Have you seen it come across your newsfeed yet? I have. The next movie in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker, releases in just a few months, and the trailer is already being shared across social media sites.
I’m not waiting until February when the movie releases to talk about this, because women are deciding now if and when they will go see it. We are going to talk about this right now before we get invited by our friends or a bunch of our church gal pals who think a girls’ night out would be fun and harmless.
So, here we go…again.
Last year, when the first movie released, I issued a warning. Basically, I said, “Look out!” Because that’s what you do when you see your friends headed toward danger, and that’s what I’m saying again this year. That’s the heart behind this message. Watch out! Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour… (1 Peter 5:8)
…and I was absolutely shocked by the response. Millions (literally millions) of women responded, some agreeing strongly, and some using strong words to tell me just how much they disagreed. But the post revealed something important. There is a need for this discussion within the Body of Christ.
With the next movie in the series releasing early next year… a movie that promises to be darker… a movie that uses the hook that it is darker to gather an audience… there are some points that need to be addressed.
I’d like to take a few minutes and answer some of the common replies that I received last year. The first is this…
What’s the big deal? Why all of the hype? It’s just a movie. Right?
Over the last four years of blogging, I have received tens of thousands of messages. But one constant request that I receive from women is this. “How do I reignite the romance and restore my relationship with my husband? How do we move from a couple raising a family side by side to intimate partners again? How do we fall back in love?”
And in desperation for an answer… I can almost understand how the lure of watching a movie or reading a book that “promotes passion” could seem like a something that could help. It will just stir up feelings for our own husbands, some might justify. It will just get us excited, and we’ll be more romantic with our husbands at home. Heck, maybe I’ll even go watch it with my husband.
But it’s a trap. It’s false. It’s a pretend fix. It creates the opportunity for unrealistic expectations and abusive behavior. It will probably fuel your flesh, but it will not restore your soul.
You want to spice up your marriage? You want to save your relationship from being stagnant, or save the passion from slipping away in the day in and day out routines? Don’t ask Christian Grey for help. Don’t watch Christian Grey do whatever he would like to Anastasia Steele and expect their twisted broken characters to somehow heal that deep hurt or need for intimacy in your own heart.
Only Jesus can do that. Only Jesus can speak to the places in your heart that need to feel alive and loved. And only His example of unconditional love can be followed to create a healthy marriage.
But, Becky, I’m not trying to fix anything… It’s just entertainment. It’s just a good love story.
Look. It is a complete lie that going to see the movie will help your marriage. And it’s an even bigger lie is that it won’t affect you at all. Because it will. The things that you see cannot be unseen. The feelings that you experience from being entertained by certain scenes cannot be unfelt. And if marriages aren’t under enough pressure already, going to watch carefully edited pornography… because don’t tell me it’s anything less than cinematically censored porn… is only throwing gasoline on marriages already experiencing fire from all directions.
And do not tell me that this twisted tale is a love story, because my Bible is pretty stinkin’ clear about the characteristics of Love. As a matter of fact, I have read cover to cover the truest love story ever written. Hello. And if Scripture is the guide by which we measure love, then these movies? They’re lust. We are so confused when it comes to the difference between love and lust that we get the two mixed up sometimes. But we know the Truth. Love is a person and He is committed to honor and respect. He is patient and kind, slow to anger and quick to forgive. When we act like Him, we’ll have better love lives. I promise.
I can hear the next comments now. I think you’re just creating a place for the body of Christ to separate over another dumb issue. We need to come together not tear each other apart.
Listen. The Body of Christ has plenty of things to tear itself apart about right now… This should be an easy thing for us all to agree on! This shouldn’t divide us. We should all be over here saying, “Yes! We won’t be confused by unrealistic stories of twisted love! We will fight for authentic intimacy!” To be completely honest, I cannot believe that as Christian women who have read the Scriptures that reminds us to think on things lovely and pure and worthy of our attention, that we are actually having this discussion at all.
So what would God say about all of this, and do you think He cares?
Absolutely. I absolutely think He cares about anything that could cause harm to us. I think He cares about everything the enemy would use to lure us into a false representation of His Love.
And I think if Jesus were to speak about this, He would address the bigger heart issue. He wouldn’t just say, “Don’t go see the movie.” I think Jesus would point out the lack of respect and honor between husbands and wives in our culture saturated with pride and selfishness.
Jesus would speak to the greater hurt so many wives experience as they feel unseen and unloved in their own marriages. And He would address the men who feel as though they aren’t respected in their own homes.
He would say to us…
Wives honor your husbands. Husbands, love your wives.
And He would reminded us that our marriages were created to reflect Christ’s love for the Church (us)… not Christian Grey’s “love” for Anastasia Steele.
We need to honor our husbands by keeping our sexual desires and (arousal) for them only. Because the place where families are torn apart is not at the dinner table or in the living room over the unfolding events of a stressful day or the unpaid bills on the kitchen island. The place where marriages fall apart is the bedroom. The words that we say to each other outside of the walls of our bedrooms are simply a reflection of the level of intimacy and respect that take place when we are alone and vulnerable with our spouse.
And personally, if my marriage is sacred and holy and the foundation on which my family and children stand? Then you had better believe I’m not going to be deceived into thinking that the enemy doesn’t care about what I do or what I watch. You had better believe that I’m going to stay alert and watchful for things that would slip by as “just a movie” or “entertainment” which could hurt my marriage. And you had better believe that I’m going to seek real intimacy with my husband… not just physically, but emotionally, and spiritually so that we are a united front, connected in the war waged against our home.
Look, sex is good. Sex is important. Sex is an actual gift given to us by God, and God made good things. Amen? It’s not taboo. It doesn’t have to be boring. But sex has been stolen and twisted and turned into something that is the opposite of safe and beautiful. These movies have taken the vulnerable and beautiful and passionate thing that is married sex and entertained the world with a man who uses sex to control, manipulate, and introduce pain because of his broken past.
So this year, I’m offering a challenge. The same challenge I offered last year actually. Instead of watching Christian Grey have sex with Anastasia Steele? Have sex with your own husband. Spend the evening in your own bedroom remembering what being in love felt like when you first got married.
Because your husband and your marriage are worth honoring. And you know what I think? I think deep down you agree with me…. And that’s why you either love this article… or you hate it.