I know of a man who recently bought a terraced house at auction, it was very cheap, a real bargain. Then he needed some money so he decided to sell the house to a friend, the friend appointed a surveyor who declared the house was “unsellable due to subsidence” and a whole list of other structural defects. The owner disagreed with the surveyor, he wanted a second opinion, a third if necessary – after all, he had just had the house re-plastered, painted cream and a new laminate floor put in.
Now I don’t know a lot about architecture, but I have a funny feeling that a house with a huge crack in the middle because half of it is sliding downhill is not going to be fixed with some cream paint and plastic flooring. Perhaps I am wrong, the house is still for sale if you feel like investing, I am sure it looks very nice because the crack has been plastered over and the floor is brand new.
I know many women who have married when their own foundations have been very wobbly, I was one of them. Any counsellor trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) will call these foundations core beliefs and we hold them hidden within ourselves, sometimes acknowledged but more often than not unacknowledged. They can be an advantage or a disadvantage. I firmly believe that trying to practise the principles of Surrendered Wife will be a struggle, or even impossible in the long term, if the wife holds dysfunctional unexplored core beliefs. Inspirity does raise this point in her seminar; I think she introduced the topic after I graduated (all coincidence I can assure you).
A clear example of a core belief that will endanger a marriage is “men will abandon me”, this could be a lesson learnt in childhood if a woman saw her father walk out of the front door one day and he left her life for good. This core belief could stop her trusting her husband; she may make sure she is financially independent of him and will keep a close eye on the bills “just in case, you know, because you are going to leave one day and I don’t want to be left high and dry when you go”. Or maybe this core belief would see a woman stay emotionally distant from her husband; she will only ever let him close enough to protect herself from being hurt when he leaves. The result is only too obvious, he will feel unneeded by his wife, unwanted, pushed out of the intimacy of her real love and trust.
Other core beliefs can be beneficial in one marriage and harmful in another. Say a wife has the ok belief that “saving money is essential” – fine, if her husband also wants to save rather than spend. On the other hand if she marries a man who thinks that “money is there to be spent” their core beliefs will clash. She will find him lavish and extravagant and he will find her mean and stingy. Surrendering the finances will be hard on her and potentially cause huge rows if she cracks under the strain of watching him BUY! “For crying out loud to stupid man! I’ve given you full control of our money for 3 months and you’ve just bought junk! When are you going to learn responsibility you selfish little boy!” she could scream as she tears up her Surrendered Wife book and burns the fragments to ashes, exploding after months of self inflicted censorship.
So what do you do if the foundations of your personality were laid in more interesting times, is a little bit of cosmetic surrendering going to solve your problems? Of course not, you can improve your marriage by following the advice of The Surrendered Wife, but it will be a struggle for you if you are internally dancing to a bad tune you learnt years ago. Find out about yourself and look at your core beliefs from an adult perspective; fix the foundations before you decorate the house. Byron Katie is a great place to start if your issues are of the shallow nature that you can resolve alone – a woman who compulsively saves could question her thoughts and realise that they can afford her husband’s spending habits and that she is silly to deprive herself just for the sake of saving. Or, if she is the compulsive shopper, she could understand that letting her husband control the finances will give them security in the future. Either way, she needn’t force herself into violating her innermost beliefs; she can just let them dissolve away under the healing powers of common sense. THEN surrendering is easy, it is a relief, it is second nature and she will happily feel the full benefits of it.
In other cases, going for professional help is the only way to become aware of damaging thoughts and exorcising them. A rape victim who thinks “men cannot be trusted”, an abuse victim who thinks “men are perverts”, a woman whose insignificant father left her thinking “men are incapable” – yes all these women could surrender very satisfactorily to the onlooker, but internally they may never taste the sweetness of being surrendered wives; believe me ladies, it is meant to be sweet and it is meant to lighten your load not burden or break you.