Tag Archives: christian marriage

Do Our Yoga Pants Make Men Sin?

Let’s talk about modesty. Wait, wait…don’t run away! I know you’ve already read about this subject, probably many times over, and I saw you flinch when I brought it up. But I want to get real about modesty. In fact, I might even rant a little. So read on.

Title with 5 pairs of yoga pants

Modesty is an ongoing issue in our culture. In case you hadn’t noticed, a lot of women out there show off a lot of their bodies. In today’s world, guys don’t have to step too far out of their house to see images or real women with curves, cleavage, “camel feet,” and cutaneous membrane (aka skin). Given how visual many men are, it can be a struggle for many of them to keep their thoughts entirely pure.

I feel for them. And so, I’ve talked to wives about modesty in the past — how we need to choose stylish clothing that covers enough, the care we should take in choosing swimsuits, even my own practice of sometimes asking my husband when I put something on, “Is this okay?” (I learned years ago that he’s a better barometer for whether a miniskirt is short enough to attract male attention I’m not looking for.) We certainly don’t want to contribute to the temptation for men to lust.

I’ve also been frustrated with women who don’t get it. Like how I was once going through a church potluck line and caught a not-so-brief glimpse of the woman in front of me with her thong peeking out of a low-rise miniskirt. Thank goodness my husband or teenage sons weren’t in line behind her! I don’t want my sons or my husband to have such information waved in front of their faces.

1 Timothy 2:9-10 says: “Also, the women are to dress themselves in modest clothing, with decency and good sense, not with elaborate hairstyles, gold, pearls, or expensive apparel, but with good works, as is proper for women who affirm that they worship God” (HCSB, emphasis added). Women should be modest, for the sake of the men in their midst and to honor God’s will.

Women should be modest, for the sake of the men in their midst and to honor God’s will. Click To Tweet

However … not too long ago, I was reading a post that mentioned modesty and some blessed wife had as part of her comments something like, “But please don’t take my yoga pants. You have no idea how nice it is to be in something comfortable …” (I wish I could find that comment!) I laughed and found myself agreeing. I often wear yoga pants and a T-shirt while working at home and doing laundry. And then, I need to run out to the store. So am I supposed to change from yoga pants, even when my shirt covers almost the whole backside? Seems a bit silly to me.

And yet you can find entire articles castigating women for wearing yoga pants. In another post written to women about modesty, two men in the comments said they’d basically been visually assaulted by women wearing yoga pants in their presence. Really? Is the prevalence of yoga pants the downfall of otherwise good Christian husbands?

Job 31:1 says, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” And I fully appreciate men who take this covenant to heart. Many Christian husbands are dedicated to keeping their minds pure and avoiding visual temptation.

But my thinking about modesty and lust is changing. Partly because I see so much blame placed on women for men lusting. I’m not letting us women off the hook for needing to use decency and good sense when we go out in public. However, I don’t see men getting the same flack for how they present themselves in public. If you want to see what I mean, read this humorous post on “When Suits Become a Stumbling Block: A Plea to My Brothers in Christ.” Men in suits are attractive. So are men in uniforms. I mean really, how could any man proclaim to be a holy Christian if he’s also a well-built firefighter in uniform? Don’t you know what you’re doing to us?!

We’ve also preached this modesty message so much to teens that some of them probably think Psalm 119:9 reads: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By ‘bouncing his eyes.'” No, no, no. It says: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word.”

What does the Word of God say about modesty?

In addition to the verses referenced above, not a whole lot. Here’s a quick run-down:

The Lord says,
‘The women of Zion are haughty,
walking along with outstretched necks,
flirting with their eyes,
strutting along with swaying hips,
with ornaments jingling on their ankles
.’”

(Isaiah 3:16; and verses 17-24 explains you how God will punish those women)

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes” (1 Peter 3:3).

And that’s it. At least specifically regarding modest apparel. Of course, there are principles of modest and God-honoring behaviors. We also have scriptures that talk about not being a stumbling block to others, about building up our brothers and sisters in Christ, about living with reverence before God. Obviously, if you’re walking around in low-rise shorts with your bum hanging out, that’s not exactly an advertisement for Christianity. (And, by the way, you’re essentially wearing your underwear in public; they might be expensive denim, but you’re in undies. Stop that.)

But you know what else the Bible says? It says to treat people with respect, to look beyond their appearance and see them how God sees them, to purify our minds and our hearts in Christ Jesus.

And I’ve become really bothered by the idea that men are just bouncing their eyes off every woman who shows a little more cleavage than they want to see or who ran up to the grocery store on the fly in her yoga pants to grab much-needed diapers for her infant. Doesn’t that pigeonhole women’s bodies as temptation? As if “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13) is referring to women’s curves or yoga pants. Doesn’t that approach have the potential of objectifying women as well?

Rather, how did Jesus treat women who were immodest in their lives? Jesus let a sinful woman anoint his feet with oil and spoke directly to her to forgive her sins (Luke 7:36-50). He had a direct conversation about faith with the Samaritan woman who’d been married five times and living with a man outside of marriage (John 4:1-26). He refused to condemn a woman caught in adultery and encouraged her to stop sinning (John 8:1-11). Jesus looked past their immodesty and saw the woman His Father saw.

Which makes me think that maybe we’re missing something.

Maybe the problem is only partly what someone’s wearing and more what our hearts are doing. Is the test whether we can look at each other as sex objects or whether we can see the person underneath?

Maybe the problem is only partly what someone’s wearing & more what our hearts are doing. Click To Tweet

This is by no means meant to let women, and men, off the hook for dressing modestly. But you how about we hear a little about how men dress and behave in public? And how about taking responsibility for our own thoughts and hearts?

If you can’t have a conversation with a woman who shows too much cleavage or a guy in your gym who’s muscled and shirtless, you’re going to have a really, really, really hard time in this world. And it’s not entirely the world’s fault.

We have to own our responsibility to not lust. And if it’s hard? Well, being a Christian isn’t supposed to be eating-cupcakes-easy all the time. (What did you think that verse about taking up your cross meant? Matthew 16:24.)

We have to own our responsibility to not lust. Click To Tweet

As for me, you might see in my yoga pants at the grocery store. Not because I’m wanting any guy to get a full-view of my caboose, but because they’re comfortable and I was too lazy to change. However, I will make sure I’m wearing a long T-shirt to cover everything that should be covered. And if I have any doubts about how I might come across, I check with my husband, because he has a better sense of those things at times.

I suspect plenty of other women, good Christian wives even, will be dressed in exercise or lounge attire as well. And we hope you can still have a nice conversation with us. Because that is nothing like the immodesty of the women Jesus dealt with, and He managed to handle it all just fine.

We believe in you guys. We don’t want to tempt you, but we also believe that — with God’s help — you can keep your minds and hearts where they should be.

A Free Christmas Short Story for You!

Each year, I try to come up with something special to gift my readers. This year, I wrote y’all a short story!

Here’s Under the Mistletoe: A Christmas Short Story: Download as a PDF.

If you’d rather read with your e-reader’s format, I’ve uploaded the story to several retailers, but I’m still waiting for it to go live. I’ll update as I get the links.

Amazon Kindle

Apple iBooks

Barnes & Noble Nook

Kobo eBooks

Scribd

Download as a PDF

I hope you enjoy this quick tale. Here’s the teaser:

It’s Christmas Eve, and Grace still hasn’t seen a present under the Christmas tree from her husband. When Todd announces there is no present coming, she feels snubbed, not realizing that he’s got a different surprise planned. But is his gift what she really wants? Or even what she needs?

I’ll be taking a break from the blog through New Year’s. See you on the other side of 2017.

Have a Very Merry Christmas!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

What the Bible Says about This Election (and Every Other One)

I’ve been voting for about 30 years, and I have never, ever seen an election cycle in the United States as crazy as this one.

That said, I also hold a history degree, so I know that all of our talk about things never having been so contentious doesn’t hold up to what I’ve studied. For instance, you really can’t get more contentious than one region of the country shooting at the other and vice versa (American Civil War, 1861-65).

What the Bible Says about This Election graphic

I’ve noted on this blog that an election can cause stress in marriages. Despite their love for one another, spouses don’t always see eye-to-eye when it comes to voting. If you want proof, take a look at the maps from FiveThirtyEight.com that show the difference between if only men voted and if only women voted. I have to believe that contrast means plenty of couples disagree this year.

But as Election Day approaches (next Tuesday here in the U.S.), let me offer a biblical perspective. Vote for whomever you want — honor your conscience — but remember God’s focus is not on who runs the country but who reigns in your life.

God's focus is not on who runs the country but who reigns in your life. Click To Tweet

Psalm 146 says:

Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    he remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
    the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

The Lord reigns forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord.

Pulling out those two highlighted verses, we get to the crux of the matter: “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.”

That’s something God wants us to know about this election and every other one. Humans will fail us, God will not.

You can see this throughout the Bible with its kings — Saul, David, Solomon. Yes, we want great leaders, but God is ultimately concerned with being on the throne in our hearts.

And in our marriages.

That same passage applies to our marriages: “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.”

  • Your husband, a human being, isn’t responsible for making your life good or happy. Trust God to bring you meaning and joy.
  • When your spouse fails you, and they will, recognize they’re flawed, give grace, and put your faith in God to restore what was broken.
  • When it comes to the marriage bed, don’t look for answers among those who focus only on the human flesh, the physical side of sex. Seek out wisdom that starts with God’s design for intimacy in marriage — those who know that help and hope come from Him.
  • And remember that no matter what great advice I give, I can’t save your marriage. That’s a job for you and God.

Sometimes we put too much trust in the people around us and not enough in our Heavenly Father. Let me assure you that whatever the result of this election, those of us who worship God can have confidence that we’re fine. We have a true Savior.

Lean on that Savior not only this election season, but in your daily life and in your marriage. Remember who is really in charge: God Almighty.

Now give your spouse a kiss and go vote.

August Is Romance Awareness Month

Reading that title, I’m sure you’re wondering why I would point this out on August 31. First of all, I didn’t know it was romance awareness month until we were at least halfway through August. Second, I’ve had kind of a crazy month so I didn’t get to this post as early as I intended. And third, does it really matter which day you become aware of the importance of romance if you then act on it in your marriage? The benefits of being romantic will still pay off in September, October, and beyond.August Is Romance Awareness MonthI have a section in my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design, about being romantic in the marital bedroom, giving specific tips on how to increase the Romance Factor in your sexual intimacy. I love throwing out practical ideas that couples can use right away and get an immediate payoff. That often fuels our desire to invest more in our spouse and our lovemaking.

But when I was recently asked about the romance between me and my husband, I realized something important: Romance is not one-size-fits-all. You have to decide what that looks like in your marriage.

Romance is not one-size-fits-all. You have to decide what that looks like in your marriage. Click To Tweet

If my husband brought me flowers on holidays, I’d wonder what had possessed him. Not merely because it would be uncharacteristic for him, but because getting flowers isn’t a longing of mine. It’s nice, but I’d far rather have other things.

It’s important to find out what makes your beloved feel desired, wooed, cherished. Here are a few ideas:

Undivided Attention.

Do you remember when you were dating, and you basked in one another’s attention? He wanted to be with you, you wanted to be with him, and if a world outside of the two of you existed, you didn’t know it. (Well, unless it was a particular sports season or the like.) You soaked up those moments, likely believing they would last forever. After all, this was true love (or twoo wuv”), and you’d always want to spend every moment you could with him.

And then you got married and life intruded. Or maybe life intruded before the wedding vows. Regardless, that early limerance didn’t last forever. Those feelings of infatuation and adoration can feel like a drug high, and eventually you sobered up. It’s a good thing, of course, that you’re not ignoring everything and everyone around you to be with your mate. While it’s often part of falling in love, it’s not practical for our long lives.

However, we can pendulum swing so far into ho-hum habits that we forget all those feelings. Those romantic feelings that came with clearing your calendar for your him, doing things together, looking your beloved in the eye, eagerly showing affection. If we want romance in our lives, and a long-lasting marriage, we have to make time for undivided attention. We have to remind ourselves and our spouse that the two of us are we. This is one reason I believe sex in marriage is so important. You can’t really engage in other things (at least not physically) while having sex. It’s an activity that requires focus on the two of you, as one flesh.

Thoughtful Gifts.

I first typed Gifts, then changed it to Thoughtful Gifts. Because, as I pointed out, I’m not a flower bouquet girl, so my hubby bringing me flowers wouldn’t thrill me nearly so much as if he brought me some office supplies. (Yeah, many writers get super-excited visiting places like Staples or Office Depot.)

Gifts that make an impression are ones that show you really considered the recipient. You know what she likes, what he enjoys doing, what will thrill the love of your life. And you make an effort to secure and present it.

Now I’ve written a bunch of posts here with sexy gift ideas for your spouse (for example, 8 Sweet Valentine’s Gifts for Your Spicy Wife and 8 Cool Valentine’s Gifts for Your Hot Hubby). You can peruse my blog, but you can also go to great sites like Gifts.com. (Seriously, you can get lost on that site finding all sorts of ideas.) I’m partial to the personalized items. Recently, I received a monogrammed picnic backpack from Gifts.com which combines my desire for undivided attention, my husband’s desire for practicality, and our need for romance. Giving this to my husband would say, Let’s go have some fun together! You know, in a park, or tailgating, or just spreading it out on our bedroom floor.

Happy Couple Picnic Backpack

This says, “Come, my love, let us go out to the fields and spend the night among the wildflowers.” Song of Songs 7:11

Happy Couple Picnic Backpack - inside

It has a cheese board, y’all! An insulated wine bottle holder and a cheese board! And all that other stuff you see — 30 pieces total. Click on the picture for more info about this particular product.

Anyway, be prepared to take some time, think through what your spouse would enjoy, and then shop for the right gift. That extra thought can make the difference between a what were you thinking?! reaction and you know me so well! kiss. Make your offering sweet or make it sexy, but find a thoughtful gift.

Loving Words.

One of the aha moments I had when reading through the Song of Songs is how much those two lovebirds talk to each other about each other. It’s all ooh, my man is the sexiest and my woman is hotter than Helen of Troy. (That’s a loose translation.) They go on and on with verbal expression of love.

Now ask yourself when you last really told your husband how much you love him, with specifics. When you last complimented your wife’s appearance, skills, heart. Do your words regularly demonstrate romance and passion?

Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Given their power, you’d think we’d use them more often to express love to our mate. For many, romantic words have real weight. Telling your spouse what you adore about him, how she makes you feel, what you want to do later in the bedroom…these are all ways to keep the spirit of romance alive and kicking.

If you’re uncomfortable saying the words, write them down! Or text your honey-bunny. Who doesn’t appreciate a good love note? It can be anything from a long love letter (for which I give tips in Hot, Holy, and Humorous), to a post-it note on the bathroom mirror, to ♥XOXOXOXO♥ texted to their phone. Just find some words to stoke the romance in your marriage.

So now you’re aware: You should be romantic in marriage.

Not that you didn’t know that, but we forget sometimes to make the effort. But don’t you think we should commit to show romance to the one we love?

What are your ideas for romance? What counts as romantic to you?

What First Turned Me On about My Husband

I’m going to be seriously honest right now. I’ve had a crazy last week, in which I shifted the family schedule to fall school hours, worked grueling hours to meet a project deadline, and posted nothing here. In September, I have an online course I’m teaching (not about marriage), a local conference I’m chairing, and plans for a terrific giveaway for Hot, Holy, and Humorous (which I will tell you about next time) that requires some additional planning and coordination.

I’m stressed.

On top of that, my husband is stressed, for all of his own reasons. So yesterday, despite our marriage being a happy one overall, we had a bad night. Now believe me when I say that we are so far down the road from where we once were, it’s like we traveled to a different planet. We had an argument, but I’m not the least bit worried about us. We’re in love, committed, and will be fine.

But I’ve been feeling sullen all day, and a little guilty about coming on my blog and saying anything that makes me sound like I know exactly what I’m doing in marriage.

After being absent for too long, though, I wanted to write something.

So I started to think about my husband. Not the negative stuff I was feeling last night or the aftermath hurt stuck in my gut. Rather, I’ve learned enough about marriage to know that was a blip and there are some really great reasons to love the guy I chose.

Memories can be a wonderful thing in this regard. Because I mulled all the way back to the things my husband first did to attract me to him. What flipped that switch to awaken my love for him? What made me eager to hold his hand, to feel his kiss, to say I do and get the other fabulous stuff? Why did I find him so appealing, so engaging, so — I’ll just say it — sexy?What First Turned Me on About My HusbandPracticing optimism about and appreciation for our spouses fuels a better attitude, a hopeful outlook, and a bit of swooning, if we do it right. So I’m going to share my reasons, and I’m hoping you’ll share yours in the comments.

He bought me an ice cube tray.

I bet you never imagined that would be the first thing I’d say. But it’s true! Spock (hubby’s nickname) and I lived in the same apartment complex, and we discussed how the apartments did not provide a sufficient number of ice cube trays. A day or two later, my guy knocked on my door holding two ice cube trays he’d picked up for me at Walmart. And yeah, that little gesture warmed my heart. Because it said: I thought about you when I was nowhere near you. You were on my mind.

To this day, I love finding out that my husband thought about me when he was in other places or with other people. It makes my heart flutter to hear from co-workers that “he talks about you all the time” or to discover he bought my favorite chocolate at the store. The truth is, most married people don’t spend the majority of their day together. And we don’t really know what’s happening in our spouse’s heads, so those little reminders that say, You were on my mind, can keep us feeling connected even when we’re apart.

He listened to me.

I have a history degree, and my primary focus was church history. I recall sitting on his apartment couch when we were first dating and him listening to me talk about the Reformation and Restoration Movements. He leaned in as I spoke, he asked questions that showed he was interested, and he indicated that he was impressed with my knowledge. Want to know what that moment did to my pulse?

Never mind that the subject was John Calvin or Alexander Campbell, the point is he made me feel like he wanted to be with me that moment, and the next moment, and the next. I wasn’t just a pair of lips or a pair of good legs hanging out with him. I could converse with this guy about deep things, and he respected my opinion — he liked me.

These days we often have some of our best lovemaking after a profound discussion on something completely unrelated. We might talk about current events or spiritual issues or personal challenges we each face, and the next thing I know we’re smooching and heading to the bedroom. Guess those thoughtful exchanges are a turn-on.

He touched me, often and easily.

In case you’re familiar with the Five Love Languages theory from Gary Chapman, one of the top two ways I feel loved is physical touch. It’s strange because I’m not touchy-feely with most people. Maybe it’s my introversion that keeps that circle fairly small. However, when Spock and I started dating, he seamlessly found ways to touch me.

He reached for my hand when we walked somewhere or when we rode in the car. He stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me in church and held a single hymnal for both of us. He put his arm around me when we sat on the couch to watch the World Series (1992, every single game). Something about that constant proximity made me feel protected, cherished, desired. And I desired him back.

I still adore holding his hand, although we also get to do things now like cuddling in bed, sharing a shower, and naked body massages. All that physical touch heightens my senses and arouses my libido. It also reminds me that we share something special, from the little goodbye pecks to the big sexual climaxes.

He made me laugh.

My husband’s humor can be dry. Like drought-in-summer dry. One time we were sitting together at a church group event, and he murmured something in response to what the speaker said. I don’t even remember what it was, but it cracked me up. And others around us didn’t get it. I was the one who understood and appreciated his humor.

Turned out, he was also willing to be silly, which I’m all for in life. Life is serious enough that we don’t need to killjoy our way through it, but find reasons to smile. Spock and I engaged in word play, dorky dance moves, and watching comedy films. I laughed at his jokes, and we laughed with each other.

I still think that makes him sexy. And it makes our marriage bed more enjoyable that we can laugh together. Surveys consistently show that women are drawn to a man with a great sense of humor. We enjoy being around someone who makes us smile — is it really surprising that it’s a turn-on too?

Yep, what first turned me on about my husband is what still turns me on about my husband. And after sharing all that, I’m feeling incredibly blessed to have such a terrific, sexy man for my husband.

Your turn: What first turned you on about your spouse? What still turns you on?