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black and white bible, black and blue wife

Black and white bible, black and blue wife: My story of finding hope after domestic abuse by Ruth A. Tucker

Nobody deserves to get beat senseless by a man, much less a man who is cut from the preacher’s cloth, but this is part of Ruth A. Tucker’s story, in her new book, black and white bible, black and blue wife. She describes her experience in the introduction in this way, “During his violent rages, my ex-husband often hurled biblical texts at me, as though the principal tenet of Scripture was, “Wives, submit to you husbands…I felt trapped and feared for my life, while outwardly disguising bruises with long sleeves and clever excuses, pretending that ours was a happy marriage (14).” 

The frightening place that Ruth found herself in, in a marriage that was brimming with violence was difficult to move on from.  For one, she had to found a safe place for her son Carlton, who had seen these violent rages in living color in their home.  Yet, one of the despicable things that Ruth references in the opening chapter is one question, “Can we come together as a Christian community and recognize that the doctrine of male headship has sometimes been used as a cover to perpetrate violence against women?  At the same time, can we come together in an understanding that marriage based on mutual submission is a biblical model – a valid interpretation of Scripture? (23).”  The point of noting the abuse of male headship as a foil for violence and the importance of mutual submission are two key areas we must discuss.  The point that Ruth makes in the book that needs to be on center focus is, “And that a husband was to “love his wife as Christ loved the church” was certainly a standard far beyond what was expected of husbands in the ancient world (46).” 

Ruth’s concept of mutual consent has many merits to it in terms for both husbands and wives.  Building her case by looking at Proverbs 31, Ruth writes, “Would the Proverbs 31 woman have been prepared to manage the household without her husband?  Of course she would have.  Is a woman who is ruled by her husband prepared?  When a husband makes the decisions, a wife is left in a vulnerable position upon his death (50).”  There is sense of demeaning the intelligence of a woman if we fail to guide her through the affairs of life in marriage including money, taxes, household things as well.

With later discussions of rape (legitimate and marital), John Calvin and feminism, and violence and what is the way forward, Ruth does not shy away from these often painful issues.  I hope that those going through these situations will find comfort from her words.

Thanks to BookLookBloggers for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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