I have a custom of writing letters to my children when they are young. This letter is one such example. In general, these letters are very personal and a gift that is only shared with the recipient. Due to the alarming popularity of the “50 Shades of Grey” book and upcoming movie, I decided to make an exception in the case of this letter. Please note that I have not read the book, nor do I ever intend to. My understanding of it is derived from a fairly brief summary, and that degree of detail has proved more than sufficient for me. I would rather remain ignorant of all the sordid details.
My Dearest Anastasia,
Hello, my daughter. Right now you are just a baby sleeping on your father’s lap, totally at peace in his arms. Someday, though, you might be in another man’s arms and I wanted to pass on a few suggestions for how to find someone worthy of that honor.
You see, there is a book that is quite popular right now. I won’t bother to name it since I am sure that by the time you read this it will have long been forgotten. This book tells the story of a young woman’s sexual relationship with a sadistic man. Normally, I don’t give such filth a second thought, but while reading a critique of the book, I learned the young woman’s name: Anastasia.
Then the book changed. Instead of seeing it as just another smutty story, it became personal. It began to represent a future that I hope you will never have to experience. It led me to think of some things to suggest for you to avoid in future relationships, as well as qualities to look for in a potential husband.
First, if a man tries to control you or coerce you into being the perfect partner for him, run away from that relationship and don’t look back. Love isn’t about controlling another person in order to maximize your own satisfaction. It is about giving generously of yourself, and in so doing becoming who you were meant to be. Love doesn’t force another person to conform to his or her own standards of perfection, but rather provides gentle guidance in trying to become more like Christ.
Another thing to beware of is a man who refers to virginity (either his or yours) as something to be taken or lost. Virginity is a gift of oneself to another. If any man talks of taking it or asks you to “lose” it to him, he does not understand the value of the gift you have to offer and is not properly disposed to receive it.
From what I understand in the aforementioned book, the main male character requires Anastasia to sign a non-disclosure agreement so that his various sexual exploits will be kept confidential. I presume he thinks that this will provide him with the means to engage in a more “liberating” sexual encounter.
It should come as no surprise to you that your father and I have entered into a formal agreement of a sexual nature. Ours goes something like this: “I take you to be my lawfully wedded spouse, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” It is only in this type of an agreement that one can experience the true freedom that comes from giving oneself to another completely and unreservedly for life.
The reason that the male character desires Anastasia to sign the non-disclosure agreement is because he is a sadist. He derives pleasure from causing her pain. My daughter, I hope and pray that you will never find yourself in a relationship with such a man. No matter how convincingly he may profess to love you, it is a lie.
Love never finds pleasure from inflicting harm on the beloved. There can be no true union of persons when one is using the other as an object to satisfy their lust.
Some proponents of such a lifestyle argue that the pleasure doesn’t come from the inflicting of pain, but from the trust that the victim places in the aggressor not to permanently injure or kill them. At this point words fail me. Hoping that the man who is abusing you for his own pleasure won’t kill you hardly seems like trust to me. Rather, true trust is pledging your life and your heart to another, come what may.
Finally, my daughter, please know that no matter what choices or mistakes you may make, I will always love you.
Nothing you can do or say could ever change my love for you. If you ever want to talk about anything or need a safe place to run to, I will always be here for you. Your father and I love you more than life itself, we would gladly die to save you.
As much as we love you, there is one who loves you even more. He has already died to save you.
Should you ever fall, run back into His arms in the Sacrament of Confession. It is there that He will hold you close to His pierced heart in the most loving of embraces. If you ever need a model of true, selfless love, look to Him my daughter.
In Him I Remain,
Your Devoted Mother
Do you ever write letters to your children? What are some pieces of advice that you want to impart to them on the expression of love in a relationship? What are your thoughts on the “50 Shades of Grey” saga?
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Katherine, This was beautifully written….it is such a shame that you would have to address such an issue….but such are our days. Yet, I am ever hopeful that the tide is changing. Your generation will continue to shine the light of Christ amidst the darkness! Thank you for your witness!!!!
Thanks Mrs. Fetsko!
This is so sweet.
I actually wrote my first letter to Dymphna two days before you posted this! How coincidental.
I love that in this instance you’ve taken a current cultural concern and weaved it into a more timeless message. I wonder if it’ll have some sort of “time capsule” effect when she reads it (although I, with you, hope that all recollection of the 50 Shades fad is quite forgotten enough to not have such!). It gives me plenty more inspiration of what to communicate to my own “grown up” children in these simpler days.
As always, thanks for sharing, Katharine!
Is this a case of great minds thinking alike? I am hoping that 50 Shades will prove nothing more than a blip on the cultural radar. It scares the heck out of me that it has sold more copies than Harry Potter though . . .