Every Woman’s Battle, by Shannon Ethridge – A Book Review
This is one of those books that smack you upside the head, yet you can’t help but keep coming back for more whams! It’s about a woman’s emotional and sexual integrity and fulfilment in marriage. BOOM! Are you a woman who is married but does not experience emotional or sexual fulfilment? Perhaps you even ‘saved yourself’ for marriage and you had high expectations about what your emotional and sexual life post-marriage would be like, but the reality is falling far short of all your long awaited dreams and desires.
This book might be for you. It’s all about how the Lord wants to redeem your mind-space as a woman, and restore integrity, so that in marriage, you can enjoy His plan for your emotional and sexual fulfilment.
Shannon Ethridge speaks from the heart, and from experience, about the real struggle that women face, yes, including Christian women, when it comes to emotional and sexual intimacy, emotional and sexual fulfilment, desire, attraction e.t.c. within marriage. She squarely acknowledges the fact that many Christian women get married and experience dissatisfaction in this area of their lives, and though there may be a number of reasons for this, one of those reasons is the subject of ‘Every Woman’s Battle’, that is, brokenness in a woman’s mind-space.
Shannon writes about how the liberties that a woman takes in her mind (and often this may translate to action) may hinder her from experiencing and enjoying emotional and sexual intimacy and fulfilment within marriage. The narrative is based on the premise that if you believe that it is God’s desire for you as a woman to experience complete emotional and sexual fulfilment in marriage, and your goal as a woman is to discover and live in God’s plan for this area of your life, then you need to be quite real about the line in the sand that you may have drawn that allows you to comfortably engage your mind in fantasy and flirtation, thinking that you are still in the ‘safe zone’ as long as you do not actually physically put any action to these thought and behaviour patterns. Basically the book postulates that women are tempted first and foremost by what they think about and what they allow to be introduced into their thoughts and emotional life, and therefore, this is where the process of attaining God’s plan for your sexual and emotional fulfilment should begin.
Deep! Not your typical Sunday church service sermon, certainly! But definitely something that resonates with anyone who does not shy away from the tough-talk, and who likes to call a spade a spade! Just as a teaser, Shannon confronts real issues like the fact that many women, practice what they believe is casual and innocent fantasy or flirtation. For instance, some women fantasize about what it would be like to be married to so and so, or what life would be like if they had married someone else, or if their own husband died, leaving them free to marry someone else. Some women flirt with men other than their husbands and also entertain their advances, thinking that as long as ‘nothing physical happens’ they are in the clear. Shannon then discusses the impact of such patterns of thinking and living, on a woman’s ability to wholly give herself into her love and sex relationship in marriage, and how this diminishes her capacity to experience the joy of emotional and sexual fulfilment in marriage.
After working with you to address what is sexual impurity, and to demonstrate how this actually robs us as women from experiencing true, unfettered sexual and emotional fulfilment in marriage, Shannon then takes her time to show women that the Lord’s grace and love is available to help women untangle themselves from these patterns by taking every thought captive and by filling our mind-spaces (which we are big upon here at The Narrow Gateway) so that we can, in submitting to God’s way, access this life of sexual and emotional fulfilment within marriage, which God created us to enjoy! The book comes with a very practical workbook that provides more insights and tools that can be used even in a small group Bible Study setting.
Are you cringing yet? Yes, it’s definitely cringe-worthy stuff, but not because it is distasteful or untrue, but rather because it’s just not something we talk about as Christians. We are much more familiar with addressing the struggle of a man with sexual fidelity, pornography, masturbation etc (and for this, I would recommend another book in the same series, titled ‘Every Man’s Battle’ by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker) than we are with the struggles that women have in the area of sexual and emotional purity.
When I read this book, I was gripped and challenged. Somehow, Shannon Etheridge manages to deliver this challenging message with grace and love, leaving you feeling seized in the heart with conviction, yet grateful that the Lord loves you so much and desires so much more for you in this very personal yet much-encompassing area of your life. I for one am grateful that the Lord cares about my sexual and emotional wholeness, and that He has made a way for me to learn and grow from mistakes of the past and move into a wholesome space in my emotional and sexual life as a married woman.
I would recommend this book to all women, yes, even those who feel that they have absolutely no struggle in the area of sexual and emotional fulfilment. Even if you do not struggle in this area, I daresay you are likely to know a woman who has struggles like this and who would welcome your help. I would recommend this book to mothers and fathers (note I said, and fathers), to share with their daughters (Shannon Ethridge also wrote a version for young women titled ‘Every Young Woman’s Battle’). In fact, I would even recommend this book to husbands. There’s a lot that is not understood about women. This book can tell you tales that could only serve to enhance the attainment of God’s plan for intimacy in your home.
Please read the book and let me know what you think about it (firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below).
Written by Toyin Oladiran (2 May 2017) for The Narrow Gateway