Wednesday, June 12, 2013

When My Husband Disagreed with Modesty

Ever since y’all have noticed from my photos that we wear skirts, I’ve received several Facebook messages and emails with what basically amounts to this question: What if I feel pulled to being more modest/wearing skirts/however-you-want-to-say-it but my husband isn’t on board?

The children and I had such a good time with this photo because this is totally not my husband’s demeanor! He had a hard time keeping such a serious face. J

That’s a tough question, one that I’d prefer to avoid because I don’t know each person’s specific situation. But I also want to encourage and support you as you seek God’s will for your life. J So I’m sharing today my personal experience with a doubting husband. Please remember that I don’t know your circumstances, and I’m not a counselor. What you do is up to you and the Lord.

As you may remember from Parts One and Two of my story, I first started thinking of and praying about modesty and skirts in the month of July. I had been wearing skirts to church and other dressy functions but not so much day-to-day. But after that comment at the rummage sale, I dusted off a couple of denim skirts I already had and started wearing them more and more during the week to see how they felt, both on my body and in my spirit. Even though my husband initiated my email exchange with his skirt-wearing co-worker, he had serious doubts about all skirts all the time. He just couldn’t articulate why.

Some men, my husband included, have a difficult time putting their thoughts into words. Even for me, sometimes there is so much swirling around up there that I can’t put my finger on exactly what I’m thinking. So I offered some suggestions and asked him what he thought. “Is it because you think I’ll look frumpy?” “Do you think they won’t be practical?” “Are you afraid of what our friends or family might think?” “Are you afraid I’ll spend too much money?” Once I knew his hesitation, I could address it and pray specifically.

I did go shopping and search patterns for something that was a bit more flattering to me than what I had already. I asked for his input, and my husband appreciated that. With each purchase, I tried it on for his approval before I cut any tags off or threw away the receipt.

It turned out his primary concern was comfort. He didn’t want me to be uncomfortable or to look uncomfortable because that would make him uncomfortable. My husband is most definitely a jeans and tee-shirt kind of guy. Physical comfort is of supreme importance. I have finally persuaded him to put on a nicer shirt if we’re going out someplace nice, but it still has to be a cotton knit polo, not one of those starched button-fronts. J He does put on a shirt and tie for church, but it’s a rare event for which he’ll wear a suit. Now, add in to that desire for comfort the fact that he grew up with a mother who acted like a skirt or dress was an instrument of torture and no sisters to show him femininity, and you have my husband’s doubt of skirt-wearing.

As I continued to search and pray, I knew that this was the Lord’s will for me, so I persisted in my skirt wearing. I also continued to pray for my husband’s heart and that, together, we would see the will of God.

We continued on into the fall, his job loss, the sale of our house, and our move, all the while with me wearing skirts and him doubting it. The Lord had been working on him in this time, though, and he was definitely convinced of the value of modesty. Sometimes I wonder if it was because I was trying my best to model it at home. He also knew my heart for God and my desire to do His will.

During that time, the Lord must have put some sort of supernatural duct tape over my mouth, because I went for that period of several months without nagging or endlessly debating my husband. I never even made one single comment of “See? It can be done.” J Finally, one evening the following February or March, as I was sitting on the couch with my feet up, reading a book after the children were in bed, he said to me, “Your skirt looks really comfortable. I can see why you like them.” Wow!

Now, ten years later, he’s the primary push behind getting this series on the blog.










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45 comments:

  1. I love your godly way of handling the issue. Our husbands don't need to be nagged when we disagree. Thanks for being open with your story!

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Gabby. God definitely helped!

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  2. I believe that my husband had the freedom to come to Christ on his own because I never once pushed him when I wanted it sooo bad, as much as I wanted him to be right next to me, I knew he had to come there on his own and now we walk together in love with no resistance, because I held my tongue, it was hard but so worth it. Thank you for the encouragement. Stopping by from Deep Roots. Have a blessed day. Tara.

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    1. What a wonderful testimony, Tara! Thank you so much for sharing it here. Many blessings to you as you continue to seek His will!

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  3. What a wonderful series, all the posts are eloquent and helpful!
    I wear skirts exclusively and have for many years. The reasons I do is because the scriptures you have quoted in the series, and in Deuteronomy 22:5 it's clear that God requires a separation in dress between males and females. I know the sacrificial scriptures have been fulfilled, but Jesus said He came to magnify the law. My thinking is... if God required a difference in the clothing between male and female back then, He must now even more so.

    I know it's difficult at times to be different because we are living in a time when the norm is against the Word of God. One thing to remember is God didn't punish Israel for what the heathen were doing; they were overthrown because they were disobedient! Sadly, most Hollywood stars would be comfortable with the dress in most modern churches. This grieves my soul.

    There was a time when my husband didn't really understand why I dress, etc. as I do, but I was confident that choosing God's way first would be best for me regardless of the outcome. Thankfully, my husband is and has been in full agreement since searching these questions out for himself in the scriptures.

    Meghan thank you for sharing your perspective and heart in this series. I've enjoyed it very much.

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    1. Great words of encouragement, not just for me but for other readers as well. You make a good point about Hollywood stars being comfortable with the dress styles. We are supposed to be set apart, and that is certainly an obvious way to be different and noticeable. Thank you so much for your time in commenting!

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  4. Having worn skirts my entire childhood and most of my adult life, I don't have any experience with a doubting husband on this issue as we were both raised in the same faith and have the same beliefs about modesty and wearing skirts. However, I agree that is a wise move on the wife's part not to nag on issues such as these. It is much better to pray and allow the Lord to lead and guide your husband. Thank you so much for this series.

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    1. What a blessing to be like-minded from the very beginning! Thank you for reading. :)

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  5. I wear skirts all the time too and am sooo comfortable.

    I had to laugh at a news report recently that was explaining how the Train drivers in Sweden are not permitted to wear Shorts- they are inappropriate for work wear and thus not provided as uniform. However, the male train drivers and conductors have been complaining that they have to work in high temperatures and long pants are uncomfortable...so yes, they decided to wear the permitted and provided uniform alternative...skirts!! I can only say I hope the company provides air conditioning in the trains soon!

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    1. That's odd -- shorts aren't allowed but skirts for men are fine? You're reminding me of a conversation I had not long ago. A friend said that anytime she wonders about whether to wear pants (since some of her family wear pants), she reminds herself that she would never allow her son to wear a skirt. So I agree with you -- bring on the air conditioning! Thanks, Gill.

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  6. I must have been really lucky with my husband - he has been supporting me ever since I started dressing more modest. He has given me so much insight on how a man's mind works, it has been eye opening. I did ask him, however, to guide me when he sees something that needs to be improved, too. Especially since our daughter has been born I noticed a change in him and how he wants our daughter to dress modest when she grows up and I want to be a good role model for her.

    Again, thanks for sharing your story. I can't say it enough how much encouragement you have given me through your words.

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    1. Daughters are wonderful for changing daddy's minds, aren't they? :) Thank you so much for your kindness. I'm glad it has encouraged you, Bibi.

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  7. It's only been about two years of our own family's transition, though we do wear pants or capris on occasion, and I really appreciate this post. My husband wasn't against the change, in fact, he didn't have an opinion either way and left it entirely up to me what to do on this matter. I've always wondered how I would have reacted if he had said, "No, I don't like it." Great post!

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    1. Thanks, Dusty. How would you have reacted?

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  8. As one of those people who was worried about her husband's feelings about modest dress, I can tell you that it has done nothing but please him. I began wearing skirts without any discussion with him - it really was just between God and I. When my husband brought it up, I explained as un-preachily (I think I just made up a new word) as I could my reasoning, and that it was what I knew in my heart was respectful of the Lord and respectful of him. And those skirts have an amazing power to keep my attitude in check - always a gentle swishy reminder that I'm a wife. That's an honorable place to be, and I will use all my strength to aim towards Proverbs 31.

    I also believe that this change in my heart is softening him up ever so slightly towards developing a personal relationship with our Father. He's uncomfortable with being obviously a believer, and I'm sure he'll just melt the first time he's with me when someone asks why I wear skirts, but, again, it's really between me and God.

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    1. Un-preachily -- works for me, Victoria! Wonderful words of testimony, and I'm praying for your husband.

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  9. I loved your way of handling skirts with your husband. Thanks for sharing this over at WholeHearted Home. I Pinned this on my Dressing Distinctively board.

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    1. Oh, Judith, I'm honored that you think it's worthy of Pinterest! I'm not sure I'm following you, and I need to remedy that immediately.

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  10. That is so funny because when I first saw the pic of your hubby I thought about how much fun you must have had posing it! lol...then I read your message at the bottom of it! lol

    Now to read the post! I've been waiting for this one :)

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    1. Just like the other post where the girls and I are serious, we have a dozen pictures taken just before and just after this where he can't keep a straight face. Life is just better when we aren't so serious all the time. :)

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  11. Your blog has been a blessing to me. My husband who happens to also be my pastor has been my biggest supporter of wearing skirts and dresses only. My biggest challenge is my nine year old daughter. We live on a farm and I constantly hear about what she can't do if she is wearing a skirt. She is surrounded by neighbors and cousins who prefer to dress like the latest Hollywood fads. I ONLY wish I had made these changes when she was younger and perhaps it would have been easier. I have shared your daughters' pictures with her and she has enjoyed them. Thank you for this series.

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    1. I'm so glad, Krista, that the photos are encouraging! I've had other readers comment about the Little House on the Prairie books/movies and how those girls did everything in skirts. Is your daughter interested in any of those?

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  12. That picture cracks me up!

    I really like how you went about this. I think it's wise marriage advice no matter what the issue is.

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  13. Great blog post. The biggest issue my husband has had in the past is when the the heart of modesty turns into a legalistic set of do's and don'ts that supersedes Biblical commands.

    He is a conservative pastor who has a very high view of scripture, but has also seen what man-made rule-keeping has done to the spiritual health of those who are shackled by them.

    I mostly wear skirts and dresses-modest and normally close to ankle-length, but as long as I don't make it into "have-to's" or try to enforce it as a rule upon our daughters, he is fine with it and enjoys the feminine touch!

    My daughters also enjoy wearing modest skirts and dresses, but also wears pants in a modest way with tops that don't over-accentuate, if they can find pants like that!

    They are often mortified by the clothing standards of today and I am blessed to be able to teach them the heart of modesty and how to dress in a way that glorifies God!

    I am stopping by via Amy at Raising Arrows link-up! It's nice to "meet" you!

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    1. That seems to be our theme. Indeed, the Lord's theme. It's a heart issue. All to the glory of God. Thanks so much, Leah, for sharing your circumstances! Wonderful to meet you too! :)

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  14. Interesting. I wore skirts through my late teens and into university and found them more comfortable for quite a while. I hate tight jeans around my thighs and find it easier to find skirts that fit (length isn't quite the same issue) than jeans that fit. My husband actually likes it when I wear skirts, but that's another matter. :) I do like the way you involved your husband in your choice (my hubby would just go shopping with me and help me pick clothes at the store).

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    1. Sometimes my husband shops with me as well, Bonnie, it just depends on our day. Thanks for visiting and sharing your circumstances. :)

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  15. Hi! Found your blog from Fellowship Friday at CMB =)

    I've just started wearing more skirts, both at work and at home. It makes me feel a lot more feminine and really comfortable!

    Her Heart Proclaims ♥ eMinistry

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    1. Thanks, Vanessa, for commenting. Going to check out your blog now! :)

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  16. Meghan,
    Thanks for sharing your journey. I don't know why I'm continually amazed at how God can fight my battles for me as I seek to honor him. Silly me! Visiting from Hungry for God . . . Starving for Time and glad I did :)

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    1. Good point, Lori. If we would just step back in obedience and let him handle it...well, will we ever learn?

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  17. While we don't wear skirts all the time at our house, I really appreciate your strategy here. Husbands do need their wives to help them articulate their feelings, not to nag them or snipe when they disagree, and to wait patiently while they think things through! I also appreciate the fact that you are listening to God even when it goes against the cultural grain.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Helene. It's amazing how much we can learn when we stop to listen to God, not just about the particular issue at hand but also how to get through it. I learned not just about modesty but also about marriage.

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  18. Thanks for sharing your story! I've enjoyed following it.

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  19. What do you do if you're husband is critical about wearing modest skirts? I'm feeling God's leading to try to do skirts, but he makes these negative comments about a woman at our church who dress modestly, saying how unfashionable she is. (I think that she dresses in a lovely way.) Some of my clothes that I used to feel okay wearing now are immodest to me and he just doesn't understand. He thinks my wearing jeans and shorts are okay, too. I want so much to honor him, but also to honor the Lord. I've felt the tug to dress in skirts for five years now, and only dress in skirts for church, work (part time work) and dressy occasions. Any suggestions? I will continue to pray for him. Thanks!

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    1. What if you involve him in your clothing choices, Lisa? Take him out shopping and for lunch and let him choose skirts and dresses he likes, whatever he thinks is fashionable. Or bring home a bunch and do a fashion show. Perhaps, if he continues to see you in them and how well you can function in them while also being attractive? Keep praying, and I'll pray as well.

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  20. Thank you Meghan for your wonderful suggestions and for praying!

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  21. Thank you for sharing! I'll be sharing on FB and Twitter later in the morning. Blessings to you. :)

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  22. Interesting blog. I tend to be in 'skirts' most of the time only I prefer them to be dresses. :) Without going into details, before we were married my husband expressed to me the need for me to dress attractively to keep his interest high. What I found was wearing dresses or skirts did the job! Then I got sick and had to have my knees replaced and found with the swelling, etc. pants got to be more and more uncomfortable and I generally only wear them if I have to go to the chiropractor as it is hard to turn over on the table and keep things modest. I grew up in a Christian home and modesty was important but shorts were allowed.

    That is just my background, but what I wanted to say was your husband may think if you dress in skirts/dresses you will look frumpy and indeed many women that dress that way do. I have seen them in decades old polyester dresses that are significantly out of fashion (both fabric and style). A blue jean skirt will never go out of style and paired with a pretty top will be an attractive look. There is no reason not to wear coordinating tops and skirts in pretty colors and fabrics, with some pretty jewelry pieces that go well if you wear it (the Bible does not say a woman can't wear jewelry, basically that she shouldn't depend on elaborate hairstyles and jewelry to be catching attention of men). It is a woman's Christian duty to be attractive for her husband (so he won't wander) -- the Proverbs 31 woman dressed in fine purple--she wore the best of the best but I'm sure she was modest in how she wore it.:). If a woman wears frumpy clothing under the guise of modesty then she isn't doing her husband any good to encourage him to appreciate her wearing skirts. I sell sewing patterns on line and part of my keeping up for that is reading the pattern magazines. Yesterday one came in the mail. Almost every top that was worn was a long sleeve shirt or a shirt with a knit top over, nothing immodest at all. Paired with a great skirt a woman can look great and attractive and still be modest and her husband should appreciate her efforts, especially if she wears those colors that he especially finds that she looks good in!

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    1. All excellent points! I agree completely with the jean skirt and pretty top...my typical outfit. :) And how encouraging that the pattern magazines were modest. Thank you for commenting!

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