Watch Your Language

photo credit: smileham via photopin cc

photo credit: smileham via photopin cc

Let me tell you a story.

Lori and I were walking through the mall and ran into a couple of friends, we’ll call them Joe and Susie for the purposes of this story. We’re having a nice conversation, catching up on each other’s lives, when Joe says:

“Man, check out my wife! She is so sexy!!!”

Casting a quick glance at Susie, I notice she’s blushing, of course. At this point, I’m at a loss for words. What do you say in response to that? I mean, Susie’s an attractive woman, sure, but I don’t think about her as sexy. The only woman whose sexuality I’m concerned with is Lori’s.

“I’ve never really thought about her that way, Joe, but I’m glad you think that” is the best response I can come up with. I figured that wouldn’t make Susie feel any less uncomfortable and keep me out of hot water with Lori. Unfortunately, Joe doesn’t let it go. He doubles down:

“Seriously! She is so hot!”

At this point, I can tell everyone is getting a bit uncomfortable except for Joe. I try to ignore his comment and move on to another topic. Nope. Joe’s all in.

“Susie’s smokin’ hot, right? I’m so lucky.”

“Yes, you are Joe.” I respond, but I’m not feeling so lucky myself at the moment. How did we get here?

I’ll stop right here and tell you that this story didn’t really take place at the mall. It didn’t really take place at all, but I encounter this kind of situation quite often on social media, particularly Facebook and Instagram. It’s become quite common for my “Joe friends” to show me and tell me how “smoking hot” they find their wife…or fiance or girlfriend or latest date or sometimes just a complete stranger. It’s quite distracting, since I try not to think about the sexuality of anyone but my wife. These kinds of posts make that harder than it needs to be.

Now don’t misunderstand me. We should be constantly affirming our partners in any and every way possible, including complimenting their sexuality. Sexuality is not something to be ashamed of, but something to be celebrated. There is, however, an appropriate time and place for this. Our spouse’s sexuality is something very special and precious, but it is something that is reserved just for you. Extolling your spouse’s sexual desirability in public, say at a party or a church service, is something that most people just wouldn’t do. Unfortunately many people do not see social media as a public place, which it most certainly is.

We should be our spouse’s biggest fan and cheerleader, but in public we should limit our compliments to their public virtues. Other people should not be considering your spouse’s sexuality, they should be focusing on their compassion, their intelligence, their reliability, etc. etc. Physical beauty is perhaps occasionally appropriate, but it probably shouldn’t be the first or most important thing that we highlight about our spouse. If we do compliment our spouse’s physical beauty publicly, our words should be chosen carefully. Words like “sexy” or “hot” are loaded with sexual connotations in our culture and could easily draw inappropriate attention to our spouse. When it comes to complimenting our spouse in public, Philippians 4:8 should be our guide: whatever is true, noble, right, and pure…think on these things.

Whether in public or on social media, be careful to draw attention to the characteristics of your spouse that others should be focusing on.

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About Bob Mitton

Bob Mitton is an application development manager and teaching pastor at Central Church (Madison Heights, Michigan). He is co-founder of Permanent Passionate Partnership.