12 Alternatives to “Fifty Shades of Grey” To Strengthen Your Marriage

12 "Fifty Shades of Grey" Alternatives to Strengthen Your MarriageValentine's Day used to be all about love, cards, candy, and little stands popping up everywhere, selling a dozen roses and stuffed animals to men who had forgotten about this crazy little holiday.  This year, however, it seems like everything I see on social media is about the "Fifty Shades of Grey" phenomenon.  Some are adamanatly against it and some cannot wait until they can go with their spouses to see it on, oddly enough, Valentine's Day.  Wherever you stand, I am here to offer you some healthy, good for your relationship alternatives to "Fifty Shades of Grey" this weekend.  Because while there are likely a lot of men and women who are into this sort of thing, there are SO MANY other resources that I PROMISE will strenghten your marriage and help you have a healthy sex life  and fulfilling relationship long after this whole fifty shades hype is over, if you give them a shot.  I promise.

1.  The Fantasy Fallacy by Shannon Ethridge – (Kindle version on sale for only $2.99 through 2/15) great resource about understanding the true meaning of fantasies and how to deal with them.  It's a perfect response to "Fifty Shades of Grey."  Hubby and I recently took a class with Shannon and she is truly inspiring and has some awesome advice and research based, valuable information to share.

2.  Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage DVD – Mark Gungor is hilarious and presents honest truth about men and women and how to work together to achieve a fantastic marriage.  Or if you're more into books,  Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage:  Unlocking the Secrets to Life, Love, and Marrige by Mark Gungor is available.  We have had the great opportunity to hear Mark speak live and it was amazing!  We came out of the conference refreshed and closer than ever.  (Check out my review of Mark's DVD.)

Marriage Quote

3.  Pulling Back The Shades: Erotica, Intimacy, and the Longings of a Woman's Heart by Dannah Gresh and Dr. Juli Slattery – this book promises to address your desire to be both sexual and spiritual.  These are things that the Church is afraid to talk about, even though God created it!  (read the first chapter here and read a review here and another here!)

4.  Awaken Love:  The Song couple's devotional, couple's kit, and The Song DVD – The Song is a movie released in theaters about love, marriage, and temptation.  While I have not seen the movie, I hear it's a good one.  I was able to review the couple's devotional book, which has been fantastic.  

5.  His Needs, Her Needs:  Building An Affair Proof Marriage by Willard F. Harley, Jr. – bestselling book that helps women and men understand each other and how to effectively work on their marriage to make it the best ever.

6.  The 30 Day Marriage Challenge ebook by (DFW blogger) Becky Moseley – see what a difference a month makes!  Complete a challenge every day to make your marriage stronger and better.

7.  The Sexually Confident Wife – Connecting With Your Husband – Mind, Body, Heart, Spirit by Shannon Ethridge – addresses many issues (past abuse, self doubt, guilt, etc) that cause wives to not be confident with their husbands and provides great information that is not crude.

8.  Fireproof DVD – A great movie about love, marriage, and the struggles married couples face.

9.  The Passion Principles:  Celebrating Sexual Freedom in Marriage by Shannon Ethridge – A book about what God wants for married couples.  He created sex for married couples, and Shannon honestly and frankly opens the minds of husbands and wives to celebrate the spirtual, mental, emotional, and physical dimensions of sexuality.

10. Mark Gungor's Butt-Kicking Woman Conference DVD my review – Simply put, so many women are doormats for men to use and abuse however they want.  This is a big problem, especially with "Fifty Shades."  Women expect the man to always fall in love with them, and rarely does that happen.  Mark, along with special guest speakers, shows women how to be confident and kick butt, so there's no room for abusive men.  

11. Ways to Romance Your Husband – awesome (free!) blog post from (DFW blogger) Staci from 7 On A Shoestring (Staci has many great posts about marriage, like 4 Ways To Say "I Love You" Without Saying A Word.

12.  Lastly, if you're looking for a healthy, non-erotica romance novel to read, FamilyChristian.com has many great books for you.  Love stories can be fun and exciting without all of the rest.

12 Fifty Shades of Grey Alternatives To Strengthen Your Marriage

You will find that most of these are Christian resources, but you definitely do not have to be a Christian to reap the benefits.  Most Christians are anti-Fifty Shades and pornography, but I want to point out that there have been countless people write about the negative effects of pornography that are not religious at all.  

"Once the layers are pulled back, it becomes obvious that pornography brings far more harm to our society than good. Its homogenous representations of beauty and sexual activities have created a narrow sexual aesthetic that women must physically harm themselves to achieve. Worse, it consistently features the degradation and abuse of women, valuing them not as people to be respected but objects to be used and creating a climate in which violence is accepted. These negative actions and attitudes against women make it clear that pornography is against the humanist idea that all people are worthy of safety and respect."


But it really goes beyond the traditional sense of "porn."  Many women say that "Fifty Shades of Grey" isn't porn.  But…it is.  Check out this definition from XXXChurch:

"Porn is anything you use (watch, read, hear, or imagine) that’s used to illicit sexual arousal outside of your spouse."

If you have ever been to this blog before reading this post, you know that I do not typically write about things of this nature.  Also, I am not one to usually jump on the "bandwagon" of mainstream events.  But I want you to know that there is so much more for you and your spouse than this!  Your "porn," whatever it may be, is like settling for a cheap, disgusting microwave dinner when you could be going to a 5 star restaurant.  It's just not worth it.  There are FAR better alternatives than the latest erotic movie craze.  You, your spouse, your family, and your life is worth more than settling for this!  I hope you find something from the above list that is helpful.  Good luck!


**This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you, but is not sponsored.**

Be A Butt Kicking Woman!

This Butt Kicking Woman post brought to you by the sponsor.  All opinions are 100% mine.

If you don't know by now, we think Mark Gungor is an awesome speaker.  We have enjoyed his "Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage" DVDs and also heard him speak live.  He is funny, enjoyable to listen to, and brings a depth of knowledge that just makes sense.  Seriously, I promise you will be sitting there thinking "that's pretty obvious….why didn't I think of that?" or "why didn't anyone tell me this stuff before?"  He is one of the most sought after speakers on marriage and family in the country.  He has spoken to many military familes and families all over the world, too.

Every other year, Mark Gungor gathers some awesome speakers for the "Butt Kicking Woman" conference, held in Green Bay, WI.  In the in between years, he hosts a conference for men – the "Manly Man Conference," where men gather to have a great time and listen to great male speakers who are there to teach and enrich while having fun.

The Butt Kicking Woman conference this year is jam packed with excellent speakers.  Carolyn Evans, Diane Brierley, Danen Kane, John Branyan, Mark Gungor, and Mo Isom, the female athlete who tried out for the LSU football team.  She shares her great story about her battle with an eating disorder and the battle within herself on the Butt Kicking Woman website.  I wish I could be there at the conference this year to hear Mo's story because it sounds like a moving one that is sure to inspire.

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My Favorites of 2012

I've had a fun year here on the blog!  We've gotten to review some awesome stuff this year and I'm thankful for that and glad I got to share with my readers!  While I am always honest and never give a bad product a good review, there are some things that we couldn't use or would be better used by someone else, so I've donated or given away a lot of the products we've reviewed.  BUT, there are a few things that we can't let go of because they've been SO helpful, enjoyable, or simply awesome and now I want to share my favorites of 2012 with you!  (I wasn't paid or compensated for writing this post by any of the companies I'm about to name, but I really just love them and want you to know about them!)

"Little Changes" by Kristi Marsh I absolutely loved this book.  It opened my eyes to actually examine labels, consider alternatives, and realize that cheaper is not usually better.  I thank Kristi for helping us make some healthier choices this year!  And following Kristi on Facebook has continually educated me.

little_changes_300 HD freestanding book

Butterfly Garden by Insect Lore – This was SO much fun for all of us!  Seeing the caterpillars turn into chrysalises, and then into beautiful butterflies was such a wonderful thing and a great example of God's beautiful creations.  We will definitely be ordering more caterpillars in a few months!

insect lore

Coffee Mate Natural Bliss creamers – I had never really considered what was in my creamer until I was able to try these creamers.  They have only four ingredients…and are much, much better for you than regular creamers!

natural bliss creamer

OOFOS footwear – I loooooved how good these shoes felt on my feet.  They were cushiony and comfortable.  If you're wondering why I am using past tense, it's because I left them outside and they shrunk in the hot Texas summer sun.  ­čÖü  If I ever own another pair of OOFOS, I will never leave them outside.  Best shoes ever.


Magic Bumpers – One word:  lifesavers.  Our Magic Bumpers have made our trips a gazillion times better.  Baby D has slept with me without bothering me and in a twin bed without me having to worry about him rolling off.  They're affordable and a must have!

foam bed rails

Mark Gungor's "Laugh Your Way To A Better Marrige" DVD and live seminar – Mark is fabulous.  He's funny, he's smart, and he knows what he's talking about.  Some of the advice that Mark gives in his seminar has helped us to THINK about what we're doing and saying, how we're reacting, how we treat each other, and so much more.  I recommend Mark's material for singles, engaged couples, newlyweds, and anyone who is married, whether you've been married for 2 years or 50 years!

Mark Gungor

Moody Sisters Organic Lip Balm – This lip balm is my absolute favorite and it's made with natural, organic ingredients.  Plus, it smells great!  I don't leave home without it!!

kiss my almond Moody Sisters Organic

Maranda Lee – Hot Mama Handbags – This diaper bag is so much fun.  I love the print and the pockets are oh so handy.  If I could change one thing, though, I would've gone with the zippered closing because I've had a couple of times where the entire bag crashes to the floor and spills because I've forgotten to snap it closed.  Of course, I'd probably forget to zip it closed, too, but that's not Maranda's fault.  ­čÖé  The bag is SO well made and sturdy and it washes like a dream, too!

medium Emma bag

Hubby's Favorite:  Deluxe LED Fogless Shower Mirror with Squeegee by Toilet Tree  This is still a hit months later.  The hubby still raves about how awesome it is to be able to shave his face in the shower in a fogless mirror.


Well, there you have it!  My favorites of 2012.  I want to thank all of the awesome companies I've worked with in the past and can't wait to see what 2013 holds!

Do you have a favorite product from 2012?  I'd love to hear about it!  And if you're a blogger and have written a "Best of 2012" post, I'd love to read it so leave me the link in a comment!.

Thanks for being a reader of Life With Captain Fussybuckets!

Mark Gungor Live!

We have seen Mark Gungor's "Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage" DVDs two times now, so it was a treat to get to see him live last week!  The hubby and I were lucky enough for Grammy and Grampy to watch the boys while we enjoyed listening to Mark on Friday night and Saturday morning.  We were both wondering how he was going to get everything in from the DVDs into the seminar, but Mark seems to have been doing it for so long, that he condensed the information on the DVD down to the perfect length at the seminar, without leaving out vital information.  Of course, I think everyone, married or not, should watch the DVD series, but the seminar is a fantastic start.  And there's really nothing like seeing Mark Gungor live and hearing him talk!

Laugh Your Way

Mark spent time talking about how women and men just think differently, how to get along, and simply how to love and respect each other.  Mark has a fantastic way of getting the point across to both men and women.  I'm not sure how he does it, but it is definitely a God given talent and he uses it well.  However, we learned at the seminar that it hasn't always been that way.  He was told that, as a pastor, he couldn't do certain things or talk about certain things in church, but later in his life, he finally was encouraged by someone from the church to be who he was and by that one person's faith in him, he has touched thousands of lives and saved hundreds of marriages.  He certainly has touched our hearts and made us think about our marriage and each other in a way that we had never heard before.  

Mark is funny, smart, and talented as a speaker.  Not once in the 2 1/2 ish hours on Friday and 2 1/2 ish hours on Saturday was I bored, even when hearing some of the stories from the DVDs.  There was a lot of new stuff, too, which was great.  He spent about 45 minutes talking about the Flag Page and how simply finding out what is important to you, your spouse, and even your kids can make a world of difference in your relationships.  His presentation was so convincing that there was a line at the merchandise table, and we bought the book and two codes, as well.  This stuff just works and there's no psychological equation behind it.  It's simple, easy to use, and on everyone's level, and that is great.  If it works, why try to complicate it?

We had an EXCELLENT time and I can't wait for Mark to come back to our area so we can hear him speak again.  He has lots of fantastic resources for married people, women, men, teens, and kids and while I haven't heard/read all of it, I would be willing to bet it's all equally fantastic!

You can listen to the Mark Gungor radio show FREE online or via his app.  Just search for "Mark Gungor" in the app store.  Also, check out the "Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage" DVD series and the other great DVDs, books, and more at the Mark Gungor website.  

And now…it's your turn to see Mark Gungor live OR go to a video event of "Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage" with your spouse!  Just enter in the Rafflecopter form below!

Giveaway is over and Jamie is the lucky winner!

“Think Twice Before You Eat What Society Feeds Us.”

This is a bit off topic for what this blog is used to, I know, but our society is in need of a "sexual healing."  My husband and I, along with two other adults, are finishing up teaching a purity class to the teens at our church.  I have been so impressed by our teens along the way, at how mature they have been and their responses.  I have also been disgusted by the national statistics of teens and pre-teens involved in so many things that even adults aren't even mature enough to handle sometimes.  Something needs to be done.  Parents need to be talking to their kids and not just handing them an iPhone and a laptop and sending them on their merry way through the teenage years.  That's why I'm so happy that people like Jeff Bethke and Mark Gungor are coming out with messages for teens and young adults, as well as their parents.  This stuff can't be avoided in today's culture and society, so why not get some advice and encouragement from people who know what they're talking about?  Why aren't more people talking about this stuff before their kids hear about it at school, instead of paying thousands of dollars on therapy (that rarely works, mind you) after they have gone down the wrong road or had emotional damage done?

Even if you're not the religious type, there are studies done and books written by non-religious groups that are beneficial to read if you're a parent, caregiver, mentor, or anything involving children.  I'm not saying that you should go out and tell all the kids you know about the dangers of premarital sex, but it is important to be armed and ready with information and advice should a teen come and talk to you.  Kids want to know this stuff and if their parents aren't telling them, they WILL get the information from someone else.  It seems like we spend more time trying to "fix" problems than prepare for them.  I'm not the mother of a teen or pre-teen, but those days are coming and the preparation starts now. Yes, even at 3 years old!  

Okay, off of my soapbox now, but check out this awesome young man who is a good role model for teens and young adults, Jefferson Bethke. My favorite line – "So think twice before you eat what society feeds us."

Mark Gungor – Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage DVD

Mark Gungor

My husband and I first heard of Mark Gungor while working at the children's home.  One of the ministers there shared the "Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage" DVD with us and I, personally, was very encouraged and excited about the DVD.  I had a lot of "aha!" moments, where things Mark said clicked and made complete sense.

Mark Gungor is a pastor at Celebration Church in Green Bay, WI, but his "Laugh Your Way" marriage seminars are not your usual religious seminar.  He gets right to the issues that are causing so much strife in marriages.  He uses Bible verses and references, but he is far from being "preachy."  And he uses down to earth, easy to understand language that is not full of psycho-babble.  He has spoken for churches, civic events, business meetings, and is even a speaker for the U.S. Army.  He even has a daily radio show.  Mark definitely knows what he is talking about, delivers his message with humor, and that's why this DVD series is one of our favorites.

It was good to watch this DVD series again, two years after we saw it the first time, and I think it would be beneficial to watch in two more years, too.  Mark begins talking about "The Tale of Two Brains."  This section explains how women and men think and act differently.  It is VERY enlightening to realize WHY men (and women) do what they do.  My husband's favorite part was when Mark talked about the "nothing box."  Sometimes men really do sit around and think about "nothing."  Even if they look like they're pondering deep thoughts or questioning something grand, it is quite possible they're really thinking about….nothing!  Women don't understand that because most women can't just sit there and think about nothing, but men can.  Who knew?  (This is also good information for raising boys, might I add!)  

Mark goes on to talk about why men and women do what they do and how to discover what makes your spouse tick.  Then, Mark discusses big issues that could cause a couple's intimate life to not be so great, and tells us how to fix them to have an "incredible sex life."  Mark doesn't hold back and addresses everything from emotions, to sex drive, to the world's obsession with pornography and how it is destroying marriages, but can be defeated in your marriage.  He even briefly discusses how to talk to your children and why we NEED to talk to our children about these issues before it's too late.

This DVD series is jam packed full of great information and it flies by because Mark presents it in such a friendly, humorous way.  If you're married, you will benefit from this series.  If you're not married, you will benefit from this series.  Even if you are in a "perfect" marriage (haha) then even YOU will benefit from this series, I guarantee it.  My personal opinion is that this DVD is the single best resource that married couples should get!

Check out a clip from "Laugh Your Way":

You can purchase the "Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage" DVD series for $59.99 at the website!  Make sure to follow Mark Gungor on Facebook and Twitter for news and updates!

The awesome people over at Mark Gungor headquarters want to give one Life With Captain Fussybuckets reader their own "Laugh Your Way To A Better Marriage" DVD set!  Just enter in the Rafflecopter form below.  Giveaway will end on September 4, 2012 at 11:01 PM central time.  Good luck!

Giveaway has ended and Carrie is the lucky winner!