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Honest Question: Does Appearance Matter?
Okay, ladies, I want to start an honest discussion here.

When I had my surprise party a week ago, I was presented with a beautiful scrapbook of my life, made my one of my best friends. It really was spectacular.

And as I was looking back on the years of my life, something occurred to me. I look a whole lot better at 39 than I did at 29. I was in better shape back then, mind you. It probably came from having two small children that I used to bike all around town with, me pedaling and them sitting back there in the bike trailer. I had muscle, I tell you.

But I didn't have much make-up. And my hair was straight and style-less.

I took care of myself in university well. I always had some make-up on, and I had nice clothes, even if I bought them in second hand stores (well, I still do that!). But mainly I tried to look put together.

That all stopped when the babies came. I was just too tired, and the kids would pull at my hair and wreck any jewellery I had on anyway. I didn't see the point. I was only hanging out in groups of other moms with babies, and I didn't see why I should doll myself up just for my husband, when right before he got home I was already overwhelmed trying to get dinner on the table and keep the kids occupied at the same time.

Now that I have more time, though, I've enjoyed getting my hair coloured, and putting on make-up again, and buying clothes that are more fashionable. I often find myself touching up my make-up before my husband comes home. I think it mostly is a function of time and energy, though. I just didn't have either way back then, but I do know.

Yet I wonder: how many of us go out of our way to look pretty for our husbands? And is this necessary? I know we're supposed to be beautiful on the inside; I even talk about this quite a bit. But do we take pride in ourselves and in our marriage? And should we have to?

I know some women who have never worn make-up and look fine on their own, so I'm not saying everyone should be wearing make-up. I wonder, though, if we have given up. I think I had at one point, but the truth is I've always liked playing dressup, even as a child, so it's little wonder I like thinking about outfits in the morning or trying to look pretty in the evening. I don't think it's vain; I'm honestly thinking about Keith. But should we be doing this? Is it necessary? Is it wrong to give up? Or is it wrong to try in the first place? I'd love to know what you all think!

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At 11:50 AM , Blogger Catherine R. said…

This is something that I think about and I have some thoughts, even though I am not sure if they're precisely relevant.

I was talking to my husband recently about my strained relationship with his mother. Our exchanges are always painfully superficial and have never been anything else. I try but she seems to dislike anything other than small talk.

I was telling him, basically, that part of what makes her difficult to like is that she clearly has no interest in making herself easy to look at. She is at least 100 pounds overweight, she has a butch haircut and facial hair with no makeup.

We sort of got into an argument because he thought I was being mean. I don't know what to say to that. A little extra padding is one thing but 100 pounds is beyond the point of "body type", and there are many effective facial hair removers for women, and she could recognize that a man's haircut is not flattering on a woman who is obese.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's being kind to others to at least look presentable. It can go too far in one direction or the other. I have a friend who didn't need a boob job but got one anyway and I have never seen her without full makeup, I mean everything down to the false eyelashes and I've known her for years.

I think I am still figuring this one out for myself, like you.


At 12:18 PM , Blogger Ashley said…

Now that I am married I dress to impress my husband. He's the only one I need to impress anymore. Now, I don't do this every day, but I do think about what he likes and doesn't like in the clothes department. I have not worn make up on a regular basis since high school. My husband likes that so I think I can get away with it. Do we HAVE to dress to impress our husbands? Yes, and no. Men are visual creatures. To please our husband we should look good for them. 1 Peter 3 says to adapt yourself to your husband. However, I don't feel that this is most important. 1 Peter 3 also says to woo him with your gentle spirit, not outward adornin. Your spirit should be most important because it has great worth in God's sight. But making yourself pleasing to look at for your husband also pleases God.


At 12:53 PM , Blogger Miss Charlene said…

I do believe that we should all strive to be lovely, inside and out, for our husbands. They're visual creatures aren't they? hah. And it can be a small effort, to show we care still. My sister taught me to freshen up before my husband came home back then, and it didn't occur to me then but makes a lot of sense now! :)

And I bet you'll even look fabulous at 49! :)


At 1:13 PM , Anonymous Barbara H. said…

I used to wonder if it was wrong to try to look pretty, but two things helped there. The Proverbs 31 women "maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple." Nice clothes -- not burlap. Plus God did not make His creation just functional: He made it beautiful as well.

I think this is an area where balance is required. We all know people on both ends of the spectrum.

I think a lot depends on one's own husband. I don't wear any make-up but mascara, and my husband says he can't even tell whether I have it on or not, but I can tell, and I feel much better with it. I feel like my eyes look half-closed when I don't have mascara on. And, though I had a natural "blush" when I was younger, now my skin is looking splotchy and I am thinking about wearing foundation.

If he were more into a made-up look for women, I probably would have gotten into that more.

I think it is nice to try to look clean and neat for him, but in my case he understands when I'm busy, worn-out, etc. He's never said anything negative to me about my appearance though he could have many times. But I think he appreciates it when I try to look put-together rather than wearing jammies and bed-hair all day. OTOH, he doesn't expect me to greet him at the door wearing pearls and high heels, either. Balance!

Early baby days are kind of in a different category, though -- sometimes it is all one can do to just survive at that time.

And, of course, I think we need to say that it's not so much looking pretty -- it's just looking as nice as you can with what you've got. One lady I knew had one of the unprettiest faces, but she was so sweet, kind, and helpful. I grew to love her and her countenance, forgetting after a while what she looked like. It's true that real beauty comes from within.


At 2:09 PM , Anonymous Burning Bushes said…

I agree with the other comments. I presently have a 1 and a 2 year old. So, I am the woman you describe in your post-very little energy for much else.
Sometimes I can freshen up and I try to do that if I can. But, sometimes, it's just not possible.

The other day I felt pretty rough when my husband came home. So, after the kids went to bed, I escaped, pulled myself together and reappeared looking a little more presentable.
It's the thought that counts, I think. The bigger question is whether we actually care about what our husband thinks or needs or wants...and then finding ways to meet him there whenever we can, and even sometimes when we feel we can't.


At 2:11 PM , Blogger Cassandra @ Tripping Around The Sun said…

I have talked to my husband about this. Some of the conversation was a little hard to swallow at times. But i tried to listen with an open heart, because he really took a chance on being honest...

He says that men feel betrayed if they marry one thing (makeup, nice clothes, nice body) and wind up with something else 20 years later (way larger body, no makeup, sloppy clothes) that by caring for ourselves, it says volumes to them...that would never have occured to me unless he said it first...then i read it in a book later and thought, wow, guess that's across the board for most guys...

he says that he understands seasons of keeping up with kids and energy etc...but that after a makes him feel good about me and US when I take the time to tend to my appearance...

so I try not to run around town running errands looking like a slob (try, not always 100% on this)

So yeah, I think it matters. It just shouldn't be how we (or our spouses) measure our worth and value...I think, as Christian women especially, neglecting ourselves is just as wrong as vanity...


At 4:52 PM , Anonymous Jen-After The Alter said…

Personally I do think it matters what we look like...not necessarily in comparison to movie stars...but in reference to ourselves. Meaning being the best "woman" we can be for ourselves if not our men. Personally, I love to get dressed up and feel pretty. It makes me feel better about myself. Of course I LOVE LOVE LOVE my sweatpants. but I also feel so great and sexy when I get a little dressed up and put on make up. Even if it's just running to the mall. I don't have kids yet, and I can see where "yourself" gets put on the wayside...but I still believe we as women should put in a little effort once in a while...just look at women back in the day who put their make up on and fixed their hair when their husbands would come home...I'm not saying to go that far...but it's certainly something to think about!



At 6:14 PM , Blogger Carrie said…

Yes, it does. However, I'm going to qualify it with this: it's our attitudinal appearance that matters more.
My husband says my response to his homecoming, his "doing things" for me, etc. mean more than my make-up or clothes. He likes to see my eyes light up, for me to indicate he's still the desire of my heart after all these year...those are among the things he sees as beautiful, even when I'm in my favorite OLD cotton nightgown, face scrubbed and hair pulled back in a braid.

So, take the time to acknowledge your spouse as that wonderful guy with whom you fell giddily in love. . . even with the toddler wreaking havoc on the floor with toys and the unhappy infant on your hip or in the bouncy seat, as you try to whip up something for everyone to eat, and the school-ager hits the door with, "Mom, what can I eat?"

You can do it often enough to make a difference . . . ditto cutie pj's or make-up, or styled hair in the evening.

Eek, I've left 4 cents instead of 2 cents! Sorry for the ramble.
Great topic, Sheila!


At 6:16 PM , Blogger A. Jane Chambers said…

My husband doesn't particularly like make up, but with my clothes I do try to wear things that he likes or tee shirts from trips that we have taken together. It's another way of saying that I love him and being with him. A friend also recommended bringing out the best plates, setting a pretty table, etc., for him and not just for when we have company over. Again, it just shows that he's special.


At 6:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Appearance matters. Period. When we look good, we feel good too.

Most everyone goes through phases of appearance for a variety of reasons. But if we're not taking time to do our hair, makeup, & care about what we wear to at least be pleasing to the eye, then we probably aren't taking care of ourselves at all.

Weight is not an excuse to look like a slob. We all know overweight/obese women who look fabulous because they have good fashion sense.


At 9:56 PM , Blogger Sheila said…

Great comments, everybody!

And I'm surprised--I thought more people would say that I was being shallow.

But Catherine, I love what you said about your mother-in-law. I had extended family like that, too, and it is hard to be in the presence of people who obviously don't care at all about what they look like or the impression they make on others. I know we are to love anyway (and I try), but they make it difficult. I probably am being judgmental, but I do think there's something to at least trying.

Interesting how just about everybody said that we owed it to our husbands to show that we care about their feelings and we want them to know that we value them. And looking good is part of that. I think I'll turn this into tomorrow's Wifey Wednesday!


At 11:13 PM , Blogger Jami said…

Absolutely it is important to make an effort to look attractive for our husbands and ourselves. C'mon, we all feel better when we look attractive. I also appreciate the fact that my husband doesn't "let himself go". It is a given that our character and our love for Jesus Christ is paramount but God loves beauty. His creation is proof of that. Live life abundantly and have fun dressing up!


At 7:30 AM , Blogger Cassandra Frear said…

Loved your post and the discussion here.

What I should do became clear several years ago when I asked my husband three questions:

1. What can I do that will bring joy to your heart?

2. What can I do that will absolutely delight you?

3. I know I don't have to do any of this, but, if I have some extra time, are there desires that you have that I can attend to?

It was so clarifying. I do these things when I can, and it means the world to him.


At 11:24 AM , Blogger Allyson Kellner said…

Oh absolutely! I am thankful I have a husband who chooses to be loving (and faithful) regardless of how I look, but I know he really appreciates it when I take the extra couple minutes a day to look nice for him. As a mom with three small children (all under the age of four), looking nice for me is: a daily shower, hair combed and pulled back, clothes other than pajamas! I have also noticed that my mental state is much better too! When I take those few extra minutes, I feel more put together! Somehow, I think I serve my husband and my children better when I feel a little better about myself!


At 2:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

My husband and I have the opposite of this problem. He does not like when I get dressed up, wear make up, or do my hair. He says that I dont need to do all that. Appearance matters to me but not him.
I am young and looking good on the inside and out is important to me. My husband thinks the outside doesnt matter and has made it very apparent to me that I needed to work on being happy with me without being all done up. I will admit a year ago I was not comfortable with myself without being all done up but i have worked on that and feel that i have improved.
So after my self improvements to be more comfotable with being "au-natuaral," I still want to be able to do my hair and waer nice clothes. Currently my day to day wardrobe consists of loose t-shirts and soffee shorts. My husband thinks this is me going back on my improvements and being superficial again. I try to explain to him that it is important to me but he just doesnt get it.
I find myself disgusted when I go to his office for lunch dressed in a t-shirt and shorts. I dont know how to help him understand but have us both be happy.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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