Thank you for the work that you do. I am 22, and I have referenced this site for advice many times while growing up in the Lord. I have come across a difficult situation, and I remembered this site that has been so helpful to me in the past.
I am currently dating a wonderful Christian woman. Our relationship is focused on God first and 100% pure. We study the Bible together every day. We memorize long passages together. We pray for purity before and after every date. I preach at local congregations several times each month, and she gladly drives long distances to attend these congregations and support me. We both take off work during the summer to help staff church camps. We are currently in the process of converting one of her close friends who grew up as the daughter of a denominational preacher. We are both closer to God because of our relationship, and I am so thankful for her.
Lusting after beautiful women is the biggest threat to my soul. I struggle with lust daily. It is a constant battle to bounce my eyes away from women who wear too little. I live in a hot environment where immodesty is the norm. I am also a nurse, which is a profession that is 91% female. The women I work with are promiscuous and intentionally wear clothes that are tight and revealing. They also know I am a devout Christian, and it only makes them try harder to seduce me.
I pray several times a day for strength and pure thoughts. I have memorized Proverbs 7 and recite it when I am tempted. I have read multiple books, tracts, and articles on sexual temptation. I have listened to every sermon on purity that I can find. I abhor this sin, but despite my best efforts it still remains a daily, sometimes hourly, struggle for me.
When I am tempted, I often think of my girlfriend and our pure relationship. I think about how disappointed she would be if she could see my thoughts. I think about marriage and how beautiful that relationship will be for those who flee fornication and youthful lust. My love for her has been a powerful tool for me to combat Satan and his attacks.
I would like to discuss marriage with her and begin deepening our relationship towards that goal, but there is one thing that I really need advice to address: She does not dress modestly.
I do not know how to go about having this conversation with her. The subject has come up in our conversations and studies (we just read a commentary together on 1-2 Timothy and Titus), and she has made several comments about other girls who dress immodestly. I fully believe that she does not consider her apparel to be immodest and that she would never dress in a way to intentionally draw attention to her body. She just doesn’t realize how easily she can be a stumbling block to Christian men.
She works at a clothing store, and she frequently models short skirts, leggings, tight jeans, short shorts, and low-cut or tight tops. I obviously find her physically attractive regardless of what she is wearing. It is agonizing, and almost unbearable, to control my thoughts and fight lust when I could so easily dwell on the mental image of her exposed body parts. There have been times that I have been embarrassed to worship with her because of the way she is dressed. I thought our brief conversations about modesty would be enough to help her realize what she is doing, but now it is apparent that she is completely oblivious to the temptation she can so easily cause.
How do I bring this up to her? I don’t know how to help her realize that men and women think differently and that men can so easily sexualize women — especially when they are showing too much skin.
I don’t know if I should tell her about my personal struggles. I fear that she will think I am some kind of hyper-sexual pervert. I fear that she would question being in a relationship with a man who struggles so much with thinking pure thoughts.
To ask a young woman to drastically change her dress is like asking her to change part of her identity. I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I see no way for her to realize her immodesty without it being a painful and emotional experience.
Brother, I am truly at a loss for what to do.
I thank you again for the influence you have had on my life thus far, and I once again ask for your advice.
This is a more common problem than you might realize. Guys are reluctant to tell their girlfriends their thoughts out of fear that they will be rejected. If anything is discussed, it is so indirect that both sides miss the point because the viewpoints are different.
You are correct. Few women realize the impact that their clothing choices have on guys. Most people (both men and women) assume that whatever they are thinking must be what other people think as well. Women are not as visually driven as men, so they don’t see why a guy gets excited by their clothes (or lack thereof). The outfits a woman chooses are to get the attention of guys (or perhaps one particular guy) but not his sexual attention. Most likely, if someone was bold enough to tell her that her choices are immodest, her response would be that it is no one’s business.
Thus, let’s try to get a neutral party involved. Get her a copy of “For Young Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhalhn. While you are at it, get yourself a copy of “For Young Men Only” by Jeff Feldhahn. The chapter titled “Keeper of the Photo Files” explains in women’s terms what guys struggle with. What I suggest is that you discuss each chapter together. “Is this really what you go through?” First one chapter from one book and then one chapter from the other book. Hopefully, you’ll both find the information eye-opening and you learn more about each other. If there is a point that she doesn’t believe, ask her to ask her dad or brother the same question. If there is a point that you have a hard time accepting, ask your mother or your sister. The point about clothing is not the first few chapters, so by the time you get to this point, you will have established a track record of open and honest discussion.
Remember that you are considering this young woman to be your wife. You both need to learn how to comfortably share your thoughts without being offensive.