I had one of the most interesting comments last week by Object of Contempt, wondering how keeping passionate love, romance, and a woman’s attractiveness alive and well in a marriage are intertwined with each other, and if they are at all supported in Scripture. He admitted that most women don’t seem to have a problem with wanting to be attractive, but for the women who are extremely against it, are there any biblical passages that show it’s important to God?
His main question was how a woman would address another woman who is really determined to refuse to be attractive to her husband? Would she need a certain approach to make it more palatable?
These are all really great questions, and this is a sensitive issue for many women, especially in our current day culture.
Let’s tackle the notion of attractiveness first:
Like I said in Men Need an Attractive Wife,
Most men really do value having a wife that is attractive.
It’s not shallow that they want to show you off, it’s not shallow that even just looking at you and knowing that you’re their’s makes them feel proud of you.
It’s just the way God designed the male nature.
It is, in large part, a reflection on the man, what his wife looks like.
This is where the topic gets a little more serious. When a woman takes care of her appearance and tries to look her best for her husband, she is helping her marriage to flourish by giving her husband respect. Keeping herself attractive for him shows him how much she respects, honors, and admires him. In other words, she wouldn’t dare let herself go because not only does she respect herself too much, but she knows her appearance reflects on who he is as a man and as her husband.
When a woman refuses to be and remain attractive to her husband in the way that he likes, when she gains weight after marriage or never loses her pregnancy weight, it is almost as if she is sending him the message that he deserves a woman who looks unattractive. That he can’t or couldn’t do better. When she refuses to be attractive to him, she is saying that she doesn’t care about his visual needs, that she disrespects the man that he is.
One of my favorite books, Becoming the Woman of His Dreams by Sharon Jaynes, describes this phenomenon quite well,
Paul reminds us, “Do you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)…
Have you ever noticed how a man who enjoys hunting likes to display his catch? A great blue marlin is mounted over a mantel, a five-point deer head emerges from a wall, a stuffed greenhead mallard proudly tops a desk. All this is to say, “Hey, guys, look at what I caught. Eat your heart out.”
There’s nothing your husband would like more than to flaunt his attractive wife out in public. He may not mount you on the wall (let’s hope not), but when he walks into a room with you at his side, he wants to say, “Hey, look what I caught. She’s all mine. Eat your heart out!” I daresay, when you walked down the aisle on your wedding day, that’s exactly what he was thinking!
“When a man has an attractive wife, it says he has the appeal and talent that deserve someone of her caliber.
When a man’s wife let’s herself become unattractive, the message comes across loud and clear that he couldn’t get someone better and probably deserves her. He has little to offer, the world decides, and he attracts little in return.”
The Bible reminds us that “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). The truth remains… man looks at the outward appearance.
Of course, I don’t think most women who let themselves become unattractive want to reflect badly on their husbands, or even understand that not trying to be attractive makes their husbands feel as if they don’t care about them. Many times I believe women just think that men act and feel like women – that outer looks don’t matter to them as much as it truly often does.
But men (most men) are wired to like looking at a beautiful woman – and it makes them ecstatic if their wife is attractive to them! They want their wives to make an effort to be attractive for all these reasons, and yes, Object of Contempt is right that it directly encourages passionate love and romance to flourish in a man’s heart toward his wife.
Object of Contempt rightly points out that a woman making an effort in her attractiveness is doing her part to maintain passionate love and even romance in their marriage:
“I think, however, that it is part of the vows to do what you can to maintain passionate love. Being attractive is part of that. I also think it is possible to make yourself be in love with someone (having done it myself). There are limits, of course. Romance and passion are often dismissed in christian teaching about marriage, just like attractiveness and beauty are. I suspect this is partially the cause for the attractiveness issue.”
The second part of Object of Contempts question: How would a woman would address another woman who is really determined to refuse to be attractive to her husband? Would she need a certain approach to make it more palatable?
Will be discussed in the next post!