Why is Attractiveness in Marriage Important?

Commenter Object of Contempt made a great observation about romance, passionate love, and attraction in marriage being interrelated:

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.

His concern that Christian teachings throw out or dismiss the importance of romance & passion, or attractiveness & beauty in marriage are well-founded.  I’ve written before in Men Need an Attractive Wife, that:

Christianity sometimes overstates the importance of inner beauty, making outward care for the appearance to look like materialism and vanity. 

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain [or fleeting], but a woman who fears the Lord she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

If you take the time to really learn about the Proverbs 31 woman, she does not sound like a woman who let herself go after marriage.  She made beautiful clothes for her family using expensive dyes that were usually reserved for royalty or nobility.  She worked from early morning until late at night – and her husband sat with important men, bragging about her, do you think he would’ve bragged about her had she just let her appearance go?  Obviously, she cared about what her husband liked as far as her appearance and presentation.

Taking care of your appearance, exercising and making sure you look your best as a woman is not selfish, in fact, if you’re married, it’s selfish not to.”

Christians do tend to, like Object of Contempt pointed out, act like outer attractiveness is “optional,” and that inner beauty is the only thing that is righteous to work toward.  He wondered if there was any proof that taking care of attractiveness, especially for a woman, was important to God.

I’m so glad someone asked this question, and I’ll do my best to give my own opinion here, but I’d really love for other people who may be reading this who feel they have a greater understanding of this complicated issue to add their thoughts in the comments (please 🙂 ).  So without further ado, this is just one woman’s thoughts and advice, take it for what you will….

 

From Object of Contempt:

“And among Christian blogs, then I find many more posts that make it all about the inner beauty, and tear it (outer beauty) all down. These posts quote Peter and sound more spiritual and biblical, but I think they distort the truth by focusing on one verse.
How would someone show that God thinks visual attractiveness is important? How would someone show that God thinks passionate love is important? Does a woman have a perspective that needs a particular approach for it to be heard?”

I answered his comment below, but would like to expand on some of these concepts now that I have time:

“It really is a balance, but it’s true that the issue is complex – what matters to God. On one hand, when it comes down to it, He loves people right where they are – and every person, no matter what they look like, matter to Him and has great personal value! If a Christian is living their life, and haven’t grown in a certain area, He still loves them and values them.

But on the other hand, God does want us to be growing spiritually and becoming more complete/mature people, and a part of spiritual growth that Christians tend to overlook is how they are taking care of themselves physically.

Making themselves attractive, enjoying that process, nourishing the passionate love and attraction in their marriage are all holy and spiritual pursuits! God wants us to have life and life abundantly – Scripture even states that the reason He died was so that we can have complete joy – joy in it’s completeness. It is very hard to have that kind of abundant life and complete joy when a woman isn’t taking care of her health and fitness, creating a passionate marriage, and flourishing in attraction between her and her mate.

So God does care about those things in the long run, but they are of lesser importance compared to a person’s salvation and having “inner beauty” – which is character and integrity.

Those things always matter more to God, because they are who a person really is, and beauty eventually fades.

In my opinion, real beauty goes beyond skin deep, and is easily seen in the way a woman radiates joy and beauty from within, which has the power to change her outer appearance and have people drawn to her.”

_____________________________________________________

A major part of spiritual growth that Christians tend to overlook is how they are presenting themselves physically, how they are taking care of the body that God gave them.  We are stewards of our body, and although God ultimately cares more about our salvation and character growth and integrity, He does expect us to take great care over the body we’ve been given so that we can effectively do His will in our life.  If we are running our bodies down, filling them up with too much food and not enough exercise, becoming overweight or underweight, we won’t have the physical or mental strength to do many of the spiritual tasks we’re called to do.  Even spiritual things require a well-rested, well-taken care of body, otherwise our emotions (due usually to exhaustion or over-extension) tend to take over and we react out of shortened tempers, grouchiness, and feeling horrible.  When a woman isn’t taking care of herself physically, it often has mental and spiritual ramifications that negatively affect her ability to minister to others God has put in her path, namely her husband and her children.

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)

Part of “honoring God with our bodies,” is taking care of them, and presenting them well.

When a woman is married, taking care of her appearance is important because it’s usually important to her husband.  He was more than likely first attracted to her because of her appearance, not her personality… this isn’t to say that he didn’t come to appreciate her personality later on and love her more for it, but Christians throwing out the importance of her attractiveness in catching her husband is clearly short-sighted.  Most single women who find husbands give some thought and devotion to their outward beauty and attractiveness, so it makes sense that the tools they used to catch a husband, should also be used regularly in keeping their husband during their marriage.

What I would want to tell a woman who has set herself as Object of Contempt put it, “against being attractive,” is that this isn’t about trying to change her into someone she isn’t or has never been!  This is about a heart issue of wanting to pursue having a good marriage, caring about her husband’s visual needs of wanting to see her at her attractive, personal best, and doing what she should to create a romantic and passionate marriage!

A good guideline is to look at one’s wedding pictures, aside from normal aging, how far off are you from looking the way you did when you made your vows to do everything you could to make a marriage work?

We as women, usually take care of ourselves very well when single and as a result, we reap the benefits of our men lavishing their attention and romantic efforts on us.  A major part of marriage is learning to work together as a team, caring for each other’s needs, and understanding that our actions are forever now tied to the fate of another person – we are responsible for them to a certain extent, and should live our life caring about how our actions affect them in their own life.  If we clearly do not care about how attracted our husbands are to us, if we let ourselves go and demand he love us for “ourselves,” we are expecting him to feel the same romance and passion toward us as he did when we made efforts we aren’t making anymore.  Of course he may still love us deeply, but God created men to be extremely visual, and if we don’t look appealing to our husband, if our appearance is negatively impacting the level of attraction he feels for us, then something needs to be changed on our part.

Loving our husbands means we care deeply about what he needs.  

Sex and affection are critical to men, it is the way God’s designed them to be able to feel emotionally and spiritually close to us!

If we’ve let ourselves go and are no longer making any effort to be attractive to them or have a good sex life, or be affectionate with them, we are causing them to live in a state of emotional and spiritual torment.

This is serious, sisters, holding on to our “right” to be against being attractive for our husbands is selfish and only causes damage to our marriage, and damages the hearts of our husbands.  It’s putting up a stumbling block in his way to experiencing closeness and intimacy with us – emotionally, spiritually, as well as physically.  

It should remain obvious then, that if we care about our husband’s well-being, if we care about his needs and God-given desires, then we will also care about nourishing a passionate, romantic marriage, and staying attractive to our men.

 

Related: A Woman’s Attractiveness Reflects on Her Husband’s Appeal, Talent, and Ability

Men Need an Attractive Wife

Single Women: You Have the Power in Attracting a Man – Unleash It!

 

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14 thoughts on “Why is Attractiveness in Marriage Important?

  1. Great post. As a single guy I’ve found that different things are attractive to different people. Personally hair that is completely straight looks odd to me, but curls (even if the girl describes them as frizz) is attractive. I appreciate that women care about their appearance and as guys we need to work on this ourselves.

  2. You know what I would really recommend for someone struggling with this? A book called “Men Are Visual” by Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross. It’s a Christian book about how men’s brains are just much more visually based than women’s, and how men process visual stimulus.

    First of all it led to some amazing conversations with my husband about how difficult it can be for him to be in a place like the mall, where there are pictures of women in lingerie everywhere, and tons of hot women prancing around in tight and revealing clothes, just how helplessly overstimulated a man can become in a situation like that.

    But also, the book really explains how God created men in such a way that they crave beauty from their wives, they need mental images of their beautiful, sexy wives to battle the temptation of their environment. And that is completely Biblical:

    (Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love. Proverbs 5:18-19)

    Also, if you read the Song of Songs, the man *only* praises the woman for her physical beauty. It’s all about how hot and sexy she is and her smokin’ body. It’s important to balance Proverbs 31 with this to come away with a full picture of marriage.

  3. Thank you for the book recommendation LeeLee, that is great!

    And yes, I totally agree with the balance of outward beauty and inner character needing to be there. Like I said in this post,

    “It really is a balance, but it’s true that the issue is complex – what matters to God. On one hand, when it comes down to it, He loves people right where they are – and every person, no matter what they look like, matter to Him and has great personal value! If a Christian is living their life, and haven’t grown in a certain area, He still loves them and values them.

    But on the other hand, God does want us to be growing spiritually and becoming more complete/mature people, and a part of spiritual growth that Christians tend to overlook is how they are taking care of themselves physically.

    Making themselves attractive, enjoying that process, nourishing the passionate love and attraction in their marriage are all holy and spiritual pursuits! God wants us to have life and life abundantly – Scripture even states that the reason He died was so that we can have complete joy – joy in it’s completeness. It is very hard to have that kind of abundant life and complete joy when a woman isn’t taking care of her health and fitness, creating a passionate marriage, and flourishing in attraction between her and her mate.

    So God does care about those things in the long run, but they are of lesser importance compared to a person’s salvation and having “inner beauty” – which is character and integrity.”

    I think another thing that could help women have compassion for their men in this area is to really dwell on how a woman not caring about her attractiveness impacts a husband’s spiritual closeness and quality of living:

    “Sex and affection are critical to men, it is the way God’s designed them to be able to feel emotionally and spiritually close to us!
    If we’ve let ourselves go and are no longer making any effort to be attractive to them or have a good sex life, or be affectionate with them, we are causing them to live in a state of emotional and spiritual torment.”

  4. Yes! Different things definitely are attractive to different people based on many contributing factors! My brother actually doesn’t find women with blonde hair attractive because he associates them with a certain unattractive attitude. He thinks I look beautiful being blonde, but he also thinks I act opposite from the women he’s talking about. He had too many negative experiences with blonde, white women being super snobby to find them attractive anymore, so he’s developed a quite different “type,” and prefers brunettes from different ethnicities. He thinks they are the epitome of beautiful women 🙂 My husband came from a half Hispanic family where Hispanic women were the matriarchs of the family, so he picked someone that acted very differently (I’m the opposite of many of them in many ways) based on what attracted him. Men tend to pick what they associate having positive experiences with and deem these positive, sometimes unique qualities as attractive.

    And hair is just so different! To me, I think a wife should try to make an effort to style or wear it the way her husband likes it. Many women wear their hair frizzy and up all the time because they just don’t want to spend those few extra minutes making it look presentable. Even if you’re in the home all day and taking care of little ones, I still think it’s important to take care of your hair for your own self-respect and self-dignity. 🙂

  5. “…men’s brains are just much more visually based than women’s, and how men process visual stimulus.”

    Yet women are generally more concerned with visual aesthetics than are men, more attentive to decoration, more consciously aware of what other people are wearing, probably even (agin, on the average) more appreciative of natural beauty.

    Not sure how these things coexist…maybe the ‘more visually based’ thing for men deals specifically only with sexual attraction.

  6. I think what you’re picking up about women being more concerned with outward appearance is because they think (in our culture it seems) that outward beauty can somehow makeup for the lack of inner beauty cultivated. It seems, in that regard, more about greed and materialism than actually trying to just simply be attractive to their husbands.

    The “visually based” assertion does have to do more with I think sexuality differences. Men are much more apt to be visual when it comes to desiring their partners to look a certain way, but I’ve heard of women who also didn’t like that their husbands gained weight or let themselves go. For sexuality, women are usually more turned on through their feelings and emotions, whereas a man can just see a woman sometimes and get turned on immediately without even knowing her.

  7. Dragonfly, you are always such a good person. I almost don’t want to come to your blog if I’m enjoying a hot little bowl of self-validating hatred. Hope doesn’t help when I’m getting psyched to demean people.

    “Sex and affection are critical to men, it is the way God’s designed them to be able to feel emotionally and spiritually close to us!”

    Just wanted to say that this is true at the chemical level. I know jokes can be made and your statement could be misinterpreted, but yep… it’s very true. I almost hate to say it, but if a Christian wife thinks she’s missing out on great godly leadership… buy some new lacy panties.

    I show myself out, LOL.

  8. One of the strangest malaises of current Christian teaching is that it often demonizes any good that is not the highest good.

    For instance, Christians who note that Jesus himself is more important than the Bible, will talk bad about the Old Testament.
    People who note that Jesus is better than religion, then pretend that the Bible prescribes no religion.
    People who think that the kingdom of God is more important than money, then say, “it’s not about money at all.”

    But the Bible has positive things to say about all of these things even though they aren’t the more important things. It’s a weird habit and it certainly seems to happen with regard to beauty as well.

  9. LOL But I’ve been criticized for suggesting anything lacy!

    Apparently, good Christian wives don’t wear lingerie or lacy undergarments lol… they’re of course, above that.

  10. Apparently, good Christian wives don’t wear lingerie or lacy undergarments

    In who’s rendition of hell does that rule apply? ALL women wear lingerie and lacy (skimpy) undergarments if they want to be appealing to their man. Consider it an inviolable rule.

    So, if you want to be happily married – stay in shape, even after you have a child, and always dress for him so he WANTS to take you out and show you off. He wants you to look nice and other guys to envy him. Plain and simple – if he feels like he should hide you, he will find a woman that he doesn’t want to hide. And remember the effects of “love goggles” – sort of like “beer goggles” but only applies to you – he will always see you as the attractive young woman you were when he first married you, (mark it up as a “male thing”) unless you give him many reasons not to…

  11. That “love goggles” thing is so sweet Just Saying!

    And yes, I do think these things matter, and it’s great to know how they affect our husbands’ love for us when we as wives take care of ourselves, and want to be attractive to him.

  12. Pingback: Married Women: Your Character Can Either Inspire Love or Inspire Indifference | All Things Bright and Beautiful

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