Comments on The Other Side of the Garden

Steve and I were no longer in the Assembly when the book, The Other Side of the Garden, by Virginia Fugate, became mandated reading. But from what we've heard, the results were very negative in Assembly families. This reviewer on Amazon points out one reason why: Not all men will learn from the consequences of bad decisions. This was especially true in the Assembly, where many of the natural negative consequences were reinterpreted as positive, or were ignored as inconsequential.

This book was a turning point in my marriage and contributed to the destruction of our family. I read it 3 years ago, and was challenged to practice what Fugate recommended and trust that God would take care of me and my kids if I was obedient to the structure (my marriage) that God had placed me in. I agreed to do the unwise (but not immoral) things my Christian husband had been bugging me about for years, instead of standing strong on my own principals. According to Fugate, when he "suffered the consequences" it would mature him.

I allowed him to take out credit cards in my name and max them out, sell the house that we could afford and buy a house which we could not afford, changed churches from our church home of 13 years where my children felt comfortable and supported, stopped teaching a children's Sunday School class, and tried to dress, act and talk in the way that he felt a "Christian" woman should. 

Three years later our marriage is almost over and our finances are in shreds... in MY name. The attorney explained to me that in the USA, where women are free to make their own choices in financial matters and marriage, we are forever legally responsible for our husbands debts and mistakes. In our culture women are expected to be educated and wise, not the servants of their husbands... so beware! You could even lose your kids if you allow your husband to do things that are unsafe for them! (Not buckle them in their cars seats, not take them to the doctor as needed, or use illegal substances on your property.)

This may have been good advice for the women in the days of early Christianity, when wives were legally the property of their husbands, and therefore not held independently responsible legally for their husbands foolishness. This is a different time, and we need to use our brains. This may be a good book for women who are married to men who are just mildly foolish, but remain teachable through consequences. To assume that all men are teachable is silly.

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