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(Review) Captivating: Unveiling The Mystery of a Woman's Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge

Publication Date: 2005. First published 2004.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson.
Genre: Nonfiction, women, spiritual growth.
Pages: 256.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Between 3 and 4 stars, from good to very good.


John Eldredge wrote a book titled Wild at Heart. In this book, the focus is on the core of a man, their strengths, weaknesses, and God's design for them.
Stasi Eldredge, with the help of her husband, John Eldredge, wrote a book with similar intent, but focusing on the heart of women.
Examples of points taught in the book:

  • Women define themselves by their relationships.
  • Women need to be desired. 
  • Women tend to be controlling. 
  • Greatest fear is abandonment. 
  • Self-blame.
  • "The essence of a woman is beauty."
  • Relational attacks. 

My Thoughts:
Over-all I felt the book was on target for the core strengths and weaknesses of women. Further, I agree with the thrust of the book, quoted on page 123.
"But Jesus is the only one worthy of our heart's devotion."
I can relate to the analysis that women often feel something is "fundamentally wrong with them." The self-blame that inhibits the mind when something is wrong in a relationship.
I can relate to "wounds" that were received as a young girl.
The wounds that we received as young girls did not come alone. They brought messages with them, messages that struck at the core of our hearts, right in the place of our Question. Our wounds strike at the core of our femininity. The damage done to our feminine hearts through the wounds we received is made much worse by the horrible things we believe about ourselves as a result. As children, we didn't have the faculties to process and sort through what was happening to us. Our parents were godlike. We believed them to be right. If we were overwhelmed or belittled or hurt or abused, we believed that somehow it was because of us-the problem was with us." Page 68.
There were at least two places where I felt the teaching was generalized and needed deeper explanation.
  1. The book addresses it is women who want to be in control. I believe women are not the only humans who want to have control. Further, it's personalities and insecurities that are the defining difference in the need to control, for both men and women. 
  2. Several examples are given of women who remained in difficult marriages despite abuse. I agree with the author teams point in looking to the Lord in all things. But I disagree that women should remain and continue to contribute to an abusive marriages. I believe in boundaries. I believe in defining what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. I do not believe it is ever healthy to remain in a marriage that is abusive or abandoned. Before I'm taken out of context. I am not saying that all bad marriages are not worth saving, the people in the marriage will need to determine this. I am not saying God cannot work miracles in a bad marriage. I am not saying the authors implicitly state to remain in an abusive marriage, they steer clear of all out stating this. But I do believe abuse in any form is not to be tolerated. Abuse, even verbal and emotional abuse, affects people physically and spiritually. Abuse affects a person long-term. Abuse affects the children and grandchildren of the abused and abuser. I feel an additional chapter needed to be written in regards to the points I've addressed.