What Shall I Wear?

Keeping Him Captivated | http://lovinglifeathome.comWhen I first published 25 Ways to Communicate Respect over a year ago, I was astounded to see how many women took offense at my suggestion that a wife should dress in a way her husband finds attractive.

In my mind, there were points on the list that were far more controversial than this one — I expected those might draw some criticism — but I never imagined #17 would provoke the ire of so many readers.

No, I’m not trying to reduce women to the sum of their physical attributes, as some falsely accuse. I concede that a woman’s worth is based on infinitely more than what she looks like.

But to say that our appearance does not matter most is not to imply that it does not matter at all.

Men are visual creatures. Putting a wedding ring on their finger does not negate that fact.

Many of us went to great lengths to look good before we got married. We combed and curled and coiffed our hair. We slicked on lip-gloss and crimped our eyelashes and primped in front of the mirror for hours on end.

Why? Because we wanted to look our best. We were trying to attract our guy’s attention. We were willing to do whatever it took to snag a husband and make him our own.

Is it fair, then, for us to pull a bait-and-switch after the wedding? Promising an attractive, put-together wife, but delivering curlers and cold cream? Why do we seem to think that once we marry, we can stop trying?

There may be little chance that I’ll ever be mistaken for a trophy wife, but do I really want to present myself in a way that removes all doubt? After all, the Bible does say that a virtuous wife is a crown to her husband. (Proverbs 12:4) Isn’t a crown a little bit like a trophy?

I want my man to be proud to show me off in public. Don’t you? Don’t you want to keep your husband captivated?

Then dress the part.

I’m not saying you have to wear things that you detest or find uncomfortable, nor do you need to clean your house in a cocktail dress and stiletto heels or shop for groceries in revealing negligees, but I do think you should take care of your appearance and dress in a way that pleases the man you married.

Women in the work force often adhere to very strict standards of dress, whether written or unwritten. You don’t see many female executives showing up at the office in their bathrobes and slippers, do you? Lots of women — including waitresses, nurses, police officers, surgeons, and even Supreme Court justices — must wear prescribed uniforms to work every day.

So why all the resistance about looking good on the home front? There is nothing demeaning about a woman wearing clothes her husband finds flattering and pretty. This is not oppressive. It’s not objectification.

It is simply something a wife chooses to do because she loves her man and values his opinions. It’s the same reason she pays attention to her health and hygiene and tries to get adequate rest and exercise — not only because she respects husband, but because she respects herself and wants to look and feel her best.

  • She wants to look her best in public

    because she understands that when she goes out into the community, she is not only representing herself, but her husband and family, as well.

  • She wants to look her best at home

    because she knows that looking good and feeling comfortable does not have to be an either-or proposition. (And she can really rock an apron).

  • She wants to look her best in private

    because that’s when it’s especially easy to please her guy. (Just because an outfit is not modest enough to wear in public or in front of the kids does not mean you can never wear it at all. Lock the bedroom door and slip into something just for your husband. Do this regularly enough, and he won’t care what you wear to clean out the garage.)

Of course, looking your best encompasses much more than what clothes you put on your body.
Our appearance is more than our apparel.

Scripture tells us our “adornment must not be merely external — braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but it [should] be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)

So our carriage also comes into play. Our attitudes and behavior speak volumes, revealing not only what we think of ourselves, but also how we regard everyone around us.

Including our husbands.

“What attracts men to women is their femininity,” writes Dr. Laura Schlessinger in The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, “and femininity isn’t only about appearance, it’s also about behaviors. Looking womanly and behaving sweetly and flirtatiously are gifts wives give to their husbands. This gift communicates that the husband is seen as a man, not just a fix-it guy, the bread-winner, or the sperm donor.”

That’s a good reminder.

Sprucing up for your husband and treating him like a man is not only good for him and good for your marriage — it’s good for you, as well. Doesn’t it make you feel strong and confident and desirable when you flash your husband a knowing smile and his heart gives a little flutter in response?

You captivated his attention before marriage. Why not make the effort to turn his head again?

36 thoughts on “What Shall I Wear?

  1. I could see why it would draw controversy but I am in total agreement with you. However, it applies to both sides. On TV, married couples are depicted with the wife being slender and attractive and the husband being less held together. I think your readers fail to see that their physical maintenance should be where they are still trying to win their husband’s heart daily! And the same goes for the husbands.

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  2. I honestly do not understand why that would draw controversy. It doesn’t make sense that we try so hard to present ourselves one way when dating and then flip a switch when married. Yes, our husbands should love us even when we don’t look our best. But how would you feel if your husband walked around in sweats and greasy hair all day, every day? It’s the same idea as “I’ll take care of me for you, if you’ll take care of you for me.” Part of a healthy partnership is working to be your best you, so that you can be your best together.

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  3. THANK YOU! I appreciate your post! As an un-married young woman I want my goal to be being the best wife ever once the LORD brings the right leader along! I want to form good habits now that will continue after marriage. I am thankful for wiser older women, my mother being my closest and best example naturally, then other Christian women who are seeking to submit to their husbands, to direct and teach me. Thank you for boldly proclaiming what is true and right! May many hearts be convicted to do better for their husbands’ and future-husbands’ sake! May each of us daily be conformed to Christ and not to this world, rendering Him our reasonable service…yes, even in the way we dress, do our hair, etc!

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  4. I always try to dress in a way that my husband likes and when I go clothes shopping I always like it the best if he comes along. Sometimes my girl friends laugh at me, but I don’t get it. Not only is in honoring to him, but even for selfish reasons we could want to do it. Don’t you want your husband to think you’re “so adorable” and “beautiful” in what you wear and how you do your hair?

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  5. This is so true and from a mans perspective: let me say that a women who dresses to please her husband is showing absolute disarming respect for his propensity to admire her femininity. She encourages him in a way that only a man can likely understand. When my wife dresses to catch my eye in the bedroom she is helping to center all my attention on her beauty. She’s honoring my desire to have her sexually! She’s not a movie star but I do love her and her beauty! In a world of flaunted nakedness that is wrong for me to enjoy, it is restful and sweet to look at my wife and enjoy what God made for me to enjoy.

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  6. Thank you for the reminder. Such a wonderful lesson for us wives to learn and continue to master. No matter what, there is always room for improvement. I love all the responses, I especially appreciate Lewis’. I like hearing men’s opinions. I have question and just want to feel it out on here. Nov 6th, 2011 I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My body has undergone major changes. I weigh A LOT less than I did. Do to the disease metastasizing to other organs, my liver is larger than a football and takes up my entire abdomen. I look pregnant but am not. From chemo and cancer I have almost zero libido. But, I desire my husband very much. It is very hard to dress attractively, especially in the bedroom attire when my body is not very feminine. (I guess by my standards) I have a very hard time accepting my sexiness. I know I’m beautiful, but I don’t believe I’m pleasing to my husband’s eyes. He says confidence is the sexiest thing, but man oh man it’s hard to fake confidence. Just looking for some advice or rebuke or anything. Thanks

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    • Wow, Jennifer. I cannot even imagine all you have gone through over the past two years, and I feel utterly unqualified to answer your question, other than to say that you should believe your husband when he tells you he thinks you’re beautiful. Even I think you’re beautiful, and I’ve never laid eyes on you. You may have a hard time faking confidence, but you obviously have a lot of courage and grit and fortitude, and all those things are extremely attractive. They are the kind of qualities that inspire the rest of us — admirable on every level. That you would be dealing with such physical frailty, but still concerned about pleasing your husband is a powerful testimony of self-sacrificial love. I have no problem believing that your husband still thinks you’re sexy… even if you do look pregnant when you aren’t (sometimes I look pregnant when I’m not, too, but I only have chocolate to blame — not nearly as good an excuse as cancer)!

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  7. My husband goes clothes shopping with me almost every time I go. I want his opinion since his is the only one that matters. I don’t hardly ever go without fixing my hair and putting on my makeup. I want to put my best foot forward and have my husband be as attracted to me as he was the first day he met me and perhaps even more :).

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  8. I totally agree with you. When I was first married, I gave no effort to my appearance and wore sweats or PJs every day when he came home from work. It didn’t make him feel appreciated in the slightest. He didn’t say anything, but I came to the realization that if I wanted to be productive, loving, and active I had to present myself as a productive, loving, and active person. That meant I had to do something with the way I appeared to present myself in the way I wanted to be received. Thank you for passing on this great message!

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  9. Pingback: 5 Helpful Blog Posts on Marriage | Come Home For Comfort

  10. I acknowledge your POV and respect it but completely disagree. I wear what I like, and I dont think that you should ever try to change and alter your style for a male’s. Obviously your husband married you for you, and he should understand that you’re not his doll to dress up or change.

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      • coachtmbsc, what a judgmental tone. tsk tsk. How Christian of you. To a point, I agree with Hannah. Jennifer too. I have heard of men going elsewhere and claiming it is because their wife dresses dumpy. Men that do that are pigs. However I see the value in dressing in a way that your husband finds attractive because when we are married we do things for each other out of love.

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    • Hi,I am a single lady that is engaged to be maRried and I know what my man wants even though we are not yet married. Ma, marriage is not about ‘I’,it is giving up on ‘I’ and taking up Him. It is about sacrificing,rendering service to him and not to yourself. The bible is complete,It says that as a woman that is married,your attention will always be drawn to your man, because whatever you do to him, you do to Christ who is the head of marrieage. If you love your and submit to your husband,you will always want to please him. Jesus loves his father and he did his will while on earth even when it wasn’t convenient for him. Be guided by the spirit of Christ which is humility. His grace is sufficient for us.

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  11. Amanda
    You are right! You are not his doll to dress up as he pleases. He is however your best opportunity to express love in a way God designed you to express it. You encourage and accentuate his manliness by flaunting your femininity to the man that almighty God designed you to love and cherish and please. It should be your pleasure to do it for Him. Nothing will challenge your man to be your lover and protector and serve the creator God like profound respect for Manliness and his sexual desires! How you dress for him can be sexual and provocative or just neat and charming, but if you do honor his wishes and do it his way it is respectful unless he’s encouraging public immodesty which is highly unlikely. This is your opportunity to experience the best in cherishing love and to bind his heart to yours.
    I am a man and know the extreme pleasure of watching and complimenting my wife in clothes or night wear. The less clothes the better but she’s always beautiful. She’s not a movie star but she is my star and you can be your husband’s star if you want! You need to, learn to give lavishly to his love for you femaleness. If you do, the rewards will likely be greater than you can imagine and your reaping will be a marriage made in heaven where you give your all possible for his good and happiness and he for yours. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” and that’s the gospel according to Jesus. It works in marriage too. I have been there for many years and we’ve done it both ways. True submission is not demeaning but will then allow you to express your love and feminine charms in way that both of you will be truly blessed!

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  12. Dear Jennifer,
    I’ve just been reading your posts on marriage. And though i am unmarried. I look forward to having a family and being the best wife I can be. Finding your site (off facebook) feels like a great end of year present. Thank you for the bible verses and the community you have created.
    it definitely beats some ‘info’ I have come across.
    I wish continuing blessings to you and yours.
    Happy 2014.
    God Bless you.

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  13. ONe thing I learned a long time ago is that folks judge you by what you wear. And what a woman wears reflects how she feels about herself and her image. If she wears sweats and old T-shirts, I guarantee she has very low self-esteem. If she wears revealing clothes, then I also guarantee she feels all she has to offer is a sexy body. No brilliant mind, no wonderful hobbies, nothing but sex. If she dresses in nice clothes, I know that’s a woman with high confidence. And folks will follow the clothes and judge the person in the same way they judge themselves.

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  14. I love my husband and have for more than three decades of marriage. We enjoy each other’s company and are a good team. I would gladly dress to please him if I had any idea what would. I know he loves me, but in all those years he has never volunteered a compliment on my appearance. If I ask if he likes a new outfit, his basic response is “fine.” I used to beg him to tell me what he likes, but I’ve given up. I guess if I ever wear something that isn’t “fine” with him, he’ll let me know.

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  15. Dear Jennifer, I can’t say how much your website has done to me!! I visit it regularly in the hope that you posted a new blog filled with so great insights! (I understand you are too busy to post something every week) But I want you to know that I am so incredible thankful for your wisdom, based on the Bible! I agree with all your points made!! I would love to read your book! Especially since my fiance and I didn’t get a very good example from our parents :-( That is why I am SO HAPPY to read your blogs and I see how it can be! Before I always thought: marriage won’t be as awesome as what I am dreaming of… But then you said about your own marriage: it is exactly what I dreamt of before! It made me cry. That is what I want!! It was an eye-opener to me. I am going to get married in December this year to the most awesome guy in the world! And I feel the Lord wants us to love each other in the right way, what is according to the Scriptures – not as the example we got! I have to see if I can order your book since I have no credit card…. I read your blogs all the way from the Netherlands :-)

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  16. The difficulty for me, in a purely philosophical sense, is with another kind of bait-and-switch. At a young age I developed strong convictions based on scripture and was wary of thinking too much about what I wore, etc, out of a desire for personal holiness and to not have my heart set on the physical. I am thankful that I was sheltered from probably many snares because of this, but the bait-and-switch now is that my husband likes me in certain clothes and makeup/hair, so now all these things are “okay” and even encouraged, as in your article. I have gradually come to enjoy it, but deep inside it is perplexing that, when I might have “benefited” from these arts in my younger days, I did not invest in it. Only in hindsight do I see it is generally expected that we “snag” a husband by looking our best, and that even the best Christian men seem to be drawn to those who are put together. That was a foreign concept to me. I expected God to bring me my husband if I sought Him first. Now that the flower of my youth has mostly passed, I am getting into it, and it is supposedly okay (still feels weird though). I remain thankful for my path, and hope to always be willing to give up anything if only to be led by the Spirit, but it is just confusing that it seemed righteous to abstain from this before, and now it is righteous to do the exact opposite. The feeling is,”Oh, psych! You really can invest your mind and resources in all that, and could have all along.” I am not sure at the moment how to guide my two young daughters as they get older. I would rather have them err on the side of less-is-more, but it is a surprise to find out after you get married that you are supposed to fully embrace this aspect of femininity, and use it. But since God created femininity, I know He will help with my quandary.

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    • I am definitely in the “less is more” camp when it comes to fashion and makeup, Cathy. When too much attention is placed on outward appearance, other more important things are often neglected. There has to be a balance in all things. A woman can look clean, fresh, and attractive (both before and after marriage) without spending hours primping in front of a mirror or becoming preoccupied with her physical appearance.

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  17. Hey! Ladies. I’m a guy. I lost my wife of 35 years to lung cancer back in August of 2013. She dressed well for all those year. Her goal was always dress so that I didn’t look at other women. Men love beauty and they will look all day long at “them” if you don’t keep they looking at “you.” Many people might say that the number one cause for divorce is money issues (that might be true). but being in the ministry for 40 years, I think the number 1a issue is that both individuals in the marriage do not work at “looking good” for each other and so they look somewhere else. Love the articule

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