With this week’s upcoming release of the on screen adaptation of E.L. James, New York Times bestselling book Fifty Shades of Grey, there has been no shortage of articles and blogpost’s on this controversial book and upcoming movie. I have seen staunch support for the book and movie, as well as harsh criticism. I want to begin by saying that I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey, and neither has my wife. From meme’s, vine videos, Blog posts, and even SNL, you don’t have to go very far to get an idea of what Fifty Shades of Grey is all about. As a Husband, and a soon to be father, I want to raise a few concerns I have about this book, and movie.
To be Christian Grey, or not to be Christian Grey? That is the question. What man can live up to the hype of Christian Grey? But apparently, that’s what some are trying to do. According to Bowker Market Research’s Books & Consumer tracker, 20% of the 50 Shades purchases were males. This is more likely due to the fact that men are trying to get tips on what women really want. If, we as men, want to know what our wives like, we should engage in conversation with them and find out. There is no need to go to some book and try to imitate a fictional character. According to Divorce America, lack of communication is the number one cause of divorce in the US. If we would only communicate with our wives, we wouldn’t need to try to emulate Christian Grey, and our wives wouldn’t need us to be like him either.
Bowker also states in its research that just below 30% of the purchases were from women who are married with kids. A lot of women state that they are attracted to this book because of its romance, and not its heavy adult overtones. I don’t doubt their intentions, but can only wonder what happens when you start to compare your husband to Christian Grey? The Huffington Post took a survey and found that 61% of women sexually fantasize about people they meet. Do I really want to compete now with fictional characters as well? It is always dangerous when imagery begins to take the place of reality. Just like a lot of these models, actresses and singers, whose pictures can be airbrushed and photoshopped are providing the wrong image to men, Christian Grey may be providing the wrong image to women. The real story is not about Christian and Ana; the real story is about husbands and wives, lack of communication, heightened expectations and the use of a fictional character that may not be the right example of true love and sexuality,
Maybe you read the book, and maybe you didn’t. Maybe you’re going to see the movie and maybe you’re not. Proceed with caution! The issue isn’t that you should read or not read the book, but the unhealthy expectations that may arise when the book closes. As husbands, we should be striving to provide our wives with a real sense of romance, so that they should never have to pick up a fictional book or watch a movie to fulfill those needs. We ought to love our wives in a way that Christian Grey could never love them. We need to pursue them, romance them, and work our hardest at satisfying them. Wives, you should be able to verbalize what you like and need, and feel free to communicate that with your husbands. Our real love lives can be much more colorful than “Grey”, if we’re willing to put those books down and work on them.