Just like you, my Facebook newsfeed is filled with link after link asking me to watch a stunning (Really! You have to see it to believe it!) video or read about an amazing kid who can sing the National Anthem backward in five languages. I usually just scroll past them and instead stare at your Disney vacation photos wondering when I’ll be able to get back to the Happiest Place on Earth. But this morning I actually paused and then clicked on a post titled, “My Husband Doesn’t Need to See Your Boobs.”
Now, let me tell you that I clicked through thinking, “AMEN! Quite frankly I don’t need to see your boobs,” but was also curious where the author was going with this title. I bristled when I realized that here is where she was going:
“I don’t blame you for being confident enough to let the world see how good you look in front of the waves with your coozie and ballcap and barely anything else. But I want to tell you that it’s a stumbling block in our marriage…
But would you, could you, keep your boobs out of my marriage?…Thanks, love. I think we’ll all be better for it.”
“Thanks, love” to strangers, young women, while saying they’ll be better for showing less in their social media postings? It drips with condescension. The repetition of the phrase “I don’t blame you” while doing exactly that was more than my hadn’t-yet-had-caffeine brain could take. I seethed. I Facebook ranted. Then I read it again – two cups of caffeine later – and found that I have to say this…
Ladies, stop asking others to get out of your marriage and instead, get in it.
A quick word about all the perky bosoms popping around social media, the beach, the pool, and Lord have mercy, youth worship services (they’re everywhere, my friends): I don’t like it either. But here is why I don’t like it. I don’t like that my daughter will look at teens and think that’s the appropriate way to dress. Guess whose responsibility it is to tell her otherwise? Me, her mother. I don’t like how uncomfortable these young women look tugging at their strapless whatnot every thirty seconds like a tic. Guess whose business it is if those young girls are uncomfortable? Their mothers. And as for the adults dressing similarly? It is not my business in the least. Period.
Now for those of you who have picked up the modesty flag and are waving it vigorously while sharing the aforementioned boob post, all in the name of Christianity, let me assure you that I, too, am a card-carrying Christian. (Not really. Everyone knows we wear cross jewelry, we don’t carry membership cards) The verse that immediately came to mind when I read about this woman’s concern for her marriage resulting from his viewing of women in bathing suits was,
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
And this one popped in right behind it because man, His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light onto my path…
“For this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.”
No verses asking people to cover up when at the beach popped into my mind.
But now let’s get back to marriages that women are fighting to protect. Here’s where I tell you some truth that is uncomfortable to write and may be uncomfortable for some of you to read.
I’ve gotten an angry phone call from a wife, a woman in tears, locked in her bathroom, screaming into her husband’s phone. I’ve heard the words, “Get out of my marriage.”
In case you don’t know much about me, my social media feed is filled with pictures of puppies and kittens and children and food. Not a boob to be seen.
Putting aside the fact that humans by nature of their humanness are tempted by lust – we’re built that way, y’all – marriages fall apart when we lose sight of the truth that they require work, commitment, and perseverance by both members of that marriage, and that they will not be served in the least when we look outward to find reasons for their distress or people on which to place blame.
Read that last sentence one more time because it’s wordy and man, it is important.
Now I accept the blame I deserve for receiving that phone call. A very wonderful man who was my friend was struggling in a marriage where neither he nor his wife was plugged in emotionally in the ways all marriages require. Our friendship became more important than a relationship between a man and a woman outside of a marriage should ever be. It put a strain on all of the marriages involved.
And yet, again I say, not a single boob was involved.
If you’re not already uncomfortable and you’re still reading, here’s the part where you may squirm. Ladies, I travel for work, I work with men, I have many male friends, and for reasons that defy logic, people like to tell me things that perhaps they should be telling their pastor or therapist. Many married men who to you might seem content in their marriages are actually grasping, desperate, searching for a woman who will offer them a kind word of support, an enjoyable conversation, a listening ear that is not drawn mid-conversation to a screaming child.
I am not discounting the role of lust in the destruction of marriages. I am simply saying that from the point of view of a woman who has been asked more than once to help a man out of an unhappy marriage, brains are just as dangerous as boobs.
Life is complicated and busy, and raising a family is not for the weak of heart. Romances that become marriages can quickly transform into business partnerships, devoid of emotional connection. Lust is a human desire. So is emotional intimacy. And clicking away from an image on a screen isn’t going to prevent your husband from seeking and finding that outside of your marriage.
Perhaps I could have joined the “cover it up” bandwagon and, with my personal experiences in mind, written a post asking women to please dumb it down around my husband and try to be a little bitchier.
Instead I’ve chosen to write this post to remind myself and all of us to protect our marriages by looking within them and within ourselves. You don’t want anyone else in your marriage? Make sure you’re in it completely first.