A Well-Trained Wife: My Escape from Christian Patriarchy (Hardcover)

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“Today it hit me when he hit me, blood shaking in my brain. Maybe there wasn’t a savior coming. Maybe it was up to me to save me.”

Recruited into the fundamentalist Quiverfull movement as a young wife, Tia Levings learned that being a good Christian meant following a list of additional life principles––a series of secret, special rules to obey. Being a godly and submissive wife in Christian Patriarchy included strict discipline, isolation, and an alternative lifestyle that appeared wholesome to outsiders. Women were to be silent, “keepers of the home.”

Tia knew that to their neighbors her family was strange, but she also couldn't risk exposing their secret lifestyle to police, doctors, teachers, or anyone outside of their church. Christians were called in scripture to be “in the world, not of it.” So, she hid in plain sight as years of abuse and pain followed. When Tia realized she was the only one who could protect her children from becoming the next generation of patriarchal men and submissive women, she began to resist and question how they lived. But in the patriarchy, a woman with opinions is in danger, and eventually, Tia faced an urgent and extreme choice: stay and face dire consequences, or flee with her children.

Told in a beautiful, honest, and sometimes harrowing voice, A Well-Trained Wife is an unforgettable and timely memoir about a woman's race to save herself and her family and details the ways that extreme views can manifest in a marriage.

About the Author

TIA LEVINGS writes about the realities of religious trauma and Christian fundamentalism. Based in Jacksonville, Florida, she works as a freelance Content Strategist and travels often. She is mom to four incredible adults, and she loves to hike, paint, and daydream. A Well-Trained Wife is her first book.

Praise For…

“Rebellious and riveting- A Well trained Wife is a rare gem of a journey from horrific abuse to victorious healing. Not many survivors are willing to lift the veil of shame that shrouds most stories of domestic and cultic abuse. Private and painful, this important memoir will shine light on the darkest crimes within the religious patriarchy with hope for the future -A triumph for all survivors.”
- Sarah Edmondson -author of Scarred: The True Story of How I Escaped NXIVM, the Cult That Bound My Life and host of “A Little Bit Culty” podcast

"It's hard to imagine the stores of courage Tia Levings drew on to write this gripping account of living in and then escaping the shackles of an abusive marriage fueled by high-control religion and dogmatic theology. With clear-eyed precision and riveting narrative voice, Levings pulls back the veil to expose the often clandestine, radical patriarchy found in many fundamentalist congregations—a doctrine that inflicts irreparable harm on girls and women by insisting their roles are to sustain and satisfy the men around them through submission and strict adherence to purity culture. For any of us whose religious upbringings were anywhere adjacent to these damaging mindsets, Levings revelations about her experiences reverberate to the core. A Well-Trained Wife is an unforgettable and incisive testament to one woman's daring to break free, speak truth to power, and finally find her authentic self along the path toward healing. - Melanie Brooks, author of A Hard Silence and Writing Hard Stories

“In this brave memoir on domestic violence within Christian patriarchy, Tia Levings vulnerably shares her story of survival. With devastating detail, she reveals the many shades of abuse that happen within the world of evangelicalism, a world that was supposed to protect her. The many women who have walked this path from oppression to freedom will find solidarity in these pages.” - Cait West, author of Rift

"I've never given a book a standing ovation until this one. A Well-Trained Wife is a prayer, for all of us. The world is lucky Tia Levings found her freedom and her voice. A reckoning for those who sanction abuse in the name of salvation." - Ashleigh Renard, author of Swing

"With unflinching honesty and relentless self-reflection, Levings’ debut memoir is a portrait in courage." - Julie Bogart, author of The Brave Learner and Raising Critical Thinkers

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250288288
ISBN-10: 1250288282
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 6th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English

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