Wednesday, February 20, 2008

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

So, earlier in the week, when we visited this subject, we considered the question, "Should a Christian wife be enticing or seductive towards her own husband?" This is part two of the series examining the wife's role in intimacy in a Christian marriage. Today, we'll consider:

Where does the standard of "sexiness" come from?
The answer to this question is in two parts:

  1. From God, which leads us to #2...
  2. From your spouse
God Himself explicitly draws the boundaries for sexual gazes, thoughts, and actions within marriage. God made sex. Therefore, He gets to tell us what it's for, who gets to do it, and what the appropriate boundaries are for it. Let's look at a few Scriptures that reveal God's ideas about sexiness:
  • Matthew 5:26- "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Our standards for what is "sexy" and desirable do not come from anyone outside the marriage covenant (as adultery would be).
  • Job 31:1- "I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?" This is Job talking, a man God describes in Job 1 as "blameless and upright... who turns away from evil". Our standards for what is "sexy" do not come from the young and beautiful people around us. (Contrary to what People magazine, Oprah, and myriad TV shows, movies, and websites would have us believe!)
  • Proverbs 5:18-19, 21- "Rejoice in the wife of your youth, ...Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love... For a man's ways are before the eyes of the LORD." It is in one's spouse that "intoxicating" love should spring up. God-honoring men are instructed by God to rejoice in, delight in, and be intoxicated in their wives. As their wives, we need to see this and enjoy it, and be willing to walk in that, as God's design. To say it outright, we need to allow our husbands to "be intoxicated" with our love. We need to be willing to let them delight in us!
  • Song of Solomon... we examined it last time. In every way, this book of the Bible points towards mutual delight and satisfaction between marriage partners and in no way do outside sources come into play in their intimate life. Though neither spouse is perfect, and certainly could be found to have defects when compared to others in particular areas, you would never know that from reading this book. These two lovers find themselves wrapped up only in each other. They aren't taking cues from people outside the relationship; they are fully intoxicated, seduced, and enraptured by each other.
By God's design then, what we find "sexy" is to be defined by who we marry.

We need to recognize that we will desire what we have developed an appetite for
... and ladies, this affects both us and our husbands as we come to the marriage bed.

HOW THIS AFFECTS US AS WIVES:
To me (and I've had people argue with me about this, but I firmly believe this to be true) this means that we, as Christian wives, are not to spend time focusing on the "People's Sexiest Men", or the movie star everyone's talking about, or the construction men we pass on the road (or whatever you've been trained by your environment, society, and culture to find "attractive"). We shouldn't be dwelling on "which actor is the sexiest" or "did you see ______ in ______?" And we need to be cautious in what we take in, particularly examining what we're reading and what we're viewing.

We shouldn't allow our minds to dwell on anything outside of the boundaries of what God has called "good" (Phil. 4:8), which means (as we noted above) that we will derive our standards of "sexiness" from our husbands. Whoever you married, THAT'S your standard of what is attractive. THAT'S what you need to dwell on. Just as you are not entirely without fault ;) , I'm certain that your husband is also going to have areas that aren't as "perfect" as all the images we've seen on TV and movies, or as romantic and completely sensitive and thoughtful in every way as the "heroes" we see in movies and books, BUT-- we must delight in those things that ARE pleasing. The more we do that, the more (I believe) we will be able to say, as Solomon's bride did, "he is altogether desirable" (Song of Solomon 5:16).

And a wife who is attracted to her husband will undoubtedly be more attractive to her husband than if she were frigid and unresponsive and focused on critically comparing him to Hollywood's latest "hunk".

One more thought: We as Christian women need to be careful about what outside sources WE listen to and let define what we think of as sexy. If our husbands find something sexy, we need to take THAT to heart. Forget what Victoria and her "TV specials" have to say about it! Ignore the messages from the world that would tell you that you are not enough. If need be, turn off the fashion shows and talk shows that would make you think that you have to look a certain way or wear a certain size in order to be attractive (and this cuts both ways-- thin women are often made to feel bad for not being curvy and those of us who aren't the thinnest ones in every room we walk into are made to feel bad for not looking like a Swedish woman who is 6 feet tall and weighs 120 pounds)!

If something is offending you and/or undermining you in your marital joy, CUT IT OUT! Quit listening to the world's messages about what you have to be in order to be delightful for your husband!
GOD MADE YOU-- He knew who you would marry, He knew you'd live in this time and place. Be what you can be for your husband, but don't feel bad about what you can not be, and don't let outside sources make you feel like you're not enough!

HOW THIS AFFECTS OUR HUSBANDS:
Our husbands have been inundated with images and messages from the world that tell them what they should have an appetite for. Even the most pure and restrained man has been exposed to thousands of images of beautiful, seductive women. And for those who have been repeatedly exposed to or addicted to pornography, the battle within them rages even stronger. Knowing this, we need to be proactive about giving them delightful, God-honoring things to think about (which means US!). :)

I'd encourage you to read through Song of Solomon and notice all the body parts Solomon mentions about his bride. Consider the ways that you can actively encourage your husband to delight in the "choicest fruits" (Song of Solomon 4:16) that God has given you. For some of us, that may be very graceful neck and shoulders. For some, it will be a beautiful and seductive head of hair. Some of us have curves, some of us are thin, some of us are voluptuous, and some of us are dainty. But as women, we ALL have beautiful areas of our body, by God's design, and if we are married, it is good and right for us to (1) be available to our husbands, and (2) share our "choice fruits" with our husbands without shame or embarrassment. When we withhold our bodies from our husbands, even due to our own self-consciousness, we are making it difficult for them to obey scripture (delighting in the wife of their youth, keeping themselves from lust, etc.). We must be careful, as wives, to be open to them and to BE the standard of sexiness for them.

Biblically, our standards for what is "sexy" should come from our spouse. No one else, and nothing else. So if you find yourself dissatisfied, look at what you've been "intaking", and rid yourself of anything that encourages you to look outside of your marriage. Take delight in your husband or wife. And encourage and allow your spouse to take delight in YOU! Look to the one that God has made you one with for the "intoxicating" love He designed for you to experience. "REJOICE" in the lover He has given you, and don't let anything rob you of that joy in your husband or wife!

What are your thoughts and/or struggles with these ideas? Are there things that you've been "intaking" that need to be pitched? What could you do today to delight in your husband? What could you do today that would encourage (or allow) your husband to delight in you?

CLICK HERE TO READ PART THREE in this series.

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

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