A guest post by Lee Ann – a Christian single woman in her early 30s:
Recently I told you about the modesty challenge and what I learned while doing it. Today, I would like to share some extremely valuable information. Respect, femininity, and modesty are powerful tools. I pray that we use these tools to bless our brothers and not to harm them. I also pray that we are prepared for the change that happens when we incorporate these things into our walk. Some of these things may sound contradictory and I am not speaking as man, but as someone who has been there.
*Please note, I am not speaking for men, I am only speaking based on my personal observations*
- Men will notice modestly dressed women. I know it seems as if I am saying dressing modestly is counter-productive, but hear me out. Men will notice when your body is covered. They will speak to you, approach you, and show great respect to you. It is almost as if they feel safer talking to you. I have received more compliments since I started dressing modestly than I ever did when it wasn’t a thought. This shows that you greatly respect yourself, your brothers, and your future husband.
- Men will light up when you genuinely compliment them. I did not understand the impact this had on men. I wanted bless my brothers, so I started finding things to compliment them about. Please be very, very careful with this. This can show a man – who may be starving for respect – attention in a way that is not good. I’m not saying we shouldn’t compliment our brothers, but it is probably not wise to go out of our way. I did this innocently, not realizing the affect it would have. It led to hurt feelings and me being caught off guard.
- A warm, genuine smile has a powerful affect as well. I am not saying we should walk around with a frown on our face, but we should be aware of how it can be perceived. If you are actively engaged while chatting, smiling big, and letting your eyes grin, this can show interest to man. Again, I made this mistake and had to explain how I could act so interested when I really was not. It made us both uncomfortable.
- We can show too much respect to our brothers. Please hear me out on this! We should respect our brothers (and sisters) as God commands. However, I do not have to wear a purple dress because a man tells me he likes seeing me in purple. I do not have to defer to a male friend on whether I should go to dinner with a group of people who just asked. We do not have to pray with a man from church, just because he asked us. (I do think we should pray for each other, but men should go to men and ladies to ladies in the church) As April mentioned in her last post, our top notch of respect is for God alone, our 2nd highest notch should not be on our radar as single women – it is reserved for our husbands. If we are doing things such as those mentioned for a man who is not our husband, it can create a very intimate and inappropriate dynamic.
We girls love to feel that we are worth loving and that we are beautiful. Most men love to feel that they are capable and respected. God designed us this way on purpose. It is a wonderful thing that He made both genders unique! However, when we realize these differences and are given insight, we have a strong responsibility to use this gift as a blessing and not as a tool for manipulation. If our brothers starting telling us how beautiful we are, that a man would be lucky to have us, and that we are a special girl only to find out he wanted something from us, we would be devastated. It would break our hearts and make us leery of all men. Let’s guard our hearts and seek to protect the hearts of our brothers as well.
What has caught you off guard or surprised you on your journey to be respectful, feminine, and modest?
I think the key here is balance. We can go overboard with respect, smiling, friendliness, love, and femininity – which could cause men to believe we are interested romantically in them when we are actually not. Or we could go too far the other way and be cold and distant and repel everyone. Neither of these extremes are where we want to be. There is balance – where we seek to be friendly and to respect other men but we also understand that we don’t want to lead anyone on, trigger unexpected feelings of attraction, or create hurt feelings.
This requires practice and the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit to get it right. And the way we do these things will be a bit different depending on our particular culture, personality, and the response of the men around us. We want to love and respect and honor our brothers and sisters in Christ – but we want to treat them in pure and holy ways.
I also want to be sure our sisters realize that we are not to submit to all of our brothers in Christ in the way we would submit to our husbands. I hope that makes sense. We can honor them and seek to be selfless. But they are not our spiritual leaders. They are not our husbands. Their suggestions are just suggestions – we must ultimately make our own decisions.
We must realize, my dear sisters, that there are not a lot of women who understand men and their needs. Many men are in a desert where there is almost no respect for them among women today. When they see an oasis of femininity, modesty, and respect – it can be very attractive – to believing and unbelieving men.
In fact, I have had atheist men comment numerous time on my blogs that they would rather marry “a religious nut job” like me than the women they have encountered in the world who believe the same way they do. And I have had quite a few “marriage proposals” on Youtube from men who haven’t seen a woman who thinks like I do before – and hopefully, who haven’t yet realized that I am already married. That breaks my heart! Men NEED respect. Those women who understand this are rare and very valuable – particularly if they use this information wisely in God-honoring ways.
Reminder, we are not to marry unbelievers. Only date/court strong believers in Christ as you seek to become the godly woman God desires you to be.