Valentine's Day used to be all about love, cards, candy, and little stands popping up everywhere, selling a dozen roses and stuffed animals to men who had forgotten about this crazy little holiday. This year, however, it seems like everything I see on social media is about the "Fifty Shades of Grey" phenomenon. Some are adamanatly against it and some cannot wait until they can go with their spouses to see it on, oddly enough, Valentine's Day. Wherever you stand, I am here to offer you some healthy, good for your relationship alternatives to "Fifty Shades of Grey" this weekend. Because while there are likely a lot of men and women who are into this sort of thing, there are SO MANY other resources that I PROMISE will strenghten your marriage and help you have a healthy sex life and fulfilling relationship long after this whole fifty shades hype is over, if you give them a shot. I promise.
1. The Fantasy Fallacy by Shannon Ethridge – (Kindle version on sale for only $2.99 through 2/15) great resource about understanding the true meaning of fantasies and how to deal with them. It's a perfect response to "Fifty Shades of Grey." Hubby and I recently took a class with Shannon and she is truly inspiring and has some awesome advice and research based, valuable information to share.
2. Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage DVD – Mark Gungor is hilarious and presents honest truth about men and women and how to work together to achieve a fantastic marriage. Or if you're more into books, Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage: Unlocking the Secrets to Life, Love, and Marrige by Mark Gungor is available. We have had the great opportunity to hear Mark speak live and it was amazing! We came out of the conference refreshed and closer than ever. (Check out my review of Mark's DVD.)
3. Pulling Back The Shades: Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman's Heart by Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery – this book promises to address your desire to be both sexual and spiritual. These are things that the Church is afraid to talk about, even though God created it! (read the first chapter here and read a review here and another here!)
4. Awaken Love: The Song couple's devotional, couple's kit, and The Song DVD – The Song is a movie released in theaters about love, marriage, and temptation. While I have not seen the movie, I hear it's a good one. I was able to review the couple's devotional book, which has been fantastic.
5. His Needs, Her Needs: Building An Affair Proof Marriage by Willard F. Harley, Jr. – bestselling book that helps women and men understand each other and how to effectively work on their marriage to make it the best ever.
6. The 30 Day Marriage Challenge ebook by (DFW blogger) Becky Moseley – see what a difference a month makes! Complete a challenge every day to make your marriage stronger and better.
7. The Sexually Confident Wife – Connecting With Your Husband – Mind, Body, Heart, Spirit by Shannon Ethridge – addresses many issues (past abuse, self doubt, guilt, etc) that cause wives to not be confident with their husbands and provides great information that is not crude.
8. Fireproof DVD – A great movie about love, marriage, and the struggles married couples face.
9. The Passion Principles: Celebrating Sexual Freedom in Marriage by Shannon Ethridge – A book about what God wants for married couples. He created sex for married couples, and Shannon honestly and frankly opens the minds of husbands and wives to celebrate the spirtual, mental, emotional, and physical dimensions of sexuality.
10. Mark Gungor's Butt-Kicking Woman Conference DVD my review – Simply put, so many women are doormats for men to use and abuse however they want. This is a big problem, especially with "Fifty Shades." Women expect the man to always fall in love with them, and rarely does that happen. Mark, along with special guest speakers, shows women how to be confident and kick butt, so there's no room for abusive men.
11. Ways to Romance Your Husband – awesome (free!) blog post from (DFW blogger) Staci from 7 On A Shoestring (Staci has many great posts about marriage, like 4 Ways To Say "I Love You" Without Saying A Word.
12. Lastly, if you're looking for a healthy, non-erotica romance novel to read, FamilyChristian.com has many great books for you. Love stories can be fun and exciting without all of the rest.
You will find that most of these are Christian resources, but you definitely do not have to be a Christian to reap the benefits. Most Christians are anti-Fifty Shades and pornography, but I want to point out that there have been countless people write about the negative effects of pornography that are not religious at all.
"Once the layers are pulled back, it becomes obvious that pornography brings far more harm to our society than good. Its homogenous representations of beauty and sexual activities have created a narrow sexual aesthetic that women must physically harm themselves to achieve. Worse, it consistently features the degradation and abuse of women, valuing them not as people to be respected but objects to be used and creating a climate in which violence is accepted. These negative actions and attitudes against women make it clear that pornography is against the humanist idea that all people are worthy of safety and respect."
But it really goes beyond the traditional sense of "porn." Many women say that "Fifty Shades of Grey" isn't porn. But…it is. Check out this definition from XXXChurch:
"Porn is anything you use (watch, read, hear, or imagine) that’s used to illicit sexual arousal outside of your spouse."
If you have ever been to this blog before reading this post, you know that I do not typically write about things of this nature. Also, I am not one to usually jump on the "bandwagon" of mainstream events. But I want you to know that there is so much more for you and your spouse than this! Your "porn," whatever it may be, is like settling for a cheap, disgusting microwave dinner when you could be going to a 5 star restaurant. It's just not worth it. There are FAR better alternatives than the latest erotic movie craze. You, your spouse, your family, and your life is worth more than settling for this! I hope you find something from the above list that is helpful. Good luck!
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