You see, I am torn about the issue. On the one hand, I think women berate themselves far too much on image issues. They say that weight is the number one thing women feel guilty about, as if God is more concerned with our waistlines than He is our hearts. And it is also definitely true that our insides matter more than our outsides. A truly beautiful woman is one who is gentle in spirit, true in character, loving in outlook. These things are biblical, and they come first.
But I'm uncomfortable with leaving it like that, because I know that when it comes to men, looks matter. So as a wife, what is our responsibility to look good for our husbands?
I was thrilled with all the comments I received, and I want to summarize my thinking on the issue, with some help from some of the commenters.
First, I think the issue is not what we look like but the effort we put in. Only about 1% of us will ever be able to look anything like supermodels. But as anyone who has ever watched the show What Not to Wear knows, all of us, regardless of body type or features, can make an effort to look attractive. We don't need to be Jennifer Aniston, but we can take pride in ourselves.
Here's a video that I did a while ago, if you haven't seen it yet, about how much women berate ourselves for our bodies. The point, again, is that we can't be Barbies.
So we don't want to do that. But we do want to make an effort to show our husbands that we care. I think Cassandra, in the comments, summed it up well. She said that early in the marriage she asked her husband these 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?
And that's her motivation for trying to look nice for him. It isn't because she's afraid of him straying. It isn't because she's shallow. It's just because she wants to present herself to him in a way that he will like, and feel special. And men are visual creatures, so appealing to his visual senses is important.
I think that's what it's all about. Do you make your husband feel special? Do you let him know by what you do that you're looking forward to seeing him again?
Carrie intimated about this when she said this:
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.
The important thing for her husband when he comes home is that Carrie looks like she's glad to see him. And let's be honest, here, women: many times we don't look it. Especially when we have small children, it's easy to get into the "you're home now, so you take the kids so I can finally get something done" mode. We don't delight in being with him again; we just push things on him as soon as he's in the door.
Part of being a good wife, then, I think, is to show your husband you love him and are eager to see him in a way that speaks to him. And taking the time in your very busy day to look presentable is one way to do that. Another Cassandra said this about her husband:
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...
I think that's true, too. Now men don't always care for themselves, either. Many of us are married to guys who have gained 50 pounds since the wedding, and we wish they'd lose it, too. But marriage is not about only acting loving when he first does something nice. It's about taking the initiative.
So here's your challenge this week: can you take five minutes before you see your husband again, either because he's arriving home from work or because you are, and make yourself look nice for him? Can you put the effort in to show him that you were looking forward to him coming home, and then, when he gets in the door, can you show him that? Even if he doesn't respond right away? Make the effort. And then, over the next few weeks, see what happens!
Do you have your own marriage advice for us? Or would you like to respond to this post? Why not write your own Wifey Wednesday post? Just copy the picture above by right clicking it and saving it, and then go to your own blog and write your own post. Come on back here and enter the post's URL in the Mr. Linky (if it works, it's being temperamental) or in the ocmments!
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.