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Friday, August 12, 2016

"Men Who Love Fierce Women" (Leroy Wagner and Kimberly Wagner)

TITLE: Men Who Love Fierce Women: The Power of Servant Leadership in Your Marriage
AUTHOR: Leroy Wagner and Kimberly Wagner
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2016, (240 pages).

Traditionally, it has always been men who were expected to be the leader, the authority, and the voice of the family. Ancient Israel was largely a patriarchy where the head of the family was expected to take responsibility for the sake of the whole family. For many centuries, men are the ones to bring in the dough while women are confined to domestic duties. Not anymore. In contemporary times, we are seeing more women taking initiative in leadership roles. Traditional roles are gradually been replaced by egalitarian perspectives where both male and female are seen to be equal. Even traditional sports and careers done by men are also extended to women. Everywhere we go, we see more women in traditionally male-dominated industries. This year, the USA looks set to have the first woman to be nominated for President of the country! This phenomena is also evident in marriages where women seem to be taking the initiative as 'fierce women.' There are husbands who will feel insecure when wives outmaneuver them in matters that are traditionally expected of men. This calls for a re-examination of what it means to be a real man. What is the essence of manhood? What can men do in a world where "women who eat men for breakfast?" When women assert superiority in manly tasks, what happens to the male psyche? Biblically, if God created men to lead, what about women who can lead?

Authors Leroy and Kimberly Wagner have come together to share what it means to be a male with a courageous DNA. Drawing insights from the Bible, they list 12 characteristics of a courageous leader.

  1. Godly image
  2. Fear of God
  3. Knowing one's purpose and lives to accomplish it
  4. Trusting in God during tough times
  5. Sees leadership as a privilege rather than a burden
  6. Complete dependence on Christ
  7. Dare to love with conviction and passion
  8. Willing to lay down one's life for his family
  9. Generous
  10. Courage to stand against the storms of life
  11. Keeps his word
  12. Character
  13. Inner conviction and Outer graciousness
  14. Forgiving
  15. Glorify God
These characteristics are contrasted with the characteristics of the passive deserter. A key observation is that women whose husbands flee from their responsibilities tend to up their level of 'fierceness.' This book is essentially about straightening out a crooked view of what maleness means. Being the head of the household carries along a crucial position of headship. This should never be abdicated just because the wife is more outspoken, more capable, or more headstrong. At the same time, the authors remind wives that there are unhelpful ways that can be avoid. Things like emasculation of their spouses that can destroy people. The root of it all is the desire to control their men. Husbands fear being seen as wimps. Such tensions between the fierce wife and the passive husband can threaten a marriage. The authors remind men that their objective is to be more like Christ and not like the macho images of Hollywood. Rather than trying to meet one another's expectations on the get go, it is crucial to imitate Christ as our objective. With many memorable acronyms and teaching points, readers will find the book very relatable and easy to follow. The more difficult thing is the practice section. Relationships can be very complex and it is not easy to change our spouses. I would even recommend that we do not do that. The easiest person to change is ourselves. This book can show us the way to do just that.

On a negative side, I think the title of the book can be a bit misleading. The word 'fierce' carries a negative connotation in some cultures. Why not use alternatives like 'assertive' or 'leading?' It is only when one opens up the book to read the beginning pages before knowing the stance of the authors. Who would have thought that it is a book about helping troubled marriages? Moreover, there are other issues like the nature of manhood and the characteristics of a courageous man that deserve to be highlighted in the title. Anyway, it is a good book that deserves a better title.

Leroy Wagner is senior pastor of Dayspring Southern Baptist Church in Hot Springs, Arizona. His wife and co-author, Kimberly has previously written a book addressed to women entitled, Fierce Women. Both of them are passionate about marriages and desire to help strengthen marriages. 

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Moody Publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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