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For myself, I try to focus on how I am doing with right speech etc rather than always pointing out the problems with others. That doesn't mean we shouldn't speak out against oppression and other problems. We should. But I think many people focus on the wrongs of others and don't take nearly as much time to look at their own. When I get "well that's not right speech..." thoughts creeping in I try to flip it and ask myself how I've been doing. It usually shuts me right up.
Always a good point to make. But I don't think that people are going around pointing the finger at people in their daily lives. The reason that the wrong speech of others seemingly comes up inevitably on "right speech" threads is that those comments address a very specific context: scandals in sanghas. That's when incorrect views on right speech typically arise, so some people get stuck dealing with that. It can generate confusion, at the least.
And we could say that this topic has been done to death, but there are always new members joining. I think it's useful to run the topic again, periodically, for the new people who might have questions about it. In fact, I've been planning to thank the OP for starting the topic, and to say exactly that; it's always good to re-run it for the newbies.
And yes, "Right Speech" is also about our own mindfulness of our own speech, and our motives for speaking. Spot on.
If he wants you to be "hot" to stoke his desires that is placing the responsibility on you. Manifestly unfair. It's a two way street. What is he willing to do. If after four years of marriage he wants you to get all tarted up to turn him on then what is the rest of you worth to him?
This also raises the question: what were you like when you two were dating and engaged? Did you suddenly adopt a different style after marriage? We can only assume he found you attractive enough to marry you....
That said, I would point out that attending to one's fashionability is not necessarily anti-Buddhist. A clear example would be dressing for the workplace. Those where the norm is more formal vs. casual might push some people beyond their preferred choices. We do what we need to do in order to be effective on the job; don "power suits" or whatever. That doesn't mean we're vain. As long as we're not attached to fashion, and are only using it as a tool, that wouldn't go against prohibitions re: feeding the ego. See what I mean?
So, OP, maybe it would be a simple matter of changing into something a little more tailored, or whatever, when your husband comes home, or for dinners out, or for weekends. Maybe you could experiment while shopping, and find a couple of items a little outside your usual style, as a compromise. And I'd also add that dressing attractively doesn't have to mean wearing anything overly revealing. Well-tailored items can be both modest and attractive, if that's your concern. If you're wearing baggy sweatshirts or workshirts, consider something more close-fitting. As long as you don't suddenly become addicted to shopping sprees, or start checking yourself out in the mirror constantly, I don't see any conflict with Buddhist principles.
Also--congratulations on practicing good communication, and airing your concerns with your husband. And continuing to the point of getting an honest response. Hopefully, he won't require a radical change, and you two can find a happy medium.
Here's another discourse by the Buddha on right and wrong speech, that has some interesting nuances:
"Potaliya, four kinds of people exist and can be found in the world. What kinds?
1) Some blame those who should be blamed, according to the truth, at the proper time, but do not praise those who should be praised, according to the truth, at the proper time.
2) Some praise those who should be praised, according to the truth, at the proper time, but do not blame those who should be blamed, according to the truth, at the proper time.
3) Some do not blame those who should be blamed, according to the truth, at the proper time, and do not praise those who should be praised, according to the truth, at the proper time.
4) Some blame those who should be blamed, according to the truth, at the proper time, and praise those who should be praised, according to the truth, at the proper time.
Potaliya, of all those four kinds of people, whichever blames those who should be blamed, according to the truth, at the proper time, and praises those who should be praised, according to the truth, at the proper time, this kind of person is the most beautiful and refined of these four kinds of people."
This is interesting, because he says that not blaming those who should be blamed, at the proper time, is wrong speech. He seems to be squarely on the side of speaking up when necessary, to point out wrongdoing, or to warn or perilous circumstances, or whatever the case may be. He also believes it important to give credit where credit is due, and to praise people when they deserve it.
As for myself, I have become somewhat of a slob admittedly, and it doesn't help that I am in the process of a 2 year long IPL (hair removal) treatment which means I am perpetually prickly and painful to the touch everywhere, obviously not the sexiest creature around. Howeve I will definitely be looking into the suggestions on getting basic grooming covered and putting on prettier outfits, if it gets the job done, so to speak.
Right now, there is pain (and definitely a huge blow to the ego), but I believe there are also lessons in here somewhere, so whatever the outcome may be, I will be grateful for this experience, maybe not right now but definitely in the future. I thank all of you for your well wishes and intentions.
OP, the italicized is huge! Do you feel that that process has affected your clothing choices? Have you discussed with your husband how this process you're going through makes you feel? He may offer some emotionally-needed support, if you open up to him about this. (If you haven't already.) My guess is that you're going through a lot with this treatment, and the emotional fallout from that should be addressed, not swept under the rug or masked with a "stiff upper lip", and so forth.
RE: becoming somewhat of a slob (which could be due to your treatments, but also-->): there's something to be said for not taking each other for granted after the marriage settles into a routine. There's something to be said for maintaining an attractive appearance for one's spouse (a two-way street, of course), to keep romance alive and well. Exceptions are to be made, and understanding and support offered, though, for a spouse struggling through a medical condition, and things like menopause/manopause, certainly.
Best ex-president in American history, I aver.
No contest! Even cancer didn't stop him; he's still going strong at 92! We're blessed to have him among us.