I'm sure it's not news to you that some people have tried to use this Bible passage to condone unacceptable behavior, such as letting one's husband be verbally, physically, or sexually abusive.
Fortunately, being a doormat to your man is not at all what this international bestseller recommends! (FYI, I don't endorse books or movies that suggest abusive behavior is normal, acceptable, or something women—or anyone else—deserves or should resign themselves to living with.)
Author Costanza Miriano writes truthfully and with an ironic twist about what it means to be a W-O-M-A-N, daughter, friend, wife, mother, caregiver, employee, volunteer, church-goer...while maintaining a great sense of humor.
Ever since reading Pope Awesome and Other Stories by Cari Donaldson, I've been on the lookout for some other books written with the same sound Catholic doctrine that espouses the benefits of marriage and family life, while simultaneously taking an approach that includes being willing to laugh at yourself (and with the members of your household) in order to keep the faith and maintain some semblance of sanity.
The epistolary style of this book makes it delightfully approachable and entertaining. In a series of letters to friends and family at different stages in life, Costanza Miriano writes brilliantly and boldly about Catholic theology using wit and humor. She's a woman after my own heart, who still takes the time to write personal letters to loved ones about some of the heavier, meatier topics in life. I found myself wondering what her letter to me would say. (Maybe, someday I'll find out.)
At long last, I've found the type of book and author I'd been hoping to encounter, again. Now, I have yet another reason to go to Italy some day. Costanza Miriano is a wife, mother of four, a journalist for Rai (Italian public television), and a freelance writer on education and relationships, who has worked with the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Her wildly popular blog has had over 300 million readers in two years, and she's sold over 70,000 copies of her book in Italy.
Marry Him and Be Submissive has had feminists around the world up in arms. Living out Biblical values in a way that is respectful of the dignity of women and sacrificial on the part of both husband and wife seems scary and completely against our modern culture.
Protests have been staged from Italy to Spain over this book. I can understand why women who thought this was a treatise on why it's okay for men to be emotionally or physically abusive to their wives would feel the need to protest such a work. I would be upset and inclined to rip the pages out of such a book, too.
Does the call for a wife to 'be submissive' mean it's okay for a man to be cold-hearted, mean, abusive, or vindictive?
Does this passage from Scripture give a man the right to use his wife for his own selfish purposes rather than honoring her in mind, body, and spirit through a loving covenant and commitment that is meant to last for life?
No, not at all! Not now, not ever!
I highly recommend reading Marry Him and Be Submissive by Costanza Miriano. If you are a woman, are related to or married to one, then I'm certain you'll glean something essential from this book that will help improve your insight into the feminine genius.
I'm going out on a limb here, but I genuinely believe that both secular feminists and conservative Christians will find some truths that they can not only identify with, but also agree on in these pages.
Below is a brief video of the author talking about her book and when and how the virtue of submission makes sense in light of Ephesians call for husband and wives to treat one another with love, humility, and support:
As always, I'm open to friendly debate and discussion of this topic by any who have taken the time to read the book (in English, Italian or one of the other languages it's been translated into). Feel free to leave a comment below and/or e-mail me directly.
I received a free copy of this book from TAN Books in exchange for an honest review. For more information about Marry Him and Be Submissive and/or to order your own copy, click here. Of course, it is also available for purchase on Amazon.