I am in a book club with some of the ladies from my church, and this is the book we read last month. I absolutely loved it. It is set in the late 1800s in the Arizona territory, and it is loosely based on the life of the author's great great grandmother. It has sort of an Anne of Green Gables feel to it, and maybe that's why I liked it so much: a spunky, strong heroine enduring the ups and downs of life while clinging to her family. It wasn't a deeply profound book--just very very pleasant and life-affirming. There's also a great love story, and let's face it, I am a sucker for romance. (Ryan was wondering why I kept snuggling up to him and kissing his cheek while I was reading the book--it's because it put me in a romantic, grateful mood!) The characters in the book are very endearing and realistic, and I love that.
The title of this book is horrible (as is the cover art). Who would want to be a "surrendered wife?" When a friend at work first told me about this book that she claimed had dramatically changed her marriage, I was skeptical. Ryan and I already have a great marriage, I thought. We're really happy. And we are. But then one day I took a good, hard look at myself and realized what most people probably noticed about me a long time ago: I am a perfectionist and a control freak. This may lead to me being an excellent teacher, but it doesn't always lead to me being an excellent wife. I think I am a pretty good wife--but not an excellent wife. I think Ryan is a much better husband than I am a wife, and that's because he doesn't try to control me or make my decisions for me. So why do I sometimes try to do that to him?
So I started reading the book, and it really has affected the way I look at my relationships with people--not just Ryan. The premise of the book is that when we can surrender our need to control everyone and everything, we will be happier. And when we treat others with respect and trust, they will rise to meet our expectations. As my mother once told me, "you can't change anyone but yourself" (great advice that I think of often), and reading this book makes me want to change my behavior so I can be a better, more supportive spouse. I don't agree with everything that the book says, but I agree with a lot of it, and I've enjoyed looking more reflectively at my actions, reactions, and treatment of others.
I have so many books on my summer reading list, but I am finding that, even in the summer, I don't have enough time to read! :( I should have more time on my upcoming plane rides...