Sweet sister, let’s talk.
Usually, I wouldn’t say that a post is for a certain group of people, but for this one- I am talking to my married girlfriends who call themselves followers of Christ. If you don’t believe or aren’t sure about this Jesus, feel free to read too, but just know that my thoughts right now are for my girls who know the One who loves them, especially those who have grown up in church, and may have labeled themselves or by others as a “good girl”.
I went to Target today, as required in the stay at home mom contract. The kids wanted to look at video games, so we wandered over to that area. My eye caught the subtle product placement of the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy on the end cap. My daughter, of course narrowing her focus on the ONE item I didn’t want to talk about, asked me “is that book about policemen?”
Because handcuffs. Thanks, Target.
With the trailer for the movie debuting this week, social media exploded with any and every opinion you can imagine about these books. There are so many blog posts being written about this, and honestly, I didn’t want to add to the noise. What could I say that hasn’t already been said? One very popular male blogger spoke about how, as a christian woman, I am “too good” for this movie.
I am not too good for this movie. I watched Sharknado.
Let’s be honest, in matters such as these, we don’t choose to not read a book or watch a movie out of philosophical convictions. We don’t eschew topics because we don’t want to set back the cause of women. As Christ followers, we choose what goes into our brains and hearts based on if it will bring us closer or farther away from our Father.
But I don’t really want to talk about that. Let’s be real, while there may be 50 shades of it, this book is not a grey area. And like I said, there are many blogs that have already told you why you shouldn’t partake.
Who I want to talk to is that sister out there who bought the books secretly. The one who has been trying to decide how to see the movie without anyone finding out. The one who has been thinking maybe, maybe it’s not a big deal and maybe it’s a good thing. I mean, it can make a person more receptive to physical intimacy, and that’s a good thing, right? It’s not like it’s a porn video or anything. There’s an actual story, and it’s a story of love and redemption…eventually.
There’s no shaming in my tone, sister. Shaming you might make you put the book down and save your money, but it won’t change your heart. I’m not here to convince you that 50 shades will hurt you. I suspect you already know that. What I want to talk about is examining why this story is appealing.
If you are reading this and thinking it’s nonsense and crazy that a christian woman would be drawn to this story and have to fight the temptation to indulge in it, then count yourself blessed that this isn’t a struggle for you. I’d also gently suggest you examine your heart and ask others if you are a safe person to talk to about these struggles. Men in the church have long be able to express their struggle with lust, there’s practically entire conferences just on that subject alone, but it is a very brave woman who can admit her own struggle. Don’t be fooled- it’s just as intense, just as pervasive, and maybe even more damaging, because it is so often what I call Voldemort sins. It is the Struggle-We-Shall-Not-Name.
There are tons of theories on why porn appeals to men. I personally don’t want to speculate on that, because I tend to get annoyed when men tell women why they do something, so I won’t do the same. Nor do I want to speak for *all* women. But in thinking through this story, here is what I’d ask you if we were on my couch, drinking coffee…
Do you feel protected? I don’t mean in the “my husband will take care of me if someone breaks in” kind of protected. I mean can you trust your husband to follow through on whatever you both have decided are his responsibilities? Can you trust his financial choices? Are you confident that he speaks well of you with his friends? Does he advocate for you with his family of origin? Does he structure his time and energy so that you come before anyone else, including any children? Do you feel important?
Do you feel known? Does your husband know your favorite restaurant, flower, candy, book? Your favorite way to relax? Can he imagine what would be your dream vacation? Does he know which public situations make you anxious and which ones energize you? Could he tell you what your worst insecurity is and how you typically deal with it? Do you feel important?
Are you sexually satisfied? Do you avoid sex? Is sex painful or uncomfortable? Are you bored? Do you and your husband talk about your sexual relationship and how to improve it? Is your husband completely aware of your needs and desires? Do you feel important?
Look at your answers. Now, it is not a surprise to me that a story about a hot, powerful, wealthy man who falls in love with a average woman and fulfills her needs emotionally, mentally, and physically is compelling. Ana is important to Christian, so important, that he changes everything he’s ever been about and done, and transforms into a man who retains all his good qualities and gets rid of his bad ones.
You aren’t stupid. You know this isn’t realistic. You know it’s not healthy. But I wonder sometimes if we run to what is fake unhealthy to avoid dealing with what is real unhealthy. And somewhere along the way, maybe we start to believe that this is all there is. And once you believe that, trying to escape that is almost a certainty.
Maybe that isn’t your story. Remember, I don’t want to speak for you. But if it is, let me encourage you that you are protected, known, and loved. You are important. You were worth dying for.
Talk to someone. Don’t run from the problems in marriage and in life. There is abundant joy in a marriage that is full of intimacy, real intimacy. Ask for help and be brave. Don’t settle for an imitation.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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