked the book, Debunking the Myths of Forgive-and-Forget by Kay Bruner. That tiny book cleared so much up for me, and I have recommended it to everyone. I really liked her response to War Room, which has a similar premise and was, perhaps, founded on this book:

        Shelia, I look forward to reading your blog posts every day. You have done more for me in helping my marriage than anyone. I was a mess inside after years of battling my husband over this idea of submission. I picked up your book, The Great Sex Rescue, because my daughter was getting married, and I wanted to see what you had to say about this issue. She had been traumatized by the modesty message my husband had given to her. . . . and when I started reading the book as an overview for talking with her, I ended up crying, because the book was my story. That book answered questions I had posed to my husband for YEARS that he never considered because, well, all the books and all the preaching and everything pointed to his authority. I have finally felt vindicated and, most importantly, validated. I couldn’t heal until I felt the validation and the emotional and social support. You provided that. I also, through you, connected to Neurodiverse Christian Couples podcast, and that answered so many more questions I had.

        Counseling in our marriage only worked once I felt the strength that I needed and found the resources that validated my experience. The counselor, even with his own wrong thoughts on several issues (revolving around submission and forgiveness), couldn’t budge me and didn’t persuade my husband either, because, by that time, I had already started to convince my husband as a result of your writing (as well as info I gathered from Kay Bruner, Jonathan Trotter, Leslie Vernick and episodes from the Neurodiverse Christian Couples podcast).

        I have found WAY more help online in my healing than through any counselor I, or we, have tried. All counselors I had found believed in male headship and authority. And THAT was the root of the problems! My husband is slowly changing his mind about male authority, and as a result of the counseling and your writing, our marriage is on the healing end. I have never felt better in my marriage. I am now happy. Thank you so much

      • Lisa Johns

        That would be my guess. It’s the stew I ate for years, and it was quite poisonous.

  14. Kay

    Thank you for your work, Sheila. This book was in my library along with others like “Fascinating Womanhood”, and “Me Obey Him?” and I swam in the cesspool for far too long.

    The book that created the most damage long term for me, however, was “The Excellent Wife” by Martha Peace.

    It appeared to be so biblically grounded, and I tend to be very conscientious.

    I was in a covertly abusive marriage (coercive control) – and her advice for the options open to me was profoundly destructive – as were the options available to me to speak to, or to rectify the situation.

    I don’t know if you’re planning another blog series like this one that would address Martha Peace’s book, but I would love to proclaim from the rooftops that people should stay away!!

    Especially as other book lists that don’t give a completely free pass to books like “Love and Respect” still gush over Peace’s book with minimal attention given to just HOW destructive it’s acknowledged shortfalls ACTUALLY are.

    • Lisa Johns

      I think the books like that were every bit as abusive as our covert husbands were. I think the Lord uses the paper they were printed on to fuel the fire of the ninth circle of hell.

  15. n

    Thank you, Bare Marriage team. This has been needed so long. An APSATS certified betrayal trauma therapist literally just recommended this book to me a few months ago and I didn’t have the energy to try to raise my concerns and just moved on to another therapist. Now I have something I can email to the previous one. Thank you.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes! Please email the therapist the downloadable one-sheet. They need to see it. This isn’t okay!

  16. S

    And of course this book characterizes sex as something a man”needs” lest he go insane, but that women conversely don’t need or have no interest in. The author in fact said that it’s normal for a woman to never want sex (it’s not, unless there is trauma/medical or physical issues involved).

  17. Emmy

    I never read The Power of the Praying Wife because of the simple fact it was not available in my country. I did not even know such book existed. The teachings, though, sound familiar. There were enough other books and sermons and preachers who promoted very similar stuff in Europe. If you went to an Evangelical or Pentecostal or Charismatic Church, it was hard to avoid them.

    I believed in that stuff too. It sounded so good and biblical, and I sincerely wanted to please and obey God. I swallowed it all, the bait, the sink, the hook. It was not helpful at all and it had a bad influence on my marriage and on my husband, because this type of teaching fed his sense of entitlement.

    Things took a happier turn when I started to put my foot down and draw some boundaries. I read a secular book called Good Girls go to Heaven, or something like that, which dealt with the dark sides of being a “Good Girl”. Even though not a Christian book it was common sense, and I recognized many things in my own behavior that had not been working to my own advantage…and not to the glory of God either.

    So, I started to implement some changes. I got myself a bank account of my own and I started to earn my own money. It was not much in the beginning, but little by little, it became more. Today I’m supporting our family at least as much as my husband does. I took up academic studies and worked very hard, and today I have a job at a university.

    I started to make independent decisions. While it never was my intention to irritate my husband on purpose or hinder him in anything but just bless him instead, I stopped to ask his opinion about every little thing. When I thought it was time to buy a new vacuum cleaner, and I could afford it, I did it. I was so DONE with his standard responses like “what’s wrong with the one we have” or “can’t the old one be fixed”.

    And I stopped trying to please him all the time. Yes, I still wanted to bless him and to be good and fair and kind towards him and take care of the house and kids and all, but if he did not like the expression on my face or if he thought I did not sound respectful enough while addressing him, I decided: so be it! He does not need to like me! The main thing is I can like myself and be pleased with my own conduct and my own decisions.

    And guess what! My husband has not become the monster I was afraid he may become, nor has he given up Christian faith or become an alcoholic or even impotent. In fact, he has become a much more decent person than he ever was, and he treats me much more better than he did in those days I tried so hard to “submit” to him.

    • Ashley

      Prayer is the most powerful thing you can do! Prayer saved my marriage. I didn’t pray lifeless prayers, I dug deep, I listened to God, He spoke back! With visions and vivid dreams. I never get those things. But I asked and He gave. Power of a Praying Wife was one tool, among many, I used to help guide my prayers. There was no condemnation that I ever felt. Instead I felt my faith grow stronger and I saw my husband begin to heal and slip back into himself and the man God created him to be. I want to clarify that he NEVER knew I was praying for him. So he had no chance to feel entitled. In secret I prayed. In person I stood up and stepped up. It sounds like here that is what most of these women did and that made the difference. Men do not really want a meek woman, that looks weak. They want a bold woman who knows who she is! I understand and agree there are many toxic messages but we also have to realize we need to take ownership of ourselves and our faith. Most of these books are meant to be a guide or resource, but they are not God and not his Word. I welcome a guide but I always make it my own. Most all the complaints and hurts of everyone quoted here are made in a victim mindset. Though you may be a victim don’t take down good people who just want to help. Take ownership, use common sense. If a resource is not working for you, fine, move on. But remember Prayer Is the Most Powerful thing you can do! It does not bring condemnation. It brings relationship and peace with the One true God, the Lover of your soul. Prayer is refreshing and life giving. If you feel condemned when you pray, that is the enemy not God. Breathe and rest in Gods peace. Then ask him to guide you. Then listen. Some stock prayers may help give words to your thoughts and feelings. They are obviously not the only way to pray. This is not said to bring condemnation, though it may sound that way to the broken, it is only meant to bring perspective. When you are hurt you want to be angry. That anger will most often be directed at your abuser (which it should) but also to resources that “didn’t work”. Be careful. I really believe Sheila is not trying to tear down authors. But it really sounds like that is what is happening. Instead we need to remember we are tearing down concepts and remembering the Word of God stands Premier! Never shelve your Bible.

  18. Tj

    That book, along with many others including Ed Cole’s books taught me to shut up and pray. Don’t speak about it because, really, that’s “nagging” isn’t it. Well, I did that and it didn’t stop my marriage from ending due to my Christian husband being addicted to pornography and acting out his needs. Didn’t stop my mother’s marriage to my father from ending after 33 years when he had an affair. My dad taught me that it’s a man’s world and it sure has played out that way. But no more. I am fresh into the deconstruction/reconstruction phase and I am determined to have a voice in my life for once.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *