Will You Be My Disposable Valentine?  Sign Here.

Will You Be My Disposable Valentine? Sign Here.

Geoffrey Botkin
February 14, 2015

“A dog, a woman, and a walnut tree; the more you beat them, the better they be.”

So goes the centuries-old English proverb about romance and human affection. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, British fantasy-pornographer Erika Mitchell has revived this cruel idea in a major motion picture1. In Mitchell’s narrative, an innocent college girl is deceived, tormented and abused for the apparent sexual gratification of the criminal doing the beating. True to the proverb, the story suggests that the victim is the better for it, and now millions of filmgoers worldwide are lining up for a prurient peek at this perversion of romance and human affection.

Mitchell’s visual depictions of Sadistic abuse and deviant sexual passion are being elevated to a prominent and honored position in box-office culture. Mitchell’s Fifty Shades of Grey, a trilogy of erotic escapism has sold 100 million copies worldwide, and has been translated from British English into 52 languages. What curious viewers are forced to see is a vivid demonstration of the Marquis de Sade’s brutal theology of abuse. The Marquis was a liberation theologian and pornographer of 19th century France. Sade and his disciples believe all women of any age belong to all men in any way the men choose, and any harm to the woman is nobody’s business but the man’s. “The issue of her wellbeing, I repeat, is irrelevant,” wrote Sade. He justified the use of any violence necessary to force his will on any woman of any age at any time in order to obtain personal pleasure from cruelty. “I've already told you,” he preached, “the only way to a woman's heart is along the path of torment. I know none other as sure.” Sade was not simply trying to brand a new lifestyle, or trying to make himself happy, or trying to satisfy a lustful urge. He was seriously trying to destroy God’s created institution known as marriage, and God’s created masterpiece known as woman, by dismantling every form of dignity and protection women were entitled to enjoy, and every relationship through which God intended women to find joy. 2

The Unclean Secret of Christian Homes

Advance ticket sales to Fifty Shades of Grey exceeded all expectations in the US Protestant Bible Belt. Which means Sadism is coming to those conservative Southern towns with the cute little Protestant churches. Fifty Shades is arriving with a red carpet welcome. Will its vivid Sadism hurt marriage in American churches? Of course. Sadism’s original design is to overthrow God’s authority, His law, and His order. 3

But what may hurt American marriage even more is this: there are current marriages that flatly refuse to be loving examples to the world. There are husbands who defiantly refuse to love their wives, and wives who defiantly refuse to respect their husbands. Disaffection, disunity, simmering grudges, childish dissatisfaction, bitterness, wrath, and clamor in the homes of married couples send a message that is much louder than all the anti-marriage porn Erika Mitchell can produce.

Here is a huge cultural problem. There are husbands and wives who willingly joined themselves together for their mutual happiness who are behaving like people who have no desire to be happy, no desire to honor their marriage vows, and no desire to discover the purpose and grandeur of married life. In most of these couples, both are to blame. They are stubborn. They are unrepentant. These selfish couples have no idea how badly they are defacing the concepts of marriage, covenant, love, romance and human affection. People are watching their shameful, daily rejection of marital bliss, and forming very negative opinions about marriage. These Christians may be quick to say there is no true love between Christian Grey and his victim, but how much do they care about their lack of love and tenderheartedness in their own marriages?

The Destructive Power of Indifference

Pious parents complain that books like Fifty Shades of Grey might make their daughters fall for sadists like Christian Grey. It’s more likely that the lack of tenderheartedness and love daughters see in their parents’ own marriage will make those daughters fall for sadists like Christian Grey. An absence of love in marriage confuses children, who will then go seeking love wherever they can find it. But they have no idea what it will look like, or feel like. But at least they know “it” will not be indifferent.

This “it” is what keeps thousands of women cleaving to cruelly abusive lovers. “Why does the woman not leave the man as soon as he manifests his violence?” asks British psychiatrist Dr. Anthony Daniels, who spent a dismal part of his medical career interviewing thousands4 of horribly injured, abused women from Ericka Mitchell’s world of erotic Sadism. “It is because, perversely, violence is the only token she has of his commitment to her. Just as he wants to be in exclusive sexual possession of her, she wants a permanent relationship with him. She imagines, falsely, that a punch in the face or hand around the throat is at least a sign of his continued interest in her, the only sign other than sexual intercourse she is ever likely to receive in that regard. In the absence of a marriage ceremony, a black eye is his promissory note to love, honor, cherish, and protect.”

“So convinced is she the violence is an intrinsic and indispensable part of relations between the sexes, however, that if by some chance she alights next time upon a non violent man, she suffers acute discomfort and disorientation; she may indeed even leave him because of his insufficient concern for her. Many of my violently abused women patients have told me they did find non violent men intolerably indifferent and emotionally distant, rage being the only emotion they've ever seen a man express. They leave them quicker than they leave men who have beaten and otherwise abused them.” 5

A Black Eye is not a Gift of Love

Mitchell’s big Valentine’s Day event reinforces the old perversion that true romantic love will hurt, physically. And women are being enticed by Erika Mitchell to go along with this. The answer to this moral affront cannot be passive or ambiguous. Husbands, it’s time to engage. Do something more than sitting at home and not seeing Ericka Mitchell’s porn flick. The best gifts of love you can give your wife happen to be commanded by the One who designed marriage. Here are four:

  1. Change your attitude. From Colossians 3:19 comes the command, “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh [embittered, exasperated, irritated, indignant] with them.” You must replace any bad attitude against your wife with one of self-sacrificial love, and then nourish and cherish her in ways that she understands that she is being generously provided for. Cherish her position as your wife for life (Ephesians 5:29).
  2. Tell her where you’ve been wrong. Here’s the way repentance works. You identify what you did that was wrong, you call it by its real name, you confess it as wrong, and then you stop doing it forever. The stopping part is the real essence of repentance. If you fail, well, repeat the process. She will forgive you, and you will forgive her for the things she learns to turn from, and forgiveness is a firm foundation for an intimate life-long relationship. Husbands, it starts with you. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).”
  3. Actively honor her. The command in I Peter 3:7 instructs husbands to “live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” Your wife has been given the same high spiritual honors as the husband and she is entitled to the highest respect and esteem you can give her in every moment of life as your companion. Start by being a closer friend to her than any friend she can imagine. Work creatively with her to dream up ways that your marriage can be a co-creative act as you collaborate on improving the little world you inhabit.
  4. Be delighted in your wife and with your wife. This too is a command. In Proverbs 5:19 you are instructed to appreciate your wife physically and see her as a lovely deer, a graceful doe. “Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.” She needs to know that it is you only who responds to her affection, and to the physical generosity she freely entrusts to you. Let her know that you are not only delighted with her and by her, but that you are filled with delight. Show it.

Let your wife know, and others, that you have emotions for her other than those the world thinks are the default “man” emotions. You’ve got more to offer than indifference, rage, and lust. When the watching world can look at a married couple and see, by the way they stand next to each other, and look into each others’ eyes with warm affection, friendship, companionship, and peace, then vulgar alternatives to married life lose their mysterious attraction. The lies of Sadism and its religious doctrines lose every fleeting appeal.

  • 1. Universal Pictures and Focus Features produced a film adaptation of the novels, which was released on 13 February 2015. I have no intention of seeing the film or delving into the books.
  • 2. Historians make the mistake of seeing this pornographer as merely a slave of lust and advocate of complete personal freedom. No. Sade was a brilliant revolutionary at war with God, and he fought consistently. He declared the pinnacle of evil to be what God declared good, and devoted his life to destroying God’s wisdom, God’s institutions, and God’s created order. His tool for cultural secularization was extreme sexual deviancy.
  • 3. Sade dismantled every form of protection women were entitled to enjoy, and every relationship through which God intended women to find joy. “Sade’s greatest joy,” said RJ Rushdoony, “was in corrupting the godly.” This was the only interest Sade had in the heart of a woman, and he deliberately deceived, defiled, degraded and debased every woman he touched. See RJ Rushdoony, Noble Savages, (Vallecito,: Ross House Books, 2005) 43.
  • 4. See Theodore Dalrymple, In Praise of Predjudice, The necessity of preconceived ideas, New York: 2007, Encounter Books, page 107.
  • 5. Theodore Dalrymple, Life at the Bottom: The worldview that makes the underclass, Chicago: 2001, Ivan R. Dee, p 45-46.

About the Author

Geoffrey Botkin is a cultural analyst, political consultant, veteran filmmaker, husband, and father. He currently serves as a senior consultant to the Western Conservatory of the Arts & Sciences.

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