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My Journey into Modesty – By a Fellow Wife

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A Guest Post by a Fellow Wife:
My journey into modesty was indeed a journey.  Modesty was not a concept I gave any respect to before embarking on my quest to become a godly wife.  I didn’t think it was worthwhile, I didn’t think it was important and to be honest, I thought it was downright self-righteous to focus on modesty.  My thoughts on modesty were very wrong.
While I never dressed as what I thought of as “trashy”, I enjoyed showing some skin.  I liked tops that showed a hint of cleavage, tops that showed bare shoulders and shorts and skirts that were closer to the hip than the knee.  I felt attractive in them.  I felt alluring.  I felt I had to dress like that if I wanted to look pretty.  I thought there was no other way to look pretty.  I thought this was the only way to look feminine.
My thoughts are different now.
After I began this journey, I was so curious as to my husband’s thoughts and opinions on everything I did, including what I chose to wear.  While my husband had always told me what I wore was fine, I had never really had an open, honest conversation where I encouraged him to share his true feelings and really listened to him.  I decided I wanted to know what he really thought of how I dressed.
He was reluctant to share his thoughts with me.  I treasure that about him; the fact that he was afraid of hurting me with his opinion.  But I encouraged his honesty and he finally opened up.  He told me that while I didn’t displease him overall, there were some things that I wore that he would like to move to “only wear at home” clothes.
  • It stung just a little but I eagerly listened to him and asked more questions.
He shared some things with me that I had never thought of before.  He told me that when I showed parts of my body such as hints of cleavage and parts of my legs, that I was “advertising”.  I was fully taken aback with that because the last thing I wanted to do was advertise!  I was not available!  I was very taken and wanted everyone to know that.
He also told me he did not want other men seeing parts of my body that were only meant for his eyes.  This made me feel very treasured, cherished and loved.  Now, I see modesty as a gift, both to myself and my husband.  My body is precious and should be treated as such instead of being treated as if it has little value and is available for display to everyone.  Dressing modestly is something I do to save my body for my husband’s eyes only.
He delivered his words truthfully but oh-so-kindly and carefully but I was still so ashamed that I had dressed in a way he did not approve of for years and he never said a word to me.  He probably never would have if I had not asked him and been such a willing listener. There is a huge lesson in that last sentence that I have learned over and over in the last 14 months;

Husbands are usually willing to talk if WE are WILLING to listen.

I immediately moved the clothing he didn’t approve of to an “only wear at home” place of my wardrobe.  I would never wear them out of our home now, or for that matter, in front of company.  They are only worn to clean house or to workout in, within the walls of our home.
I begin shopping with a focus on choosing modest clothing.  If I have any reservations, I ask my husband to weigh in with his opinion.  I am fully capable of choosing my own clothing but I choose to allow my husband to make the decision if I am on the fence about an article of clothing.
  • I am thankful for his opinions and want to honor them.
Because I am not very tall (5 foot 2), I have to be more careful than most about choosing tops.  Things fall lower on me than they would other women.  But there are certainly ways to work around this. Tank tops and camis make almost every top an option.  I have also learned to look at necklines more carefully when I shop and (if shopping online) picture how low they may fall.
I had always believed that you had to dress in a very boring and dull manner if you dressed modest but that is not true.  You can still be fashionable and be adequately covered.  It is a bit more challenging but not impossible.  I enjoy the search for feminine, modest clothing.  Everyone has their own taste but I tend to go for clothing items that are in the colors that work best for me and feature some sort of feminine detail, such as beading, ruffles, sheer layers on top of a thicker one, tops with pretty, flowy sleeves.  And accessories are always a great option. Just some ideas of how I personally make this work. And I would love to hear other ladies share how they make modesty look beautiful, too!
Now that I have discovered that dressing modestly can still be attractive, I enjoy it a lot more.  I also feel very precious to my husband when I make ‘modest choices’ to honor him and his requests that what is his remains only for his eyes.
Everyone is going to have different standards of what feels right for them.  I recently read a very good book by Leslie Ludy (The Lost Art of True Beauty) and she gave a piece of advice that I felt was very wise.  Do not show areas of your body you would be uncomfortable with others touching.  For example, we are not uncomfortable if someone touches our lower arm when they are speaking to us but how would we feel if someone touched us where our cleavage begins or other exposed areas?  I thought this was very insightful…. I think about that sometimes when I shop.  If a part of my body is showing that I would not want someone else to touch (besides my husband), it is probably not an article of clothing that I should purchase.
Where I once felt that dressing in an immodest manner could be sexy, I now feel shame when I think of how I dressed before.  I now feel sorry for girls that dress like I used to.  I am embarrassed for them.  I want to take by the hands and tell them just how precious they are and that they are worth more than showing their body off to everyone.  I want to tell them their body is precious, that they don’t have to show it off to everyone and to save it for someone who really has earned that right.  But they have to find that out for themselves.
Modesty is a personal journey and everyone’s is going to look unique.
This was just a little peek into mine.
FROM PEACEFULWIFE:
Our culture says that a woman dressing immodestly and having sexual “liberation” is empowering.  These are lies from the enemy. But our culture has embraced it. We use immodesty and sex to sell everything these days. 🙁
As we obey God’s Word, we are empowered to become the beautiful women God created us to be. Our power does not come from publicly showing our bodies, but from God’s Spirit dwelling inside of us and from lives that bring glory to Christ. We honor and reverence God by showing honor and reverence for our bodies.  And, in so doing, we also honor and respect our husbands and other men as well.
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39 thoughts on “My Journey into Modesty – By a Fellow Wife

  1. Wonderful article 😉 I can relate to it and I’m sure lots of other women can too. After living outside of the USA for 2 years, and then upon return we landed and Immediately was stunned with all the skin I saw ! even very young girls (13yrs) wearing , short shorts and low cut tops , I felt sad ;( Thank you for sharing…

    1. Geogypsy68,

      It can sometimes be extremely difficult to buy modest clothes for teenage girls. Almost all the shorts in retail stores now are “Daisy Dukes.” And the skirts are all practically that short, too. We have a daughter who just turned 7. I do not allow her to wear shorts like that. I know it will be an epic quest to find modest clothes for her as she enters into her teens. But I don’t want her showing all of that skin. Girls have NO IDEA what that does to some guys.

      I began studying modesty as I studied godly femininity and embraced it 4+ years ago. I LOVE dressing in a feminine, modest way now. It is such a blessing. 🙂

      1. We do a lot of Bermuda shorts for my daughter, age 12. Old Navy usually carries a good selection of them. Thankfully, they are fashionable right now.

        We use the layering tanks trick for her, too… this way she can wear the Aeropostale hoodies and other things her friends are wearing but just a bit more modestly.

        Dresses and skirts have been the biggest challenge for us, entering the teen years. She needs a new denim skirt to wear but I am struggling to find one that isn’t ‘mini’.

        1. OH MY! You are walking my same path. Now that Jeggings are in (my daughters wear pants and shorts… I am 7 days into my journey of switching to skirts full time) I am constantly battling with my oldest daughter (14) why she cannot wear what amounts to stockings to school everyday. I am now preaching to my friends with younger girls to set the stage now. Don’t wait! A 3 year old looks so cute in those ruffle bikini’s. A 14 year old in a ruffle bikini is a whole other picture!

          Over Christmas, she went shopping without me and purchased jeans that were too tight. I told her we would have to take them back and she was really mad at me. Later, I went to her and told her that she knew the rules and standards for our house and I was equally frustrated that she continues to force me to be in the role of “clothes police”. I reminded her that my job was to ensure boys seek her beauty in her face and in her heart NOT while looking at her back side. I further went on to explain that my vocation is motherhood and I would be judged one day based on if I had raised saints or sinners. I was not going to sit before God and try to justify those tight pants. I think this really caught her off guard. She thought I was just “being mean”. We hugged, returned the jeans and found her ones that were more appropriate.

  2. Thanks Fellow Wife for reminding us to dress modestly. When we profess that we belong to Christ, we must be sure to be “walking billboards” of Him. Clothes that highly tempt men would be viewed as “false advertising.” We might malign God’s Word, just for how we look and dress. After all, first impressions do sometimes last forever, especially if we have no way of ever meeting that person again to correct the wrong impression. God bless you in your modesty. 🙂

  3. I really enjoyed this post, and will tuck away in my memory some of the language that you used for when my girls (6 and 8 yrs) are older and we discuss modesty, especially the part about modesty being a gift for yourself and for your husband.

    I, too, struggled with necklines being too low for my comfort, and was so happy to find Cami-secrets. Have you seen these? They attach to your bra straps and are a bit of pretty fabric to make it look like you are wearing a tank or something underneath your top. They have saved several of my tops from the donation pile! I bought mine at Bed Bath and Beyond, but they are available lots of places and you can even google diy instructions if you sew.

  4. For anyone struggling with what is modest and what is not, this website is a real blessing. It is a survey done a while back in which a group of young ladies put together over a thousand questions about modesty which several hundred guys then answered. It really provides an insight into what is modest in a guys eyes and what is not. There were things that I never would have thought of that were stumbling guys. http://www.therebelution.com/modestysurvey/

    1. Just checked this out! I will be sharing it for sure with my kids and with our youth minister! I have dinner conversation for a while covered… might look at a question each night!

      1. Sara… I love that idea. 🙂 After I read it I had to go through and get rid of about half of my clothes- and I am from a modest, homeschool, conservative background. :/ I probably need to go back and do a refresher course to make sure I am still okay. Something I found interesting in it was that what may not bother half of guys, will bother the other half. And we have to care for ALL our brothers. 🙂

  5. I never understood why I was so drawn to the style of the 1940’s and 1950’s and now realized that they are not only modest, but also stunningly beautiful.

    1. I love, love, LOVE the styles of the 40s and 50s! They are SO very feminine and ladylike. My Mom always told me I was born in the wrong decade because of this. When I shop, I also try to look for things that remind me of that time period. Why did we ever get away from this type of dress?

  6. About two years ago I started wearing modest dresses. (My idea of modest is knee-length or longer, doesn’t show off cleavage, and has straps that are at least three fingers wide). It started out as an infatuation with fashion of the past (1950’s and older decades). I loved how women looked in their classy, feminine dresses, and I wanted to copy the style.
    Soon after this, I began reading the Bible, and I realized that dressing modestly and femininely was more than a style preference…it was something I NEEDED to do to respect God, respect my husband, respect others, and respect myself.
    I have been wearing modest dresses every day now for over a year, and I have never been hindered by it! I have gone hiking, sledding, and bike riding in a dress!
    My husband loves that I care so much about being a lady and dressing in a respectful manner.
    I do get stares from people often, but I know that it’s for a good reason, and I have gotten many smiles and compliments about how pretty my dresses are.
    I hope to inspire other women to be ladylike, and let their femininity shine! : )

    Paulina

  7. I want to add these points:
    Some women think that jeans are modest because they completely cover your legs…but they are so tight that they show the clear outline of your thighs, backside, and crotch area…areas that are meant to be enjoyed by your husband only. And looser pants, though more modest, are also masculine. God wants us to embrace our femininity!
    And something has to be said about swimsuits: Wearing a bikini is no different than wearing your underwear around people. I encourage all women to wear a cute swimdress, or one piece suit with a swimskirt!

    1. Paulina,

      After I started reading about how men think and modesty, I decided that jeans were too revealing, too. They do tend to draw the eye to the crotch and the contour of the back end.

      There are actually modest swimsuits available now and modest clothing stores online.

      I have a link to some clothing stores on this post Why I Wear Skirts Daily – Part 2

      I also have a link to the study that showed CAT scan results on men as they looked at women in bikinis vs modest clothing from Princeton in 2008. That was sobering!

  8. I am going to be very honest here. I have not gave up wearing pants and jeans. I have talked to my husband about this and he does not want me to. He says he actually prefers to see me in a pair of jeans… and there is the submission factor in that for me. And I like wearing them. I do not feel convicted about wearing them. I may at some point and then I will need to work that out with God and my husband. But for now, I wear jeans and slacks tastefully.

    That being said, I do love to wear dresses and skirts. I always wear them to church- not judging those that do not, that is just what is comfortable to me. I also wear dresses and skirts a lot more than I used to, especially in the summer time. I love how feminine I feel when I do wear them.

    I have a great respect for women that have made that choice. I may make that choice someday. That will be up to God to lead me that way and my husband.

    But I believe that modesty is something very personal…. like I said above, “Modesty is a personal journey and everyone’s is going to look unique.

    Modesty is about being covered adequately but it is also about personal convictions between yourself and God. I don’t really have too many rules for myself…. I tend to follow the ‘cover what you would not be comfortable with someone touching’. Beyond that, I lean on the Holy Spirit and my husband to tell me is something is wrong with a clothing choice.

    My goal is to wear what I feel is respectful to God and my husband. We all may a little bit different definitions and convictions on that and I think that is alright. As long as modesty is a topic we care about, that we are working toward prayerfully and obeying what God is directing us to do, I think we are in the good.

    1. A fellow wife,

      The details of the decision about modesty will be something that each woman with her husband will have to prayerfully consider and decide on their convictions together.

      The survey Sister in Christ shared is an excellent resource to determine how much a variety of men are affected visually by different pieces of clothing – including jeans and pants.

      I would definitely encourage each wife to prayerfully approach this topic and to consult with her own husband about what he believes is best. It is possible to turn modesty into legalism. I want to avoid that. Of course, we are able to turn anything into legalism! Going to church, praying, reading our Bibles.

      The key is for us to have humble hearts that seek to honor God and to bless our husbands and the men around us. It is important for us to attempt to not put a stumbling block in our brothers’ way. 🙂

    1. Lynn,

      I used to always wear jeans every day for about 25 years. The last 4 years or so, I wear long skirts, even in the winter – but I wear leggings or yoga pants or even sweat pants under them. You can also wear thermal underwear or those awesome new fleece-lined leggings and boots. So – no need to be cold. 🙂

  9. Being married to a sex addict who has regular meetings with other SAs, and through our conversations I’ve been shocked to hear what men think. I would never allow myself or my daughters out of the house without coverings. Your husbands feelings are the least of your worries when dressing to leave the house. Women are targets of visual molestation in ANY public place they may find themselves from the club to the church pew. You are being critiqued (and sexualized) by co-workers, clerks, police, the mailman, classmates, men driving by you on the sidewalk, etc. daily even if they have no intention of acting on it. Statistics show that anywhere from 20-50% of men in any given situation are looking for female body parts and how much they can “see”. The availability of smut on the internet and movies is only making this problem worse. I was raised by my parents to be very modest and I’m so grateful now for that. Quite honestly I’d rather be considered “fridgid and frumpy” and have my virtue protected than “loose” and objectified. Please protect your virtue,The easiest decision to make is to dress right.

    1. Mindy,

      I am so sorry to hear that your husband has such an addiction. 🙁 I hope that he is having meetings as part of a recovery program? Hopefully, most husbands would want to protect their wives from being ogled by other men. But, there may be some who wouldn’t, that is true.

      Lust is a much bigger issue for men than most women would ever imagine.

      Thanks so much for your wisdom and insights.

  10. Mindy-

    As a Christian man, my sympathy for women’s “visual molestation” only goes so far as a woman’s modesty.

    Second, I am greatly concerned by your very negative view about male sexuality. Implicit in your statements are the idea that the male drive is somehow “dirty” and they are all trying to “look at your body parts”.

    Sorry to break it to you, but you will need to bring that flaw up with The Lord Almighty who put that drive in us.

    Women have their own way of “visually molesting” men in public, I assure you. Men are constantly sized up by all kinds of criteria, it is just less obvious.

    I know you mean well, but the attitude you are directing toward men is very damaging, and it is not all that different than when people of one race get judgmental about people of another. Pretty soon, the phrase “you people” starts getting thrown around and unbiblical judgment floods people’s hearts.

    Women show skin to get attention from men they consider attractive. Women never feel “visually molested” when a very desirable man looks over the skin they are displaying.

    It is when the unattractive (code name: “creepy”) men look at them that these women suddenly feel a cold chill.

    I think back to grade school. If a kid pulled out a cookie during class, the teacher would always say “did you bring one for everyone?”

    The idea was that it is poor manners to indulge in something when others do not have that thing.

    As a man, I resent sometimes that women want to dress alluringly, and turn public spaces into a catalog showroom of their physical beauty, but only the really attractive men are allowed to shop. The “average” guys are supposed to dutifully avert their eyes.

    Like a servant in the Queen’s presence.

    Without realizing it, women are basically SERIOUSLY disrespecting men by doing this. It is one thing to walk by a hungry person with your groceries wrapped in a bag.

    It is quite another to walk by a hungry person, waving an open plate of food, while the sight and smell of a delicious meal toys with them, even though they have no food. And then feeling as though your meal is being “visually molested”.

    It would be no different than if I flashed my wealth around in the presence of people of minimal means.

    1. Jack,

      I can understand Mindy’s viewpoint considering what she has seen and experienced. I appreciate her admonishment to women that women need to consider other men, not just their husbands, when they walk out the front door. I believe that is wise.

      However, I do agree that I don’t want to demonize men.

      I know that I didn’t understand the struggle that many men have with lust. A book that really helped me understand that men are generally very visual and what a struggle this can be, particularly in our culture, was Shaunti Feldhahn’s “For Women Only.” Another book that may be very helpful for women to give them a greater understanding of a man’s perspective is “Every Man’s Battle.”

      I would love to see women learning to understand and empathize with men and the visual issues that men have because of the way they are designed. Then maybe we can all work together as a team to bless each other.

      Thank you for describing a visual picture for women to help us understand how difficult it can be for men to see women who are not modestly dressed.

  11. And I don’t mean to pick on Mindy at all.

    But there needs to be a realization that visual appreciation and lust are also different things.

    And that it isn’t all just dirty, dirty lust.

    And let’s not forget either that women have their own struggles with lust – not necessarily sexual lust. It can be lust for control, lust for material goods, lust for status within her group, etc.

    We all struggle with lust.

    1. Jack,

      I think this is the kind of discussion that we need to be able to have as husbands and wives and as believers in Christ – helping to open up the world of masculinity for women to be able to understand and see more accurately, and opening up the world of femininity for men to be able to see and understand more accurately.

      In Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, she and her husband, Jeff, were talking about visual lust. Jeff was trying to explain visual temptation and how an image from a movie might pop into his head the next day even if he didn’t purposely want it to. So he asked Shaunti about if she saw a movie with Tom Cruise topless in a scene, how many times would that image pop into her head? She said, “Zero.” He said, “Maybe I am not phrasing the question right.” And he tried to explain a few more times. Shaunti said, “it happens zero times. I never think about an image like that again later.” He was in shock.

      Women can be equally shocked when we first begin to understand exactly what it means that “men are visual.” If I had known in high school what I know now, I may have worn a choir robe to school!

      It is so easy for us as women to assume that men think just like we do. It can be easy to condemn my husband if he struggles in an area where I don’t. But then once I realize that for me, romantic movies and books can help me idolize hollywood’s version of romance and create unrealistic emotional expectations of my husband that create discontentment in me, I can appreciate that I have struggles, too. I can understand that my “lust” issues would be more about fantasizing about emotional or spiritual connection with someone other than my husband. That train of thought can lead me to an affair just as quickly as visual lust. I may not have the exact same struggle as Greg, But my sin of jealousy, self-righteousness, disrespect, control, condemnation, resentment and unforgiveness are very nasty sins in God’s sight, too. My husband and I are equally sinful before God. I am not better than he is just because my sins are different.

      As I learned about how my husband views the world, we had a lot of talks where I would ask him questions in a friendly curious way, trying to catch a glimpse into his heart and mind as a man. He was able to help clarify how things are for him, so that I wasn’t just understanding survey results in a book, but can appreciate my particular husband’s issues and temptations and things that don’t bother him.

      Now I can be on his team and be a safe place for him to share if he has struggles. That doesn’t mean a wife must condone sin. But if we can be willing to do all that we can as wives to support our husbands as they face this unbelievably ungodly culture every day, we can both be stronger and our marriage can be stronger.

      I think many times we as women do not realize just how different men are from us. It is fascinating to learn how differently our men look at life, to me. I think it helps us to have a lot more grace when we understand better how they think and how their minds and feelings work.

      1. Jack,
        Oh!
        And that is a great point about the difference between appreciation of a woman’s beauty vs lust. Those are two entirely different things.

        Thank you for bringing that up.

  12. Thank you SO much for sharing this article. The subject of modesty is a constant back-and-forth ground for me… I am thankful to God He is developing a self-respect in me and normal self-esteem (so I begin not to feel self-concious while dressing more modestly).

    I LOVE the tought that modesty is a way to show RESPECT: to yourself, your husband and other men around you. So I want to protect my body BECAUSE I know God’s created it beautiful and attractive… =)

  13. I am glad I found this website, and this article! I have been dealing with wanting to dress modest, and yet sexy for my husband. He constantly tells me that he wants to see more cleavage, but I don’t feel it is right in public, and around our young children; where I feel I need to be teaching them the proper way to dress around others (since our society sucks with that).
    I also found out a few months ago, that my husband is addicted to porn. I am legally blind, and so it is incredibly hard for me to fully understand how men ‘work’ with visual stimulation. I am still trying to sort out my thoughts and feelings with it all. Do you hav any way to help me not let it all bug me so much? I don’t feel pretty in any way, (which I know he knows that and makes him mad, but I can’t help it) and to top things off, I have a bigger chest. It is hard for me to find proper attire.
    The other night we were watching a show and out of the blue a woman appeared in llingiere and it hurt to find out that it appeal to him. Do you have any recommendations for me to stop myself from constantly badgering myself for things I cannot control? I guess it also hurts more because when we first started dating, I would be told by others that his eyes would never stray to other women…. they were always on me kind of a thing.

    1. Alicia,

      It is a pleasure to meet you! 🙂

      I have heard form many wives in your exact situation. Their husbands have porn addictions and/or want them to dress rather immodestly in public, but the wives don’t want to. And then there is the major pain of the porn addiction, as well.

      I vote to dress sexy for him in private and to dress as much as possible in ways that he likes in public but without violating your conscience. I hope that makes sense. It is something to pray about and seek God’s wisdom about how to go about this exactly.

      I hope that you might search “porn” and “pornography” on my home page search bar. I have some posts that may be a blessing to you!

      Much love and a HUGE hug,
      April

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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