Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

How Modesty Prepares Women for Marriage

The summer season is here and us men who daily struggle for sexual purity are challenged at every moment in almost every direction we turn.  My wife and I discuss this frequently and she takes over the blog today in a great essay on modesty and marriage. I pray others will read this and pass this message along. We need it now more than ever. Take it away Deborah!

It’s almost impossible to convince young girls about the importance of being modest.  Every image presented to women is an image of objectification of one or more of our body parts.  It’s nice to feel attractive and to know that boys are attracted to you and the message is that dressing sexy is attractive.

Most girls still dream of one day being married for a lifetime.  So they question, if the goal is to attract a man, then how will dressing modestly do that?  Moreover, what is the harm in dressing sexy?

Let me address the second question first by talking about what a beautiful marriage is.  A beautiful marriage at it’s core, is a life-long faithful relationship in which intimacy and devotion increase as the years go by.  It’s a trust so profound and a love so deep that no pain or suffering can destroy.  A beautiful marriage is like a carefully tended garden that blooms more beautifully and fruitfully year after year.

A woman in a beautiful marriage has a unique role.  She is the conduit of love for her husband and children.  The more she receives love from them, the more she is able to give and grow and plant love in them.  In order to receive love from her husband, a woman must have a great deal of trust.  She must succumb to her husband’s  sexual desires and allow herself to be the “object” of his passion.  In a beautiful marriage though, a woman never feels like an object because she knows that her husband (though attentive to her body) loves her as a whole person.  Therefore she takes delight in dressing sexy for him knowing that this is a gift of love to him.  She doesn’t even know the feeling of being objectified, because all she feels is love.

This brings us back to the question, what is the harm in dressing sexy?  When a young girl spends her teenage years and young adulthood “dressing sexy” she is giving something of herself away to the world that truly only belongs to her husband.  She presents herself to the world with the message “I am a beautiful creature to look at, enjoy me, find pleasure in my appearance” and some women find that boost of being “admired” satisfying and even (dare I say) useful.  But since this part of herself is really meant for a beautiful marriage and not to be shared with others, she begins to rob herself and her future husband of a gift meant solely for them.

She has chosen to receive a false love of admiration and use her own body for selfish gain.  This woman goes into marriage with confidence believing that she will give and receive love for a lifetime only to quickly discover that intimacy and true love are nowhere to be found.  For when her husband admires her body, she cannot believe that he is truly loving her whole self.  She doesn’t trust that his sexual advances are any more than a superficial, self-gratifying lust.  Because all she has known through years of “dressing sexy” and allowing herself to be objectified was an empty admiration void of the devotion and commitment and intimacy of marriage.  She is incapable of trusting and allowing love to come in because all she has known about her body is how to use it for pleasure and selfish gain.

Some women will continue to “use sex” in marriage to attempt to manipulate and control their husbands.  These women eventually end up miserable and usually divorced because what they were truly craving – a life-long intimate marriage – could never be realized through their actions.

So let us imagine for a moment, the girl who decides to keep her sexual self safely hidden until marriage.  She dresses modestly yet learns to love and be loved in real and genuine ways.  She stays close to her family and develops female friendships that encourage the preparation for a beautiful marriage.  Eventually she meets the man who she wants to spend her life with and now she is ready to discover and be discovered.  She opens up this part of herself not to control and manipulate but instead offers herself as a gift.  This gift of self is not stagnant nor draining.  For she finds that the more she gives, the more she receives and love and intimacy grows into that beautiful garden of love for her family and for the world.

This is the core of the modesty message.   Young women may need to know the ultimate gift that dressing modestly brings to a lifetime of love and maybe that will help to bring about change.  One can only hope.


Anonymous Mark said...

Beautiful post, Russ. The opposing messages of the world are so strong, frequent, and prevalent. It frightens me with my own daughter, but we've been talking frequently with her about modesty, and she understands and sees through alot of the world's corrupt messages. Sadly, many of her friends do not.

June 24, 2013 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Renée said...

Deborah, thank you for writing about this. There are so many voices in our culture screaming at women that they are only as beautiful as their facelift and their liposuction. Women almost instinctively feel the need to call attention to their physical attributes as if to say, "I'm worth noticing!!" It's as if we believe that if men aren't oogling us, we aren't valuable. Achieving a healthy perspective on why we
ARE valuable is necessary before we can understand modesty, and you've done a good job explaining that. I'd like to say thank you to all the men who give considerate attention to modestly-dressed women. This helps to dispel women's fears that they will become basically invisible if they cover up. Sadly, that is what happens sometimes, as our world tends to judge solely based on appearance, and non-Christians tend to rub that fact in.

I'm with Mark. My daughter, too, wholeheartedly embraces modesty - always has. She turns 21 tomorrow, and I thank God every day for my beautiful girl with the healthy understanding of why she is VALUABLE!

June 24, 2013 7:36 PM  

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