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Wifey Wednesday: Caring for Our Appearance

It's Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up!

Photo by sepblog

My husband has often told me that the most stressful time in his life--far more stressful than resuscitating babies (he's a pediatrician), dealing with seizing kids, or even dealing with problem parents--was being a grade 8 boy in a classroom full of girls with tight sweaters, and living in mortal dread that the teacher may call you up to the board at an inopportune moment. Thirteen-year-old boys can't seem to control certain body parts, if you get my drift.

That seems so implausible to us women, who aren't really that visually stimulated at all. We tend to think it's kind of shallow: what's wrong with him that he is tempted by what women look like? Shouldn't he be, well, a little deeper?

Nope. Men are visually stimulated. We may think that's stupid, or silly, or shallow, but they are. We can't change that. So as women, what should our attitudes be towards beauty, marriage, and our husbands?

Remember Proverbs 31:30?

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised (NIV).

I absolutely believe that. Our hearts matter most. But at the same time, I fear that sometimes we in the church use verses like that to say that it doesn't matter if a woman lets her appearance completely go. He's wrong to care about beauty at all.

No, he's not. That's the way he was made. And I think that when we take care of our appearance, what we're really saying is,

I care about you. I want you. I want you to be happy with me. I want to woo you.

It's part of pursuing him, which he desperately needs.

Instead of showing him that we want to look good for him, though, we often take the most pride in our appearance when we're leaving the house. But who should we be dressing up for? Shouldn't it be our husbands?

We do something similar--but on a larger scale--when it comes to those razors in our shower. Sure we shave--if someone is going to see us in a bathing suit or a tank top or shorts. But since that's not likely to happen in the middle of winter, we often let it slide, even if it means our legs are hardly smooth. I wonder what our husbands think about that?

When I speak to women, I use a "Nightgown" prop. It's hideous. They say a little mystery is a good thing; this is way too much. When I hold it up, everyone laughs, and everyone can relate. Of course, some people wear flannel like this because their husbands insist on keeping the house at 50 degrees at night, and to those men, I like to say, "if you want to turn the heat up in the bedroom, you might want to actually turn the heat up." But for the rest of us, what do you wear to bed? Do you take care to wear something attractive? Or do you just look dumpy? Because if you look dumpy, you'll feel dumpy, too.

My daughters and I love watching What Not to Wear, and I think what we love most about it is the personality transformations by the end of the show. These women, who were docile and passive, have become assertive because they know they look good. There's something to that. When we put in the effort, our whole demeanor changes.

So what do you do if your closet is full of clothes but you don't look good in any of them? Get rid of them. It's better to have five outfits that make you feel wonderful than thirty that make you feel awful. It doesn't matter if you bought it on sale. It doesn't matter if you've had it forever. Chuck it. Spend some real money on fewer clothes, rather than a little money on tons of things on sale. Or go shopping at consignment stores, where they sell second hand designer clothes. I've picked up a ton of things there, and the owners of such places are often very helpful about putting things together.

Now, what about make up? Maybe you're not a make-up person, but I think a little lipstick never hurt anyone. And remember, everyone should be wearing some sunscreen foundation or moisturizer everyday anyway, so you may as well put something on your face!

As for hair, go get a really good cut that suits you. If you can't afford it, try one of the beauty salon schools in your area. They're often cheaper, though they take longer. And you can have a friend highlight your hair. It can be like you're teenagers again!

Now let's tackle the thorniest issue: our weight. Women gain weight. We're not meant to be size 6 forever, and I think slightly pear shaped is our natural shape after 40. But that doesn't mean that we should just accept it and eat whatever we want. I think we owe it to ourselves to watch what we eat and get a little active, even if it just means taking a brisk walk every night after dinner to talk with our hubby. You don't need to be super-thin; and what makes a woman attractive is often her attitude. Dress in nice clothes and feel confident, and thirty or forty pounds won't matter as much. One hundred will, though.

So, to sum up:

1.Shave your legs. Even in winter.
2. Brush your hair and put on lipstick right before you see your husband at the end of the day. Make yourself look best for him.
3. Buy fewer clothes that flatter you more.
4. Care for your body.

If women put as much effort in looking good for our husbands as we do for strangers, our marriages would be infinitely better. And we'd have awfully happy husbands!

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Have you ever had to confront your fantasies and throw them aside? How did you do it? Or do you have something else to tell us? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. Thanks!

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At 7:46 AM , Blogger Christine said…

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At 8:05 AM , Anonymous Kristy M said…

I was considering power the other of the things teen girls seem to enjoy about dressing to maximize their physical attributes is the power they then feel - they get attention, 'admiring' looks, etc. All for the wrong reasons, mind you, but nonetheless, power. How would we as women feel if men abused their power? They have brute strength - what if they used that to make us do what they wanted? I think it is equally unfair for us as women (and I'm including teens/young women)to abuse ours. Guys can control where they look, sure, to a degree, but when this overt sexuality is everywhere - I wouldn't want to be in my teenaged boys' shoes right now, that is for sure!


At 9:02 AM , Anonymous Destiny said…

Very interesting post. I agree, and it's an area I find myself slacking in quite often. Especially this past year, when money was more tight than I had ever experienced, even as a single mom. Make-up actually became a luxury after a few months, and only worn about once a week. Usually on Sundays, when I spent the majority of the day out of the house. I also don't own a lot of clothes because I don't like shopping for them (I never in my life struggled with weight until the birth of my second child 3 years ago)... but the thought of having 5 outfits that make me feel great isn't an idea that actually occured to me before... and I think it's brilliant.


At 10:02 AM , Anonymous Eve said…

Hmm - that's telling me! I'm a housewife. I cook and clean and bake and I'm a klutz. If there is wet paint (even with a sign) I will lean against it, so I tend to wear a uniform of jeans and t-shirt every day! My hair is mad at the best of times, so I sometimes feel 'why bother?' - after reading this, I think I'll go and get changed :)


At 10:03 AM , Blogger Tara said…

Hi there! Good post! I dont necessarily agree with everything you wrote here, but alot of it I do. I believe that yes we should indeed look our best for our men! Although it is not our responsibilites to fight off their temptation for them. Just as we need to focus on our own responsibilities as wives, and not just when our husband is being "good to us", so should they always strive to fullfil their side of it, and that is part of it. As far as weight, Ive seen so many women just "let go" after being married and I just dont see why. You would think they would want to look better for their own selves too! at any rate this is something we all need tothink about! god bless


At 10:11 AM , Blogger Sheila said…


You're too funny! I don't think a "uniform" of jeans & T-shirt is bad when there is wet paint around--or when you're cleaning. I just think we need to take care when we're with our hubbies! And I always just FEEL differently if I put jewellery on in the morning. Don't know why.

Tara, I didn't mean to give the impression that it was our fault if men were tempted (although I do believe in modesty). My point is just that men ARE visually stimulated, and since we're the only women our husbands are really allowed to look at, then let's at least make it fun for them! Thanks for your comments, ladies!

And Destiny, that's cool that you like that comment about the five outfits. I've often come back to that in my own closet and just tossed things that made me feel frumpy!


At 10:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Thanks for the post, Sheila, i clicked over from Terry's page at Breathing Grace. I am totally guilty on the razor issue- thanks for the conviction on that. Other than that, however, I sort of struggle with this one because oddly enough my husband really likes me "plain jane"- no makeup, long hair in a ponytail, and would rather I spend no money on clothes than have "nice" things to wear. So I struggle with, when I want to look a bit nicer, get a hair cut, wear a bit of lipstick, buy some more flattering clothes, the hubs is indifferent at best or displeased at worst. My struggle is that I want to be attractive for my husband of course, but Id also like to be attractive and feel good about myself, and its hard to find a middle ground.

Im sure this is relevant to the majority of women, though, as I know most men prefer a woman who is a bit more dressed up and "shiney". :)

(Im signing anonymous as I wouldnt want anyone to think I am defaming my husband, Im not.. he's just a different sort of guy :) )


At 11:15 AM , Blogger Llama Momma said…

Such a good reminder, Sheila! I feel so much better about myself when I'm "put together." I've been struggling to lose "the last" ten pounds for about six months now, and am beginning to realize that maybe they're not going away.

But, I feel good because I'm eating well and exercising, so that's worth a lot. But I find myself avoiding new clothes because I keep thinking, "When I hit my goal weight, I'll buy them."

But I really do just need to buy them, I think. I'm guilty of wearing some of the same clothes I wore in college. (And I'm 39!) :-p

I did buy myself some cute pajamas on clearance at Kohl's a few months ago, and my husband went on and on about how great they looked. It was a wake up call for me that I need to think a bit more about what I wear to bed, because obviously it matters to my husband!

Great post and exhortation, Sheila!


At 11:21 AM , Anonymous LauraLee Shaw said…

Amen, Sheila! My husband is very visual, so it's important for me to show him love by caring for my appearance. Also, since the Bible tells me to take care of my body, I am learning how to sacrifice and change my desires for certain types and the amount of food as well as physical exercise. I want to honor God with my body too! (1 Cor. 6:20).

Great practical insights!


At 11:22 AM , Blogger Megan said…

My downfall is that I never know when, during the day at home with two little ones, I can squeeze in my 45 minutes on the Wii for exercise. So my default clothes become my workout clothes so that I'm ready whenever the moment arrives. I literally find myself in my closet in the morning thinking "hmm...but this cute skirt and top aren't practical for exercising...".

I need to accept the fact that changing clothes twice will take less than one minute of my day. Surely worth it to look nice when hubby comes home from lunch.


At 11:31 AM , Blogger Raine said…

I was thinking about this over the weekend, as I cleaned out my closet. I was guilty of buying a lot of unflattering clothes because they were cheap or on sale, and have been paring down my wardrobe and replacing the frumpy and ill-fitting clothes with nicer ones. I've also started fixing my hair and wearing makeup again recently, even when I'm home all day.

It's made me feel happier and more confident, and my husband seems to like it as well. It seems like he's in a better mood in the evenings when he comes home and I look nice.


At 11:53 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I have never understood the "letting myself go" I just don't understand how and why I would want to make myself feel that way. Being ugly does NOT make you more holy. And looking like a frazzled,overwrought, unkept housewife on the outside does not make your heart more Godly on the inside. Never got that part of it.
My husband loves it when I dress it up for him so I do that almost everyday... and it is not even all about make up- which I only wear sparingly, it's about taking care of myself so I FEEL sexy. And when I feel sexy I am able to come across as sexy.
So I would say go one step further-
put on a little skirt (no panties) and clean the floor in that. Getting a white tshirt wet (with no bra) while you are doing dishes and your hubby is watching you is bound to make him look.
Paint your toenails and tell him you liked them sucked and I guarentee that will start some fun between you and put and LEAVE a smile on his face.
Husbands are not just there to provide a house and pay bills with, they are a gift to have FUN with. When did all these wives start forgetting that???


At 11:56 AM , Blogger Sheila said…


I just may have to use your comment in my book (The Good Girl's Guide to Sex)! :)


At 12:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Oh wow, I would be honored that you would use it. I replied as anonymous because I realize that my comment might offend some and while I don't want to do that I do feel stongly about having "fun" at home.
Thank you!


At 12:30 PM , Blogger Adrienne said…

This is something I'm working on now. I'm a SAHM and as much as I sew and LOVE fashion, sometimes I don't put the effort into it that I should. My husband and I went out to lunch and he made a comment about my tshirt. He asked why was I still wearing that shirt lol. I was so ashamed!! I haven't worn that shirt since and I'm making more of an effort to dazzle up even when at home.


At 1:10 PM , Blogger Angela said…

Yikes, I'm reading this in my pjs still. And it's 1PM! Guess I have some work to do. On a positive note, heading to my first Weight Watchers Meeting/Weigh-in on Friday at 12:15 , so that's a step in the right direction, right?


At 1:14 PM , Blogger Sheila said…


Yikes! That must have felt terrible. But you've got the message, so I'm sure you can laugh about it now!

And Angela, that is a step in the right direction! You go, girl!


At 2:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


At 3:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I agree with you for the most part but I think you're being a bit too specific. My husband hates it when I wear make up of any kind (especially lipstick) and prefers me in simple outfits rather than designer fashions. I do shave my legs everyday because I hate being prickly, but hubby doesn't care either way. I think you missed an important point: do what your husband likes! Not every man likes dressy outfits, or make up, or trendy hairstyles. Dressing up in and of itself is not the point, dressing the way your husband likes to see you is. But you're absolutely right that putting an effort into our appearance for our husbands' sake is a wonderful show of love and respect. Not only are you telling your husband that you want him to enjoy your appearance, you're also telling the rest of the world that your man is worth dressing up for.


At 6:00 PM , Blogger Sensuous Wife said…

I agree with your post wholeheartedly!

I would only add two things:

Savor and care for your beauty because you love yourself because God made you loveable.

Just yesterday, God invited me on an adventure of self-care that turned out beautifully! I just "accidentally" discovered a store with beautiful clothes at a deep discount. Clothes that made me gasp and say "ohmygosh" out loud by myself in the dressing room. Was this an accident? No ma'am! This was a gift from God. Seeing myself look so lovely and adorable made me feel SO good!

The other thing:
There have been many times I put on lingerie to bless my man even though I didn't 100% feel like it. I was never sorry I did. If you start something to love with generosity, your heart will always be lifted.

Sheila, this is the second time you've inspired me with your Wifely Wednesday post. I appreciate you!


At 6:02 PM , Blogger Sensuous Wife said…

forgot to subscribe. checking the subscribe box now.


At 6:10 PM , Blogger Bernice said…

"My point is just that men ARE visually stimulated, and since we're the only women our husbands are really allowed to look at, then let's at least make it fun for them! Thanks for your comments, ladies!"

This hit home!


At 5:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

I appreciate the spirit of your post, but as the 3:12 comment put it, I do think you get a little too specific. And honestly, usually my husband doesn't notice much what I wear. At this point, I think he would more appreciate that I have dinner ready when he walks in than to have on nice clothes and lipstick. Every man is different!!

Nurse Bee


At 8:46 AM , Blogger Llama Momma said…

One more follow-up comment. Last night, I hit my favorite resale shop (just to get out of the house!) and got some fantastic deals on some new tops. (Only $4 each!) And they look really nice.

Today is a super busy day, and I got up extra early this morning to shower and get ready, and I'm wearing one of my "new" tops.

My husband whistled when I sat down at the table, and said, "Wow, you look great, honey! What do you have going on?"

I told him I'm watching a neighbor's kids this morning, bringing lunch over to his mom's house this afternoon, and then hanging out with my sexy husband tonight. :-)

Such a small effort on my part, but a big deal to my husband. And bonus? I feel GREAT and ready to tackle all that's on my plate today!


At 3:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said…

Thank you so much for this post. I've been feeling quite confused lately because I've been reading some blogs by plain-dressing women. Now, maybe these women have been 'called' to dress plainly, but I was starting to feel a bit guilty 'cos I wasn't. However, my husband says that he prefers to see me dressing attractively and with some make-up - he says I look more groomed. And I feel better for being more groomed. But, although I enjoy wearing lovely lingerie for my husband, I am very careful to dress modestly when other eyes can see me. Modestly, but not frumpy.

Kay in UK


At 3:53 PM , OpenID noregretsliving said…

I think this is true. I've heard some women say: "He's seen me this way before, so it's no big deal." Yeah, but he's probably also seen you puke before, but we don't want to make that a habit either, right?

I've been guilty of it before and I think the key is balance. Yes, as a human, I can have a down day. It's probably okay that my saturdays are jean & t-shirts days. But if that's my everyday, that's going a little far. I'm tempted to say: "But no one will see me" just because I'm not going into the office. But in reality, my husband will see me and he matters much more than anyone at the office!

(Course, that doesn't mean that I'm wearing a skirt and heels to go weed the garden! It's a give-and-take.)

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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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