Modern Day 50’s…shades?

My husband and I went to the movie theater last week.  It was the first time we’d gone to the theater since we went to see Saving Private Ryan in 1998.  I’m not a fan of watching movies in places where people are talking or chewing loudly, so it has to be pretty special to get me to go.    For those that know me well, 50 Shades of Grey definitely fills that order.  My curiosity won.  We went.  We watched.  Here’s my thoughts on the book and on the movie.

Before I’d ever picked up the book, I’d been a believer in a one-person-dominated and one-person-lead household. For more on that, see my earlier blog posts here.  For me, in my relationship, that means my husband is our leader.   When this topic first came up for us, I explained to him that the more control he took over our home, the more peaceful I felt and the more I was able to settle into my role as wife and mom.   And I meant it.

Throughout the years there have been times when he had loosened the reigns, and each and every time I felt like my world was spiraling out of control–mostly because my world was spiraling out of control.  I can’t be left to my own devices.  It is dangerous.

I like him leading.  It feels safe to me.   So, when the hype began around the 50 Shades books, I was naturally curious.  I read the first book and found that I could relate to the type of relationship that Mr. Grey was attempting to establish–within limits.  I liked the idea that he was exchanging absolute care and adoration of Anastasia for her strict obedience and affection.   Call me crazy but to me that sounds ideal.  I’m in.   Sign me up.

The idea of a contract outlining the acceptable criteria for a relationship was intriguing enough to me that it’s something that we immediately incorporated into our marriage.  Obviously we weren’t (just) outlining what we would experience in our bedroom.   Our contract went beyond that into what each of us expected from the other in our marriage.   It was brilliant.   There was no expectation left unsaid.  No more mind reading.   No more confusion.

I truly believe every marriage should have such a contract.   And I believe that the consequences to breaking any clause of the contract should also be spelled out.  How many divorces would be avoided if such a thing existed?  And why doesn’t it already exist?

Since we first wrote it, our contract has evolved.  It’s been tweaked.  It’s been thrown away and then started again.   It’s been a work in progress, but it has most definitely improved what I thought was already a near-perfect union of souls.  But here’s the thing.  I don’t think my husband truly understood where I was trying to go with it until he saw 50 shades.

For some the movie will be over the top.  For others it will leave you feeling like it lacked the spirit of the book.  For me, I thought it left out enormous parts of the back story that make the story make any sense, but still I’m glad we went because it caused something to click in my husband’s head.   He now understands more fully what I mean when I tell him that I want him to assume more–near total–control of our household.   Including me, within it.   He has stepped up his game and I have felt my heart soar as a result.   My days are more organized.  My life is more peaceful.  I sleep better.  I feel better.

“That is none of your concern,” is now his favorite response when I’m obsessing about something I need not be poking my nose into.  Prior to the movie, he would have attempted to explain and cajole and placate me when I asked him about finances or some other issue.  Not anymore.   In that one sentence he tells me that he has it under control, I am not to worry about it, and I’m not to ask about it again.  Zip it.   Oddly, this new response works wonders on making me instantly relax.  I like it.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I think my only issue with the 50 Shades hype is that any time I have spoken out in support of it, some well-meaning person feels the need to tell me how it only serves to demean and victimize women.   Perhaps if the dominant person in the relationship looks upon the relationship as a one-sided means of getting only what he/she wants through the use of misappropriated power that could be true.  But I don’t believe that’s what we are talking about here.   I believe in 50 Shades there was a complete and total negotiation of terms.  She had as much say as he had.  How does that make her a victim?

I’m sure that debate will continue until the end of mankind.   It just won’t be debated in my house.   I know where I stand, and it’s up on the pedestal that my husband tells me to go park my behind on.  Or else.

 

31 Replies to “Modern Day 50’s…shades?”

michele

March 18, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Awesome. I have not read the books or seen the movie… Yet. But this is how our house is ran and its just something that has always been there. Hooray for you and thank you for beening one of the few that will see this as a good way to lead our lives

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    The50sHousewife

    March 18, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Thank you Michele!

    Reply

Heather Johnson

March 18, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Not a fan of the books I found them lacking, but I understand the point you’re trying to make here. I wish I could explain why I need this sort of relationship and discipline to my husband. He’s very reluctant to enforce any kind of consequence when I step out of line.

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    The50sHousewife

    March 18, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Oh that’s the worst! For the last 20 years they have been conditioned to believe it is wrong and illegal to discipline. Some men think they can get in legal trouble just for saying “no!” Sad, sad, sad. My advice is to just keep stressing to him how you are not structured like he is. Your brain does not work like his does. You need him to lead and guide.

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      Heather Johnson

      March 18, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      Thank you for the advice. This isn’t something I am willing to give up on, I just hope that somehow I can get him to see things from my point of view.

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        Heather Johnson

        March 22, 2015 at 1:33 pm

        Just wanted to let you know things are looking up. I had a talk with the hubby and I finally found the right words to make it click with him. His whole objection with DD was he didn’t want to treat me like a child! I told him I understood where he was coming from and that DD was more about guidance than discipline. He understands that now and we’re embarking on a new journey in life.

        Reply

Andrea

March 18, 2015 at 3:07 pm

I haven’t read the book and haven’t seen the movie. Maybe one day, but truthfully anything that’s hyped isn’t anything I would be interested in. I’m the hole-in-the-wall restaurant kind of girl, not the one everyone is posting about on FB. However, I did want to comment that I’m so glad you posted!! I look for your posts and was missing them! I agree with so much of how you live your life and the confines of your marriage. Whether I agree or not, though, is never the issue. You are honest and self-respecting – that’s what we should learn from. Thank you for being an amazing woman who isn’t afraid to admit that it is acceptable to allow our husbands to lead us, in all respects, and that he should expect our obedience. Now to get my hubbie to understand!

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    The50sHousewife

    March 18, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Oh thank you!!! It’s been crazy over here but it’s settling down again. I have a whole list of blog posts I want to do and hope to be back to them regularly now. We’ll see how long that lasts!

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Cynthia

March 19, 2015 at 10:39 am

Traci,
I love to read your blog too. We don’t go to the movies either, so I haven’t seen 50 shades, nor read the book. But I loved reading about your desire to go to the movie, how you don’t normally go, and your take on the themes in the film (of which I knew nothing about). Thank you for sharing of yourself with us. Have you ever read Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands? I read it long ago, but I think the author touches on some of the same themes about caring for your husband, and putting him in charge is actually empowering to women, not degrading. I’d love to know your thoughts. Thank you for your continued honesty and ability to find time to write and share.

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    The50sHousewife

    March 19, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Oh! I haven’t read it, but I will now. 🙂 Thanks for the tip!

    Reply

Letting myself go . . . grey.

March 19, 2015 at 11:34 am

[…] yesterday’s post, I’ll bet you expect this to be about 50 Shades of Grey.   Surprise!  It’s not. […]

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Kae

March 21, 2015 at 9:25 pm

I was wondering if you could go into more detail on how your husband leads. Could you maybe do a new post about how the everyday is in your home, the conversation and how you talk to one another. I understand to a degree but was hoping you could go into further detail. I mean, what would the “or else” be? It’s not like he’s beating you for “not listening” . I guess I’m confused a little I would love to understand because my marriage needs more structure. I hope I’m making sense lol thanks!

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Samanta

March 22, 2015 at 8:15 am

Wonderful post, as always. It makes me feel very identified

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Andrea

March 22, 2015 at 10:27 pm

Can you give some direction how you drafted your marriage contract?

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    The50sHousewife

    March 23, 2015 at 5:39 am

    Sure. We went over all areas of our marriage starting with responsibilities. For example he earns primary income, maintains house and cars, etc. I clean house, cook, etc. those are all spelled out in detail where necessary. Then we went on to things like attitudes, disagreements, finances, health, and so on. We put our exact expectations on paper.

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    The50sHousewife

    March 23, 2015 at 6:49 am

    I will put up a sample contract this week.

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      Andrea

      March 23, 2015 at 11:43 am

      Wonderful! Thank you 🙂

      Reply

        The50sHousewife

        April 23, 2015 at 1:55 pm

        I don’t want you to think I forgot about you. What started out as a short blog has turned into an all-out E-book. Your detailed contract instructions are coming. Please hold!

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          Andrea

          April 23, 2015 at 2:30 pm

          I was just thinking about it! I trust your word :-). I’m just thrilled to get some direction!

          The50sHousewife

          May 4, 2015 at 10:31 am

          Hubby and I are working on this project together. You are going to love it!

          Andrea

          May 4, 2015 at 4:56 pm

          Looking forward to it! I love that you are working on it together. 🙂

Sunny

April 17, 2015 at 3:28 am

Hi 🙂

I don’t know if you remember me, but I commented on one of your blog posts a while back and subscribed to your blog. Unfortunately, life was stressful and I’m only catching up just now.

I listened to the 50 shades audio-book and after doing that I was very happy that I didn’t spend money on anything in the franchise.
No offense to all the people who like this book, but there is something seriously wrong when I can come up with more and more fitting synonyms for “mumble” than the author, although English is my second language and I’m approximately 20 years younger than her. And let’s not even start to talk about weird metaphors and other words, recurring so often that I got the desperate desire to lend her a synonym dictionary…
Apart from that, many descriptions of BDSM practices in the book are not exactly ideal. Not ideal ranging from “that wouldn’t feel good” to “you’d need a chiropractor after the scene.

Apart from that, I get where you are coming from.
Outlining rules and consequences in a relationship can be very beneficial. I imagine that safe words would be a good idea in any relationship: there are always boundaries you don’t want to cross and sometimes a reminder can be helpful. Just imagine a heated argument, where one of the partners can easily indicate when their boundaries are crossed or they are seriously hurt without yelling and cursing!

Being told not to worry can be wonderful 🙂 It works well for me, too.
A short “That’s not for you to worry about” or “Stop it. That’s my concern.” do wonders for me 🙂

All the best from Germany,
Sunny

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    The50sHousewife

    April 17, 2015 at 8:28 am

    Welcome back Sunny!

    Reply

Andrea

June 2, 2015 at 8:12 pm

I just wanted to check in and see how the project was coming along! Hubbie and I had a discussion the other day about the fact that I want him to step up and be the leader. Later that day, he spent money we don’t have on a cell phone. My first thought was “OK, you’re definitely not cut out to lead if you’re not making good financial decisions.” My next thought was “I bet if we had a contract outlining what the expectations are, it would help him make better decisions.” And voila! I thought of you! No pressure; I know this must be a huge undertaking. I appreciate the effort and can’t wait to see the final result!

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    The50sHousewife

    June 3, 2015 at 6:37 am

    It has turned into a full book. There is more to a contract than I thought. We have a goal of completion by July 1. I think I will make it.

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    The50sHousewife

    July 1, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Posted! well.. most of it. We decided to leave it as blog post but we’ll come back and discuss some sections more in depth in future blog posts, but you have more than enough to get your started.

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      Andrea

      July 1, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      I saw and I can’t wait to read it in detail. It is especially important to me now: I lost my job last Friday and we have decided to take the steps for me to be a SAHM and homemaker. You can’t imagine how excited I am. It’s going to be tough; we are selling our house and trying to reduce our expenses. I’m going to be relying alot on your wisdom as I make this transition! Our son, Gage, is 8 and our daughter, Elizah, is 2. So I think this is a very important time for me to be with them. 🙂

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        The50sHousewife

        July 1, 2015 at 3:27 pm

        OH HOW EXCITING!!!!! I look forward to helping however I can!

        Reply

Andrea

June 3, 2015 at 10:40 am

Oh my! When you do something, you don’t mess around! That’s awesome – I’m looking forward to it 🙂

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Scarlett Lewis

January 1, 2016 at 10:24 pm

You people are seriously scary. Any well-adjusted man wants a wife to share the the responsibilities of life, an ezer (helpmeet), not another child. I came here for recipes, after reading this blog, I’ll not be back.

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Kristin

September 13, 2017 at 4:41 am

So, then do you practice a form of domestic discipline within your marriage? : )

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