As part of the Warrior Wife discussion surrounding Fifty Shades of Grey, one commenter brought up an interesting point, a point that I think is worth unpacking and discussing further.
"I asked my husband if he would mind my reading this book. He of course asked me why I would ask him that question. I told him about what I have been reading in the blogging world of Christian women. He told me that if this book would be a threat to our marriage and sex life, then our marriage and sex life were probably not doing all that good in the first place. So no he did not care if I read the book. I agree with him totally. I mean if this book...could bring down a marriage, that marriage was not doing very well before the book came into the picture."
True? If a marriage and sex life can be negatively affected by one poorly written book, that marriage was bad to begin with?
In a way, I agree. One book, by itself, may not destroy a marriage and damage a healthy sex life. I suppose that could be true. But marriages are never destroyed in an instant; they are destroyed over a period of time by the buildup of many small things.
Author Paul Tripp writes, "Marriages don't typically change with an explosion. Marriages typically change by the process of erosion. Even where marital explosions take place, they usually take place at the end of a long process of erosion...The problem is that as these changes are taking place we tend to be asleep at the wheel. What we once committed to value and protect has progressively become the thing we take for granted." (What Did You Expect, p.254) Introducing erotica (or porn or any other destructive behavior) is just a part of that eroding process.
Every marriage that wants to thrive puts up boundaries to keep out unwanted intruders.
Maybe your marriage is good, but why add temptation to the mix? Think about it this way. Assuming your marriage could never be damaged by erotica or porn is like buying a bottle of poison and then telling yourself that because you're healthy, tasting the poison will not adversely affect you. That makes no sense!!
Don't we try to keep safe the things we value? We freak out about whether our kids are drinking organic milk or eating nitrate-free hotdogs or using paraben-free soap believing that a build-up of the possibly harmful ingredients could cause cancer. Some parents choose not to vaccinate their child partly because they believe that the buildup of chemicals and viruses can damage a child's immune system. Because of the possibility of harm, many of us choose to keep those products away from our children. Why would we value our marriage any less?
We need to be thinking carefully about even the little things. Don't take your marital health for granted. One reader put it this way: "Sometimes the things that tempt us the most are things we don't expect and are not prepared for. Playing around with a book like that is just asking for trouble...[Your] heart is not some magical solid door that just whisks off with ease the sin that entraps the rest of us women. [You're] just as vulnerable. And [you're] only hurting [yourself] by believing otherwise."
For each marriage, the things we choose to allow or disallow may be different. Some things should be kept out across the board (porn, etc), but we each evaluate our marriage and keep out things that harm it. For some, that may mean staying away from social media. It might mean not even reading seemingly innocent Christian romance novels because you find yourself disliking your spouse for not measuring up to the perfection of the male protagonists. It might mean avoiding certain friends because they are a negative influence. Dave and I found that there was a certain couple several years ago that made us very dissatisfied with each other so we didn't cultivate a deep friendship with them. (Interestingly enough, they are now divorced, partially because little and not-so-little sins were never confronted and dealt with.)
So, in the end...no, by itself, Fifty Shades of Grey may not destroy your marriage in one fell swoop. But is it worth the possibility of allowing that book to begin a process of erosion?
Sharing with: The Better Mom, The Alabaster Jar, Time-Warp Wife, Far Above Rubies, Women Living Well, Deep Roots at Home, NOBH, Wifey Wednesday