For our precious sisters in Christ who don’t yet know their beauty and worth and who are struggling, may God heal your heart and mind and flood your soul with His peace, joy and truth!
FROM THE WIFE WHO ASKED, “HOW COULD A HUSBAND LOVE HIS WIFE, AND BE VISUALLY ATTRACTED TO OTHER WOMEN?”
Wow. This has been quite a discussion, and very helpful. I’ve been reading the comments throughout the day, and thinking about them all day long. I think the comment that was most helpful to me was from Thomas:
Attraction is more like when your leg jerks up after the doctor hits your knee with the little, rubber hammer. It’s more of a reflex. It just “happens.” After it happens, then we choose what to do about it. Do we pursue it? Do we ignore it? Do we embrace it? Do we remind ourselves of the fact that we have already chosen a person to love “forsaking all others?”Scripture tells us that when a man lusts after a woman he has already committed adultery in his heart. In other words, the attraction happened, and then he made the wrong choice about what to do with that attraction.” (Note from Peacefulwife – you can find the rest of Thomas’ very insightful quote on this post along with many other helpful comments.)
I think I can honestly say, I never understood this before. I’ve never heard it explained this way. I guess I thought attraction WAS lust. Or else why would the man look again? Yes, I see handsome men and pretty women but I guess I don’t focus on them that way – or on judging people by their attractiveness? But I do judge myself – incredibly harshly. I have never been confident and it is an area I need to work on.
In fact, I was driving my husband insane. If I saw him notice a brunette – I’d ask “should I dye my hair brown?” The next week we’d pass a redhead. Then I was sure he wanted me to be a redhead. If our waitress had on tight jeans and an ample rear end – I was sure he wanted me to get butt implants.
Finally one day he snapped and said, “Why can’t you realize that I love YOU? That I want YOU? And I want you to be YOU? Not try to change to be someone else?”
Was this loving? I guess so, but I have so many insecurities.
Not to get all “psychology” on you – but I think a good bit of it stems from my teen years. I have an older sister who told me how fat and ugly I was every. single. day. I admired her so much! Why would she lie? Now – looking back – I was neither fat nor ugly. I was a straight A student, a varsity cheerleader, and a springboard diver – and yet I was sure I was worthless.
My friends would get so mad whenever I would complain about how fat and ugly I was, and how lucky they were to not have to be like me. I honestly didn’t understand why they were so cruel, and they would get mad that I would say those things – instead of supporting me. My first serious boyfriend in high school told me I was lucky to have him, and I shouldn’t try to have any other boyfriends because he was the only one who would ever want me.
I thought I had let go of these cruel things that people would say, but I guess they left some scars. Now that I’m a Christian, and somewhat more mature, I can see that my sister (whom I love – and I pray for her salvation) was most likely jealous. I was taller, blonde (she’s brunette), blue eyes (hers are a beautiful hazel), and far more athletic. The boyfriend was probably trying to control me and keep me from breaking up with him.
But somewhere, deep inside, I think I still feel the sting of those comments – and to this day I do not believe I am beautiful – which in a way is sad – because it upsets my husband. He thinks if he thinks I’m beautiful then I should believe him. I’m trying, and I appreciate prayers in this area.
I can also see that I need to give my husband more credit. I’ve been awfully hard on him. He is very loving, and patient, and we are working on my issues. Thank you all for your love and support. I am praying for you all as well.
Special thanks to April, thejoyfilledwife, and the men who shared their input. Sometimes it is helpful to hear the opinion of men with whom we have no emotional ties or baggage.
What you say makes so much sense. Did you know that the strongholds we have as adults were almost always developed in our childhood years? Particularly when we were quite young. That’s why they are so hard to break…because those lies and destructive thoughts were cultivated and nurtured during our most impressionable years. In many ways, we may be so used to them that they are, in a strange way, a type of comfort to us. We are so used to believing the lie that it can be extremely difficult to break them. Good thing we serve a God who is capable of breaking even the most powerful strongholds in our lives.
Just to illustrate how influential our childhood experiences are in the way we think about ourselves as adults, I’ll share something from my own life.
I grew up being very “awkward” up until I was about 16. When you’re 10 years old, being tall and thin is not the desirable trait that it is when you’re an adult. Kids (and even adults and family members) can be so cruel.
When I was 5 years old, a family member tried to strangle me to death. Against all physical odds (they were obviously a lot taller and stronger than I was), the Lord allowed me to break free right before I lost consciousness. Although the Lord saved me from death, the lie I began to believe was that my life was of no value.
Growing up, I was constantly told by peers and friends of my siblings that I was ugly. For my birthday, a family member gave me the movie “The Ugly Duckling” and said they “thought it would help”. One friend of my sister told me that no one would ever love me because of how ugly I was. That crushed me so much that I attempted suicide at the age of 11.
When I was physically inches away from death, I felt something pry open my hand, allowing the knife to fall out, as a voice spoke to my heart and said, “I love you. I’m not finished with you yet.” That day I vowed to never let the thought of suicide cross my mind again. If the Lord loved me enough and thought I was valuable enough to save, I would dedicate the rest of my life to him. And I have.
Because of the lies I believed growing up, once I was about 16 and men started noticing me, I had a hard time comprehending it. Men would walk by me and say, “Wow! You are so beautiful.” and I would look behind me, thinking they were talking to someone else. Once I realized they were serious, I eventually started using it to attract attention to myself. I never believed it personally, though, and it caused so much insecurity for much of my life.
Christian author and speaker, Beth Moore, had a book out called “So Long, Insecurity” and it helped me so much. As my walk with the Lord grew, I started to look at myself and see the beauty I had inside, which made me see that the Lord made every part of me – including the external – just the way He loved it. He thinks I’m beautiful. Seeing ourselves through God’s eyes helps us to overcome the insecurity that comes from seeing ourselves through the lies and opinions of others.
We are here with you on this journey, dear sister!
FROM AN ANONYMOUS WIFE:
I’m not sure if this will help or not, but I used to disagree with my husband when he told me I was beautiful and sexy. I looked in the mirror and I didn’t see a supermodel, so I just couldn’t agree. But then when I realized that by my dismissing his comments as wrong, I was calling him a liar and telling him he had bad taste. How disrespectful is that?
After I stopped arguing with him and just accepted those things as truth, I started to believe them. I still don’t look like a super-model, but I am beautiful. I am God’s daughter, “fearfully and wonderfully made”.
Have you ever read “Who Calls Me Beautiful?” by Regina Franklin. It’s a pretty good book about this subject.
I can totally relate with you, sister! 🙂
When I was in one of those pity parties that I usually had before the Lord convicted me of my sins, I would rant and rant to my husband how ugly I felt and looked, how fat I was, how this, how that… and I would go on and on with my “Envy List” of women asking him:
- “Honey, do you find so-and-so sexy?” or
- “Do you think you would be happy being married to so-and-so?” or
- “Do you LOVE that woman on the billboard?!?”
And he would always be aghast and look so distraught because of all my insecure ramblings…
And I would go, “I am just saying all this because I feel so ugly/fat/unattractive…”
And he would say, looking extremely INSULTED and not just a tad IRRITATED:
“Nikka, do you think I would have married you or made love to you, if I found you SO repulsive and ugly?!?!? What does that say of me?!? I didn’t marry you for your looks alone, but for sure, I found/find you attractive, that’s why I married you…. But what you are doing pairing me with this and that woman or telling me I would be happier if so and so was my wife, now THIS is not attractive at all.”
Thanks for sharing your heart, sister. 🙂 Maybe it’s time to accept the fact that you are BEAUTIFUL, because you are a child of God, and made in His Image, and He made no mistakes with you. 🙂
Since my conviction, I have already become less and less self-conscious and more and more accepting of my husband’s generous appreciation. When he says, “Hi cutie.” or “Hi sexy.”, I give him my widest smile and blush just a bit. Ha! 🙂
FROM THE ORIGINAL WIFE WHO ASKED THE QUESTIONS:
I wanted to point out that this discussion (and others) has been incredibly helpful. If I have tried sharing in the past (with a friend other than my husband) people usually say something like, “Oh stop! You’re very pretty.” or “Get over yourself.” or “God made everyone beautiful.” While the last statement is true, none of those comments is particularly helpful. They’re more like clichés.
So all of the discussion, the comments from others, the sharing of stories and struggles, the male viewpoint, and especially the true sisterhood, are literally a Godsend! This is a slow process for me, I feel like my eyes are just starting to peek open, but we are moving in the right direction here. My husband told me this morning that he loves me more every day. He has always been very loving and patient, but I think our growing bond is because of the change in my attitude – and God’s goodness of course.
Thank you all for taking this walk with me!
A Husband’s Pain – His Wife’s Body Image Issues