I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. While on another website, I saw an advertisement for this book and the title pulled me right in: Fierce Women, The Power of a Soft Warrior. What’s that all about? So I clicked the Amazon link to find out. I still wasn’t really sure if this was a book I would like or not, so I went ahead and ordered it to find out.
Mostly, it’s a book to help married women better fulfill their role as a wife. Kimberly Wagner always admired “fierce” women. The problem is that she had the wrong idea about strength. It almost ruined her marriage to a wonderful man (and pastor).
While I was reading Wagner describe her fierce personality, at first I was thinking, “Oh yeah, I’ve come across some women like this.” But as I read further, I saw some glimpses of my own destructive fierceness in her depiction. For example, in one of the many examples of other relationships that she gives, she shared a conversation with a couple about the power the wife really has over her husband:
“Oh, she only has to give me a certain look and she can bring me to my knees!” I watched her give him a bewildered look and ask in shock “I can?” He was a successful, seemingly confident man, but he readily admitted how his wife’s disapproval could strongly derail him (41).
My husband has told me something like this before and I could never understand what the big deal was. After reading this book, I have become more sensitive to the design of my own fierce strengths, and how God would have me use them to better encourage him.
When a woman is destructively fierce, Wagner explains how that can affect her husband in two different ways. A normally confident man can become very intimidated by his wife, and cower in passivity. This scenario is more common in the church than we would probably like to admit. He could also become overly indulgent to his wife, in the desire to give her what she wants. Again, this abdicates good judgment in leadership. Many husbands drown out the pressures their wife piles on them by mind-numbing activities that usually involve a couch and a remote. Or, a husband can react on the other end of the spectrum and become overly aggressive with their wives, trying to claim their authority. It’s so easy to focus on what our husbands are doing wrong, but Wagner puts the microscope on her audience of women. Sometimes, under the guise of “helping,” we are really on a ruthless husband-improvement mission.
The personal testimony that Wagner shares in this book is very powerful. Her marriage was in trouble for over ten years. I won’t reveal the details so that the reader can experience the journey through the book, coupled alongside her biblical teaching on how the wife represents Christ’s church. This is an illustration very dear to my heart. God has given us an intimate picture of the gospel in the marriage relationship. It is by far the best way to encourage, teach, and counsel married couples. Using this teaching of Christ the Bridegroom and his powerful love for his bride, the church, Wagner gives very practical implications of how we can better express these truths in our marriage relationship.
I encourage this book for women who are already fierce, to better hone your strength in your marriage, as well as for women who need to be encouraged to use the spiritual muscle with which God has certainly equipped you.