Have you ever had a song get stuck in your head? How about one that peeves you? It’s not a blatantly graphic song, it just rubs you the wrong way.
For me, it’s 3 Dressed Up As A 9, a song by Trooper. It has been popping into my head since its release way back when. Normally I would just get peeved briefly and then dismiss it, but this time it kept resurfacing.
It was especially irritating this time because I was studying the controversial subject of submission in marriage and didn’t like the continued interruption. It seems the more I understand about submission the further out of step I become with the world, while the growth with God, unity in our marriage, and the oneness with Darrell become greater. The contrast is difficult but also very intriguing.
Admittedly, I used to misconstrue this song as superficial: she’s not as good looking as she’s made herself up to be, ‘nuff’ said. Up would go my defensive hairs as I shut down my mind to the rest of the words.
Unable to ignore the song, I opened my computer and googled the lyrics. Pushing past that familiar prickly rise, my eyebrows shot up as I was following along with the words, “OHHH… maybe he’s talking about something else – not merely her looks.”
Although probably not a song about the heart of submission and almost certainly not a Christian song, there may be a bit of truth to extract. The link for the song is here, if you want to listen to it. If not, here are the lyrics:
Skin deep is shallow
At first glance, this woman appears to be the epitome of beauty; but as she draws closer to him and he has the chance to listen to her, something else starts to surface from within her. She has spent a lot of time and cash on her outer shell, while completely neglecting her inner woman – the heart of real feminine beauty.
- She looked better when she was 20 feet away. He doesn’t want to be close to her, in her sphere of influence.
- She is something nice to admire – from afar. Not going to get involved because she’ll not be good for him – she’ll end up being a waste of his time.
- Socially, she appears to be like all other women – she fits in with the rest and that’s the problem.
- Now she’s closer than 20 feet away. Words, tones, and mannerisms surface. What comes out of her is what’s inside. She suits herself only, which doesn’t suit him.
- Move along. You can’t tempt me with all that Decollete you paid so much for. You can’t use it to cover up what you really are.
- He is realizing that she is completely superficial and lacking in depth of woman.
She’s a 3 dressed up as a 9
As I got to the end of the song, my first impression of ‘slightly interested’ had changed to surprise. This song actually matches what I just read in 1 Peter 3 – how did I miss THIS before!?
There is inner work and outer to do: 1 Peter 3:1-6:
In verse 3, it’s easy to see from the word [merely] that God isn’t saying, “don’t do this,” but rather, “don’t over-do this.” Sometimes in the argument of whether wives should ‘beautify/adorn’ themselves, or how much is too much, we miss the bigger picture of God’s strategic placement of this verse.
He sandwiches it smack-dab in the middle of a whole bunch of instructions on submission. Why, God? Why put it there? Wouldn’t it have made better sense placed near the verse about, dressing like a guy? (Deut. 22:5) Or even the one on dressing modestly?” (1 Tim 2:9-10)
Seriously, what does braided hair and barrettes have to do with submission? God now had my attention. I had moved from curiously interested to excitement!
This could be big! It’s like God is saying, “pay attention. The things you do to the outside of your body aren’t nearly as important as how you treat your husband. That treatment comes from the inside of you. In the shift between verses 3 and 4, God is connecting the dots for us: submission is what your husband will find beautiful, not the frosting on the outside.
WOWZERS – Look at the ratio of inner to outer:
FIVE to ONE.
- In verse 1 God is talking about what it is: It is submission.
- Then in verse 2 He moves to how it will look: This is how submission looks.
- Now in verse 3 the brake gets pressed at a stop sign: THIS doesn’t have anything to do with submission – don’t be fooled.
- Then, in His usual style, God segues back into the main topic of submission by contrasting the two verses at that stop sign. It’s brilliant!! It isn’t until after verse 3, after He has stopped us and gotten our attention that He interjects the word beauty linking it to His main theme – submission.
- Then in verse 5 He joins it even deeper using the words: beauty, submission, and husband. He links beauty and submission to your husband!
- And to finish in verse 6, God doesn’t leave us hanging. We’ve been given a real life practical example: SARAH
How I got tripped up
Often what I wanted to do, was to accept those FIVE references as a … ‘good’ heart kind of thing, much like what is instructed in 1 Timothy 2:9-10, a caring and generous wife woman – rather than an instruction for marriage. I mean obviously it’s about marriage right? But there was that darn verse 3 that kept tripping me up. A good and caring person as I defined it – with the good deeds as instructed from 1 Tim 2:9-10. See the subtle slip there? If I’m doing good deeds and I’m a caring and generous person in the hidden person of the heart – God knows, right? If I don’t over-do on the outer person, God knows, right? See the slip again?
God isn’t talking about the hidden person of my heart as it relates to anyone else or good deeds – like He is in 1 Tim 2 – but only as it relates to my own husband. He isn’t talking about what kind of mom I am, how much time I spend feeding the poor, cleaning the church, working in the nursery, ministering to neighbors, or any other number of righteous outward actions.
He’s addressing marriage and speaking directly to how a wife relates to her own husband – how she treats him and how she will appear in his eyes. Verses 1 through 6 are about submission – heart issues for wives. But in the middle, ever so quietly, God slips in a single warning: Be careful that you don’t over focus on this.
To your husband, your true femininity, your real beauty, is not about buying the right brand of make-up and applying it like a true makeup artist on the set of a movie, going to the hair salon every three weeks so your hair is perfectly colored and coiffed, or making sure that your fashions, jewelry, perfume, nails, etc., are the most up-to-date. We women like to be pretty and decorate ourselves. This is part of our femininity, and it’s how God made females. But none if this is more important than a surrendered heart, and it can’t replace one. Not in your husband’s eyes.
Satan uses a single verse to twist and ruin the other 5. Remember, a little bit of leaven permeates the whole loaf. Satan wants us to over-focus on what’s not [merely] important. Here’s the mental ‘switch’ I think he’s after: if we over-do on the outward stuff, it’s almost like we are surrendering because it’s… well… girlie stuff – we are enhancing our femininity, so we somehow think that this is surrendering. It isn’t.
So, who do I suit?
The last verse of the song is the clearest for me: Well, you can say what you like, be what you want to be, you can suit yourself, baby, but you do not suit me.
Do you suit your husband? Or do you say what you like and be what you want to be? Does he find you beautiful because of your submissive heart? Or have you put all your thoughts, time and energy in your décolleté?
God didn’t say, “Wives, suit yourselves.” He said suit your [own] husbands. He tells us to submit because He knows our husbands will be attracted to that very thing in us – it draws them. I’m not denying the visual aspect of men, it’s definitely there, but it’s not how well you fill out that new sweater that he adores in you, it’s your surrendered heart.
Décolleté doesn’t have the power or longevity for year after year after year of marriage, but submission [true submission] increases in power. In turn, this power increases attraction to the depth of capturing your husband’s heart.