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The Surprising Meaning Behind Those Famous Modesty Verses

The Surprising Meaning Behind Those Famous Modesty Verses

One of you recently asked, “How do you live 1 Peter 3:3–4? I have an idea, but I’m not sure.”

You’ve probably heard these verses before, but here’s a refresher:

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

How do you live these verses?

Not without 1 Peter 3:1–2 or 1 Peter 3:5–6. Context is critical to understanding what the Bible means. So let’s check out the surrounding verses. The chapter begins:

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.

Ah! So Peter is writing to married women.

Sweet! So I don’t have to listen to and apply this passage yet because I’m not married, right?

Hardly!

But before we apply it to ourselves, let’s make sure we understand the original meaning of this text.

First Peter 3:3–4 is followed by these verses:

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Yowza. This passage is all about . . . submission! Before you start sending me hate mail, let me point out some good news:

  1. In the context of marriage, we are only commanded to submit to one man, our own husband. You don’t have to submit to other women’s husbands (re-read the first part of verse 1 to see this for yourself), although part of being a Christian is respecting and considering the needs of all people.
  2. God isn’t asking us to do anything He hasn’t already done. Did you notice the way 1 Peter 3 started with the word “Likewise”? Peter is comparing our submission to someone else’s. But whose? Flip the page in your Bible to the end of chapter two for the answer.

We are all called to submit to the authorities over us. Not only to those who are “good and gentle,” but also to those who are “unjust.”

Why?

Because Christ, our Lord, did so for you and me:

Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:21–23).

Obviously there’s a whole lot more to get out of this text, but let me stop and try to answer this girl’s question about how to live out 1 Peter 3:3–4 as a single. I’d suggest starting with this:

  1. Submit to the authorities who are currently in your life while ultimately entrusting yourself to your heavenly Father. Make your dad and mom’s job easy. Seek to be easy to lead.
  2. Remember that your beautiful face will eventually go, but your character will remain. Don’t trust in your outer beauty to capture and keep a man.
  3. Ask God to help you not fear anything that’s frightening. Seek to grow your trust in Him so you don’t have to trust in yourself during frightening times, but can throw yourself on Him.

Now that you know a bit more of the context of 1 Peter 3:3–4, how else do you think you can begin to become this kind of reverent, fearless, God-trusting woman?

The Surprising Meaning Behind Those Famous Modesty Verses was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

Married Woman: Sex Is a Weapon You Should Wield

Married Woman: Sex Is a Weapon You Should Wield

As a thirty-two-year-old virgin, I haven’t used sex as a weapon. Yet.

But I soon will.

Sex is not a weapon to use against your spouse; sex is a weapon to use against Satan.

I’m not talking about denying my soon-to-be husband sex because he hasn’t lifted a finger around the house or complimented me often enough. I don’t intend to use sex as a weapon against my husband; I intend to wield the weapon of sex against Satan.

Where’d I get a crazy idea like that?

As an engaged woman preparing for marriage, I’m reading This Momentary Marriage by John Piper. In this book, Piper suggests that “faith makes use of sexual intercourse as a means of grace.”

Wait. Whaaaaaat? Where’d he come up with that?

You’ve probably read 1 Corinthians 7:3–5 before, but pay particular attention to the last line:

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control (emphasis added).

When a husband and wife are not coming together often, Satan is given a wide-open door for temptation.

John Piper continues:

A married couple gives a severe blow to the head of that ancient serpent when they aim to give as much sexual satisfaction to each other as possible. Is it not a mark of amazing grace that on top of all the pleasure that the sexual side of marriage brings, it also proves to be a fearsome weapon against our ancient foe?

This should not surprise us. Marriage at its exquisite peak of pleasure speaks powerfully the truth of covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church. And that love is the most powerful force in the world. It is not surprising then that Satan’s defeat, Christ’s glory, and our pleasure should come together in this undefiled marriage bed.

Sex is not a weapon to use against your spouse; sex is a weapon to use against Satan.

I don’t know how often my future husband and I will have sex after we marry, but I hope it is the exception, and not the norm, to not “play” together. Why not glorify God, fight Satan, and delight in each other as often as possible? Sounds like a win-win to me.

(I realize that not every woman’s husband is all that interested in having sex. In that case, I would encourage you to keep praying for desire on his part and for protection for your marriage. Make sure you are making yourself attractive to him—not just physically—but relationally. Finally, if he’s open to it, seek medical and/or spiritual help.)

How about you? If you’re married, are you using sex as a weapon against your husband . . . or against Satan?

Married Woman: Sex Is a Weapon You Should Wield was originally posted on TrueWoman.com. 

 

3 Reasons I Said “Yes!” to Marrying Him

3 Reasons I Said “Yes!” to Marrying Him

All week I’ve enjoyed sharing my journey from “boy-crazy to my man” with you. Thanks for being interested in the love story God scripted for us! If you’ve missed the first three parts to this story, you can read them here:

It wasn’t always easy, getting to where we are today. There were lots of ups and downs; many times I wondered if we’d make it. But my doubts never lasted long. I think this journal entry will explain why:

It seems our relationship is characterized by the most important things: Christ; communication that’s open, humble, loving, and excellent; and community. I couldn’t move forward without a single one of these.

1. Relationship Secret #1: Christ

Trevor and I are fairly different, but Jesus Christ truly is the foundation of our relationship, which is more than enough common ground. Here are two entries from my journal to give you a taste of how Trevor has consistently pointed me to Christ rather than away from Him:

Trevor prayed last night, thanking God for bringing us together from so far apart, asking that in some small way we could reflect the gospel to those around us. I realized that when I asked friends to pray that I’d enjoy God and I’d enjoy Trevor, I didn’t see those two as intersecting at all. To me, romance has always been something to hide from God, not something to share with God and thank Him for and revel in Him. (How wrong I was!)

And one more entry, from a visit I made to New York:

We played “What Am I Thinking” and “Would You Rather.” His options were hilarious. Then he asked if we wanted to pray through the Lord’s Prayer. It was hard for me to turn my mind toward worshiping God, but so sweet and needed.”

2. Relationship Secret #2: Communication

Trevor and I have had excellent communication. Sure, starting out long distance helped. Talking was our only option, other than a monthly visit. But it’s more than that.

Mostly it’s been Trevor’s humble responses and probing questions that have given me more and more courage to share openly with him. I can’t tell you how huge this has been in my life; until Trevor, I always “held back.” Here’s one example from my journal, about a Skype conversation:

As were were about to go, I asked Trevor if he’d pray for me. I got teary. I told him I was kinda anxious about his visit . . . His response was beautiful . . . He asked if there was more.

I didn’t want to tell him, but I admitted that I worry I might be getting into a relationship with an angry man. He responded amazingly and thoughtfully.

He said he was sorry multiple times.
That I didn’t deserve that.
That he didn’t want me to have to have any caution flags with him.
That he would be repenting of his sin.
That he’s still growing out of selfishly thinking his sin only impacts him and the person he’s sinned against.

He said he already has some action ideas for what to do next. And he said a lot, “Anything I say feels worthless ’til you see some change.” Although he’s also confessed he’s a sinner and this will probably be a life-long process, but he didn’t want that to be an excuse.

Trevor has modeled humility time and time again in our conversations. He has also not hidden sin from me, but confessed it. As a result, I trust him—with my inmost thoughts, fears, and struggles.

3. Relationship Secret #3: Community

The fact that Trevor is so deeply rooted in community has given me great confidence. He loves his local church body. In addition to running sound, playing guitar, and doing their books, he leads a small group and participates in a discipleship group an elder leads. Because he’s surrounded himself with people, I’ve been able to hear from others who have known Trevor a lot longer than I have what they think of him. (That’s invaluable as a girl considers marriage!)

From the start Trevor was intentional about introducing me to his friends (he even tried to get some girls to host a girls’ night while I was in town!). This has meant that when I moved to New York a couple months ago (to live with a family from his church until our wedding day), I’ve had instant community through the relationships he’s already built.

We’ve also been able to do premarital counseling with an elder/counselor, and get a wise, outside perspective on our relationship.

All three of these C’s—Christ, communication, and community—caused me to joyfully and confidently said “yes!” when Trevor got down on one knee this past April and read me a Shakespearean sonnet he’d written while flying west to propose to me:

An unexpected blessing came to me,

A treasure from the realm of heaven sent.

‘Twas flown on wings across a digital sea,

The seed that grew into love’s bless’d event.

 

A bloom of life and love was found within

An unexpected place. A prairie flower

Grown in good soil she neither toils nor spins,

But drinks the rain, enjoys the Sun’s great pow’r.

 

I journeyed far to gain this precious rose,

By land and air, through darkness deep inside.

I’ll carry her through thorns and fears below

Held by his Hand in raging storms and tides.

 

The rising Day will banish soon the night.

Sojourn with me till then, and be my wife.

How about you? Would you ever consider marrying a man without Christ, communication, and community being a part of your relationship? Why or why not?

Then, check back tomorrow for a wrap-up to this series as well as a chance to win a copy of my book, Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom.

3 Reasons I Said “Yes!” to Marrying Him was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

Is Marriage a Get-Out-Of-Work-Free Card?

Is Marriage a Get-Out-Of-Work-Free Card?

This October I’ll marry a “rich” (in my mind, anyway!) CPA husband. Money has never been a big priority to me; I think I always imagined marrying a poor seminary student.

So I’ve been pleasantly taken back by this surprising twist. Truth be told, I’ve looked forward to mooching off of him, to not having to put in forty hours at the office each week, to benefiting from his labors.

But then I read this in The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian:

“Show me how I can help increase our finances and not decrease them unwisely.”

What an intriguing concept!

I mean, I’d definitely imagined blessing him physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually, but . . . financially? Not so much.

Turns out, marriage is not an excuse for laziness.

I’m a little slow. I should’ve already known that from Proverbs 31, right?

“An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.”

In other words, she herself makes her husband rich.

But just because she herself offers her husband precious value doesn’t earn her a get-out-of-work-free card. The passage continues,

“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain” (emphasis added).

If you’re skeptical that this gain could include actual physical, material wealth, keep on reading:

“She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. . . . She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household . . . She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard . . . She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night . . . She makes linen garments and sells them . . . She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (Prov. 31:12–27).

So I have a new aim: to bless my future husband in every area, including our finances.

How about you? Is there a way you can help increase your husband’s finances while still “looking well to the ways of your household”? Or, at a minimum, are there ways you can take care that you’re not decreasing your husband’s finances unwisely?

(Singles, this starts right now, with what you do with your money even before you meet your someday husband!)

Am I the only one, or does anyone else out there need to repent of a mooch-like attitude?

Let’s get to work, ladies, and bless our husbands in every way. Yes, even financially.

Is Marriage a Get-Out-Of-Work-Free Card? was originally posted on TrueWoman.com. 

I’m Falling in Love with an Atheist

I’m Falling in Love with an Atheist

Note: A girl just emailed me asking for advice. “I’m falling in love with an atheist” she explained. The man she’s falling for just happens to be her dance partner, causing her to interact with him several times a week. Knowing that she’s not the only girl who has fallen for someone who doesn’t share her faith, she graciously agreed to let me share my response with you.

Dear “I’m falling in love with an atheist,”

I am so glad you wrote. Please don’t read this letter with a harsh, condemning tone, but with an urgent, pleading one. I am deeply concerned for you. If this letter feels like I’m dumping a bucket of cold water on your head, it’s because I want you to wake up. Let’s start with who a Christian is.

An atheist and a Christian are not compatible.

A Christian is a person who is now one with Christ. A Christian has been rescued by Jesus out of the darkness of sin and has been brought into His marvelous light—transformed from the inside out. A Christian has the spirit of Christ living inside of them! A Christian is someone whose entire identity has been refashioned around Christ. Christ is their life. Christ is the reason they are now accepted and beloved by God the Father.

An atheist, on the other hand, denies that God even exists. An atheist is a God-hater, just as you and I were until God graciously opened our eyes to our need to be forgiven and cleansed of our sin, to be reconciled with our Creator, and to be given an “alien” righteousness so we could live with a holy God forever.

An atheist and a Christian are not compatible. How do I know this?

Well, years ago, the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, urging them not to enter into any kind of a close partnership with an unbeliever. After telling them not to be “unequally yoked with unbelievers” (picture an ox and a donkey trying to plow a straight row together . . . fail! It won’t happen—they’ll each want to do their own thing), Paul peppered them with the following questions:

“What partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?
“What fellowship has light with darkness?
“What accord has Christ with Belial (Satan)?
“What portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?
“What agreement has the temple of God with idols?
“For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

“‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty'” (2 Cor. 6:14–18).

One way we can apply this to our lives today is that we should not marry (and therefore we should not date or long to date) someone who is not wholeheartedly pursuing and delighting in God. King Solomon made this mistake, and we’re told in 1 Kings 11:4 that,

“His wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God.”

You will have to choose between God and this man. You can’t have both. James warns,

“You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).

Let me be clear about this, though. If you choose God over this man, God will not love you any more than He already does. It won’t earn you extra points with God. If you truly trust in Christ Jesus as both your Savior and your Lord, you are already His 100% dearly loved child.

Does that mean that you have the freedom to date this man? No way! Besides, why would you want to, when Christ has revealed Himself to you as the greatest treasure there is—both in this life and for the life to come?

I get it that you have strong feelings toward this man. I’ve been where you are. And if you’re anything like me, my guess is that what you’re feeling isn’t true love, but something closer to romantic desire . . . and even maybe lust. I encourage you to:

  1. Explore whether you truly have been born again, and whether Jesus Christ really is both your Savior and your Lord (He can’t be one without being the other!).
  2. Tell an older, godly woman about your struggle. Be completely honest with her, and ask her to help hold you accountable.
  3. Break off your relationship with this guy. Stop dancing with him. Don’t text him. Run!
  4. Pursue Jesus through His Word. Get to know Him. Learn to enjoy Him the way He delights in you.

Praying for you,

Paula

I’m Falling in Love with an Atheist was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com. 

Christian Grey: Why Women Everywhere Want This Man

Christian Grey: Why Women Everywhere Want This Man

Today, women will go in droves to drool over Christian Grey in a new blockbuster romanticizing BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism). In case you’re not familiar with these terms, a sadist receives sexual gratification by dishing out pain; a masochist receives sexual gratification by receiving pain.

A Strong Woman’s Dilemma

At first glance, it appears downright puzzling that women would consider this to be enjoyable entertainment . . . and flock to it in droves. Dr. Juli Slattery asks,

In a culture that constantly celebrates women’s independence and freedom, do you find it strange that a book about bondage is spreading like wildfire? All of a sudden, words like “submission,” “master,” and “obedience” are not only acceptable but sexy.

In a conversation about Fifty Shades on The View, Barbara Walters suggested that the reason women love this book so much is because, “when you go home, you want the guy to be in charge.”

Really?!

Well, yes. Women want strong, confident men . . . and we want to be in control. But unfortunately, through insisting on control, we’ve contributed to the very thing we despise: a culture of increasingly weak men.

Christian Grey to the Rescue

Enter counterfeit solution Christian Grey and the dark world of BDSM. Dannah Gresh and Dr. Slattery write,

Although Fifty Shades is fiction, we assure you that the world of BDSM is not. Since the book’s release there has been a dramatic increase in the sales of bondage gear. What was once viewed as a strange, aberrant practice is becoming increasingly mainstream for married couples and for those looking for an exciting affair.

But, they warn,

Solving the “weak man” problem with BDSM is about as logical as curing obesity by promoting anorexia. Both are dangerous distortions of appetite. The true answer is for us to grasp what health looks like.

So what is healthy in the bedroom?

Great Sex Is Not Grey

First, a couple of basic reminders about sex. Because, while E.L. James, the author of Fifty Shades of Grey, would have you believe that sex is grey, God is not grey on this topic. He’s black and white, so you might catch a glimpse of His unrivaled beauty:

  1. Great sex was God’s idea (Gen. 1:18–25)! If that blows your mind, that’s because, as Dr. Slattery says, “Sex has been dragged through the mud so thoroughly that most people can’t even comprehend that it is intended to be something holy.” Oh, and “holy” does not equal “boring!” God designed loving, passionate sex to be enjoyed in the safe context of a covenant commitment between one man and one woman.
  2. Great sex is not ultimately about us; it’s about God. God designed marriage and sex to tell the story of His loving sacrificial leadership toward His Bride, the Church, and of the Church’s joyful submission to Him (Eph. 5). Again, I appreciate Dr. Slattery’s reminder:

    Christ taught and modeled that authoritative leadership is for the purpose of loving sacrifice, not domination, control, abuse, or humiliation.

    Submission is all about power—not weakness. . . . God’s design for women to submit is not to take away her power but to channel it in a way that builds a courageous lover and leader in her husband. God’s plan works!

Christ Jesus to the Rescue

So what if you don’t have a strong man to love and serve and lead you?

Actually, you do.

Christ Jesus, God’s own Son, left His powerful position and riches in Paradise to stoop low to serve you. He became a man so He could receive the righteous blows of God’s justice as the willing Substitute for your sin.

Christ Jesus is the strong man your heart desires. Christian Grey is a cheap substitute for the strong, loving leader you were designed for.

Christ Jesus became a man so He could bleed, so that His blood might wash your dirty heart and body white as snow. He experienced physical and emotional pain unlike any you will ever know—so that you, through His wounds, might be healed.

He did all this to restore your broken relationship with God, so that you might glorify and enjoy Him forever, “to the praise of His glorious grace” (Eph. 1:6).

Christ Jesus is the strong man your heart desires. Christian Grey is a cheap substitute for the strong, loving leader you were designed for.

Calling Out the Hibernating Strong Man in Your Husband

Until you are with Him in person, God has given you the means to fulfill your sexual desires, married woman. Not through dark, harmful, twisted sexuality, but in the God-blessed, sanctified context of biblical marriage.

Some of you are experiencing this joyful gift right now. Others of you wonder if your husband even has a sex drive.

I’ll share a secret with you that I learned from reading Pulling Back the Shades: Erotica, Intimacy, and and the Longings of a Woman’s Heart. Great sex will not begin in the bedroom. Here are a few excerpts that speak to this:

Becoming a great lover requires you to exercise the muscles of temporarily suspending what you want in order to understand and bring joy to your husband. . . .

Sex in marriage will always take on the form of the relationship, even for couples that try to use it to cover up other problems or to think of it as a separate issue. Many couples come to counseling complaining of problems sexually. Almost invariably, their sexual dynamics are a perfect illustration of what is happening throughout their entire relationship. . . .

If God created and defines sex as a “deep knowing” (“yada”), we can reason that the ultimate sexual satisfaction will be found when we are truly known by one another. If you want a satisfying sex life—to truly experience yada—friendship with your husband is the pathway to achieve it. When the deep knowing is given priority in our love lives, the physical aspect of sex just works better. . . .

Regardless of whether your sex life is sizzling or hibernating, my challenge to you is this: How can you begin to call out the strong leader in your husband?

If you have no idea where to start, may I encourage you sign up for the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge? Even if you’ve taken it before, would you consider taking it again?

Christian Grey: Why Women Everywhere Want This Man” was originally posted on TrueWoman.com. 

Will You Get a Divorce Someday?

Will You Get a Divorce Someday?

You probably know someone who’s divorced. Maybe an aunt or uncle, one of the leaders in your church, or your own parents. If so, I’m so very, very sorry for the pain it’s caused—and maybe still is causing—you.

With divorce so common, I wonder, What’s to keep you from heading down that same road someday?

My desire in writing this post is to save your marriage before you even meet your future husband.

Before we go any further, do me a favor, and don’t rub what you’re about to read in any divorced person’s face. That’s not the point! My desire in writing this post is to save your marriage before you even meet your future husband by introducing you to God’s thoughts on marriage and divorce.

Oh, I know you’re not married yet. But someday, you probably will be. And there may be days—possibly even long months that turn into even longer years—when you shake your head and mutter to yourself, This is no marriage. I didn’t sign up for this.

So I wonder, If the going gets tough for you, will you choose to divorce?

I’m afraid you will—unless you get ahold of the mind-blowing truths found in Mark 10:2–12. This passage finds the Pharisees (think “the squeaky-clean, religious, we’re-something-special leaders of Jesus’ day”) trying to trick Jesus with a question:

“Jesus, is it allowed—is it kosher—for a man to divorce his wife?”

“You tell me,” Jesus answered. “What did Moses command you?” (These guys knew the law of Moses like junior highers know their A-B-Cs!) Immediately they rattled off, “Yup, Moses allowed a man to divorce his wife and send her away.”

Doesn’t sound much different than today, huh? A lot of people in the Church will encourage you to get a divorce when the going gets tough.

But not Jesus.

He responds,

“Moses (not God!) wrote this commandment because your hearts were hard.” In other words, you wanted a divorce so bad, he let you have it.

But . . .

“But from the very beginning of time,” Jesus dug in, “God made humans in two varieties: male and female. Man and woman. And He designed them to leave their parents and hold fast to each other, so that the two would become one.”

Then, just in case they missed this mind-blowing math, Jesus repeated Himself,

“Married people are no longer two people but one person.”

Whoa!

“So,” Jesus concludes, “What God has joined together, let not man separate.”

You would never think of cutting yourself in half. God has joined you together. Don’t let others—or yourself—separate what God has fused together.

Did you catch that?! Marriage has always been God’s marvelous plan for one man plus one woman. And when they marry, it’s ultimately God who’s turned two into one.

So, sweet girl, when your marvelous, God-designed marriage starts to seem mighty un-marvelous due to your sin or your hubby’s sin, remember these marriage-preserving truths. You are no longer two but one.

You would never think of cutting yourself in half. God has joined you together. Don’t let others—or yourself—separate what God has fused together.

Okay, your turn to talk back to me. Does divorce seem acceptable to you? Would you consider it if your own marriage got tough? How does Jesus’ teaching crack the way you naturally think about divorce?

Will You Get a Divorce Someday?” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

5 Ways to Pray for Your Future Husband

5 Ways to Pray for Your Future Husband

You asked me to write a post about how to pray for your future husband. I’m happy to do that, but first, two disclaimers:

  1. Marriage isn’t a guarantee for any of us. God is not our personal genie. That’s why I like to pray these sorts of things for the men who are currently in my life (my dad, brothers, brothers-in-Christ, coworkers, etc.) and then I tack on, “And my future hubby, if such a man exists.”
  2. Just because you’re praying these grand characteristics for your future husband does not mean you’re free to date and marry just anyone, and that they’ll somehow magically materialize into this person after marriage simply because you’ve been praying “spiritual” things. Wrong! Choose a man who—while not perfect—is already obviously headed in this direction.

Okay, with that behind us, here are just five ways to pray for your future husband. (If you’re already married, these are great ways to pray for your husband. And if you’re divorced, by all means, pray these into your ex’s life!)

  1. Pray that he would re-believe the gospel every single time he hears it, rather than believing it once and then leaving it far behind (1 Cor. 15:1–3).
  2. Pray that he would be captivated by God’s beauty so that saying no to lust would be like turning down a McDonald’s hamburger in favor of a grilled, New York strip. Pray that he would be ruthless in fleeing sexual immorality and would fly to Christ instead (Ps. 27:4, 1 Cor. 6:18).
  3. Pray that when he gets angry he wouldn’t sin. Pray that he would be angry over the things God is angry over and not angry over petty irritations (Eph. 4:26).
  4. Pray that God would prepare and empower him to love you as much as he loves himself—to cherish you the way Christ cherishes you (Eph. 5:28–29).
  5. Pray that he would not be lazy or a workaholic, but that he would work wholeheartedly for God in order to provide for his family. Pray that God would keep him from greed. Pray that he would have wisdom to know how to balance work, service, rest, and play (Col. 3:23, 1 Tim. 6:10).

Obviously, there are so many more ways to pray for a future husband. Would you add your prayer(s) by commenting below?

5 Ways to Pray for Your Future Husband” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

When You’re Just Not Beautiful Enough to Keep His Attention

When You’re Just Not Beautiful Enough to Keep His Attention

This post is adapted from a very personal prayer I wrote in my journal some time back. I think you’ll be able to relate! Just by way of a disclaimer: this post is not written for guys. It’s important that men speak into other men’s lives about being faithful to the women in their lives in their glances (and mostly their second glances!), their thoughts, and their actions.

How I need You, Abba.

I don’t normally think about things like this, but I don’t have toned thighs, and suddenly I’m aware that he would probably like that.

I think it all started when I asked him how he’s most often tempted and what he does about it. He told me he wasn’t too keen on sharing details, but he said the standard things you hear guys struggle with are true, beginning with idolizing outer beauty.

That was hard to hear. He’s not immune to the struggles of men. And with that admission entered a flood of insecurities. (Wait, they were already there, weren’t they?)

Here’s another guy who won’t find me beautiful enough.

I’m not enough.

But then . . .

No woman is enough to capture the gaze of one man for every second of her short stay on earth. Because no man, apart from Jesus Christ, is 100% faithful. And no man is immune to all beauty but mine.

I think the root issue is actually mine: wanting a created man to validate me and tell me I’m “enough,” when only Christ is enough . . . for me and for him.

Yes, I want to “cultivate my garden” for my future hubby to enjoy, but I don’t want to chain him to a leash and insist he never leave my garden without a blindfold and a seeing eye dog.

So I wonder . . . Will You be enough for me, God, when I am not enough for my man? Because if not, doesn’t that prove that I am not living as if Your love, approval, and delight is enough for me?

And didn’t You love me—freely, lavishly—when I was captivated by others’ beauty? Didn’t You love me without insisting that I keep my eyes on You or else Your love would be withdrawn?

So help me pray for my man and forgive my man’s occasional wandering gaze and not expect him to be more than a man. Because that’s Your job, re-forming him ’til he’s just like You.

Only You can do this, God, ’cause You know me. I’m the woman who naturally keeps track of every glance and suspects ill motive behind each one. But You don’t keep track of my sins. You’ve removed them as far as the east is from the west.

Thank You for exposing the idolatry in my heart. I think the root issue is actually mine: wanting a created man to validate me and tell me I’m “enough,” when only Christ is enough . . . for me and for him.

How about you? Do you expect your future boyfriend/husband to never ever so much as even look at another woman? How do you think you’ll react if and when he does notice another beautiful woman?

I pray we’ll be women secure enough in God’s love that instead of seeking to “imprison” our men and keep them from noticing any other beautiful woman, that instead we help do battle with our men through love, prayer, and confidence in Christ.

When You’re Just Not Beautiful Enough to Keep His Attention” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

Before Getting Married, I Wish I’d . . .

Before Getting Married, I Wish I’d . . .

Last week I shared some mail I just couldn’t keep to myself. You were so encouraged that this week I want to share more advice with you from married women. So . . . I asked a group of married women of all ages the following question:

What do you wish you’d done before getting married (either to prepare for marriage or just to take advantage of your singleness)?

You may be wondering, Why should I care what a bunch of married women think? Well, did you know God’s plan is that we learn the ins and outs of marriage from women who are “older and wiser?” Titus 2:3–5 says,

“Older women are to . . . teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands . . . that the word of God may not be reviled.”

Part of that training takes place before you’re even in a relationship! With that in mind, here’s what several married women wish they’d done before getting married:

“I wish I had spent more time growing as a Christian instead of assuming that I would ‘follow’ my husband spiritually. I would have spent more time being myself instead of being simply available.” —Myranda

“I wish I hadn’t devoured literally every Christian romance novel and countless romance movies. The men portrayed in these stories seem to be near perfect and have caused disappointment in marriage stemming from dangerous, unrealistic expectations. It contributed to me looking to a man to satisfy my every longing when the only One who can do that is the sinless, perfect Jesus Christ.” —Kimberly

“I got married at age twenty, and I can think of a dozen or more things that have crossed my mind over the years (manage finances, finish school, travel, etc.) that if I had done before marriage would have made so many things easier. But when it gets right down to it, we have had a blast growing up together. The best marriages aren’t necessarily easy; they are committed. I am thankful for one thing I did do before marriage: moving away from home. I think that gave me a crash course in dependency upon the Lord for everything, which laid the perfect foundation for marriage.” —Julie

“I wish I would’ve taken time after high school to find out who I really was aside from being under my parents’ authority before I got married.” —Hannah

“I wish I would have enjoyed my single days more instead of concentrating on finding love. I also would have wanted to be more prepared for the reality of marriage; the work, the responsibility, the pain that is there among the joy. Forever is a much bigger commitment after all the celebrations have calmed down from the engagement and wedding and it is just the two of you left . . . you and sixty years. Single girls, MAKE SURE you marry someone you like, not just love. It has been said many times, but you really do need to marry your best friend! Let God lead you to each other.” —Heidi

“I wish I had really thought about how I’d find purpose and joy in the responsibilities of being a wife and mom apart from my other interests, which had of course monopolized my single life. ” —Laura

I wish I would have lived as a godly woman when I was single instead of thinking, I’ll be like that when I’m married. I went through a very challenging first year of marriage until God graciously showed me I can’t keep saying ‘tomorrow,’ I need to obey today! Also, I wish I would have learned how to be an organized person, how to cook meals and grocery shop, and how to live within a budget. It would have made the transition to marriage easier had I already been experienced at taking care of myself (versus trying to figure out how to take care of two people).” —Emily

“I wish I’d learned more about how the marriage covenant is a picture of Jesus’s relationship with His bride, the church. It also would have helped to be involved more in service in the church, especially where no one could see me and there was no immediate recognition. It would have helped diminish my ego as a single woman!” —Aileen

“I wish I would have traveled more, gotten involved with more ministries overseas, even spent time living overseas!” —Kara

“I wish I had learned much earlier about submission in marriage. I never really grasped that until the last several years. I marvel at the difference it has made, learning to let my husband truly be the head of the family, even when I don’t agree with every move he makes. By over-powering my husband in the early years, I caused so many issues I didn’t even realize.” —Sheila

“I wish I had lightened up and had more fun.” —Jeannie

“I wish I would have spent more time with a mature mentor couple for the purpose of laying out our expectations for marriage. We’ve grown, and after sixteen years, are still becoming one. Learning to communicate clearly about the outcomes we are expecting before we begin a project has been huge. It’s so hard to backtrack. Clarity upfront helps work out some differences before they become huge mountains to tackle.” —Jennifer

Which piece of advice resonates with you most, not-yet-married-girl? What one thing can you begin to work on today as you anticipate marriage someday?

Before Getting Married I Wish I’d …” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.