That Book for Wives by Sally Poyzer
I give this book 3.5/5 stars.
While I appreciate the great advice that Sally Poyzer offers in her book, “That Book for Wives,” I felt that overall her approach to becoming a better wife was oversimplified. The theme of the book seems to be, “If you just do what I’m telling you, everything will be ok.” I do think that wives should strive to do all of the things Poyzer says. For example, she has an entire section on how to apologize well, even if your spouse doesn’t apologize first (or at all). I think that is great. Her four point approach is strategic and should be fairly easy to implement. But I feel that the book missed a lot of background, the roots, of how we can change to be better wives. Even if you do everything the book advises, if you aren’t doing it out of a strong and secure devotion to Jesus Christ, being firmly rooted in His love and grace, you will fail. It seems to me that she is assuming the people that read this book already have a really strong and mature walk with the Lord.
I love the way she approaches the book from the perspective that even if your husband isn’t willing to work on your marriage at all, there are still things the wife can do on her own that can improve the marriage relationship.
The next critique is a specific sensitivity for me, and may not apply to all readers. Poyzer glosses over the complications previous sexual abuse can have on a couple’s sexual relationship, suggesting that Jesus can heal, and it may also be a good idea to receive Christian counseling. As someone that works with survivors of sexual abuse, I can tell you that finding a healthy way to relate to your spouse after surviving earlier sexual abuse is a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of counseling, and re-learning truth. It isn’t something that prayer alone can solve, from what I have seen. I know that opinion isn’t very popular, but if that is how we are going to approach sexual abuse, why not simply pray for a better marriage instead of using a book like “That Book for Wives,” to help guide us?
I feel that the book leaned heavily on her own stories, and could have been more scripture focused.
She also doesn’t take boundaries within marriage into consideration, and if you have really bad in-laws, she suggests you do your best to grin and bear it for your husband’s sake. She doesn’t ever mention that there are times when a wife and her husband must place boundaries in their familial relationships for their spiritual and emotional health. Though she does give a list of boundaries she uses to keep herself pure and distanced from the very real threat of adultery. I use the same boundaries in my own life, and have found them to be very effective.
Overall, I think there are a lot of nuggets of wisdom tucked throughout this book. If I was going to recommend a book of this type to a friend though, I would rather recommend “The Peaceful Wife” by April Cassidy.