We received the following email:
Can my wife dress provocatively for me and go out in public with me, not to church of course, but like to the movies or to dinner or something along those lines, without losing her salvation? We worry about the verse that says “do not be a stumbling block to your brother” but her dressing sexy really turns me on, and it makes her feel good about herself to dress sexy for me. We aim to please each others desires within a Biblical world view. We think that on one hand, as long as she isn’t out there with the objective to cause men to sin by lusting after her, then we should be OK, but on the other hand, we worry God will still hold us accountable for sin we may be causing even if it isn’t intentional. What do you think? Don’t get me wrong, only God knows the real answer, but we are looking for some good solid Christian advice on this subject. You guys seem to be the best candidate for this situation. Thank you so much and God bless.
My husband and I sound a bit like this couple in our approach to this. I love the idea of dressing sexy for him and he, of course, enjoys seeing it, but we also want to avoid things that might cause a weaker brother to sin.
Let me begin by giving clarity on one part of this letter unrelated to the topic of lust. This reader asked, “Can my wife dress provocatively for me and go out in public with me … without losing her salvation?” What kind of job are we doing as a church that people need to ask if they will lose their salvation if they sin? It seems to be the most basic and fundamental teaching of the gospel, that salvation is by grace alone and is not effected by how rightly or sinfully we live. Righteous living will be the result of our sanctification, but is not a requirement for our salvation. So, no, a woman will not lose her salvation if she dresses provocatively. The fact that the this couple is trying to determine the balance in this shows that they desire to please God which is a good indication to me that they are maturing in Christ.
Let me also say that for the brother who is so weak that he will lust after a woman wearing attractive, but modest clothing, I hold no accountability for. I do not believe it is my responsibility to manage his sin in such a case. I am not going to walk around wearing frumpy, boring clothing in an attempt to keep someone else from sinning lustfully. Such a man has a problem with lust that I can not control. I think far too many Christian men have trained themselves to bounce their eyes without learning how to look an attractive woman in the face and have a conversation with her. The whole “bouncing eyes” thing should just be one step in a man’s freedom from lust. Hopefully he can move past that and learn to see beautiful women and not lust after them.
Having said that, allow me to share what my husband and I have decided is an acceptable balance between dressing respectably and dressing well in public and for one another. Others may or may not agree and I would welcome you to share your opinions. Even within the group of women who write on this blog we have someone different standards of personal modesty. I will include some links to examples of the sorts of clothing options my husband and I believe are acceptable depending on the situation.
My wardrobe is filled with a variety of clothing styles and there is a wide degree of neck- and hemlines. My normal day to day clothing consists of what I view as trendy and attractive clothing, but doesn’t show cleavage or bare midriffs. I wear this when I go out with my family, or to the store, or out with girlfriends. I try to always look my best so I dress well when I can. Here are a couple examples of what I might wear out on a normal day:
- Jeans with a great top and boots – my idea of highly conservative and also full of style
- Skirt with a tank top – a great outfit for a warm day
- Capri pants with a sleeveless top – also great way to be comfortable on a warm day
- Minimum skirt length – my skirts aren’t any shorter than this (most are longer), and I would be careful about wearing a short skirt like this if I didn’t have tights with it. The tights continue the color straight down the leg which is more modest than stopping it there and showing skin. I’d wear a short skirt like this without tights if I was out with my husband, but I would wear tights with it if it was part of an every day outfit.
And that leads me to another category of clothing I have. I have a way of dressing when I go out for a date with my husband that can be more provocative and may have a bit of a lower neckline and the skirts and dresses might be a little shorter. If I choose one of these tops which is lower cut to wear one day then I have a growing number of these in a wide variety of colors that I wear underneath. Thrift stores are a great place to get these. Here are some examples of what I am referring to:
- Cami under lower cut top – these camis are great for transitioning a low cut top to a top that you can wear any time.
- Lower neckline (especially noticeable if the woman has a larger bust size) (Darn, that is a great looking dress….)
- Lower neckline and sexy for husband, but still not totally indecent
- Very sexy, but still covered
These are the kinds of things I might opt to wear, depending on the occasion, if I was going on on a date with my husband. Of course, I’d not wear that sexy red dress to our local coffee shop for lattes….
A major consideration in all of this is that a woman who has a smaller bust can actually get away with a lower cut top. I posted what I can wear, but a woman who is smaller chested can usually wear something lower without it being overly immodest. The other consideration is that what I see as respectable here where I live may not be respectable in other parts of the country and certainly in other countries all together. I live in a metropolitan area where, trust me, the things I posted are conservative compared to what a lot of other women wear, but I would say that most women wanting to be fashionable in this geographical area fit in with this standard.
A third category of clothing which I don’t have much of, but is fun is the stuff that you wear which is too inappropriate to wear out, but enjoyable to play around with at home. Tiny tops that just barely cover you. Tight mini dresses. Plunging necklines. The sorts of things that don’t leave much to the imagination. I’m all for a couple enjoying this at home, but do think that it’s inappropriate for wearing out.
- Short shorts and top – no nudity, but shows the idea of what I am talking about here
Remember to incorporate sexy things when you go out that only the two of you know about, like not wearing panties. A bra that you know your husband likes a lot can be flashed on the way out the door. Sexy messages whispered in his ear when you return from the bathroom can really drive him wild. So use those things that are just between the two of you to build the sexual energy on a date.
I love dressing sexy for my husband. It’s actually a turn on for me to be a pleasure to his eyes. This is the balance I have found between wearing modest clothing and dressing attractively for my husband. I would love to hear how others have handled this balance for themselves so feel free to mention your ideas in the comment section, even if you disagree with me ;)
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