Monday, May 9, 2016

Let's Bust a Recap : The Good Girl's Guide

Oh boy, we're in it now! For those of you who follow my blog closely, you know I've been reading through The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex by Sheila Wray Gregoire. Well, I've finished it. And even though I feel a bit awkward discussing this so publicly (I mean, the word "sex" is right there in the title--no avoiding it), I really, really appreciated this book so I decided to soldier on and write a quick recap. Am I making too big a deal of this? I guess I'm just of the opinion that the topic of S-E-X should be private, and our culture has cheapened, familiarized, and devalued sex to a degree that truly is grievous. Is anything sacred anymore? Is there nothing left that still has the capacity to make us blush? I've strayed so far from the matter at hand....what am I even typing? #avoidancetactics

Anyway, I was given this book as an engagement present, and I've just now gotten around to reading it...nearly four years into my marriage. This book was wonderful and practical from start to finish, and I really regret not reading it sooner. In The Good Girl's Guide, Sheila not only shares some *ahem* tips on how to spice things up in the bedroom, she talks about the importance of the spiritual connection, the friendship, and the physical fireworks between a husband and wife. 

What I really found to be so beneficial in reading this book is the way Sheila focused on managing expectations in marriage--particularly Christian marriage. In so many Christian circles (or at least in my case), there seems to be all this pressure to get sex right, to satisfy your husband, to be the perfect wife. And while I understand that all of that is important (except for being the perfect wife--that's just impossible), I don't hear a lot of voices in the Church talking about how difficult becoming one flesh actually is and reminding those embarking on the overwhelming journey of marriage that they have the rest of their lives together to figure it all out. There were a lot of tears (I'm talking ugly, snot-nose bawling) my first year (heck, my first MONTH) of marriage because I was so sure I was screwing it up. I had June Cleaver levels of expectation for myself--hot dinner on the table when my man walked into his immaculately clean home every night with me standing there holding out a cold drink for him dressed up in pearls and ready to rub his feet. And, of course, all the physical stuff would come naturally and be mind-blowingly amazing every single day because that's obviously how marriage works. Oh yes. I expected myself to have it all together from Day One. That's unrealistic. That's soul-crushing. That's a dangerous mentality. (Thankfully, my husband is eternally patient and abundantly kind to me, and he didn't go running for the hills when all the emotions came out.) 

The truth is, becoming one flesh in every sense of the word doesn't happen in one night. Connecting with someone physically, emotionally, and spiritually takes time and effort. Going from taking care of yourself to laying down your life for another is not natural so it doesn't come naturally. But that's the beauty of it, too. Marriage is supposed to be making me more like Christ, and my marriage should be a picture of His relationship with the Church. That's not going to happen in one night. That's going to take the rest of my life.

I'm not saying that reading this book before I got married would have solved any and all of the problems I faced in those first few tender months of being a newlywed (and let's be honest, all the problems I still run into now as a young married woman), but I am saying that reading this book was incredibly encouraging, affirming, and helpful, and I would highly, HIGHLY recommend it to any woman who is about to get married, just recently got married, or has been married for years. If we're friends in real life, and you'd like to borrow it, holla at me. This will definitely be my go-to gift at bridal showers in the future. And for any of you who'd like to get a taste of Sheila Gregoire immediately, check out her blog To Love, Honor, & Vacuum. I'm now a faithful subscriber.

There now. That wasn't too painful. To wrap it up, let me whet your appetite with some of my favorite lines from this book. 

"Many of us live in difficult marriages, but this does not mean that our lives are rotten. We will just have to adjust our expectations for our marriages. It is often in these most difficult situations that God cements couples together in a new way or else draws hurting spouses closer to Him...Marriage is not an easy road, but it is also not one that God asks you to walk alone. Some of us have harder things to bear in marriage than others, but God is big enough to woo you, to help you feel loved, and to let you know that you are precious, lovely, and desirable to Him. So take that resentment toward your husband and turn that energy into prayer. You just may find that God will take you on a new journey that is lovely, though it's not what you originally planned."

"If there are two words not exactly linked in the Christian mindset, they would be holy and hot. I don't think that's because God separated them; I think it's because we separated them...But what does 'holy' sex really mean? And is it possible to be holy and hot at the same time? Actually, I think that's the biblical view of sex. It's purity and passion together, and that's what makes it so wonderful!"

"The key to a passionate marriage is not to be as sexually adventurous as possible, but to be as passionate about God as possible."

"Life is so busy that you can always find reasons for ignoring your husband. Don't accept them as excuses. When you start to see yourself falling into a rut of exhaustion, overcommitment, or worry, it's time to turn more to your husband, not less. Don't live in survival mode."

"Marriage is all about becoming one. But that 'becoming' is a process--it doesn't happen overnight. Sure, it may happen instantaneously in God's eyes, but it usually takes time and effort for us mortals to truly feel 'one': to truly become intertwined in every sense of the word."

"Don't settle for the status quo. You aren't meant to have a blah marriage."

Have you ever read a book that was so encouraging you just had to share it with others? Are there any life-alteringly great marriage books out there that I should look into? Am I the only one who had an emotional breakdown (or two....or twenty) her first year of marriage? Tear up the comment section, y'all, 'cause the only thing I can think of that's worse than writing a sex-post is not getting any feedback on it.


  1. Beautiful, honest and caring....that's you. I love you!

  2. My favorite quote is "Don't live in survival mode." Life does not need to be as hard as we sometimes make it out to be. When Caroline and I take the time to communicate with each other and with God, it doesn't just help us alleviate stress, it frees us to be joyful.

    1. Oakie, you're just a grown-up married man, and I'm so proud of you! And I totally 100% agree with you. We don't communicate just to make it through, we communicate to enjoy each other and our life together. Great thoughts!

  3. I need to read that book. Like now. And I will definitely admit that I cried during the first year of marriage - a lot. Heck, I cried about 2 or 3 times the first week alone (yes, I mean during our honeymoon.) The process of becoming one is hard because it involves making less of yourself to make more of your spouse (hello, real life picture of sanctification) Lol

    Thank you so much for:
    1) Reading this book
    2) Writing a blog post about it even though it may have been uncomfortable for you.
    3) Being an awesome best friend :)

    1. I cried on my honeymoon too. But to put everything in perspective, I cried a lot before I ever got married--I'm just an emotional person! :) Thanks for commenting! I will definitely bring you the book on Saturday when we have our lunch date!

    2. Thanks for reminding me about Saturday! You wanna ride together?

  4. you called it a "sex-post" complete with a hyphen. i love this.
    this sounds like a great book! i have to say, i'm interested.
    thank you for being honest about EVERYTHING you're reading & how it is helping you. i like that about you :)

    1. Haha! I had to have Cody read it and approve it before I would post it! It really was a fantastic book. I'll have to bring it to you. You know, when I come to Japan to visit. Because I'm so doing that. :)