(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Our Note to Guys
By Sarah and Selma Komisky
Today, in Christian society, there lies a double standard. When a guy behaves inappropriately, it places all the blame on young women. Should a guy approach a woman in a way that makes them uncomfortable, it is automatically assumed to be the woman’s fault. Men, not all responsibility falls on women.
Women are constantly preached to cover up and to not be a distraction to men. Yet, men are rarely addressed on this subject and it also applies to them as well. When inappropriate behavior occurs, it can often times become the woman’s fault. While we believe that men are just as much responsible as women for their own actions, we wanted to write this article to address this subject to make you aware of the things that can cause us to stumble. Did you know you can be covered from head to toe and still be immodestly dressed? Did you know that your touchy-feely ways can make us uncomfortable? Did you know your flirting or compliments can sometimes mislead us emotionally?
In the process, we surveyed 20 women of all different ages both married and single that love God and are trying their best to walk in a lifestyle of purity. These are their words to you. Our heart is to not shame, blame, or judge you, on the contrary, it’s to encourage you and bring clarity in order to help you be the men of God we know you can be. Micah 6:8 (ESV) says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” This is our prayer for you.
Be inspired. Be blessed. Be transformed.
Godly Woman 1: One thing that I noticed when I’m talking to some of my friends that they find somewhat stumbling is when they become too close to a guy. And over time if two friends (a guy and girl) get too close, comfortable and open with each other, it’s easy for one to either develop feelings for the other or are led to believe that some of these feelings are mutual. So, maybe in cases like that, guys should try to either, be a little more guarded and cautious of what they’re talking to this girl about or they should try to be upfront and make their intentions known to the girl early in the friendship…whether there are intentions to possibly becoming more than friends or not. So I guess you could say that guys leaving an opening for giving their girl friends possible “mixed signals” could be a potential stumbling block for some girls. Also I know for some of my friends one thing is when guys who workout a lot wears very fitted shirts.
Godly Woman 2: I think the super tight shirts that muscular guys sometimes wear to be just as provocative as what a tight shirt on a girl would be to a guy. Perhaps no skin is showing, but a lot of times a tight shirt doesn’t leave much to the imagination. One thing I struggled with in my undergrad years was if a guy friend touched me too much (a concerned hand on the shoulder, a light shoulder bump, etc.). My love language is physical touch so I would read way more into it than there actually was.
Godly Woman 3: For me when I was single a certain type of flirting was a stumbling block. There’s a difference between sincere and appreciated compliments such as “You look pretty” and other ones that just seemed to ignore me as a person and was just about my body such as “Oh that skirt looks good on you.” If a guy would say something like that and if I found him attractive, my mind would immediately wander and start fantasizing.
Godly Woman 4: This doesn’t personally affect me, but I’ve noticed that girls tend to think guys love them when they tease them or use terms of endearment like “cute,” even if they see girls as their best friend or like a sister. This is especially difficult at Christian colleges, where it’s normal for everyone to treat each other like family and everyone’s very comfortable around one another.
Hugging other girls can also cause some confusion. Some guys naturally hug others and don’t understand that some girls are uncomfortable with that or believe that a guy truly loves them through such a gesture. This can become difficult at church or during fellowship times, especially when guys are trying to comfort other girls or show them that they care.
I have five brothers so guys’ actions don’t really bother me too much, but one thing I noticed that can cause some women to stumble is when guys give them their jacket. My brother and his wife met each other because he gave her his letterman jacket during a football game. Many girls at my high school also talked about how their boyfriend gave them their jacket and how it was so romantic. As a result, I associate this gesture with a romantic relationship. I know sometimes I become uncomfortable when guys offer me their jacket, even if I know they’re only doing it out of courtesy, because it’s hard for me to separate those emotions from that action. This can become difficult at church events, school activities, or even when guys and girls hang out together if the weather is cold. Girls are often unprepared for the weather and don’t dress warm enough, so they end up bearing cold temperatures and guys take pity on them because they see the goose bumps on their arms.
Godly Woman 5: Wow! What a tough one! Actually modesty for guys is different in my mind because it’s not on what they wear. I’ve never personally been stumbled by what a guy wears but what he does. I’ll explain.
So, I’m not sure if this is a stumbling block for me because I lived in Japan where physical contact is rare… but I can remember that what stumbled my mind the most was when I would see a single Christian guy be very “touchy” when it came to girls. This could be hugging, caressing, or even standing really close to a girl around their age.
In junior high, I would see other girls getting a lot of attention and boys wanting to hug them and I would feel left out or unwanted because they got attention and I didn’t.
Once high school came and my braces came off I got some more attention but then I had the opposite effect with the whole “touchy” guy thing. I became more secure with knowing I didn’t need that affection and it made me feel uncomfortable. I knew I had big breasts so I didn’t want any kind of wrong attention. Now that I’m married, whenever I see a guy be like this, I warn other girls of him because if he’s acting like this with one girl he’s probably acting like this with another. I don’t want another sister to get heartbroken over a lover boy.
Godly Woman 6: That’s a difficult question for me… I worked in the fashion industry for 20 years and have seen many things and am not really stumbled by much physically.
What does stumble me a bit is a man who is attentive and a close talker. Not that anyone has intentionally been flirtatious but some men just are more attentive than others and some people get real close when talking.
Godly Woman 7: Flirty doesn’t mean friendly and isn’t an excuse and never use terms like “honey,” a big no. On the subject of how it affects me, I’d say of course! I am very uncomfortable. And then it can cause me to avoid them in the future. No touching unless it is a friendly, quick, hug and we know one another or a hand shake if we just met. As for compliments, keep them general, especially if we don’t know each other well. Basically, once I know you better and know your intentions and can trust the intent it is easy to take a compliment of say…I like that color top. Don’t allow it to become for example (that top looks really great on you). Needs to be quick and with a friend tone. Keep it focused on the thing not you
Godly Woman 8: Hmmm! I would say dress wise maybe the whole skinny jean trend. Maybe just make sure they’re not THAT skinny!
Godly Woman 9: If I’m totally honest….sometimes guys who are super nice throw me off. Maybe because I’ve always dated jerks but a kind gesture or a compliment can trigger me. Not any kind gesture or compliment, overly kind gestures or compliments. Like regularly or often.
Godly Woman 10: Sustaining eyes!
Godly Woman 11: As a married woman, it stumbles me when guys overstep their grounds. This includes asking to hang out with me, teasing or just inserting themselves near me. For example, one of our male friends asked me to go to a concert that he liked and he knew I liked but my husband didn’t- not ok. I have good sense of humor and I like to joke around, so my male friends often think its ok to tease me. I may be the only girl who thinks this way, but teasing in a non-malicious way, has always come across as flirting- not ok. Finally, when guys get physically close to me, like sit next to me on a couch, I get really uncomfortable – not OK.
I hope I didn’t paint a horrible picture of these guys! They are all Christians, and I don’t believe they ever mean harm but they simply don’t understand that what they’re doing isn’t OK. As women, we tend to over-analyze, and I find that happening when a guy oversteps his grounds in these ways.
Godly Woman 12: When guys are just having a friendly conversation and then wink at you i.e. (like agreeing with something you said). He might think its harmless, but for some of us it can be distracting and might mistake it for something more. Or, the way it makes you feel might make you want it to happen again and you look for it (not good).
Godly Woman 13: Giving us that “smoldering look” when they know you’re not available. Also, mistaking professional courtesies and general friendliness as an indicator of interest.
Godly Woman 14: Oh yes! One thing that I’ve had personal experience with in the past that bugs me is that guys that I have previously dated or “talked” to still think that they have the right to flirt with me years down the road. It’s like they don’t understand the separation that happens over time.
Godly Woman 15: As a woman I have needs just like a man, but I want to honor God, myself and my future husband. I would say to just please remember that I need you to be the leader, the stronger one when either one of us has a weak moment. Don’t encourage moments alone. Get to know me on an emotional, spiritual level and not a physical one, so we can see if we are a God match. And if we are a God match, then we will have the rest of our lives to be intimate.
Godly Woman 16: I think something that can stumble women is the way men talk sexually whether it be in their jokes or just conversations. I know this may be something we hear that non-Christian men or guys do, but Christian men are just as susceptible and I’ve heard Christian men talk sensually around the opposite sex, not directly to women per se, but in their conversations with other guys when women are around. I know that men are sexual and they say that sex is on a man’s mind like all the time, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to be brought up all the time, especially around women because that can stumble them. I know as a kid I was very naive. I wasn’t sheltered or anything, but I just didn’t hear or talk about a lot of sexually things. When I was in junior high and high school, even in elementary, kids (guys) would talk about sex and different terms and such and I would be like, “what?” Once you’re exposed to things you can begin to want to know more and that can led us to sin. Wanting to know about sex in and of itself isn’t bad, but how we go about finding things out can potentially lead us into sin, i.e. asking the wrong people, looking things up and ending up seeing porn online and developing a porn addiction, etc. Also, when you hear guys talk about sexual things it can start to get you thinking about what’s being said and your mind might start to go places it shouldn’t. I would encourage men to be careful of what they talk about when women are around.
Godly Woman 17: I believe or I want to say that a woman’s body is a precious temple and is pure. Men should respect a women body in any shape or form.
Godly Woman 18: Some things that may be stumbling to a young lady could be when the man is shirtless at the beach and the way he talks. I’ve always said guys have weak eyes and girls have weak ears, lol. Some things they say can be easily misinterpreted or exaggerated, they need to be very clear and careful with their words.
Godly Woman 19: Guys don’t necessarily have to be shirtless to effect/distract a woman; they need to be aware of how tight their clothing is (i.e, seeing the definition of their bodies through their clothing) and to be aware that girls are visual too.
Godly Woman 20: I’ve been in these in-depth conversations in the past with guys that become pretty intimate (not a good choice). Words are my love language, so when I had these kind of conversations that would go on for hours, sharing our hearts with one another, my emotions would get involved for sure. Guys can just be enjoying the moment chatting, but to a girl, it can steal her heart quickly. So, I would say, be careful what you share with us and save deep, intimate conversations for your future spouse.
Godly Woman 21: I think touching in general while talking makes things 1: uncomfortable in certain situations and or 2: makes it hard to judge the relationship appropriately! There should be no sensual touching of any kind (shoulders, hand holding etc.) until some type of relationship talk has happened/relationship has been defined clearly. Sometimes over complimenting a girl can also come off in the wrong way! Yes we want to be told we are beautiful but in the right context and setting, if that makes sense.
Godly Woman 22: I wanted to share a few areas that can stumble me as a God’s girl, as you strive to be all God is equipping you to be. 1: respecting my personal space and keeping the prolonged hugging and shoulder touching to a minimum. It can send the wrong message and mislead me emotionally. 2: respect boundaries set (example: no texting/calling after 9:30pm & never alone with one another after 9 pm). There will not be any healthy conversations that cannot wait until daylight on another day. It could be a door to not guarding our hearts after a certain time at night. 3: keep the personal praises to a minimum. Not continuously complimenting. This could pull on the heart strings of my heart and tie me to a place that you may not be intending. A simple gesture every so often may not hurt but keep it simple and not overflattering. Thank you for striving to be all God is calling you to walk in!