I started this book review purely altruistically—to write a review that might help others who really need to read the book. I mean, after all, I have my own set of temptations and struggles, but erotica isn’t one of them. And my marriage of 11 years isn’t perfect by any means, but I’ve also read most of the relationship books recommended by Focus on the Family. What new, life changing information could this book have to offer?
Through the second chapter, my expectations were confirmed. But by the time I got to chapter 7, “The Spiritually Satisfied Woman”, I was convicted, challenged, inspired and refreshed.
Dr. Juli Slattery and Dannah Gresh collaborate seamlessly in their new book, Pulling Back the Shades. Instead of blending their voices, they alternate, often switching authors in the middle of a chapter. Different fonts designate who is speaking. Neither woman dominates the book; both write from their expertise. Even though they admit they differ on a few issues and come from vastly different backgrounds, Dr. Slattery and Gresh present a powerful, united front on a sensitive subject that provokes many disagreements among believers, if we even have the courage to discuss it.
The first half of the book is devoted to explaining erotica. This includes the chemical effect that it has on the brain, the addictive nature, the conflicts about it within the church, a discussion of the ‘grey’ areas and a staunch stance against it based on the Word of God. Dr. Slattery and Gresh write graphically, borrowing short segments from the book, Fifty Shades of Grey, to make their points.
The authors’ opinion is uncompromising. To sum it up in a simple statement, without re-writing the book: God’s ideal for sex is unabashed, exciting, varied, exquisite intimacy within the bonds of marriage.
I mentioned that my heart began to resonate with the book beginning in chapter 7. This is where Dr. Slattery and Gresh delve into the incredible and unique intimacy that God wants to have with each of us.
Here, they debunk the myth that God promises every woman a “happily ever after”, fulfilling, intimate relationship with a man—even after marriage.
“I bet you’ve never heard a sermon on what God does not promise. This is unfortunate because it is quite dangerous to place your trust in things you falsely assume God has promised. Jesus said that He came that you may have life and have it abundantly. His promises are great and He is trustworthy in fulfilling each one. But His ways are not our ways, and He has not promised some of the things you may have assumed or hoped He has.”
I am in one of those marriage that doesn’t quite live up to all my expectations. It is easy to cry out, “God, this isn’t what you intended for marriage! It’s not fair.” This leads to dissatisfaction and bitterness in the one relationship that should most closely mirror my relationship with Jesus.
But wait…if I have this relationship with Jesus, can I live without the “perfect” marriage?
The authors mention a quote by Dr. Larry Crabb, “God is all I need, but I don’t know Him well enough for Him to be all I have.”
This brought a twinge of conviction and a huge sigh of relief. I do not need to fret over whether my husband ever changes and becomes more affectionate, more intimate, more interested in sex. I must know God well enough that He is not only all I need, but all I have.
The book closes with numerous Scripture references and gentle guidance to help readers begin deepening their intimate relationship with Jesus. It even includes discussion questions, practical resources (other books and websites) as well as enumerated suggestions for practical application.
This book is applicable to all women in all relationships—even those who are single—and even those who don’t think they have a problem with erotica. The book covers all aspects of a woman’s relational needs and explains where fulfillment is found.
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