About six months ago, I was hanging out with a couple that I happen to really like a lot. As we were talking about different ways to protect a marital union, the conversation turned to wardrobe.
They were sitting on the couch across from me, and the wife had on some super-short shorts. Think Jessica Simpson in the horrific remake of Dukes of Hazard pair of denim cut-offs. Nah…shorter than even that, actually. When I asked the husband if he would be cool with male company coming over and seeing his wife dressed that way, he said, “Yes,” and then took it a step further and said “If they end up feeling some kind of way, that’s their lust problem, not ours.”
What was even more interesting is that the wife said “Is what I’m wearing too sexy? I’ve had a few people talk to me about that lately.”
Too sexy. It’s kind of a hard call to determine what that actually is. Muslims and Orthodox Jews would say that a whole lot of us are looking crazy out here in a simple pair of jeans and a graphic tee. But if you were to ask me what I think it is, it’s when a wife is dressed in such a way to where her husband feels as if what is reserved especially for him (I Corinthians 7:3) is something all of us get a sneak peek at. And it’s also the attitude that the wife carries in her clothing as well.
So, if you’re a husband reading this and you personally feel like your wife dresses too sexy and in a way that, while it may not make you jealous and insecure (that may be your hang-up), doesn’t send the message that she’s already committed to someone, then here are three productive, effective, and non-offensive or caveman-like things that you can do:
1) Have a sensitive conversation with her.
I just had a conversation over the weekend with a male friend of mine who admits that he has a tendency (which I prefer to see as a “bad habit”) of holding things in until he snaps. By then, he just comes off as a jerk (a nice version of the word I’m really thinking), and it only causes me to go onto the defensive.
If you’re uncomfortable with how your wife dresses, first think about if you married her with that wardrobe. If you did, what’s your issue now? That’s certainly something worth pondering on your own before bringing it up.
Secondly, don’t come at her like a parent. No healthy and sane wife wants to sleep with her father (Tweet This!) (George Michael’s song “Father Figure” always creeped me out). You don’t have the right to tell her what she can or cannot wear. But as her husband, you do have God’s permission to bring up how you feel, to state your reasons behind it and to work towards a happy medium. A compromise (I Peter 3:7). Oh, and you might want to throw some “I feel…” statements in. You know like “I feel like my feelings aren’t being taken into consideration with some of the things that you wear.” We tend to resonate with that type of phrasing as opposed to “When are you gonna stop wearing that hoochie crap?” (See the difference?)
If you’re a woman checking this out, raise your hand if the thought of going shopping for a new outfit repulses you. No one? Okay, so that’s the confirmation that I need to make this point.
Something that is helpful, romantic, and even a little sexy is when a husband decides to go clothing-rather-than-grocery shopping with his wife. This doesn’t mean you walk around hemming and hawing or dictating what she should or should not purchase; it means that one day, you decide to spontaneously say “You want to get a new dress today? Let’s go!” By participating in the shopping process, she’ll not only feel more connected to you, but also to your opinions.
3) Affirm her. Often.
From the beginning of time, we see that affirmations within a marriage are extremely important. And necessary. After all, what is it that Adam said? “You are bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23), right? He was letting the Woman know that she was a part of him.
Look, some women dress super-sexy simply because they like to. But there are others who do it because it gets them a certain amount of attention that they so desperately crave. The more you tell your wife how beautiful she is, how much you love her body and also how smart, funny, and special she is to you, you might be surprised by how the clothing—and attitude—starts to shift a bit. Why? Because she knows that her husband is her biggest fan. This means that there’s no need to draw in any other kind of audience.
Check out Craig Gross and Shaunti Feldhahn’s new book Through A Man’s Eyes for a more in depth discussion on this topic and to learn more about the visual nature of men . Get the book HERE and learn more about the workshop HERE.