Modesty Revisited, Wedding Vows, and More!

by | Apr 11, 2019 | Uncategorized | 21 comments

The To Love, Honor and Vacuum podcast new episode on modesty, vows, and more
Merchandise is Here!

Do we look at modesty all wrong? Is orgasm really necessary?

It’s time for a new episode of the Bare Marriage podcast! And we’re dealing with a whole lot of different things today!

I hope you all will listen, but if you don’t have time, I’ll have some links and rabbit trails below so you can read all you want as well!

And consider this podcast “extras”. If you want to go deeper into what I talked about in the podcast, here are some more things to help you.

But first, here’s the podcast:

Main Segment: Is Don’t Be a Stumbling Block the Proper Modesty Message?

Recently the modesty debate blew up again because a mom wrote an open letter asking the female students at Notre Dame, where her son studied, to stop wearing leggings because it’s so distracting.

Of course, everybody started the whole “are leggings pants?” debate again, and I really don’t want to comment on that. But I thought it was worth reiterating what I’ve already said about modesty, because it was an important post, and not everybody has read it. So I decided to base this week’s podcast on the post. Since some people prefer podcasts to posts, I thought it might reach a new audience.

If you haven’t read how “Don’t Be a Stumbling Block” is the wrong argument, you can do so here!

From Why 'Don't Be a Stumbling Block' is a Really Bad Modesty Message:

We think of the “weaker brother” as being one who is more susceptible to sin. That is NOT who Paul considers the weaker brother. In this case, Paul calls the “weaker brother” the one who does not have as much knowledge and the one who is not as mature in the faith.

In many cases, teenage girls are being asked to change what they wear for the sake of adult men who are pastors, elders, even family members! When I was on Up for Debate radio on Moody recently talking about modesty, this scenario was presented:

What do we do when a woman who is seeking walks into church wearing something really inappropriate, like a skimpy sundress? How do we tell her that she’s a stumbling block?

My response: You don’t! Because in this situation, SHE is the weaker brother. The men are more mature in the faith. It’s her faith that God is most concerned with. He leaves the 99 to find the 1.

What if setting a modesty dress code actually becomes a stumbling block for women because it weakens their faith?

Millennial Marriage: The Traditional Vows Matter!

There’s a whole new trend to write your own wedding vows, and Rebecca and I are pretty adamant that the traditional ones matter. If you want to write your own, that’s fine, but say them IN ADDITION to the traditional ones. I once knew a couple that wrote lovely vows, but at the end of them, I realized they had forgotten anything remotely like “forsaking all others”. That’s kinda important.

I was talking about an article in Brides magazine with advice on writing your vows, which I find a little silly. “Don’t say always or never!” (Isn’t that what a vow is?) And I do think that weddings should be sacred, too.

Anyway, I’d love to hear what you think in the comments! And here are Katie and David’s vows, by the way (they said the traditional ones, and then they pledged specific ones that they wrote after–at around 9 minutes). And you may recognize the preacher here–he was in the picture of the team of us who went on the marriage retreat last weekend! He’s Tammy’s husband, Steeve, a chaplain in the Canadian military.

Reader Question: Is Orgasm Really Necessary?

A woman wrote in with this complicated question:

My husband feels that I’m depriving him of something vital if I don’t orgasm during sex. I’ve never faked an orgasm.I do wiggle around a lot and fake being sexually aroused, because he likes noisy sex, and it makes him orgasm faster. He seems to accept that as an indication I’ve enjoyed myself. I don’t tell him any different. The truth is, sex for me is no longer about chasing orgasms. Also, I can’t physically handle that level of stimulation anymore. I used to be very heavy, and everything was protected by layers of fat and skin. Now I’m thin, and everything is exposed, so to speak. So my question is this: is female orgasm required in order for a couple to have good sex? Should a female make an effort to orgasm merely to please her partner? My personal feeling on it is, the man always orgasms, so he gets what he wants. What’s the big deal if I don’t want the same thing? It’s not like HE can feel it.

Wow. A lot to process there. Two quick things: Don’t ever fake it. Ever. And not just don’t fake orgasm; don’t fake arousal, either. It doesn’t do you well in the long run, and it hinders intimacy. Sex is supposed to be a deep knowing; if you’re pretending, he can’t know you. And if you fake long enough, you’ll end up resenting him and resenting sex.

Finally, if your body has changed, maybe it’s time to figure out how to make sex work again? It CAN feel good–you just may need to try some things. And it’s worth it! 31 Days to Great Sex can take you step-by-step through rediscovering what feels good, and that may be a good idea for you.

Do you find it hard to talk about SEX?

31 Days to Great Sex guides you through exercises so that you can talk about libido, frequency, intimacy, in a low-stress, easy way.

No blaming. Just solutions–and a whole lot of fun!

COMMENT: Drawing boundaries works!

A great comment left this week after our post about speaking up when something is wrong in your marriage. She writes that when she started speaking up and drawing boundaries, her husband actually became far less harsh. Such an important point!

I felt like that for most of our 15 years of marriage, and even though I know my husband is a good guy, his harshness had really worn away at the intimacy of our marriage. I always felt like I was a kid in trouble and I hated that dynamic. I FINALLY went to counseling this year and she told me to ready Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend. Holy game changer!!! I highly recommend it. The next time he got upset with me (the kids’ messy game closet) I calmly said, “You may not talk to me like that. If this is really important to you, you can come find me and talk to me when you’re calm.”

And I walked away. Well guess what? He cleaned it up himself, then came and found me and apologized for his temper. I only had to call him out one more time, and he hasn’t been harsh with me in 3 months! I never thought this was possible. And the intimacy in our marriage is better than ever. We are having deep conversations and I feel like he is my “safe place” again. So don’t give up hope. God really can heal these hurts. But sometimes we have to let our husbands feel the consequences of their actions instead of absorbing all of the negativity ourselves.

Love that! Treat others with respect, but also treat yourself with respect. Don’t accept disrespectful behaviour towards yourself, or you’re enabling sin. 
That’s it for today! Hope you enjoy the podcast, and do listen in! And remember to rate it and leave a review, so other people will see it.

Anything stand out to you today? Let’s talk about it!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. G

    That’s great that the commenter had a spouse who would hear her heart. I recently read the Boundaries book as well as have been working on boundaries with my counselor.

    I’d like to clarify something about boundaries. They are not something you draw up about the other person’s behavior as much as about your own. The truth is that in the example, he could speak to her any way he chooses to- she can’t control that. Hopefully people will treat others with kindness but that doesn’t always happen of course. So the boundary to another person can’t be that they are not allowed to do something but that we will not subject ourselves to it. So instead of “you can’t insult me” the boundary would be “I won’t continue to listen if you choose to insult me. Rather than policing whether spouse is viewing porn, instead “I wont continue being sexually intimate with someone who is sexually intimate with other images”. Not “you can’t command me to do something” but instead “I won’t be responding to your requests unless I am asked kindly”.

    To tell the other person what they can or can’t do puts us in the danger of becoming manipulative or controlling. A true relationship doesn’t have manipulation or controlling from either partner. Controlling someone to do good rather than evil, is still controlling.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, I agree. Your boundary is saying, “I’m willing to tolerate this, but not this.”

      I do think it’s okay to say to someone, “Please don’t do this in my presence because it makes me uncomfortable.” But then, if they continue, you put limits on your own behaviour.

  2. LaNell

    Katie and David’s wedding video may be the best I’ve ever watched! Family, friends, love and commitment abounding. It was beautiful. Well done!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Aw, thank you! I’ll pass that along to her.

  3. Melissa

    I didn’t listen to the podcast as I don’t listen to podcasts so I might have missed something but traditional Christian marriage vows include a wife vowing to obey her husband.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Honestly, I haven’t heard anyone do that ever. We each vowed “to love, honor and cherish.” Both of us.

      • Melissa

        Even in 2019 a google search for traditional christian marriage vows will return well over half with obey.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I have simply never heard anyone use them in my lifetime. I talk more about how God wants women to obey Him, not their husbands, right here.

  4. Denise

    I think when modesty discussions focus on what dress does to a pastor or someone’s husband, it gets sort of creepy and degrading. That’s just me though. I agree that modesty discussions should focus less on the “stumbling block” aspect of it.

    I’m not sure I 100% agree with the previous poster. Telling someone what they can and can’t do is not manipulative or controlling if you are saying “Don’t use foul language with me”. It is perfectly okay to make such a statement. I have some rough situations at work sometimes and with a few family members where I have said such things. In such a situation one is allowed to assert how they will be treated.

    • Joanna Sawatsky

      Hi there! I agree, it’s a great place to start to say “please stop X.” I’ve got some family members who have, in the past, been known to be WAY too competitive at board games. There have been a number of occasions where I’ve had to pull them aside and say, essentially, “you need to knock off this behavior, it’s not fun and it’s childish.” And then they’ve worked on getting better. If that hadn’t worked, then the next step would be to say “I understand that you want to play games, but until you can be a grownup about losing, I’m not going to join in.” Silly example, but do you see the pipeline there?

  5. Dean

    I don’t eat sugar, and by now I usually don’t crave it either. But when I am at a restaurant with a lot of people, and in the end many of them order different gorgeous deserts, I do feel tempted. But do I tell my friends that they should not order desert for my sake? No, that would be weird and selfish.

    I feel it is the same with telling women what to wear. That’s their business, their struggle to navigate between society’s expectations, peer pressure and need for validation. I am married, so it is my business to look the other way, to perceive them as just humans who happen to be nearby and who are in no way comparable to my wife.

  6. Phil

    Hey Sheila and Becca I had to leave this for you when Grace and I got married our pastor who is a hard-core Lutheran pastor pretty much gave us our vows and when we reviewed them at they rehearsal they ended up being different at the ceremony as he inserted a surprise vow. it was funny but not until afterwards when we watched the video and the shock on our faces which is absolutely priceless. We had to go look up the vow later! We were like what the heck was that? I plight the my troth! Hows that for traditional eh?

    • Andrea

      I looove the super-traditional one from the Church of England weddings (maybe others as well, but I noticed this in the televised royal weddings) — “with my body I thee worship.”

  7. Lady Di


  8. Madeline

    Thank you so much for sharing your views on modesty Sheila! I had a similar experience as the lady who was shamed for her dress being cut too low. A few years later I tried on the dress that I was told I shouldn’t wear without pants on underneath and it came to my knee! This may sound silly, but honestly your views on modesty have been healing for me to learn. Thank you again!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so glad, Madeline! Thank you for the encouragement, too.

  9. Siobhan

    When my husband and I were married, the pastor recommended we use traditional wedding vows because every time we witness another couple make the same vows at their own wedding, it gives us a chance to renew our own vows. While not every pastor or church uses exactly the same wording, they tend to be similar. And since we were told about this opportunity for our own marriage, we have very much enjoyed hearing other couples use traditional vows.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, I love that thought!

    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Hello, K-

      I must admit I’m confused that Shaunti says she interviewed thousands because on Shaunti’s results of her surveys (that I got from her website) she says that only 400 men answered her survey for For Women Only and only 404 teenage boys answered her questions for For Young Women Only? Perhaps the information she has released is not complete.

      Overall, I think that we need to be slow to make generalizations that go against the idea of the freedom from sin that Christ offers. And I think you should rejoice that you have a husband who doesn’t struggle in this area and trust Christ’s work in him if you haven’t seen any red flags otherwise! 🙂 That’s something to celebrate, and a fruit of the spirit (self-control and kindness).

  10. Anon

    I think an even better direction to take the whole “modesty” discussion is asking yourself (and teaching your kids) to ask the questions, “What do I want my clothes to say about me?” and “Does this outfit say what I want it to say?”

    If your clothes aren’t giving off the wrong message, you’re good. (This applies not just to avoiding immodest outfits, but helps with talking about how to dress for different occasions: you can’t wear jeans and a T-shirt to a wedding or job interview, nor should you wear your Sunday best to do yard work. ) This can also affect clothing decisions that aren’t even about “modesty.” When I was a teen, my mom wouldn’t let me wear black, because that was when the goth/emo fashion was in full swing, and she didn’t want me dressing in a way that would look like I believed that stuff. My younger sister was allowed to wear all the black she wanted when she hit that age, because by that time black no longer screamed “I’m emo.”

    Yes, teens will need to be taught how to do that. But I’d rather the message at the store be, “I know you like it, but unfortunately I think it sends a message you don’t want to send. Let’s see if we can find something else cute that you like but that won’t send the wrong message.”


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