Being "Sexy" For Your Husband? (part four)

This is #4 in a 5-part series examining if and in what ways Christian wives should be "sexy" towards their husbands. Click below to read previous installments:

PART ONE: Should a Christian wife be enticing or seductive towards her own husband?
PART TWO: Where does the standard of "sexiness" come from?
PART THREE: What is definitely off-limits for Christian marriages?

So then today, we'll look at question #4:

Should there be a difference in our attitude, countenance, and the way we carry our body in public and in private?

The short answer is, "Yes!" But, more specifically, we must consider in what ways we should be distinctive in public and in private.
  • In our attitude. As Christian wives, our husbands should never have any reason to question our faithfulness or commitment to them. Nor should they doubt our love and respect. So, in that, our attitude about our husbands (respectful, loving, and supportive) should be the same whether we are out in public or at home. More on the point of being sexy though, I think we need to be careful that we only have a flirtatious and enticing attitude towards our husbands. Some women exude confidence and vivacity and friendliness towards other men can be perceived as flirtation. As Christian women, we need to be aware of those tendencies, and be careful to (as far as it lies within our power) not come across as inviting attention from other men.

  • In our appearance. We're to be attractive and seductive for one man only-- the husband God gave us. That doesn't mean that we go to the store or church looking like a frump and only wear makeup when we're in the bedroom. But I think it SHOULD mean that it's not the reverse-- others shouldn't be the only ones who see us at our best. I'm definitely not saying that we never are allowed to wear sweats in our homes or have a ponytail or an "off" day. But what I am saying is that we need to be certain that we DO give our husband reason to find us attractive and beautiful. In the Song of Solomon, the young woman has clearly tried to do things (for example, wear jewelry, and use her eyes) to captivate her husband. It is good to work to be beautiful and captivating towards our own husbands. That doesn't mean the same thing for all of us-- some husbands couldn't care less about make up, or wearing certain styled clothes, or lingerie, or whatever... but some do- and we need to be aware of those preferences and be appealing towards our own husband.

  • In the clothes that we wear. We shouldn't dress in public in ways that are tantalizing towards men in general. If your husband likes a particular color on you, or a particular outfit, I don't see any problem with wearing it... with this caveat: we are not to be tempting towards other men. I have experienced this a few different times in the past, where I've noticed that a Christian married woman will dress in ways that are clearly inappropriate, and her husband seems to derive pride from that, as though he WANTS other men to notice his wife in a sexual way.

    We are specifically told in the Word not to be a stumbling block for others, so I'll put it this way: I don't see ANY problem with dressing however you want to, for your husband's eyes alone. When we're in public settings, it is fine to be pretty and intentionally keep ones' self up. And it's not wrong to wear clothes that look nice or show that you are, in fact, a woman. :-) But as Christian women, we need to put the needs and struggles of our brothers in the Body of Christ ahead of our own desires to look chic or hot or sexy or whatever else our culture (or sometimes, even our own husbands or friends) may tell us to shoot for.

  • In the way that we talk. Some things are only for husbands and wives to discuss. Some things, I believe, are OK for us to talk about with same-sex friends as we work through issues that come up or have questions that we need to talk through. But most things of the sexual realm aren't to be opened up as conversation with just any old person. Our culture has blurred a lot of the lines of what's acceptable, but we need to be cautious in the way that we talk and the subjects we discuss, particularly in mixed company.

  • In the way we carry our bodies. Privately, between you and your husband, your body is not your own-- it was made for him, and God called that union good. So, I believe you can do whatever you please as far as fabrics, dancing, outfits, lotions and other accessories, and whatever else you and your husband desire. Publicly, however, we need to be aware of the people around us, and not be seductive towards others (intentionally or unintentionally).
    A few examples:
    -when wearing a blouse, be aware of the neckline, and if it would be revealing, use a free hand to hold it to your collarbone if you bend over with men around you.

    -be aware of your pants/underwear line and don't sit or bend in ways that reveal to others what you have on underneath!
    -ask your husband what parts of your body or the way you carry yourself might be a struggle for other men (for some of us, it's hips; for some, it's the chest; for others it might be the way you walk), and strive to not entice others with that particular attribute.

  • In our interactions with our husbands. Candidly, I'm of the opinion that far too little snuggling and hand-holding happens between Christian married couples. We're the ones who have the God-ordained right to do these things, and yet our culture tells us that only hot young singles kiss in public, or only teenagers hold hands and lean on each other lovingly.

    We've got it BACKWARDS! !! We shouldn't be afraid to hold hands and look at each other with joy and appreciation for each other. (Particularly in our homes in front of our children, so that they see a living example of a loving marriage, but that's another topic for another day...). Yes, we need to be careful to keep private things private. There's definitely balance needed. My feeling on this, though, is that our Christian culture leans far too heavily towards the "No PDA" rule among married couples than to need to be reined in. And our young people are suffering for it-- they're buying the lie-- that Christian couples don't have any fun and certainly don't know about "the s word" (sex). I believe that the healthiest way for our culture and our children to learn about God's REAL intentions for sex is to see us enjoying our marriages and the physical oneness God has given us. And how better than for them to see us acting like we REALLY DO like each other?!?!?!
So, for my part, I am convinced that private behavior and interactions between a man and his wife that do not violate Scripture (we talked about that in PART THREE) are fully permissible and can be a wonderful part of the marriage relationship. But we must be careful, as Christian women, not to act, dress, or speak in public in ways that tantalize others in the ways that we entice and delight our husbands.

I'd love to hear your input on these, because many of these really are my subjective views... so far, all of the "opinions" expressed in the posts of this series have come from Scripture. But this one is really just my thoughts on the issue, so I'd love to hear yours.

CLICK HERE TO READ PART FIVE of this series.

Graphic ("Dusk" by Alphonse Mucha) from allposters.com

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

i agree - well said.

Anonymous said...

Your PDA comment made me laugh... One of my dear friends always says that the more PDA a couple does, the less they have going on in private, and that couples who only hold hands in public have a very steamy private life.

I agree the most with how we need to watch the way we talk.

Thanks!
Emily

Jessica said...

I've enjoyed this series a lot, but I find it so hard to be attractive for my husband in my 34 week pregnant body. But then I started thinking about how you are a few weeks ahead of me... I think it is a body image issue with me. I just can't fathom how my round basketball belly and the other extra weight I'm carrying is attractive.

Jess said...

Jessica,
LOL! I know what you mean about the basketball belly... :) I'm SO there with you right now.

I guess for me, though, during these last weeks of pregnancy, I just keep in my head how we're going to have to go without it (at least the act itself) for several weeks after this little person arrives, and that motivates me to want to be with him all the more NOW while we can-- while we're both well-rested and don't have after-delivery pain.

I do understand where you're coming from, though-- it is difficult to feel "sexy" and attractive when you feel bloated and big-ole-pregnant-ladyish. :)

Jessica said...

Ok so now I'm struggling with coveting two things in your life... your freezer and the fact that you're well-rested. LOL I just can't get comfy at night.

Michelle Howell said...

This is such an important topic. A black and white area that has become very grey within the christian community. I attend a growing church and it seems that the larger we get the more provactive the clothing get's. Even for the musician's/singer's on Sunday morning!
I am both a recovering femanist and previous provocative woman (in my younger days). While I have never worn overly seductive clothing I am guilty of having worn V-Neck shirts (that I knew showed a little extra cleavage) and tight jeans (that I knew showed off my curves). There was a sense of satisfaction that I received from getting attention from the opposite sex. Attention that I would pretend I didn't notice. It's something that I am not proud of and glad that I have matured in this area. I hope to raise my daughter to know how a real "woman" dresses. I have kept some of those clothes and I wear them when my husband and I have date nights at home!!

Kim said...

Jess - a question on how to apply this to someone who hopes to be a wife someday! :) This is sort of off-topic, but reading this make me think of this question.

While we who are are still single, what type of "rule" or...I guess what I am saying, is what is okay or not okay to dress when you are single and obviously trying to be attractive (without being immodest)? I know a lot of the same rules apply...and perhaps the issue is that married women should still be, within reason, dressing like a single person, just to keep their husband's physical attention.

Does this make any sense? :) I am tired. I guess I just was wondering what guidelines you lived by before you and Doug were married and what guidelines you hope to instill in Maranatha - if there are any. I know the modesty debate can get rather extreme - I just wanted your opinion. I think the guidelines here are definitely beneficial for all women! :)

This, if it needs its own post, can definitely wait until after-Silas.

I have really enjoyed this series - I know if I am married someday, I will be very grateful to have this information!!

Love you friend!

Jess said...

Jessica,
OK, now you're REALLY cracking me up. Let me say this: my freezer is just standard size-- none of these things I'm making are huge, and my freezer is already filling up fast. There won't be hardly anything else in it EXCEPT for what I'm making.

And as for being rested, well, it's all relative, isn't it? I'm definitely "well-rested" as compared to how I will be in 4 or 5 weeks. :) But I still wake up at least once a night to go potty and yes, I toss and turn and have all sorts of weird ligament pains that decide to stab me in the middle of the night... so don't be too jealous! :) It's all relative.
~Jess

:..Rebekah..: said...

I think you have shared the wisdom that God has given you through scripture in a wonderful way. I don't think it could have been said or explained any better. What a blessing you are to the body of Christ to teach and share wisdom in the way that you do. Thank you!

Carole said...

Well, apparently talking about modesty and dressing nicely for your husband is less controversial than the previous post. :)

In my mind the way we dress is linked directly to being sexy for your husband. The underlying attitudes and motivations of our hearts reveal our spiritual "health" in this area. If our identity is in the Lord, if we are free from legalistic thinking, if we are in tune with what our husbands find attractive - then that's going to help us feel "sexy" in our relationship!

Anyhow, I thought I'd comment and say thanks for sticking up for sex and for sticking up for modesty all in one post.

-CM

Kelly said...

"Candidly, I'm of the opinion that far too little snuggling and hand-holding happens between Christian married couples. We're the ones who have the God-ordained right to do these things, and yet our culture tells us that only hot young singles kiss in public, or only teenagers hold hands and lean on each other lovingly."
I'm with you on this one Jess! Wonderful series. I loved it. This is an area where I am struggling especially with a toddler under foot. This is helping me re-focus and re-grain my romantic side with my hubby.
Kelly

Joy said...

I totally agree that we should see more Christian couples holding hands and looking like they belong to each other..*smile*...It always makes me a bit uncomfortable when I meet a couple that looks more like strangers talking to one another. I can't help it-if I am standing next to my husband I am either holding his hand or have my hand resting on his shoulder or back, and his on mine...I had an older lady comment about this to me one day while DH and I and all four of our kids were waiting in line somewhere- I think at the grocery store. Stroller in front, boys holding on to my hand, and DH and I holding each others hands as we were waiting. I had rested my head on his shoulder. She actually came up to me and said: 'I wish I had a camera- the love radiating from you two and your whole family is so obvious. It's beautiful!' I've remembered that ever since! :) :)

Jess said...

Kim,
I haven't forgotten about your question; I've been mulling it... I think there aren't any huge differences in what is right in terms of behavior and dress for a single woman vs. a married woman. But obviously the way you interact with men will be slightly different. I'm not sure, though, how much different. This is something I definitely don't have any answers on. I wonder if others might have thoughts on this?

And then here's the deal about my time before Doug & I were married: the styles were very different 10 years ago-- you remember-- much more baggy, no tummy showing, cleavage wasn't "in"... I don't recall being extremely tempted to dress in tight or revealing clothes. I did wear tighter-bottomed jeans than I prefer to wear now, and I do remember struggling with desiring to be immodest in my work out clothes when I was regularly working out. But daily dress was more like t-shirts, jeans, khakis, longer shorts, etc. Nothing killer, and I did want to avoid being a stumbling block for young men, although I definitely DIDN'T understand to the degree that I do now what that actually means. I think more daughters should be taught by their parents what boys/men are thinking, how they think, and what can be a stumbling block for a young man, so that we as women can conduct ourselves with more discretion and wisdom in our clothing choices.

In the whole "modesty debate", I probably fall in the category of "if in doubt, don't" with feeling that we can absolutely still dress in a way that is in touch with our culture (it's OK-- and even right, from a missiological perspective-- to dress in a way that is part of the culture you're a part of), even while being modest. We can still look cute. It should be clear from the clothes that we wear that we are women. NOT because our shirt is tight and reveals a snug bustline, but because we look distinctive from the men around us. I don't, however, feel that that means we must wear skirts. I'm not a skirts-only person (even living in Turkey)... but I do find that I love wearing skirts more than I ever used to. Skirts make me feel more like a lady and I think others treat me more like a lady when I wear them.

I will encourage Maranatha to dress like a lady, to not reveal parts of herself that ought to be kept for a husband alone (whenever he comes, or even if he never comes), and to never dress in a way that would be any different from how she would dress if Jesus were in the room with her.

Specific "rules" or guidelines will likely come with more awareness of what her body is like. If she's big-busted, her wardrobe will look different from someone who has the body type of an elf from Lord of the Rings. If she has a long waist, finding shirts that are long enough may be the issue. We'll just have to see... and I know that Doug will play a HUGE part in that process of determining what's acceptable for a daughter to wear.

I think each one of us has to look at our bodies, look at our alluring points, and not be a temptation for men, whether we are single or married.

Have I rambled enough? If you have thoughts on this, I'd love to do a follow-up post... maybe we could compile questions or thoughts and get MH readers to weigh in. Whatcha think?
~Jess

Jess said...

Rebekah,
Goodness gracious! Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words.

Doug and I were literally talking just hours before your comment about how I was struggling with discerning a certain aspect of spiritual giftings, and your comment speaks right to what I was wondering about, so your words encouraged me greatly.


Carole,
LOL, yeah, this post is much less of a lightning rod apparently. I hadn't really thought about including sex & modesty all in the same discussion, but you're right-- I did. :)


Kelly,
I'm so glad this series has been helpful for you. I also find that I have to re-focus myself on this issue from time to time.


Joy,
What a precious image your story brings to mind-- thanks for sharing about your experiences with enjoying simple public physical interactions with your husband.


Blessings, all!
Jess

Anonymous said...

Jess,
I enjoy your blog and have considered applying the advice on intimacy in marriage to our own marriage, but then a concern in our marriage has come up and I have a question:

First of all, my husband and I are both born-again Christians and he was baptised in 2005 and I in 2004, and married in September of 2007 after dating for 7yrs. In recent months, my husband has expressed that he's bored in bed and joked about his desire in watching me and a another girl. I clearly said "no" and explained why, such practices go against our spiritual beliefs and wellbeing. In the past few weeks, I've noticed now our internet browser history folder was cleared when my husband used the computer, which isn't an unsual practice. But then today, when I got on the computer, I found out why, I found a few links to videos of lesbian porn in the history folder. Now I'm concerned that he's turning to porn for sexual satisfaction. First of all, how should I approach him about this issue and what should I do about it?

Jess said...

Hi Anonymous (8:16AM 3/1/08),

I'm so sorry. Your comment reminds me again how all too common this is in the Christian community.

I found a good website for you to consider and read:
My Husband Wants to Engage in a Threesome


As for your question, how should you approach him? I have been considering this for a couple of days... and I personally think the biblical model for this is found in Matthew 18. Your husband (a Christian brother) is sinning against you. First, you go to him alone and tell him what you've found, explain (with Scripture) why it's unacceptable and why it's sinning against you. If he doesn't listen or doesn't repent, then you go to a pastor or trusted deacon/elder/Christian friend who will come with you to confront your husband. Preferably, it would be someone who is mature, can handle this sort of information without gossiping about it, and someone who could be a part of an ongoing accountability process.

Accountability and a desire to change are the key factors in someone giving up porn. Steph VG left this comment on another thread, which may give you some specific ideas about accountability software, programs, etc.:

I was going to mention "Setting Captives Free" as well - highly recommended from us, too!

Also, you might want to check out Pure Life Ministries (http://www.purelifeministries.org/), too. Porn is more and more becoming just a human problem, not just a men's problem. They've recently written a book (and an accompanying workbook/study guide) called, "Create In Me A Pure Heart," for struggling women.

All of their material is very Biblical, and super-practical.



My husband and I also use spectorsoft on our home computer (it allows me to have full access to everything he's done internet-wise on his computer, with screenshots, lists of websites visited, etc.)... he has asked for this as an added measure of protection and accountability for himself.

Many companies and churches use "Covenant Eyes" which is an accountability software program which automatically e-mails a list of all websites visited to an accountability partner on a regular basis.

Ultimately, you need to be praying fervently for your husband to break free from this addiction. And it is an addiction. Studies have shown that there are chemicals released during the viewing of porn that are strong and literally *bond* the man to that experience. It takes a mighty work of God and a strong desire of the man (or woman) viewing porn to overcome it.

That said, many, MANY couples do overcome it and fight back and end up stronger because of it. SO fight. Apply Matthew 18. Pray. And if you desire, you can put a software program on your home computer to be more aware of what is happening in your home.

Others may have more to add, and I'm praying for God's wisdom and grace to be given to you as you deal with this issue in your marriage. Thank you for bringing your question here.

Blessings & prayers-
~Jess

I am Joy. said...

Thank you so much for addressing a topic I've been wondering about for the past couple years. I want to look nice in public, yet still be comfortable. I want to be comfortable at home, but not look like a frump!

I look forward to reading more and will probably tell the sisters in our congregation to have a look, too.
God bless!

Anonymous said...

I love how you say you are a recovering feminist and previous provocative woman! I am right there with you. I have 12 yr old 10 yr old and 4 yr old daughter who I'm trying to teach modesty to and my mom thinks I push to much frumpy stuff in them. Its not frumpy if it looks nice and is age appropriate. I would have never learned these things had I not married a man who grew up in a family with high christian moral standards. I am also trying to teach my 7 yr old and 2 yr old sons abiut what is proper attenion to give a young lady or any lady for that matter and what appropriate personal space is because even at 7 some girls are learning to be flirtatious and provocative.