The Truth about Dare Nine…

I made the mistake of spending too much time reading reviews on Amazon recently, and while The Respect Dare has around 120 reviews, and a 4.4 out of 5 star rating, of course I focused on the handful of 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s.

And at the end of that super stupid use of my time, I felt discouraged, of course.

And misunderstood.

So much so that it took me a while to remember that it always goes this way.

And I know better.

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So here it is, two days late, and I’m just now getting to writing about Dare 9.

I read through it again, and the voices of those who accuse me of writing a book on “how to be a doormat in marriage” started chiming in.

And I confess, it’s the wrong time of the month for this, and the tears welled and the questions started.

Were they right? Was I in fact, as one blogger called me, “the worst thing to happen to women?”


I don’t know.

I do know that Dare 9 is a simple story about a step-mom who chooses to take baby steps in a relationship with her teenage step-son.  And no, it’s really not about marriage, as one reviewer so vehemently pointed out.

And I wondered, “what’s true here, God?”

He was quick to reply, “How a step-mom treats her husband’s children matters to their marriage.” 

Oh. Yes, I had forgotten that.

And yes, she did overlook an insult; she did choose to extend grace in that moment, but if she’s anything like me, there’s probably a ton of other times where she didn’t.

And I remember the class member – actually many like her, that possess the real strength necessary to not react defensively when others treat us poorly, immaturely…

She wasn’t a doormat, she is instead a strong woman.

I wonder if our own fear of “not measuring up” and “needing to be perfect” makes some judge her as the perfect example of a doormat?

And a bunch of other times where she had to level reality discipline on the kid for disobeying, breaking the rules, etc., and he didn’t get his car keys for a few days.

But the story wasn’t about those things, but rather a small moment, emptying a dishwasher, where she could be like Jesus.

And if that makes her a doormat, and the book damaging to women, well, fine.

And even though I’m discouraged, I still really believe that most people (myself included) are just too selfish. I still really believe that we (myself included) spend way too much time on the throne reserved for God.

It’s so much easier to just react defensively and destroy another person with our words by lashing out at them in the name of “speaking up for ourselves.”

And I need to remember that there will always be those who believe that the only way to get your point across is by stomping all over someone else in the process.

They call this, “standing up for your rights,” and “being heard.”

I think there’s a better way.

No, I KNOW there’s a better way.

So did Dale Carnegie, a Christian man whose book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” brought the gospel message to people in droves such that it outsold every book in the world, save the Bible, for decades.

But what do I know? I’m just a doormat, right? 🙂

The Respect Dare is a sliver of a marriage relationship. It’s not about setting up an environment for abuse – it’s about applied respect in our homes. No, there aren’t 40 stories about how to manipulate others, or even, how to speak the truth in love, although that’s in there – I just don’t shout about it, because it’s my goal to be a woman of strength and dignity.  

Women who need to shout to be heard are disrespectful toward themselves and others, clanging gong-style.

Check this guest post I did for Peaceful Wife where that little aspect, present in many of the dares, is just simply overlooked.

I wonder why that is.

Why do we miss it when it’s done well? 

Do you know?

Thankful to be on the journey with you today, regardless of where you are in the book, or whether you believe respectful women are doormats or not. I am interested in your thoughts, however.


And if you are parenting small people, you should totally follow Leah and Debbie if you have tweens, teens, or twenty-somethings. Like us on Facebook so you can know when Daughters of Sarah becomes available in video format this year, or schedule one of our weekend retreats. I’m also active on Twitter as @NinaRoesner.  Come join the discussions!

Love to you,


titus 2 women leadership

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

16 thoughts on “The Truth about Dare Nine…

  1. Nina, Only because you peaked my curiosity did I follow your link to those bad reviews. Here is my take on it. If you save ONE marriage with your book, its a win. And you MUST know by now that you have save hundreds if not thousands… Mine included. For far too long I was a disrepectful worldly wife. I argued with my youth pastor as a teen about this very topic and never changed until my marriage almost fell apart and I found your book and a few other things on the same topic.
    I have embraced the lessons in your book, and NO I DO NOT feel or act like a door mat… As one of the reviewer mentioned would happen.. Instead I have learned HOW to communicate in a respectful was so I can be heard and my husband can feel like I am offering some council and food for thought instead of giving the impression that I am right and he is wrong.. All relationship are different and it is up to each of us to interpret the lessons in a meaningful way, and pray on them for God to reveal what he needs us to know.
    Nina you are a blessing to many. The adversary will always give us critics who will entice the one in our heads, but it is NOT from God.

    • Tiff –

      Thank you so much.

      One thought that keeps dogging me is that they may be right… and it breaks my heart to think I might contribute in some negative way or have maligned the Word.

      And you are right, it’s NOT from God.




      Love to you,

  2. “Her ways are pleasant always, and all her paths are peace”- Proverbs 3:21
    The ‘her’ in this passage refers to wisdom and I wrote it where I could see it every time I walk into the kitchen. I love it because it reminds me that peace is wisdom, and implies that the opposite is foolish. But I also love it because I can use it almost like a mantra. Like it’s being spoken of me, and then I can claim it. The ‘her’ could be me. My ways could be pleasant and peaceful always. And when I’m not (because I’m not) it’s a gentle reminder that I’m kind of being a fool.

  3. Being disrespectful is easy. Being respectful takes thoughtfulness, courage, self control, and patience. A doormat has none of these qualities. It is difficult to respond with respect to my husband (and family) when I am tired, at the end of the day or when I may need support at the time instead of be a support. The only voice you need to listen to in the grandstands is God’s, no other voice. When I played sports, I could always pick out my moms voice over the crowd yelling and screaming. I listened for her voice to encourage me, you need to listen for Gods voice as you have here. His opinion is the only one that matters. Love to you Nina! ( My moms name is Nina).

  4. My question is not related to today’s post, but since it may never be I am going to throw it out there now…

    How does The Respect Dare apply in a marriage where the husband has or is cheating and refuses to admit it?

    I have an exceptionally difficult time being respectful as I would like to be, as I then feel I am dishonouring myself and enabling his behavior. Any thoughts would sure be appreciated!

    • Perhaps if we think of our respect towards our husband, as our way of manifesting God’s command to love one another as He has loved us, it will make it “easier”. truly, I have struggled to get my head around the respect dare, until God enlightened me through this study and blog, that the hole in ME,can only be filled by Him-God, not food, or your husband. Your husband is a child of God as well. your husband has a hole he is trying to fill, perhaps through infidelity, and as much as we as women want to make it better if we “just love him enough”, it really isn’t about us, it is about one’s relationship with God. And so it is with you husband. Not to say this isn’t tearing you apart, try to focus on the ONE who created each of us, loved us so much as to die for us. Imagine God’s pain at his child’s behavior (your husband), with your pain as a measure? A reflection I underscored in my Bible is”Was my gift not enough for you?” To remind me of the price that was paid for me. It was also paid for your husband…and mine. Hugs to you this day. Today is enough in itself. Be well. KNOW you are loved.

  5. I think the respect dare is one of the best books I have ever read!!!! I been married for 30 years and dated for 4 I was thinking I just can do this any more we fight don’t have anything in common but this book has gave me hope and I feel closer to God it feels right….. I still have a long way to go it will not be easy but thanks to the support of this book it helps a lot…… Thanks so much for writing it you are truly blessed

  6. I loved the “Bottom Line” of Dare #9: “People (not just teenagers) are complicated. Extend grace and try different approaches when dealing with people, and you will honor God in your relationships.”
    It reminded me of St. Paul’s writing in 1Corinthians 9:19: “Although I am not bound to anyone, I made myself the slave of all so as to win over as many as possible” & verse 22: “To the weak I became a weak person with a view to winning the weak. I have made myself all things to all men in order to save at least some of them.”
    Now, even St. Paul’s words can be taken out of context or interpreted in the wrong spirit, but believers know that Paul’s heart was for the truth of the gospel to be understood by each “complicated” person. And, wisely, Paul knew that he needed to empathize with each person (not enter their sin), meeting them just where they were (just like Jesus meets us just where we are & how Jesus met Paul on the road to Damascus (“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”). Only a real encounter with Jesus Christ can change us from the inside out. Honoring God in our relationships requires wisdom and understanding, so that our interactions are grace-filled.
    Thank you, Nina, for this dare.

  7. Nina,

    Thanks AGAIN for being real for all of us, not necessarily just those of the female persuasion. I think you are right on the mark, and appreciate not only that you looked to THE source for clarification, but that you shared the struggle. I’ve been recuperating from major surgery, and THEN pneumonia, and have had a lot of foggy-headed time on my hands. It seems that during these times that every insecurity I’ve ever had comes to mind, and tries to re-root itself. I am grateful for the encouragement of a lot of people who KNEW I needed it, and those like yourself, who just do it out of the goodness of your heart, and the command of Christ.


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