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.
So much so that it took me a while to remember that it always goes this way.
And I know better.
Showing 1-star reviews › See all reviews
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,