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“No More Headaches” Book Review (Part 3 of 3)

March 17, 2010

This is the final blog in a three part series I’ve written reviewing Dr. Juli Slattery’s book “No More Headaches: Enjoying Sex & Intimacy in Marriage.”  I went to the Christian bookstore looking for a book speaking to a struggle I’ve faced all my marriage – difficulty enjoying physical intimacy.  “No More Headaches” seemed to be exactly what I needed – and it did not disappoint. I’m beginning today with Chapter Eight.

 

 

Chapter Eight: I Can’t Compete With That

Body image obviously plays an important role in sex for both men and women.  Slattery helps us view our bodies as God does and offers some suggestions for developing a healthier body image.  I laughed out loud when she talked about the lies we believe from Hollywood… “We’ve been conditioned to believe that sexual enjoyment and passion are totally dependent on physical fitness and attractiveness.  Beautiful people have great sex.  Ugly people have sex thinking about the beautiful people.” 

In this chapter, she challenges us to change how we view our own bodies and how we view our husband.  She also says we have to challenge the lie the sexuality is dependent on appearance.  “God’s design for sex is so much more than enjoying a beautiful body.  He longs to teach us a beauty beyond the physical.” 

 

Chapter Nine: Check Your Baggage At The Gate

The sexual baggage we bring into marriage, and how we deal with it, plays a major role in the intimacy we enjoy as a married couple.  Because sexual baggage links unhealthy emotions with sexual response, we will never be able to enjoy healthy sexuality unless we first deal with our sexual baggage. This chapter talks about the value in seeking a Christian counselor’s assistance as couples deal with their sexual baggage.  She also offers thoughts on how to choose a good counselor. 

 

Chapter Ten: Reclaiming Our Secret Garden

This chapter goes into great detail about the dangers of pornography and fantasy in marriage.  It begins with statistics, followed by the consequences of pornography in marriage.  Slattery also talks directly to wives, comforting them and also urging them to confront their husbands out of love and grace. 

“Your husband is neither all good nor all bad.  He’s a fallen man who battles with sin and the desire for integrity.”

Slattery also includes research from Dr. Archibald Hart that explains biologically why pornography is so addictive.  According to Hart, viewing pornography results in a combination of sexual excitement and adrenalin that creates a high, much like drugs.  Over time, in order to get to the same high, more stimulating and more exciting pornography is needed and life becomes a never ending game of chasing the high, just like a drug addict.

Slattery encourages wives to address the pornography problem with their husbands and be willing to work alongside them if they are willing to work towards recovery.  She warns that wives shouldn’t dimiss the problem as “his to deal with alone”.  She also says that wives shouldn’t take responsibility for their husband’s pornography use, blaming themselves for their husband’s wandering eyes.

In this chapter, Slattery also addresses women who are struggling with pornography.  She cites a 2008 study that revealed one third of women ages 18-26 reporting using some sort of porngraphy in the previous 12 months.  Like men, women use pornography to numb underlying feelings of loneliness, pain, depression or anger.  Slatter also shares that there are very little resources available for women struggling.  She suggests they begin with finding a safe person who can provide accountability and walk the road to recovery alongside them. 

I felt Slattery was talking directly to Jeff and me when she closed this chapter saying, “Involvement with porn and other sexually explicit material can either destroy intimacy or be a call toward seeking the Lord together at a whole new level.  The grace of God is bestowed not on those who have it all together but on the broken who humbly cry out for help….The very thing Satan uses to destroy, God can use to redeem.  If you’re willing to listen, forgive, confess, love and strive for purity, your journey together toward wholeness can forge you together unlike anything else.”  AMEN Dr. Slattery

 

Chapter 11: How’s Your Love Life?

The final chapter reflects on what the Bible teaches us about love and how that plays into our marriage.  Slattery argues that our intimacy with our husband is intertwined with our intimacy with Christ.  We can’t begin to understand forgiveness, mercy and unconditional love in marriage if we have not yet experienced it from the author of love. 

This chapter reminded me that one of the first Bible verses I learned as a child was, “God is love.”  Growing in our understanding of God’s love can revolutionalize our marriages. 

 “No More Headaches” ends with a Q&A with 12 common questions that wives have regarding intimacy.  This includes several questions from wives who are dealing with pornography in their marriage.  Following the Q&A, Dr. Slattery provides a tremendous resource list.

If you can’t already tell, I thought this book was fantastic. I can’t think of a way to get a greater return on just $14.   “No More Headache” will now be my standard gift to any bride-to-be I know.  I will also suggest it to the women I encounter who are struggling in their marriage or just looking for a way to strengthen intimacy with this husbands.  As helpful as the information was, I’m most thankful for Dr. Slattery’s authenticity and honesty, and sense of humor.    

Links: 
No More Headaches:  Chapters 1-3
No More Headaches: Chapters 4-7
No More Headaches:  Chapters 8-10

Dr. Slattery speaks at a women’s conference about “No More Headaches.”  Click here.

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