I’m married to a good man. In fact, I’ve written books about what great guy I’m married to.
But he is a man. A man with feelings, emotions, temptations, victories, and failings. He is not some Christian Ken Doll that is not effected by what goes on around him. He’s a real guy.
We’ve had talks about these temptations. We set up safeguards, and my guy works overtime to make sure I have nothing to worry about. When we are walking in the mall and Victoria’s Secret’s giant breasts are looming on the left, he suddenly becomes very interested in Panda Express’ Peking Shrimp. We have total access to each other’s computers and I have no reason to worry about him right now, but we’re not stupid: we want to be wise in both of us keeping our guard up. Being a guy, we know that means keeping his guard up visually is a priority.
So we have our mall plan. We have our computer plan. But there is still one plan we haven’t figured out: Our Church Plan.
Both of us have haven’t been able to escape noticing that clothes at church for women is changing. Shirts are going lower (and higher in some cases) skirts are going higher, and clothes in general are getting tighter.
Now I’m not suggesting that we dress like an episode of 19 Kids and Counting, but I do believe that there is a desperate need to button up. If we dress in skimpy clothes and say that it has no effect on our Christian brothers (married or single) it’s like telling ourselves it’s OK to keep a bottle of Jack in the middle of a table that our alcoholic friend is sitting at.
If you take offense at me comparing men to alcoholics, understand I only do so because I think we as women have very little idea how powerful the visual is for our men. The amount of money that pours through the porn industry should convince us all of the power that a picture of a scantily clad woman (even more so, a living, breathing woman) can have on a guy.
Now back to church. I hadn’t really noticed how clothes had changed until one day when our church was hosting a conference for area churches. At about 10 that morning, a woman came up to the tech booth where my guy and a bunch of other men were working. She asked if the guys could turn up the heat in the auditorium – it was getting a bit chilly. When she walked away, one of the guys leaned over to Roger and said, “Perhaps if she were wearing clothes, she wouldn’t feel so chilly…” It was only then that I noticed what she was wearing: a short skirt and a tank top with spaghetti straps. Now I see it all the time (remember, I’m not just talking about my church home – I travel a lot and see a LOT of churches.)
Yes, our men have a responsibility to guard their eyes, keep their thoughts pure, and be (and teach their sons to be) respectful of women no matter what. But we have a responsibility as well; we need to dress in a way that respects the men that are part of our Christian family.
Understand that I’m not a prude. I think you should be hot, sexy and scantily clad for your husband. I know tons of women who dress attractively and beautifully, while also being modest. It is possible.
- Ask ourselves this question as we get dressed: Who am I getting dressed for? Your husband? Awesome, honor him by keeping other men from looking at you with lust. Men in general? Dress for the man who wants a good, godly wife.
- Teach our daughters the power of modesty. Ask your husband to acknowledge how great she looks when she dresses in a way that honors men and honors God.
- Church is a great place to chat and give a quick hug on a Sunday morning. Don’t make our guys have to think twice about how they are going to give you a hug without coming off like a perv.
- If you think I’m over reacting I beg you to read Shaunti Felhahn’s book For Women Only. You will get some deep insights into the inner life of your man – and the men around you.
She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.
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