Ruth A. Tucker’s Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife: My Story of Finding Hope after Domestic Abuse is her story of being stuck in a marital cycle of domestic violence and how she finally escaped. She provides hope and encouragement to overcome abuse and its damaging effects. This book is not normally one that would have interested me, but I enjoy spiritual memoirs by educated, intelligent women. The timing of this book also peaked my interest due to the promotion of increased awareness of domestic abuse in media and culture, as well as the effects of physical and emotional abuse in lives of some dear friends of mine, whose marriages happen to be based on male headship.
Ruth Tucker has been a professor who taught missions and church history at evangelical seminaries and spent many years of marriage to a pastor who blamed her lack of submission for his hateful ways. While she tells her story, she also includes stories of other women’s experiences. She integrates theological and biblical discussion and explains how both the church and our culture have allowed the perversions of patriarchy and abuse of power. Furthermore, she also shares how she was able to rebuild her life and find joy in a new marriage based on mutuality and equality.
It was difficult to read of an intelligent, educated woman being emotionally belittled and physically harmed, but her conversational style and broadening her story to incorporate other aspects of the topic eased the burden and inspired me. I researched some of the stories of other women that she weaved within her own story, such as Matt Chandler and the Village Church’s initial shunning of missionary Karen Hinkley, quick to point the finger of blame at her when she sought an annulment after her husband confessed to addiction to child porn. Not only within the church, in which many leaders are not properly equipped to counsel marriages with domestic abuse, but within culture, laws, and government, it is alarming to see the subtle ways that misogyny continues to exist.
I was not aware of the breadth and depth of domestic violence before reading Ruth Tucker’s memoir. In light of my close friends who have suffered at the hands of emotional and physical abuse in their marriages based on male headship, this book opened my eyes to why they do not leave and increased my respect for my friends who finally decided to end it, especially when their churches were to not supportive of them leaving the marriage.
I may have wanted a male-headship marriage and held complementarian views for many years until recently, but I am grateful that my husband resisted and insisted on our egalitarian marriage of mutual submission, love, and respect, now going on 24 happy years.
I highly recommend this book to all women, whether or not they can personally relate to her story because it increases understanding and awareness of domestic abuse. Furthermore, I recommend this book to church leaders as well as men to increase their awareness of issues that women face and how they might better respond.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan in exchange for my honest review.