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.