This is going to be a post like no other that I’ve written. I will give you warning now that it is going to be raw and real but I hope that as I talk through this for myself, I maybe ring through to someone reading this and shed light on some things that you didn’t know or even respectable conversation.
Now, before I actually begin, this is a ZERO judgement zone. Meaning: please do not draw assumptions and judge BEFORE you read the entire post.
That being said, *huge breath in*, here we go.
I am one of over 70 million. I have read the 50 Shades of Grey series. Yes, all three of them. Why? Because when they were released (and for years after that as new books released), they were popular among most age groups of women…including high schoolers. While I knew better that M&M wouldn’t read them, there was still grand opportunity for them to be exposed to the topic(s) and I wanted to be armed and ready should they come home with questions or repeating things they have heard.
I was actually scared to read them because I’ve never been comfortable with inviting temptation into our marriage in any form. I didn’t want to open any doors for lust or impure thoughts on either end of our marriage. I expressed my concerns to Shane and decided that as I read them, I was going to read them with him next to me so he knew that my intentions were pure and stayed pure.
So, why did I read all three? I was captured. Not by the fact that it was an ‘erotica’ series, but because it was a life that I would never (and would never want to) lead. It was intriguing to me that someone would even want that type of life. While 50 Shades of Grey is all fiction, there are real people out there with lives that line up almost detail for detail with Christian and Anastasia.
This was almost 5 years ago. Fast forward to this last fall.
One of our youth group topics were relationships and everything surrounding them. We talked about lust and what can lead to it and how to avoid it. We talked heavily on keeping the marriage bed pure of any outside intruders. Even though I already had similar feelings on these topics, I learned a lot from this session.
Fast forward to last Wednesday. I got in kind of a heated discussion in a mom group. A “Christian wife” (as she referred to herself as) was asking about how to introduce another person (male or female) into her marriage to satisfy cravings that her spouse couldn’t fulfill. Apparently this was prayed on and she felt like this was God’s answer to her prayers. (If only all of you could have seen my face as I read that and as I’m having to type it out!) She went on to explain that BOTH of them have agreeably gone outside the marriage and have slept with other people, found pleasures in worldly things, and are finding new ways to find adult entertainment.
For the first time in about 3 years, I was absolutely speechless. I actually had to re-read it a few times to make sure that I wasn’t misreading things. There are quite a few things that aren’t adding up here!
I proceeded to write a response as politely as I could. I somehow managed to keep my judgmental glasses off as I explained that everything that she had just said about her marriage and their choices to go outside of it were anything but Christian values because that was not God’s intentions for marriage when He created it. That by inviting lust and temptation in, they have now reached a point where they feel that the other cannot fulfill certain areas of their lives. I also proceeded to explain to her that God’s answer to her prayer wasn’t to invite other people into her marriage….that was Satan’s answer. I referred her to Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled, because God will judge immoral people and adulterers.”
Obviously, that went over like a lead balloon. As much as I didn’t want to, we agreed to disagree on the topic. I walked into our youth room on Wednesday and a book was staring at me from the Library. It’s titled “Pulling back the Shades”.
I started reading the book this evening and am only 20 some pages in. But, I wanted to acknowledge what I’ve read so far and talk through it because I’m not sure at this point how I feel about it. **Disclaimer::: I do understand where both of these women are coming from, but I feel not all women fall under the categories they talk about.***
Dr. Juli Slattery also read the books and was able to make a list of a Woman’s 5 Longings that are typically unmet. I’ll list the five she came up with followed by my initial response/reaction.
- Escape reality – I will 110% agree with this. You have no idea how many times I tell Shane “I do it to escape reality for a while.” ‘It’ can be anything from tv, games, blogging, anything that can take me away for even just a few minutes. Why? Because being a parent/step-parent is hard…and exhausting. You are an on-demand service 24/7 without pay. There’s been a lot of nights where I only get 2-3 hours of sleep and still find a way to function the next day. But, I need more breaks from reality as my frustration level and temper skyrockets.
One of the comments made by Dr. Juli was “There are seasons of life that can feel very routine, in which nothing new or challenging seems to happen. This often leaves women feeling lonely and depressed. They want to have a ‘pulse’ again, dream again, and hope again. So, what’s the harm in an imaginary story that takes you away from the drudgery of your life? If you can’t have a real adventure, at least you can enjoy an imaginary one….” I can’t do anything but agree to that paragraph wholeheartedly.
- Women long to be cherished by a man- This is also true. One of our greatest needs as a human is to love and be loved. It’s that simple. But finding (and sometimes keeping) that love is the hard part. It took me 2 different loves and heartbreaks to find the love that I was designed to have. When I look in my rear view mirror, I can see two sculptures of me laying shattered in different areas of my timeline. The person I thought I was found pain, found stress, found aches, and found doubt. That was enough to shatter what I was and what I had and forced me to grow and move forward. Both times. It took a lot of pain and growing to get to where I am today. But it needed to go through it to find someone that deserved me and that I deserved. I don’t need to read books to give me a “high” feeling of love…I’ve found it, I’ve experienced it, and I married into it.
- Women long to be protected by a strong man- This is also true… but it’s a stretch for me. Before I met Shane, I had an attitude of “I can do anything without a mans help.” I was hurt, I was bitter, and I was out to prove a point. But, when it came time that I needed to leave my living arrangements, I needed a protection that only Shane and law enforcement (ironically Shane’s cousin) were able to provide. It was the first time in years that I allowed my guard to drop and admit that I wasn’t able to protect myself. However, I’m not sure I understand how pages with black print can offer protection…especially ones that speak of submission, a master, and bondage.
- Women long to rescue a man- I can say with certainty that I did not want to rescue anyone. I didn’t want the complications. But God laughed and reminded me that my plans are not His plans. Now, I’m not saying Shane is damaged goods… because we all know that I brought a fair amount of baggage with me. Some of which still isn’t healed. BUT, when we had our deal breaker week and we spent hours sitting back and talking about us (as individuals) and peeling back all the layers, I wanted to prove to him that not every woman is going to find a way to use, abuse, and leave. I only think that counts as rescuing on my end because I wanted to fix, fix, fix. He was at a point where he had accepted his life and then I came along and screwed it all up for him!
- Women long to be sexually alive- I’m not entirely sure how to respond to this other than to say that I totally disagree with it. Media and society has sexually charged everything around us; magazines, movies, tv shows, books, commercials, and the list continues to go on! Maybe I’m one of the few but this does nothing positive for me. The only thing it does is makes me feel as if I’ll never be good enough for my husband because I will never be a size 2 or 4 again, that I won’t continue to be attractive to him because my fine lines, gray hairs, and sagging skin is starting to show, that because we both have pain in our past, someone is going to get ahold of it and use it against us. The list goes on. But the affirmation I get from my husband daily,”I love YOU” reminds me that he’s found something beyond the size of my clothes, the color of my hair, and the skeletons in my closet.
Now, I’m not saying that these things are wrong or that these women are wrong for feeling that way….they aren’t. But I also feel that I cannot be the only wife that doesn’t feel like I need a 500 page book to give me all the things that I want/crave in my life.
I’m only 20 pages in and I’ve managed to write a 1700+ word post about it. I’m not entirely sure if it hit a good cord or bad one since I was literally thinking through all of it as I was typing it out. I was hoping for come clarity by writing this but I didn’t get it. So instead, I’ll pray on it. I’m keeping an open mind as I go forward and continue to read the book.
Stay tuned for updates as I go through this because I’m sure I’ll have other thoughts and opinions that form!