A Husband Talks about Our Body Image and Attraction

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A Christian husband explains about men, attraction and imperfect wives – and answers some tough questions.  GREAT STUFF here, ladies!  Be greatly encouraged!  I can’t say that he speaks for ALL husbands.  But I think he speaks for many of them.

HOW OUR SELF IMAGE AFFECTS OUR HUSBANDS

We (men) are fixers and we hate it when we cannot fix something. When you criticize yourself about your appearance:

  • we feel helpless.
  • it calls into question who we selected as a mate.

After all, we thought you looked pretty darn good when we married you. :o) Think of it like this: does your husband have an old hat, shirt, or pair of jeans that he loves? You can’t understand why he likes them – to you they are old and worn out, good for only rags. But to him, they represent everything that is good about clothes: comfort, familiarity, memories. Sure he sees the tears and the stains, but he doesn’t care. Those things fade in importance to the sentimental value that he has attached to them.

Same with our wives. We see the wrinkles, the extra… umm… padding, but we don’t care. We still see that amazing woman that we fell in love with in the first place and now we have added all the great memories too. You see wrinkles, we see laughter. You see fat, we see all the great meals and conversations we had. So take pride in yourselves, and rest in the comfort that we love you just the way you are.

A WIFE’S QUESTIONS ABOUT TRYING TO STAY ATTRACTIVE FOR OUR HUSBANDS

Christian men don’t help make it better. You read about the importance of taking care of your appearance, but I read almost nothing about the (if any) supernatural attraction that takes place when you’re married. It’s like if you’re a 4 because you’re busy and not taking extra time, you’d better step it up and become a 6 or it’s disrespectful to your husband. What about the person who is a 4 after putting in the effort? The message clearly isn’t “you’re beautiful and accepted the way you are” even among Christians. It’s discouraging because the demise of your beauty is inevitable. And how hard do you work? 1000 squats a week, no food after 3 pm?

At some point I want to relax. I just wish the body of Christ was somewhere a wife could be beautiful just for being her.

THIS HUSBAND ANSWERS HER QUESTIONS

It is true that we guys really pride ourselves on our wives appearance; we are driven primarily by sight after all.

However, it is not the same type of sight that you see. Understand; we know when you are trying to look your best and we love that, regardless of whether or not you think those efforts are a success. We see the women we fell in love with, the one we decided to spend the rest of our lives with; and while it’s great that you want to honor us with trying to make yourself look nicer (not to mention, it’s rather attractive), it’s not the lipstick, the eyeliner or those high heel shoes that we find attractive; it’s you.

I know it sounds corny, but it’s whats inside that counts.

Sure, we LOVE the outside, but we understand that the shell will eventually grow old and grey, and we’re ok with that. We’ll always see that person who took our breath away the first time we saw you, the woman we couldn’t believe would talk to us, the one that surprised us when you said yes. So don’t fret when those lines start to show, the grey hairs suddenly appear, and you just can’t hide those stretch marks anymore;

We don’t judge you like that. What we see is the most beautiful woman we ever laid eyes on, aged to perfection. 


Oh, and to the disrespect: is it disrespectful to not look your best for your husband?

Personally; I think that you are asking the wrong question. I think that the question should be: Is my husband grading my worth based on my appearance? If that is a yes, then he is objectifying you, not loving you.

If you are trying to be your best (and you are the best judge of that) then no, it is not disrespectful. By the way, this goes both ways too. A husband must show respect and honor to his wife, especially in this area. We as husbands know that you are insecure in areas and are constantly trying to cover up, work out, or disguise those areas that you don’t like about yourself. We get it, even if we don’t understand it. It is our job to lift you up and praise you, not in spite of your faults, but with them. You see your “faults” as you see them are the “quirks” that we love about you. We are privileged that you cover them up for the rest of the world for it means that we are the only ones that you feel comfortable with sharing them with; and that is honor and respect on a whole other level. 
Oh, and one more thing: if you get a compliment from you husband on how great you look; take it at face value. When he says “You look great!” know what he means? He means “YOU LOOK HOT!” It’s true, take it from me, I’m a guy. :o)

FROM PEACEFULWIFE

My husband says that if you only used your body to attract your man, you may have to worry about not looking perfect all the time eventually. “Whatever you use to attract him is what you will have to use to keep him.”  But he says he believes if you attracted your husband with your personality, your soul, your heart, etc… that husbands don’t expect perfection and are still attracted even when there are some flaws.  Interestingly, the things I always thought were huge flaws in my figure – my husband sees as beautiful.  I think sometimes we hold ourselves to impossible standards that our husbands may not even care about.

Ladies,

If your husband gives you a compliment – SMILE, say “Thank you SO MUCH” and accept that gift, ladies!

I don’t have the ability to do mass statistically accurate surveys of husbands.  Sometimes I am so jealous of Shaunti Feldhahn! :)  But I believe that this Christian husband’s explanation on this topic is probably pretty close to how most husbands feel.

I know my husband feels this same way about me! :)

Yes, there are some husbands who push their wives to lose weight and to dress up more often.  But sometimes I think that we believe our husbands want us all to be size 2 and look like swimsuit models.  I don’t think that is usually the case.  I think they want to see a little bit of effort sometimes – ie: that we are not always wearing old sweats and old t-shirts with stains and holes everywhere.  I think it is a gift we can give them to fix our hair and wear something pretty sometimes.  

But I don’t want ANY wife to feel pressure to conform to the world’s impossible standard of external beauty.  I hope that this post might be a huge encouragement to you in your marriage and that you might be able to joyfully accept the body you have – take decent care of it – and allow your husband to enjoy your beautiful body, too.  I don’t know ANY husband who expects his wife to starve herself or become bulemic or anorexic or obsessed with exercising for hours per day.  Those things are SCARY – and there are thousands of husbands who live with wives with eating disorders who would probably do almost anything for their wives to NOT make weight or being fit an idol.

Other husbands are welcome to comment constructively!

RELATED POSTS

Why Satan Rejoices When You Hate Your Body

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21 Comments on “A Husband Talks about Our Body Image and Attraction”

  1. Sherry L Hepler
    April 27, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    Wow! And your timing is perfect… Again. I’ve been asked to do my presentation “Disbelieving the Lies of the World – All that Glitters is NOT Gold!” for a local church. May I reference this article? I’ve already included the website in my reference list. God bless you both for your work! Very much needed today when so much emphasis is put on appearance.

    • peacefulwife
      April 27, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

      Sherry,
      Of course you may! :)

      Yes – I agree – this is an area that is so very painful for many wives. I want us to find freedom in Christ!

  2. Joanna Aislinn
    April 27, 2013 at 9:34 am #

    What an awesome post, April. I tried to keep myself from getting teary-eyed. (It’s AM and my eyes will burn for the day if I cry, lol.)

    Despite my flaws, I’ve been blessed with a hubby who has always made me feel beautiful (regardless of my opinion on the matter). No matter how beautiful anyone’s surface though, inner beauty is what is reflected in the long run. (IDK, you may be inspiring my Monday blog w/u–in God’s perfect time for my 18th wedding anniversary. Is it me, or does God always seem to give me what I need exactly when I need it?

    Anyway, one more word on perspective before I get overly long-winded here. God blessed me with a pear-shape and more padding and dimples than I’d like in certain areas, almost as if the molds of bone structure (tiny) and overlay were mixed.

    Whenever I complain, I remember a friend who was paralyzed from the neck down when we were in our early twenties. I’ve been in full control of my body these many years. She’s been wheelchair-bound, grateful to bend her elbow in order to scratch her nose w/o help.

    ‘Nuff said.

    Thanks so much for sharing this. Enjoy your day and your weekend.

  3. Sarah Darnell
    April 27, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    Very interesting, My husband is one who likes me to dress up, and workout etc. BUT what I have noticed is that he also doesnt really care about the outcome- he just likes to know that I am trying for HIM, its the effort that drives it. ex: literally- I could not workout for a week and eat lots of junk and loose 2lbs. He will comment like, time to get back in that gym huh? But I can go th gym 3-5 days a week and loose nothing, even gain and he is commenting all week how great I look! To him I think like teh above husband said “However, it is not the same type of sight that you see. Understand; we know when you are trying to look your best and we love that, regardless of whether or not you think those efforts are a success.” Somtimes we as women just feel pressure- I have to look liek this that this- sometimes they just want us to put forth effort in that area regardless of the physical result, and Im sure you will see an positive response from your husband. & Peaceful Wife wow- what an amazing statement “Whatever you use to attract him is what you will have to use to keep him.” SO true! I love looking at it that way!

  4. Ted C
    April 27, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    I had a very similar discussion to this with my wife yesterday with regards to what’s on the inside.She never was the swimsuit model type, in fact she was always a big girl.But when we together, it really didn’t matter what we were doing we had fun together when we were dating.She was easy to talk to,affectionate,silly at times,naive a lot, and above all when I came to see her I was the most important thing to her at that moment. Somewhere along the way in life I lost that playful affectionate girl in her efforts to be a “good” wife.She got this idea that to be a good wife she needed to do all this stuff,when all I wanted was for her to depend on and love me.Sure she needed to learn how to be a Christian wife when we became Christians, but that doesn’t mean throwing out the baby with the bath water.I always think of it in terms to my relationship with Jesus.He loves me just the way I am.He wants me to depend on Him,adore Him love Him. Anything I do has to come from my love for Him or it doesn’t count. My goal in my marriage is to reflect this to my wife.We’ve had seven children together, and it shows in her body and I DON’T CARE! The affection we used to share both in and out of the bedroom faded over the years, because she bought into the lie that she had to be “like the other wives.”She started feeling like a failure because she couldn’t, help at the church,take care of the children, keep the house etc.So I started taking over a lot of the household stuff when I could, thinking it would help her to be less stressed. Then I would get my old girl back.If anything it made things worse. I’ve said this to my wife several times recently,I mean it with all my heart, and I think FINALLY she starting to get this one thing.I WILL TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING,AND I MEAN EVERYTHING IF I CAN JUST GET THE GIRL BACK THAT I MARRIED! I’ll take care of the cars, the bills,I’ll deal with all the issues with the children,take care of the house,WHATEVER IT TAKES!I just want her to feel free to be the loving, affectionate woman God created her to be.

    • peacefulwife
      April 27, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

      Ted C.

      I definitely want to quote you! We need a few more posts on this topic. This is such a difficult subject for women – we hear so many messages and feel an incredible amount of pressure from the world – we need a much greater understanding of this area and how our husbands really see us. THANK YOU!!!!!!!! BEAUTIFUL!

    • Anita
      April 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

      Ted,
      Thank you for sharing this. It was good for me as a wife to hear. I think my husband may feel this way at times too. I get so caught up in trying to be super mom & wife, and when I fail I get become very down. It helps to know that he probably would just rather see the fun loving smiling woman he married.

      Thanks again!

  5. janice
    April 27, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    thank you for this post!

  6. Thankful Husband
    April 27, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    My bride if judged by the world is probably a 6. In my eyes she’s a 10. She’s probably 50 pounds overweight, never had the best skin and is by almost all accounts if judged by the world, average. She does try to eat right and exercise. Also, she dresses very nice and tries to look beautiful.

    Honest? For a dozen years back when she wasn’t loving me, was disrespectful and a refuser…I would have judged her a 6. But I still loved her and thought she was beautiful in her own way.

    Today, I honestly would not trade her for any woman on earth. I don’t care if a woman had a body that made a model jealous and God gave me a no sin card I could play… I WOULD NOT TRADE HER FOR ANYONE!!! And I make sure to tell her this about ten times a day…seriously, the last year she’s almost to the point of rolling her eyes with a smile…but she knows I mean every word of it because now she finally believes it and is returning the same compliments.

    She respects me. She on most days (2/3) wants to be “with” me…and on the bad days (1/3) doesn’t say no. She makes me laugh. She tries so hard now. She’s the most wonderful mother. She loves God, but her faith is real and not for show. She has a depth to her that radiates beauty.

    Gals the good news is…it really is the inside that counts! Your heart, actions and the way you treat us are worth AT LEAST 4 or 5 points on a scale of 10.

    I think I might be the most blessed man alive, thank you Jesus.

  7. Thankful Husband
    April 27, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

    I’m sorry, I didn’t see the set questions before I commented. Hopefully I answered them in a roundabout way. However, I know I didn’t answer the porn question.

    I turned to porn when my wife wasn’t interested. It was wrong of me, completely…but my sex drive no matter how hard I tried in both my power and in God’s power I couldn’t turn it off so I sinned badly and turned to porn. I used it between once a week and once a month for several years. Since my wife changed her outlook on sex and started at best desiring me and at worst putting up with me (but in a good way…not with a bad attitude, but joyfully serving me even if she is not in the “mood”) I have been able to turn away from it…truth was all I wanted was my wife and to not feel rejected. I think she is more beautiful than any woman I ever saw, in real life or in porn…and it’s not even close. It’s like comparing your faucet to niagra falls, like comparing a ditch to the grand canyon. I know those are strong words and they may be dismissed because they seem outlandish but they are truthful. I know its often not that way with many porn users but for me I guess I can look at a gal now and say yes she’s pretty or hot…but I don’t desire her. When my wife is loving me and meeting my needs not only do I want to serve her, be the man she needs me to be…but there is no one that even comes close to her. I don’t know how to explain it other than that.

  8. Jack B.
    April 29, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    Physical attraction? I was not attracted to my wife physically but her spirit attracted me. Married over
    25 yrs, I’m still attracted to her spiritually AND physically.

    While she consistently says she’s’ small, (on top)
    and needs make up, she always looks good to me!

    Buy what makes her super attractive to me now is that
    we have “history”. Ups and downs, highs and lows. Many things have been worked out, still some issues but still
    praying for these.

    She’s come from fun sex, (unfortunately before marriage)to mercy sex to engaging sex!
    She knows and does what I desire from only her,(in and outside the bedroom, but mostly in the bedroom) and
    doesn’t make me feel bad after she’s done it, I love her and think about her all day. I’m enraptured with her “love” for me and she make me feel loved by her!!

    I think if many wives will simply believe their husbands when their husbands tell them that they love them as they are, and not constantly look at themselves. I’ve heard women dress not for men but for other women.
    If many wives would stop comparing themselves to
    other women, things would be great.

    Jack B.

    • peacefulwife
      April 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

      Jack B,
      I had to put that last paragraph in bold. I totally agree! I would love for women to start caring about their husband’s opinion more than the world’s opinion or other people’s opinions. It would really set a lot of women free from so much unnecessary stress and pressure.

      I also love that her spirit is the main thing that attracted you. That is beautiful!

      And thank you for sharing that having that long history together increases attraction for you. That is really interesting – I don’t think I have heard anyone express that idea before. But it makes sense to me!

      Thanks so much!

  9. newcreation
    May 9, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    I wish my husband was like a lot of the guys on here. I would feel so loved if my husband truly cared about me and thought I was attractive because of all we share. He’s always been about looks though. When we first got married, he was so proud of me because he said I was hot and sexy, but two children and one miscarriage later, I have sadly gained 50 pounds. He doesn’t look twice at me anymore and he acts as if I’m not the same woman he fell in love with. I am trying to lose weight and exercise, but it’s not coming off easily, and the fact that he treats me as if he doesn’t want to touch me or even look at me makes me feel so hurt and unloved. I finally got my courage up and I asked him about it not long ago and he told me that I knew when we got married that looks were very important to him and that he’s not attracted to me any more because I’ve gained so much weight. I can understand that in a way. it doesn’t make me hurt any less though, because I feel like the only time I have value to him is when I look good and am a certain weight. I am trying to get back to where I was, but it’s tough especially because I wish he could love me no matter what just because I’m his wife and I’ve been through a lot with him, especially to have his children.

    • peacefulwife
      May 9, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

      New Creation,

      How my heart breaks for your pain. :(

      I am SO sorry to hear about your miscarriage. And how I wish that every wife could always feel completely loved and accepted even if she gained weight.

      Is your husband a believer in CHrist?

      What is his parents’ marriage/relationship like?

      Would he be willing to help you have the time you need to take care of your health? Maybe you could exercise together or he could watch the children for you to have time to walk or something? Are you working outside of the home? How old are your children? When was your miscarriage?

      The pharmacist in me has to ask – are you on any rx medications? Did you have gestational diabetes? Do you turn to food for comfort when you feel rejected by your husband? Are you eating out a lot, or do you make most of your meals from scratch at home?

      THe bad news is – you can’t change your husband.

      The good news is – you can find all of your worth, value, acceptance, strength, courage and joy in Christ alone!!! Then you can have His peace and joy no matter what your husband does or does not do.

      I pray for you to have spiritual, emotional and physical health. And I pray for healing in your marriage.

      I would love to walk beside you on this journey. I’m here if you want to talk about anything. aprilc@sc.rr.com

  10. FJ
    July 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    This is a (sadly) heartfelt subject for me…

    My 50+ year-old wife is truly beautiful by any spiritual or secular standard. After 20 years of marriage and three children the sight of her still stirs me, clothed or not. I am constantly telling her how beautiful she is and how incredibly attracted I am to her (from gentle, sincere compliments to ‘you turn me on’). However, most of the time the response is usually quite negative… “I’m fat,” “I’ve gained so much weight…” “I look/this is disgusting “(referring to a small pooch of belly). If she doesn’t say it with her words, she says it with her body language. I have explained to her how hearing this is like a dagger in my heart and how it affects me, and our relationship. She acknowledges that, but has not changed her perspective.

    This negative self-image has cost me/us much joy our marriage. My feelings of desire, romance or ‘fun’ are crushed by her comments and this attitude. Why can’t she/a woman understand that a positive attitude and confidence in your natural beauty are more attractive, romantic and ‘sexy’ than any physical aspect of her body. I (and likely other men) consider a smiling, fun loving women of any body shape or size more desirable than the most visually perfect woman imaginable. I hear from her/other women that ‘it’s a girl thing’ so there is no attempt to think differently (or get some help).

    I don’t know how other men deal with this, but I have become more distant and while I still compliment my wife, it is less frequent. I have grown weary of the negativity around this and my inability to get through. Add this to the other strains, stress and challenges of marriage and (teenage) children in this culture and the result is a lot less joy than could be, and a lot more tension between us.

    Even more discouraging to me is that we are both committed Christians and have spent many years marriage ministry. People are attracted to us as a positive model of a Christian couple. We have taught (thought not recently) other couples about all of the concepts I have read here on this blog – from the biblical foundation to personality styles, communication and the current male/female brain research that explains so much of the beauty of God’s creation. Love is a decision regardless of day-to-day feelings. I will always be committed and faithful to my wife in all ways – I just wish/pray/yearn for her to see the truth of her beauty the way I do (along with God and pretty much everyone else).

    Thank you for your blog (which I just discovered this weekend).

    • peacefulwife
      July 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

      FJ,

      I really appreciate your willingness to share. I want EVERY wife to get to read this. I know there are some husbands who really do want their wives to change their bodies and don’t accept them. But I know there are many husbands who feel exactly like you do.

      I believe women in the church have swallowed a lot of poison from our culture – this is one of the big issues. We can get it so engrained in our heads that “you have to look like X to be attractive” that we believe the media over our husbands. HOW AWFUL!!!!!!

      I actually have a post, Why Satan Rejoices When You Hate Your Body

      And I think I listed many of the reasons you have talked about.

      I would actually really love to post this comment anonymously next month if that is ok with you?

      I pray that God might open her eyes and help to tear down the strongholds of the enemy.

      May God richly bless your marriage and ministry!

      • FJ
        July 22, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

        Thank you – yes though very ‘anonymously’ please.

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