The Desolate Woman

Posted on February 17, 2012 by


I am reading the book Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Womans Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge.  While I do not agree or endorse all the theology in the book there are certain parts that I thought were intriguing and worth discussing.

In the Chapter “Arousing Adam” the authors state that there are 2 main types of dysfunctional women, emasculating and desolate.   To illustrate their point they use examples from the movie Enchanting April.  Here is an excerpt from the chapter:

The third character in Enchanted April is Lottie.  She is not harsh, just shut down from years of living with a selfish domineering ..man. She looks like a whipped puppy, rushing to please him in anyway, not out of love but out of fear and some weird idea of submission.  She is depressed.  Rose is Lotties friend.  They meet at church.  She is the Religious Woman, a typical Church Lady.  She is actually quite beautiful but she dresses in a way to hide it.  Bag shaped dresses, hair in a bun. Her heart is also shut down.  She hides behind her prayers and her “good works of service”.  She is weary and tired.
Desolate women don’t seem at first to be all that emasculating.  They don’t attack or dominate. But neither do they allure.  Their message is simply, “There is nothing here for you.”  The lights are off.  They have dimmed their radiance, no one is home.  A man in her presence feels…uninvited. Unwanted.  It is a form of rejection, emasculation to be sure.  But it is harder to point out because it is so subtle.
Desolate women can also be those whose ache is what defines them. …….. She moves from lover to lover trying to fill the void within her.  She is available but in a clingy, desperate way….. Their message to men is “I need you too much.  Please tell me who I am.  Fill me.”  Men use women like this- but they do not love them.  They do not feel challenged to be a Hero.  Desolate women do not call the men in their lives to be heroes.

There is a lot to think about here. I am sure we all know women who fit the above descriptions. Perhaps we are even guilty ourselves.  Women like this seem to be professional martyrs. They treat their discontent like it is a testament of their virtue. What makes things confusing is that these women are not doing anything obviously wrong so you feel bad when you don’t like them. I imagine that their husbands probably drink or have secret longings they just endure because their wives are “too good” for them to feel justified in leaving or making waves, but they don’t feel genuinely loved and respected by them either.
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