Miriano is an interesting writer who welcomes you into her life with wit, insight, and humility. She is able to draw you in with a narrative style that is engaging and real. If read as the story of a person’s life, this book is very compelling, but it falls short when viewed as God’s instruction for dating, marriage, and motherhood.
Although referencing Scripture, Miriano tends to use passages in order to bolster her opinion rather than seeking to understand a passage in the context of the rest of the Bible. Additionally, I believe she advocates a “one size fits all” approach for women. While there are indeed principles, truths, and precepts regarding a Christ-centered approach to life, Miriano only reflects on them through the lens of her basic assumptions that support her complementary approach to being a Christian woman. At many points in the book, there is a lack of adequate exposition of Scripture as well as the use of complex terms interchangeably (submission, obedience, humility, role). Subsequently, there is much equivocation, eisegesis, and reductionism which invalidate it as an instructional book on Christian life.
There are not many examples in which Miriano uses Scripture to guide her discussion, but in instances when she does, there is the tendency to be reductionist and biased in their application. For example, with regard to Ephesians 5:22-31, she offers analysis of submission and its application for women only, when submission is in fact a discipline to be practiced by all of Christ’s followers (male and female, married and single). The concept of personal submission appears in at least seven New Testament books and yet Miriano identifies submission as a uniquely feminine quality. Additionally, she does not address Ephesians 5:21, in which Christians are to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ,” and how that instruction applies to the following verses which she quotes. Ultimately in the Ephesians passage, marriage and its comparison to Christ and the church is called a ‘mystery’ by Paul – the complexity of such a concept demands greater attention and analysis than is offered in the fifth chapter of Marry Him and Be Submissive.
An example in which the problem of eisegesis is more evident, is found in a passage on page 115:
“Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you,” Genesis says. There’s a hidden spark here, a way to happiness. Right here, on this earth. A woman is obedient because she listens, not because she considers herself worthless. The humble person knows his or her strengths and weaknesses.
Generally in scholarly writing, this verse (Genesis 3:16) is not only contested as to intentionality (description or prescription) but also appears as part of the curse that God places on Eve (which begs the question of its validity as a precept). To simply assume that Genesis 3:16 is a God-ordained principle that sets up a hierarchy in marriage with calcified roles for the husband and wife is clearly a function of eisegesis or confirmation bias. In the same passage, Miriano goes on to reference obedience, listening, self-worth, and humility—all of which are highly complex ideas. The Bible has much to say with regard to these concepts and to use them interchangeably tends to conflate their meanings.
Miriano’s book is consistent with regard to her suppositions. She views men and women as having God-given roles although her proof texts for this idea are not scriptural but mostly anecdotal. She states that “A woman is first and foremost a wife and mother,” pg. 52 and, “In a man’s DNA is written the nomos, or the law, the rule. This equates to the role of the father.” Miriano’s statements are primarily supported by her own analysis. At times, she advances ideas from other writers that she then discusses; however, the ideas of the other writers are not specific to the subject of gender roles, and thus their use as support for her position is specious.
In the end, I find that Marry Him and Be Submissive stands as a good account of the author’s life and opinions but in no way reflects biblical instruction on marriage and/or submission.
As a fun read about someone’s life = A-
As a book about Christian marriage = D