Emotional Modesty

Emotional Modesty November 19, 2013

From Holly Gerth, a conversation starter:

A few weeks ago a friend of mine were chatting. Her husband is in a leadership role at a church and she shared how women often confide in him in ways that are personal. That led us to a discussion about how easy it is to share your heart with men who are not your husband these days. There are plenty of opportunities to send a Facebook message, email, or open up to a guy friend. Yet here’s the thing: I believe that baring our hearts makes us just as vulnerable as baring our bodies.

If you are married and a man is not your husband, do not share your heart with him.

And if you are single, do not share your heart with a married man.

Let’s embrace emotional modesty. Emotional modesty means we see our hearts as a great treasures only to be shared with the man who is our spouse. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” {Proverbs 4:23}. Women are more vulnerable to emotional affairs and where our emotions go, our thoughts and bodies often follow. We know that, right?

We don’t go into situations thinking, “Oh, this might be the beginning of an emotional affair.” Instead we have a bad day and find a sympathetic listening male ear. Or we discover we’re writing longer emails to a particular coworker. We reconnect with an old flame on Facebook.

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  • This seems to put women at a pastoral disadvantage in most Protestant churches where 1) leaders/pastors are almost always male 2) leaders/pastors are almost always married. Or in Catholic Churches, where the leader isn’t as likely to be married but he’s very unlikely to be a woman’s husband.

    So, single women and single men can talk emotionally? I think that suggests a return to the monastic ideal of Francis and Clare. But I don’t see that in today’s contexts so it’s really pointing to negating emotions in church settings.

    Which seems to point to a very intellectualized Christianity. Share your mind, your thoughts, but hide your heart, your emotions? Put the women in emotional hijabs?

    How can one have a substantive, maturing Christian community if that’s the case?