The day after thanksgiving, Rob and I went to Longwood Gardens in PA with some friends. They had their Christmas theme up already, and we had a magical time filled with lights and poinsettias. If you’re thinking of going to Longwood Gardens, it’s best to come early and stay until night time, especially this Christmas season. There are tons of places to walk to and look at, activities to go to, and food to eat. You wouldn’t want to just pay for half the day. You will have to walk a lot outside, so wear comfortable shoes and cozy outerwear during the winter! I saw a lot of women wearing high heels with bare legs, and I’m not sure how they survived the hike and the cold. So, do prepare!
Trying not to stare at the sun What God has joined together, let not man separate – Mark 10:9
Rob running in the background to do a photo bomb after he learned about what it was. The rest of the night, we all dared each other to do the deed at least once. I think I won the most successful photo bomb with two unsuspecting victims in one shot. ;-)
This floor was made from green and red apples! Start bobbing!
Don’t drink it!
Love birds behind a bamboo cage
This was our attempt to do a YMCA totem pole!
Beautiful bloody trees
Currently listening to: Haim-The Wire
The couple with us on our trip have been dating for about a year now, and together we’ve grown to be really good friends. Not only is it fun to go on double dates with another couple, but I believe it’s really important for couples, especially non-married ones to have a relationship with married peers (that would be Rob and I) as they date. And why? So we can scold them if we find them making out!
Upsides of dating as a group:
- If ever you don’t end up with the same person later, you will feel like you’ve gained friends and have not wasted your time
- You get to learn from others’ experiences
- You keep yourselves from being isolated and anti social
- You get to know your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s world. Their environment, family, and friends help you understand your mate better.
- The way your boyfriend or girlfriend acts in different situations and people determines how he or she will act towards you
- Keeps you from doing anything you will regret later
The dating couple only get to see each other once in a while, because the guy lives in another state—as did Rob when we were dating! We know exactly how hard it is to keep our hands off of each other during times we actually got to be physically there. It is our belief that saving some things for marriage makes married life a whole lot better! So, having friends to be able to hang out with when your boyfriend or girlfriend is around is very suitable for this kind of “accountability.” Thankfully, the couple believes in this too and welcomes our help and company. That kind of dedication is very rare these days! Rob and I surely had our struggles and mistakes in the past, but I am glad that we were able to save at least the most important thing for one another—our virginity.
Some people may see this sex-before-marriage practice as prudish and self righteous, but a lot of the people who do practice it know how much control sex has in their lives. It is not because they do not know or like sexuality, it is because they know and like it very well. Much like a person in an AA meeting knows alcohol, a person purposely abstaining from sex before marriage could mean they are breaking free from their addiction to sex. I recommend that you think about this before you judge anyone when they abstain from sex.
Do you like hanging out with other couples? Do you have any fun ideas to do with other couples?
This post was originally for a guest post on Jesus Couture’s Web site, but it seems like they’re probably going to take an ungodly amount of time to fix their blog, so I decided to put this up here. It was still nice of them to ask me to write for them, though. I really appreciate the thought. Here goes…
I thought I’d talk about clothing within the church today. Since I assume that a good number of you are Christians reading this, I feel the need to address this very issue—sadly, it has been an issue. I’m sure that you recall that we are called to be the “salt and light” of the earth, which means we are to be set apart from sin and from the world. From what I have been seeing, it seems like a lot of us do not look at all different from the rest of the world.
What I really mean by this is that we dress like everyone else does, we see the same kinds of movies and TV shows without filter, talk the same gossipy talk, walk the same catwalk, etc. I don’t really see any harm in indulging in a lot of secular things—don’t get me wrong! I love my rock music, art films, and French coutouriers as long, as they don’t incite lustful thoughts for my husband or me. However, we should know our boundaries. We can still be part of this world but not of it, according to John 17 and Romans 12:2.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. -John 17:16
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will. -Romans 12:2
I think the problem with a lot of churches now is that we tend to want to adapt to our surroundings to be more inviting to others—this to a fault. To an extent, this is okay. We do need to be inviting. When a church becomes too gimmicky and hip while watering down the message, presumably to “dumb it down” for people they assume would not get the Bible, it is an example of giving in to the world. God’s Word should be straightforward enough for people to understand. This is something that we need to trust Him to take care of.
As far as clothing goes in church, I believe that we women should not be wearing the blouse with the plunging neckline, the mini skirt, or the tight jeans that most every other woman we come across is wearing. Christian men, including pastors and husbands, have confessed about lusting after women, both single and married, in their church. It is true that lust can be triggered by anything regardless of clothing, but there are some types of clothing that invoke this much stronger than others and as a direct cause right then and there. We can assume that men are trying their best to not lust after us, but we have the other half of the equation to think about, which is to try to help them (and ourselves, really) to not think of us (ourselves) as objects of lust. Lust isn’t admiration. It’s far more dangerous than that. It ruins lives and marriages, and it can start for a man from just seeing an inappropriately dressed woman in church and perhaps lead up to his seeking out and viewing pornography. Again, it’s a 2-way street. The man can call upon God and the power of Christ to renew his mind after seeing something that entices him, but the initial thought was presented by a care-free (careless?) christian woman.
If lust were admiration, then lust would care about or respect the person it is admiring. Lust, however, isn’t like that at all. It selfishly partakes of whatever is available then moves on to another (usually more desirable or intense) object of lust. What kind of relationship would it be if lust were the basis of attraction? Temporary and fake.
Most of the things that I write about here are related to personal experience. I was not always a believer in modesty’s importance to the Christian faith. In fact, I walked the catwalk and even talked the gossipy talk just like every other woman in the world, and the main difference was that I believed in Jesus Christ. I was off to a good start. Jesus is the central message behind Christianity. However, I didn’t realize how much my clothing was a stumbling block to people who wanted to believe in Jesus or who already believed in Him. I came to realize that my clothes and some of the other girls’ clothes were distracting men from being pure in thought and serving God with a clean mind and spirit. The other girls in church and I were not helping these men with purity and doing our part of concealing our cleavage and thighs. I had to put God first and go against my natural inclination to dress to attract without any real boundaries.
I know it’s not fun to talk about reality sometimes, but not one good thing ever really happens when we wear clothing that doesn’t conceal sexually enticing areas. Clothing like that makes us feel good, but so does sin. However, modest clothing doesn’t have to be boring and awkward. I really hated and still hate unflattering clothing, but modest clothing can be attractive (though not necessarily designed to attract/distract) without being sexual. Some of the stuff I have on my blog includes photos of what some other girls and I look up to wear that might hopefully give you some inspiration.
If our God is the God of all beauty and creation, then why do you think you have to be frumpy to be modest?
In the Information Age, our previous fears and fascinations with technology apparently have become defined by our personal and collective intelligent analysis of our acquired knowledge derived from the Internet—particularly that of the World Wide Web. Before the Web, each of our strongly rooted preferences for or against technology came from gut instinct, hearsay, or a one-sided relay of information. The techno-optimist is now sometimes seen as the blind follower while the techno-pessimist is the knowledgeable (but cautious) elitist—-whereas perhaps a few centuries ago, this view was just the opposite. I can look back at how I viewed the Web during its early public stages with wonder and awe, like a child faced with a box of chocolates, and compare it to what I presently foresee it becoming as an adult faced with Pandora’s Box as my knowledge of it grows. Although both the box of chocolates (a reference to Forrest Gump) and Pandora’s Box both give examples of random outcomes, in one of these examples, the subject expects to have darker and more dangerous possibilities than the other.
The more popular fight for sustainability (such as in eco-fashion) and the less-known revival of vintage culture and lifestyle (discounting the poseur) are just some examples of what knowledgeable individuals are concerned about as their awareness of technology deepens. Sustainability aims to prevent and lessen the adverse effects of technology on a finite earth, while the revival of vintage lifestyle is geared towards restoring the beauty in traditionalism. It may seem ironic that I am a supporter of both and more so a proponent of the latter despite my background and profession in Information Technology, but this supports my tenet that regardless of our station in life, we are able to intelligently discern what is beneficial to our humanity in the long run. We often hear about people deleting their social networking profiles, setting personal limits on TV usage and even texting, and installing content restriction software on their computers after they have been educated enough to make informed decisions.
Technological “advancement” is a paradox. It bears both a blessing and a curse. This reminds me of a discussion on privacy from an interview I read that featured the creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. He believes that Facebook breaks our habit of being someone else to different individuals or groups of people instead of being just yourself and having one identity shared with all. He believes in “radical transparency” and that our typical way of presenting ourselves to different people is a sign of a lack of integrity. To me, reality is actually the opposite. In normal and acceptable constructs of social discourse, we tend to choose to be intimate only with certain people, sharing a bit of ourselves with the rest of the world (hopefully without lying), and exposing more information about ourselves as we gain trust. Although my husband and I are on Facebook and on one account, we know that it does not mimic reality, and we certainly would not want reality to mimic Facebook.
As technology exponentially expands as shown in examples such as Moore’s Law and the like, certain informed groups of people revert back to what was good, divert from what went wrong, and proceed with caution and with a better understanding of manipulating nature and traditionalist ideologies with the least possible damage on both the environment and morality, including social behavior, as the outcome. When we realize that advancements in technology such as texting and Facebook claim to bring people together while actually pushing people apart by their impersonal nature, we attempt to tame them with the preservation of our humanity in mind. Our technologies are supposed to cater to our being human and not make us less of it—-but what the limit is to this is all subjective. This growing subjectivity leads me back to the informed decision maker’s discernment regardless of their society or place therein. Even if Pangea had existed and were still our world today or if Alexander the Great’s Hellenistic civilization had thrived, without the Web’s negative influence, relationships would probably be deeper and more personal.
Hey information highway
We’ll be online till the break of day
Hey computer age
You don’t need a house if you’ve got a home page.
As most of you have already noticed, being a modesty blogger, I don’t really talk much about the problems I see everywhere with sexuality as much as I talk about what inspires me in my clothing. If you highly doubt that I am not aware of these problems, because I have built my entire blog around sexual purity in clothing, then you are correct. I have all my writings on my philosophy grouped in a section of my blog, and I only bring it up once in a while. There is so much going on with promiscuity all over the world that if I blogged about everything that bothered me, it would just be very depressing and very negative. I’m so aware of these things all around me that I honestly rarely read anything that talks about modesty for modesty’s sake, but instead I choose to ponder on things that give me inspiration such as the beauty that I find in untapped resources in music and in film. There really is nothing wrong with reading about the dangers of carelessness in clothing as it relates to lust and self preservation, especially if you are still unsure about the decision, want to be encouraged, or want to teach others about it. Although, I am at a point where my senses have been so incredibly heightened to the specific problem of sexual impurity all around me, that I believe it is not doing me much good to dwell on the problems themselves. The good thing that resulted from my sensitivity to this matter is that this blog was created and has hopefully inspired many to pursue a more attractive presentation of modesty to others who might not understand. In my personal life, this sensitivity has caused me unnecessary pain, but it has thankfully allowed me to be a vessel of some sort to shed light on this issue. In all honesty, often times I wish that I weren’t so sensitive to my concerns. It has been both a blessing and a curse to feel so strongly against impurity.
Despite my saying of avoiding negative talk, I am going to, at least for this post, address some things that have been on my mind lately and present the following in a more constructive manner to the best of my abilities:
Commercials that should cause commotion – If you have not seen the latest Tide with Acti-Lift Detergent “Too Short” commercial, you may view it on YouTube. While searching for the video link, I also stumbled upon an ethics site that discussed whether the message was or not ethical in nature—to which most concluded that the commercial was nothing too unethical to note. Although not at all pornographic, the subtle message of this commercial screams “Dad, you’re an old fart who can’t appreciate my choice to wear mini skirts. Mom, you’re the best for trying to side with me!” To the pro-choice feminist, this commercial is to be raved about. It celebrates putting down the actions of the male head of the house, the father. It rejoices in the individual expression of the tween to wear whatever she likes, with the other female (the mother) supporting her. To the true “feminist” supporting femininity and modesty, this commercial does just the opposite in her viewpoint. Although I have to admit I never enjoyed when one of my parents (especially both) told me what I couldn’t wear, I do see now that some of the choices I made back then weren’t very wise. I can still argue that some of the things they didn’t want me to put on were probably just a matter of distaste in preference over morality. The immoral side of my wardrobe then, though, I do agree was just a stumbling block to my self-dignity as well as to the minds of the men around me. As for my preference for wearing some conspicuous pieces for my safe self-expression, I would still wear the majority to do this day with no bones about it. As subtle as the Tide commercial is, it is still harmful for young girls to garner the wrong strength from this misleading advertisement. Even though I must say there are much more blatant commercials out there with visual sexual content in them, that still doesn’t make this commercial okay.
Strategically placing enticing content – Although I have not confirmed this, my friend Imon pointed out to me that Victoria’s Secret’s stores are always placed in the first floor of malls where all the men or unisex stores are placed. Why not place the lingerie store where all the women’s clothes are? I can only assume that it was strategically placed where it is now to be seen by men in hopes of buying stuff for their women while looking at other women’s boobs. A very similar commercial strategy is used to entice grocery shoppers to buy the last minute useless magazines, junk, and batteries displayed next to the counter—stuff that would otherwise be forgotten if they weren’t there. I think displaying candy and beef jerky where they are visible is okay, but displaying eye candy of almost naked bodies and beefy jerks isn’t. Also, can the commercial cops at least (if it cannot be eradicated) please have the unavoidable TV commercials, street ads, and magazine covers be grouped in the mature-only section where they are harder to access and cannot be freely seen by avoiding eyes including faithful men and innocent children? If you are interested in reading about what I wrote about magazines, you may view it in my post, “Are You a Cosmo Girl or a Kosmios Girl?“
Changes in movie ratings over time – For some of you who may not know, the rating PG13 was a recent addition to the movie rating categories. It enabled the display of nudity in a non-sexual context. Tell me, if a bodacious woman were to stand still in the middle of the room without doing anything in front of a thirteen-year-old boy in all his raging hormones, would that kid not be sexually enticed? I still believe that nudity, partial or full, should effect an R rating in any movie. I am glad though that the ratings have been much improved throughout the years. Movies such as Clash of the Titans (1981) and Sixteen Candles (1984) had full frontal female nudity and were only rated PG. Chaplin (1992), as an example of a loose PG13 rating, had constant full frontal female nudity as well. While the ratings have been improved throughout movie-rating evolution, what is okay to display as far as sexuality has become much looser. The movies I have listed here and many others that have sexual content in them are still awesome movies in my opinion, but I think they did not need all that sexuality in them. Great directors and stories should speak for themselves without having to use sex to sell.
Unrealistic women’s combat and winter outfits (and bodies)- You see women dressed in bikinis or scant clothing in action movies and games, but is this picture realistic? Wouldn’t these women not want to be bruised and scraped easily by covering it up with some kind of metal instead of exposing their skin? One of the very few women in video games who actually wears full armor, although not entirely fool proof as some of you Metroid gamers might know, is Samus from Metroid. I don’t know about you, but I love my skin too much to want to see it scabbed when I can just cover it up with more clothing easily. One of the reasons I did not learn how to bike properly as a kid (but was good at swimming and enjoyed hiking) was because I told myself that I would rather drown swimming than see my legs and arms have scabs from possibly falling off a bike. Although that was just a completely silly notion, it does make sense for someone to want to have her body safe during physical activities. This same annoyance comes to me when women dress like it’s summertime in the cold. I for one was known to dress like that in high school, but now I admit, that was just stupid. As for female animation characters with size E (for enlarged) chests and long Jack Skellington legs, haven’t we already expressed our childhood disappointments with Barbie’s unattainable and abnormal body? It’s not realistic. Men can work out to grow muscles, but what does this depiction encourage women to do—get cosmetic surgery?
“Safe” web browsing isn’t really safe- Even with internet filter software or even just Web site–built filters, surfing on the Web is never safe, especially for sexual content. I advise you to tell men who want to fight for purity not to use Google images to search for pictures of anything. A search for the most innocent thing you have in mind will almost always have an unrelated image(s) of naked bodies. If guys need to look up images, use another search engine to do this or just use the regular search box (not images) to look for them. Youtube also has unrelated videos show up with obscene thumbnails with your currently viewed video, but what to do about it is unbeknownst to me, because Youtube is the happenin’ place to view Internet videos. I would suggest having the males view Youtube with someone else to decrease temptation. For everyone else, Youtube, I must vouch, can be a total time-waster if you just stay there without a goal of what you want to see in mind.
Restrictions aren’t only for children- Although my husband and I are customers of the wonderful ClearPlay technology that can be set to skip questionable scenes in movies through its customizable filters, the way the Web site or even the staff present itself—at least as it seemed from my correspondence with an employee—implied that the restriction it has created through the use of this video player was for parents who have children. My husband and I—although we’re planning to have children—and our couple friends who recommended us the player do not have little ones, and we need it for ourselves. The product is clearly being used by us married couples to help keep our minds pure and focused on developing and expressing sexuality only to our mates. Obviously, avoiding movies isn’t the answer to outer-marital lust, but it does help somewhat not to have those uncalled for sexy images lingering in our heads. Even with that said, I wouldn’t just say that ClearPlay and all the other filters out there are for families and married couples. I believe that restrictions should be placed on everyone wanting to lead a pure thought life. Single men especially are as prone if not more prone to impurity in their thought life as married men (or even single or married women).
These are just some of the things that have been on my mind lately, and some of them are so important not to ignore that I might just write a separate post about them. I kept these in bullet form to give you just a quick glance at some of the problems with sexuality that need to be worked on. Restriction and boundaries are absolutely necessary in my opinion for a human’s well-being. Some I’m sure will argue that curtailing certain things for ourselves doesn’t give us a good picture of the world, but that is not considering how some things actually harm us. From a scientific and societal view point, isn’t that where what we call evolution brought us—removing things that cause us harm to build a better self? We can but shouldn’t engage in everything. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:23 says that everything is permissible, yes, but not everything is beneficial to us. I can relate the problem of sexuality to the problem of obesity through this passage. It just makes sense.
This post has been rated R for ranting, and it has ended. For now.
I call this the “potato sack” outfit, because I am wearing an XL-size Alfred Dunner sweater, which I couldn’t resist getting for the gold nautical emblem, and a thick crochet shawl around me with a pair of oxymoronically loose “skinny” jeans! I was worried that this outfit was going to look frumpy (the #1 dreaded word for modesty), but I think the shawl, the belt, and the wedges really helped make everything still look chic. By the way, I don’t always wear sizes that are bigger than me—I just manage to find one-of-a-kind pieces that happen to not be in my size! I was originally going to pair this sweater with tights or leggings, but the sweater wasn’t long enough to look like a dress. Wearing anything tighter than these jeans would’ve been too revealing. Tights under tunics or short (and tight) skirts have been such a fad lately, and I honestly think they should be tossed out the window. Girls are always coming up with crafty ways to show form even in the coldest of seasons, sacrificing themselves and justifying the lack of warmth they are getting from these types of clothes. I must agree, though, that knitted tights really keep the legs as warm if not warmer than wearing pants. I think it’s because the friction that knitted tights give to legs creates warmth all over your legs. That doesn’t mean, though, that you should be wearing knitted tights in place of pants when you have a tunic on! I must say, the title of this entry was inspired by a friend’s comment in an e-mail about how she believes her husband would still get turned on by her presence even if she had a potato sack on! How many women would love to get this reaction from their (future) mate? I think it’s such a beautiful thing to be appreciated for your beauty and personality without having to try too hard to please. When you constantly and intentionally wear something sexy (in the presence of men other than your husband in private), your clothes just make you look desperate for men’s attention. As much as sexual attention is so gratifying to us, you really don’t want to be treated and thought of as an object. It should be enough to draw attention to your pretty smile, your well-groomed hair, and the put-togetherness of your outfit instead of your lady lumps. Placing emphasis on your womanly curves and your skin just causes trouble for yourself and others—is that worth the cloud nine feeling you get when somebody is checking you out (even the guys who shouldn’t be doing so)? To think so is just completely selfish. You know that you can still feel good about yourself by drawing other people’s attention to the cleverness of your outfit instead of the curvature of your body.I was born with the “classic” woman body type, so it’s kind of difficult to conceal some of the areas of my body. I believe I own more dresses and skirts than pants now because dresses and skirts seem to work well toning down my shape without making me look like a tomboy. Just last weekend, I was a bridesmaid at my dear friend’s wedding. They ordered our dresses without getting our correct sizes, so they ended up getting an extra small for me. The extra small dress was so tight on me that it looked like I was wearing a bodysuit where every surface on my body was emphasized more than it should have been. I guess I normally do such a good job concealing my curves that they thought I was an extra small! Although I felt really good and confident in that dress knowing I work out from time to time (note to self: make it a habit!), I just had to switch dresses with someone else with a size higher up—but that was still too tight. Perhaps what too “tight” is is a matter of opinion, because I could still breathe in that dress, but what is too tight for me is anything that clings to your body and shows your silhouette. Overall, I think that our bridesmaid dresses were generally modest—it helped a lot that the wedding was in the fall, too! It was just the cotton and lace material that made the dress cling to the body more than any other material, and the fact that I had to keep stretching my dress down to the actual length every so often was not a good sign. Following most girls’ train of thought, I don’t think that they are just ignorant about how they dress. I really believe that most girls just pretend to be aloof when confronted about it. I confess that I used to play dumb when I wanted to wear whatever the heck I wanted. I wanted to get away with how sexy (apart from beautiful) I looked in my outfits without hearing about modesty so that I didn’t feel guilty. I hope you can see how selfish that kind of thinking is. It should be enough to show your beauty through the parts of your body that aren’t generally sexually tempting to men. It is a true sign of maturity to know that you are beautiful and express your creativity through clothing, accessories, and even makeup without needing to show off your curves to prove that you are a woman.
Speaking of weddings in general, I don’t understand what goes on in people’s minds when even the guests pick out showy outfits around a time when marriage and purity should be celebrated. What makes weddings a time to wear midriff tops for even people who usually don’t wear them? I don’t mean to criticize so harshly, but I just say this out of love because revealing outfits are really distracting to guys. Prior to the wedding, I had been contemplating for weeks whether I should have accepted being a bridesmaid fearing what type of dress they’d pick out for us. Out of love and support (and excitement), I decided to continue being a part of the wedding party, but I compromised by wearing a shirt underneath the area where my cleavage would have been visible. I risked looking like an idiot, but I couldn’t let go of my standard of not showing the area around my cleavage. In the end, it didn’t seem like a lot of people really noticed that I had a shirt on—except up close, but only to the point that they were less distracted due to a lack of flesh being shown, which was the goal, and not to the point that I stuck out like a sore thumb. Plus, I still received loads of compliments on the other elements of the outfit I put together uniquely for myself (DIY belt, shoes, pompadour hair). It’s amazing how God works when you honor Him even in clothing!
I love celebrating the love between two people who both love and fear God, and my friends the groom the bride are no exception! Their wedding had a mix of Victorian and Rockabilly feel. I will have to post photos when I get my hands on them.
Have you ever been so depressed that you just wanted to “go away” because the problem(s) you’re dealing with never go away? I have to admit I’ve had these thoughts on many occasions—this may sound somewhat suicidal. I never came close to acting on them, though, because I know that my life is not my own. Because I have the knowledge that heaven exists, I have on a number of occasions somehow dangerously justified to myself in my mind that taking one’s own life that’s saved by grace is okay. The reality of death to me was and is a beautiful thing, because what’s waiting on the other side is eternally peaceful. Although my idea of accepting death as a beautiful thing is good, it never is anyone’s right to kill oneself.
It’s easy to shriek when hearing someone talking about death and depression as if no one else thinks about these things. I believe what makes these thoughts healthy or dangerous is the frequency of these thoughts occurring, as well as your heart and actions in response to them. I really think the same thing goes for lusting, which has been a prevalent topic throughout this blog as well as the reason why this blog came into existence. It is never okay to lust, nor is it ever okay to commit suicide, but the truth is, everybody has these kinds of thoughts enter their minds every so often. What you do about them is what matters.
Let me tell you why I have had suicidal thoughts in my past—or at least why I have at times been depressed to the point of wanting to vanish. Prior to being married, I had a lot of issues from outside factors I couldn’t control. One of these factors was situational—a hardship I couldn’t get out of. It had to do with my family, who was loving in every way, yet put me in an endless circumstance I couldn’t bear. Although I had substantial reasons to be miserable, I kept my hopes up and prayed for years for God to take me out of that picture, and He so miraculously did. My family is doing well, and God blessed me with my own family to start by leading me to the path of marriage. The story doesn’t end there, and in fact, the story of my singlehood isn’t what I really wanted to share.
After being married, I knew that problems weren’t going to stop coming. Don’t get me wrong—I am loving my marriage, and my husband is a wonderful man! I couldn’t be any happier if I were with someone else or single. When I said after marriage, I was really referring to the current period of my life (today) and not the marriage itself. Thank God! I have a healthy marriage with a loving and committed man. The point that I was making was about the totality of life and problems never going away no matter how much things change. I was often told that marriage would not be the solution to my problems, and I sure did know this deep down in my heart. I was prepared to enter into yet another challenge, knowing that God is present in my life. Everybody has problems, but not everybody takes advantage of the gift of comfort God provides.
Going back, the dark areas in my thoughts come from the hopelessness I feel for the world around me, particularly regarding sexual purity. I don’t just see lust happening outside of my marriage; I also see it happening on the inside. Because I am so strongly against sexual immorality and pornography, it hurts me most to see it happening all around me as well as to know that my dear husband is constantly struggling to keep his mind pure from images in his past and all around him. Although I welcome my husband’s honest and humble confessions to me about his thought life and past sexual experiences, it kills me every time I hear or think about this. Even though this is tormenting me inside, I believe couples still need to share their faults with each other so that they might help each other and be accountable (Galatians 6:2). Both hearing him confess about his struggle and asking him to be prayed for also help me to stop being selfish for attention and to focus on helping him through prayer and accountability (which doesn’t necessarily mean distrustfully monitoring every single Web site he visits with crazy paranoia; although, that can be managed with accountability software, and it’s actually a good idea for couples who have kids or spend a lot of time separate in the house). Married couples deal with lust often, because it’s part of common human greed to keep desiring something that God didn’t intend for one to have. Satan tries to destroy God’s covenant between two people that way, and sadly, lust is probably the biggest issue among married couples.
What does the Bible say about all of this? It says in John 8:44, “(Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” In John 10:10, the Bible talks about Satan being the thief who comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but Jesus came so that we might have life to the fullest.
The thing we need to pay attention to in these verses is what Satan does versus what Jesus did. Suicide is killing and stealing from God, and thinking that is okay even when you’re a Christian is a lie.
I believe that the misery these destructive thoughts come from is mostly created by my mind. My issues I know for a fact do not even come close to the severity of other couples’ or individuals’ problems. I’m thankful that he is honest with me as a husband and is trying his best with God’s help to rid his mind of lustful thoughts when they come up. The reality that sin exists shouldn’t drive me to the wall. Even if your spouse doesn’t even try to live godly or be pure (I thank the Lord that mine does), not deserving of help or forgiveness, we should all still try our best to live a godly and pure life for God, if not for our spouse or ourselves.
I do agree that it’s hard to listen to spiritual counseling or even advice from people who haven’t gone through or aren’t going through the very struggles they talk about. I carry my experiences throughout this blog as I write each entry, and every issue I bring up here was and is being dealt with between my husband and I on a daily basis. We humbly admit that we are sinners and are weak, but God’s grace and power help us to renew our lives to be pure as well as to extend our experiences to you.
Your body doesn’t belong to you: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
The solution is not suicide. It’s faith: “We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” – Psalms 33:20-22
Christ promises rest in Him: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”- Matthew 11:28
If you have suicidal thoughts, it’s best to read what the Bible has to say about the gravity of preserving life and also the importance of carrying out your purpose in living. Find more verses dealing with suicide here. Find a godly person or somebody close to you to talk with about your problems. When I had these negative thoughts spring into my head again last night, I told my husband about it, and he told me to turn to the Word when I told him there was nothing he could do. At some given point in a situation, only God can take control of it. Your spouse is not your god and savior (as lovely and cute as he may be!) We should be glad that our spouses aren’t our gods. It helps give us perspective when we get disappointed, but we must also admit that we ourselves are as imperfect as they are.
Please blog about suicide prevention as well. Learn more about this here.
Sylvia Plath’s dark autobiography, The Bell Jar piqued my curiosity after reading the recent news article about the discovery of her husband Ted Hughes’ “last letter” to Sylvia. If you are a fan of Plath’s work, then you probably know all about her tormented relationship (with the adulterous Hughes), which later led to her suicide. As interested as I am in reading about tragedy as the next person, I do not go through it without feeling some kind of sympathetic pain, and Sylvia’s life’s story is one of that sort. Normally, people like the idea of violence and depression when they are images and stories they feel distant from, but when things get closer to personal reality, they run for the hills the instant it starts to hit close to home. Syliva’s poem “Mad Girl’s Love Song” is one that I am both fascinated with and personally terrified by. I don’t think I have the strength and the sanity to keep reading the autobiography of someone whose solution to life’s problems was suicide. I get vicariously vulnerable when exposed to her estranged personality and critical cynicism, because I know that I would probably have a bent towards being the same way if I were apart from Christ.
As much as I would like heaven to be the quick solution to all my problems, I know that I would never resort to suicide to get there on a fast track. As insignificant as I may think I am, I still need to carry out what I believe my purpose is. I have a big God to serve and specific people to bless, and I shouldn’t be drowning myself in pity and selfish ambitions. Apart from a knowledge of God and a personal relationship with Christ, our sins lead to death. I cannot imagine a life without the faith to believe that there is more to life than our minuscule laments. That would be no way to live, and I wish that Sylvia had had that knowledge before she took her life. She was such an explosively bright and intuitive writer who could’ve helped other women with similar hurts through her poems, but instead she imploded like a black hole.
Thankfully, my husband is faithful and is open to me about his confessions, but The Bell Jar is just adding to the poison in my mind by making me rejoice in tragedy without hope, while feeding paranoia. I think it’s really important for couples to have regular accountability talks in order to pray for and help each other with problems. You might think that ignorance is bliss and would rather not know about other people’s problems in order to not feel hurt or responsible, but that is an incredibly self-gratifying, foolish, and insidiously dangerous philosophy. Shame on people who think that way!
If someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. - Galatians 6:2
In case you missed it on my Twitter or Facebook accounts, I revived my old Formspring that I never used. Feel free to ask me anything (anonymous or not), but make sure to keep your questions clean and nice! I’ll try to answer everything as much as I can. You can ask questions there or in the good ol’ comments section if you want.
What I wore: Plaid poncho from Harvé Benard given to me by my mother-in-law | leggings from Burlington Coat Factory | rusty, vintage jewelry from Ebay