No Ranting About “Fifty Shades…”

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“Fifty Shades of Grey” is nothing to write home about. Are you kidding? Your mother would kill you. But it is one of the most popular book series of all time. So now a movie is coming out. I’m not going to give the book series or the movie credence by explaining the plot or the graphic nature of the writing. It’s not worth that.

When the movie comes out, some of you may be tempted to rant. I understand. What happened to real romance in America? What happened to the slow-burning fire of a life-long love? Why would anyone call graphic sexual abuse love?

I’m blessed to speak and interact with a lot of 20-somethings. And I can tell you the tide has definitely turned over the years. I’m concerned. But when it comes to love, the real question isn’t about “Fifty Shades of Grey” or popular culture’s skewed view. No. The world is the world. It’s messed up.

The real question is much more simple. When it comes to love, what do our OWN lives portray? What are we teaching our children? Oh, I don’t mean what we’re saying. No. I’m not talking about the words we’re using when explaining about love or morality or marriage. No. I mean, what are they seeing? Are we affectionate and selfless with our spouses? Are we givers or takers? When it comes to those we love, do we exchange pleasant words or bitter come-backs? Are young people witnessing the daily blessings of a love that doesn’t give up? Do we make love and marriage look good?

The human heart will always cry out for love. Intimacy. Sex. Passion. Oneness with another person. We desperately want to rescue and be rescued. The whole nine yards. It’s a wonderful mysterious longing. A desire to be one with another person. “Fifty Shades of Grey” is attempting to answer that need. But we can do better. Much better. Our lives can point young people to a passionate fulfilling love that lasts. Vows that are worth taking. Commitments worth keeping. Romance. Beauty.

I know. It’s 2015. But I’m not ashamed to say it. Not at all. Sex is a wonderful, exciting, passionate gift designed for a life-long marriage. Designed for a lifetime of blessing, not momentary hurt and exploitation. So instead of ranting about the new movie, let’s do something far more helpful. Let’s love in such a way that people take notice. C’mon, friend. Don’t give up. Let’s give ‘em something worth talking about.
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Valentine Cop-Outs


Some of our friends have rebelled against Valentine’s Day. “It’s too commercial.” “I don’t need a calendar to tell me to express love and affection.” “My husband knows I love him every day.” “I don’t need flowers or chocolate to prove my love.” “Hallmark doesn’t run my life.” Okay. Is everyone done with the nay saying? Now, let me set the record straight.

Phil and I stand with the full and complete celebration of Valentine’s Day. We do. I’m sorry that a sappy card offends your sensibilities. It doesn’t offend ours. If that heart-shaped box of chocolates makes you feel too commercial, send it to our house. And flowers? I mean, c’mon, what’s not to love about flowers?

If our society has set aside a day to honor love, why wouldn’t we want to jump on board? Of all the things in our current culture that I don’t support, love sweet love is actually something I can heartily get behind. So, if you’re in love, stop with the excuses. Bust a gut, people. Let’s get this done.

Men, if you’re financially strapped, worry not. Write a heartfelt love letter and make cupcakes. 99% of women love cupcakes and love letters. And the other 1%? They’re just pretending they don’t love cupcakes and love letters. I have no idea why.

Oh, and women, if you’re on the receiving end, be gracious and appreciative no matter how small the gesture. My husband and I counseled a young married couple years ago who were having marriage problems. She was feeling unloved. He was trying hard to prove his love. Finally, we looked at the young woman and said, “What would make you feel loved? What could your husband do that would make you feel like he had truly made an effort?”

Her reply was remarkable, “You know that scene in a movie where the guy picks up the woman in a private jet and takes her to some place unexpected like Paris or Rome. Yeah. Now that’s real love and romance.”

We were dumb-founded. Her young husband could barely afford gas and a movie ticket. And now she had dangled this horrific expectation in front of him. That’s emotional abuse and it made him want to quit trying.

Defining romance by what you see in movies is never a good idea. Movies have multi-million dollar budgets. And the guy in the movie is not even in love with his co-star. Yes, I saw the scene where her midnight gaze brought a tear to his eye. But it’s all a farce. He’s an actor. He never takes out the trash. He doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night to care for nauseous young ‘uns. A word to the wise: Never take romantic cues from people who don’t do their own laundry.

A world of people are looking for love. If online dating commercials are any indicator, there are thousands upon thousands who are hoping to meet that special someone this year. So, if you’re blessed to have already met the love of your life, stop worrying about the commercialization of Valentine’s Day. Show a little heart. Buy the flowers. Write the note. Buy the woman in your life all four of the Doug and Carlie books. (Ooops! Did I actually write that? At least I didn’t say, “Go to and order today.” Oh, shoot. Now I’ve done it).

And if you get the notion, you can even step out on a limb and take the love of your life to Paris. Paris, Tennessee, is less than an hour from our house. Yes, it has an Eiffel Tower as well as a Pizza Hut. That’s called a Valentine’s Day win!

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