A Message to Wives

April 2019, Phil told me he had an idea of what we could do for our 20th wedding anniversary. I was excited to hear his thoughts! He told me there was a Bed and Breakfast that was about 3 hours from our house that was part of a vineyard. I thought it was weird that he wanted to go to a Bed and Breakfast because we had talked before about them and how we didn’t really like the idea of them. He then told me that it was clothing optional.

I immediately said no, never! I was so angry.

I couldn’t believe that he was suggesting we go to this place! I told him to drop it, it wasn’t even an option. I would NEVER do that!! I thought that was the end of our discussion on social nudity of any kind. We ended up camping on private land for our anniversary and Phil spent basically the entire time nude. I did not! Then October 18th came. You can read that story here. When Phil told me he was a nudist and had an online group of Christian naturist friends, he gave me three options of what to do with that information. 

  1. I could forbid him from being part of this group with which he had developed relationships.
  2. I could allow him to continue to participate in the group and not participate myself.
  3. I could join him.

I want to go through some of my thinking with you and then share with you why I chose what I did. (If you’ve been following our blog you know I chose #3.)

I knew I couldn’t choose Option 1 because he had said that the naturism mindset had helped free him from a 20 year porn addiction. How could I spit in the face of that and not allow him any part of this lifestyle? That would be cruel and insensitive on my part. I knew the struggle he had been dealing with, partly anyway, and I had prayed for his freedom from it. How could I be the one to judge if this was the answer God was providing, as wrong as it felt to me at the time?

I knew I couldn’t choose Option 2 because some amount of trust had been broken. He had been participating in this group without my knowledge for several months and I didn’t even really know what the group was! And last I knew before that day, he had a porn problem. I didn’t trust him enough to choose Option 2. There was no way in the world I was going to let him be involved in something like that where I couldn’t monitor what was going on and who he was seeing.

I kept telling him that I felt like I was between a rock and a hard place. I didn’t want to participate with him because I felt like it was wrong, but I didn’t feel like I could remain married to him and go with Option 1 or 2. For a couple days I considered leaving him. It felt like my world was crashing in on me. I just knew he was going to ruin our lives. Someone was going to find out and tell our pastor or our families and then the whole world would know and everyone would hate us. I didn’t want that for my kids and I didn’t want it for me!

However, during the first couple weeks of this journey, we spent hours and hours and hours reading together and praying together. I had never felt so close to Phil spiritually as I did during those two weeks. God continuously spoke to my heart and told me to trust Him and to trust Phil. This was so hard! Satan didn’t want that battle won. There was more than one occasion that I was in a spiritual battle. Satan wants to keep us trapped. He wants to keep us living in bondage to anything that allows us a closer relationship to the Lord. The way I thought about myself and my body was unknowingly keeping me from having a closer relationship with the Lord. The addiction that Phil had was keeping him from a closer relationship with the Lord. When we trap ourselves into a certain way of thinking without leaving room for the Holy Spirit to speak truth to our hearts, that is bondage. Even when that way of thinking has been drilled into you your whole life! We need to step back regularly and examine the things we have been told. We need to make sure the Scripture supports the narrative. I came across a quote that a friend posted recently that spoke to this.

“The hallmark of an authentic evangelicalism is not the uncritical repetition of old traditions, but the willingness to submit every tradition, however ancient, to fresh Biblical scrutiny and, if necessary, reform.” – John Stott, in a Christianity Today interview.

I chose Option 3 just a week into our studying and praying. Phil was telling me he’d been on a journey of discovery and that he had been studying Scripture and praying. Part of the reason I fell in love with Phil was because of his deep faith and devotion to the Lord. When I married him I was submitting to him as the head authority in our household under God. I don’t know how many times I said, “You wouldn’t knowingly lead us astray right?” Of course the answer was always no. There comes a point, even if I’m not 100% comfortable with the direction God is leading me in, that I have to surrender and hand over the reins to one who is more capable than I am at taking care of my family. I pray often for God’s protection over my family and his favor. I know that He will take care of us and if the time ever comes that we are outed and we have to give an explanation for why we believe what we believe, I know the Lord will take care of us then too.

Since putting my trust in the Lord and my husband, I can tell you the rewards have been great!

Phil’s victory over his addiction continues, I am free from my negative thoughts about myself and my body. Our marriage relationship is the best it’s ever been. We are honest with one another and our communication has drastically improved! He and the Lord have an amazing relationship too. I am constantly seeing the things God is teaching him and I love who he has become as the spiritual leader of our home! The Lord is leading me through my husband into a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. Our children are seeing the differences in us as well and are digging deeper into their own relationship with God. God is on the move in our family and we are embracing the journey! I’m very thankful I listened to the Holy Spirit and followed my husband’s lead. God put us together for a reason.

Wives, if your husband is on his naturist journey and you are saying, “no, I will never do that!”, firstly, I get it! However, I encourage you to stop and take a step back. Don’t just say that because you’ve spent your whole life wearing clothes and people have always told you that naked was sinful. Take the time and dig deep into Scripture and see what the Bible actually has to say about it. Ask your husband for some reading material on the subject or just go find it yourself so he doesn’t know you’re researching and pressure you. HUSBANDS, DON’T PRESSURE YOUR WIFE WHILE SHE IS ON HER OWN JOURNEY! There is a lot of reading material on our resources page that you can check out. The reading that helped me the most was www.mychainsaregone.org

Please feel free to reach out to me via our contact page. That goes directly to my email. I would love to talk with you and help you however I can on your journey. I won’t pressure you either, but I will encourage you. Our support and respect for our husbands is so important to them! If your husband is a Christ follower and is striving to love you like Christ loves the church, he desires good things for you and it is very likely that the Lord has led him on this path. As the wife of a Godly man it is our job to respect our husband as the spiritual head of our home under God. God placed your husband there to be your protector and to help lead you. In my very humble opinion, the least we can do is a thorough investigation into naturism and Scripture with an open mind and heart. At a minimum, you have spent time reading God’s word and in prayer and that is always a win! Realize that God may want more for your life, and He may be using your husband to lead you there. Don’t disregard what God may be trying to do especially if you haven’t taken the time to do the in-depth studying. If you are starting your journey, please send me an email and let me know so I can be praying for you! May the Lord bless you as you prayerfully consider these things!

David L. Hatton’s “Meeting at the River”

David L. Hatton’s “Meeting at the River” is a sort of parable-like fictional narrative with opportunities to present ideas throughout. I liken it to William P. Young’s The Shack, in that regard, although a completely different subject matter. Here is Hatton’s own description of the book:

“In this semi-autobiographical, fictional tale and intellectual treatise, my divided view of the body is challenged by an encounter with the past. As a bivocational pastor and nurse, I’m shocked when some from a religious crowd in ancient dress disrobe at my favorite swimming hole to be baptized totally naked! Antiquity offers a fatal blow to the old wall in my mind that keeps my experiences of hospital nudity from confronting the taboos of my upbringing. When that wall topples, I gain a new perspective on life in Bible times, a deeper theological appreciation of human embodiment, and a pricked conscience about the root cause of our culture’s obsession with pornography. Join me in unlearning deceptions as old as Eden, in relearning truths as relevant as our children’s future, and in facing the test of my transformed thinking by the further challenge of four skinny-dipping Bible college students.”

With that backdrop, I’d like to share some of my favorite selections from my reading of the book and what it means to me. 

“When certain portions of the body are concealed and considered evil to look upon, the normal curiosity of youth about what is hidden leads to temptation.

Then, upon exposure, the sight of those forbidden areas can wound the conscience. Even worse, these conditions empower the wicked to make a show of those hidden parts for truly corrupt purposes, even to enslave young souls in lustful thoughts.”

This is the elder speaking at the river to explain what a healthy and godly view of the body is. His words certainly resonate with me. This was my experience growing up. From the first time I saw “certain portions of the body” at an early age and was taught to avoid it, temptation abounded. I was a young soul enslaved in lustful thoughts, and grew into a man who was equally enslaved. After embracing a renewed view of the body, I was elated that these problems vanished. As Hatton so eloquently put it, “Prudery lays the groundwork for a pornographic mindset.”

“When sermons teach that [Bathsheba’s] beauty caused King David’s lust, they expound not the words of Scripture but the minds of preachers.”

I had been conditioned to only react one way (sexually) to any sight of nudity. This nagging issue stunted my spiritual growth, strained my marriage, and affected how I saw members of the opposite sex (even fully clothed). I hated myself for how I would objectify women and wanted to rid myself of this bondage once for all. But common methods afforded by the church world didn’t work. The problem was never in the dress or undress of women around me or on screens. The problem was my own mind.

“When people teach that the human body is dirty or obscene, it creates fertile ground for pornography. This is why porn addiction is so strong in our society, even among Christians. Our culture is inundated with a sexualized view of the body. I’m sorry to say that the church has been a key player in spreading that idea.”

I’m sorry to say that so have I. But that will be no more. As a Christian leader, I used to think I was a pretty good guy with a bad secret. But now I know that in reality, I’m a pretty bad guy with a great secret. The great secret is that God forgives and renews, and lustful thinking does not have to be a lifelong struggle. I used to think I’d never kick my bad habits. I’d hear older men speak of ongoing issues with their thought life. I didn’t want to be that, and by God’s grace I won’t be. 

Then comes the issue of prudery for the sake of modesty. As if there’s not enough guilt and shame going on without adding a bunch on top. Hatton addresses what modesty actually is and should be understood as being:

“Holy humility is the divine modesty humans need. When fully embraced, it brings death to shame. By humbly and gratefully accepting what we really are, we never feel less than we are when naked, nor more than we are when finely dressed. This bathing at the river, where nothing is hidden, quickly unravels the immodesty of pride. At the same time, being accepted in your humble nakedness, by friends and family and others, is healing. It breaks the bondage to ungodly shame over the size or shape or blemishes of the body that God has given you.”

Some of the modern attempts at modesty actually fly in the face of what Paul was instructing Timothy and the church in the New Testament. They are a source of pride, and not humility, which is the point. Simply covering certain body parts may actually incite more lust, drawing attention to it and stimulating the imagination, than if the mystery were revealed and the humble unclad body were seen in its entirety. 

It’s sad how much of an effect our culture has on us. Without a renewed mind, we could be tempted to think that anyone who does not look like a model is less beautiful. I reject that notion outright. Body shame is shameful. All humans are God’s image bearers and deserve respect as such.

“Christians will never have a radical reformation in how they view the naked body, until they can distinguish their devotion to culture from their understanding of Scripture.”

The twisted part of Christian thought when it comes to the body is that a girl in a bikini in a suggestive pose is somehow more decent and less obscene than a woman wearing no clothes just going about her day as normal. Which is natural and which is unnatural? The thinking is backwards. I’ve been complicit in both spreading that idea and falling victim to it’s deceitful outcomes. I used to always repent of my secret sin. Now I must repent of having taught the dangerous ideas that once entrapped me and enslave so many today. As Hatton summarizes: 

“God cannot bless the deception of body shame. Nor does He ever cease to bless our naked flesh as a sanctuary for His presence. He never calls what is good evil. Nor will He sanction errors about His incarnated image, even if His own children preach them. Such lies are a great stumbling block, leading multitudes to trip and fall into the very pit they warn against. And because church leaders have adopted and spread this as though it were part of the Gospel itself, then it is their duty to repent and make restitution.”