feminine beauty

ARE YOU A DISTRACTED WIFE?

We often hear that going with the flow’s a good idea, and lots of times it is—unless that flow takes us in a bad direction.  I don’t know a wife that consciously says, “Today, I’m going to be distracted from my husband.  Today, I’m going to disconnect on purpose.”

I think stagnation is one of the deadliest precursors to distraction and disconnection.  Marriage isn’t static.  You could even say, it’s kind of like a living organism—it either moves in a positive direction towards growth and life, or it stops moving, stagnating through a kind of status quo into death.  Stagnation is very subtle, it’s almost imperceptible so it requires a vigilant heart.

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. – Proverbs 4:23

I think these might be some things we need to guard against.

Help or Hindrance

You’re only seeing faults.  You’ve moved away from the helper and harmonizer that you started out as, and you’ve begun the change into a hindrance.  Focusing on your husband’s faults is like viewing him through a wide angle lense … you’ll just find more faults.  Eventually, they’ll crowd out anything good he was, is, does or could be.  I think God calls us to be an example of harmony.

It’s helpful to focus on your husband’s strengths.  The more space they take up, the less room for weaknesses.

Bad to Worse

Assuming anything less than his best.  When you feel a doubt of good intentions creeping into your mind, you owe it to God, to your husband and to yourself, to cut it off at the pass before you plunge into mind-suck.  Mind-suck is that emotional spiral that’s driven downward by anything your man has done ‘wrong’, that you’ve failed to let go of.  These emotions and thoughts transfer into your eyes, attitudes and words.  Assume his best:  Give doubt the benefit.  This not only keeps unity in tact but is love made active.

Write down your doubt, put it in a box and symbolically leave it with God—after all He already knows what it is and how He’s going to fix it.

A Personal Touch

You’re not reaching out as much.  Whether his love language is touch or not, it’s needed for all of us.  Initiating touch isn’t about making up after a fight, condoning sin (real or imagined), or an admission of guilt. It’s not about who goes first, or anything else.  It’s merely an acknowledgement of humanity.  Some of us need more than others, some of us need less.  Some of us want more but struggle to reach out for it.  God knew that we needed a personal touch and sent us a savior to do it.  Even though Jesus knew what we were like, He came to earth anyway — He touches each of us exactly as we are.

Don’t wait until everything’s perfect between you, or for someone else to go first, adopt the Nike slogan and just do it.

He’s a Guy

… and you’re a girl.  Shocker—I know.  Think of your marriage like it’s a box of crayons.  For ease, (but hopefully not too cliché) let’s say you’ve got all the warm colours and he’s got all the cool colours.  Sometimes you need pink, sometimes you need blue.  And then there are times when purple is necessary and it requires both of you.  Purple doesn’t become purple, because blue emasculates itself to keep pink happy.  The fact that men and women are so different, it’s amazing that we’ve got anything in common!  Instead, bring all your female—and let your man bring his own masculinity.

Don’t just tolerate the gender differences, embrace them!   It was God who put them there in the beginning—let Him make it work.

Unreal Expectations

Comparisons are the kiss-of-death.  When we were first married, my husband hadn’t accumulated the abundant abilities that he now possesses after 30 years of marriage (insert bragging privilege:  he can now troubleshoot and fix just about anything electrical, technical or mechanical … and relational).  Anyway, I was complaining to my mom that we had gotten into this big fight because he wouldn’t just let “Dad” look at our car.  I went on, “It’s frustrating because …”  And she cut me off with a chastisement fit for a toddler, which is how I was acting.  “Robyn-Anne!” I knew I was wrong because she used my middle name.  “Your father has been working on cars, tractors, lawnmowers, furnaces, equipment et al, for years.  He’s been exposed to all this through raising a family and his career.”  She shook her head, “You can’t compare your father’s ending to your husband’s beginning.  That’s an unreal expectation on your husband.”

Keep your expectations a little lower than your gratitude, and you’ll see the real man emerge on God’s time.  Your vision is limited at best, only God sees the finale.

* * *

Be all in.  Understand that you are literally one flesh with your husband.  That means when your husband has trouble … you’ll experience it by association.  When Satan wants to come after you—he’s going to coming through your husband.  Don’t give up doing good just because you’re encountering some rough terrain.  You started this race together—you have no idea what blessings lay just beyond … out of sight.

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. – Galatians 6:9

We’ll always have to beware of disconnection; it isn’t something we can conquer and be done with, like an event that’s marked by start and finish with a certificate of accomplishment.  As much as a Certificate of Marriage appears like the achievement of an event, the wedding day—in truth, it’s the date that marks the beginning of the process of staying connected.

Any investment of good you give your marriage will always advance it in the right direction.

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The beauty of submission

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:

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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:

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Strategic placement

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 submissionGod 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.

Bait and switch

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.