Beauty: In the eye of the beholder

Today I got an e-mail from a reader and it made me want to cry! The reader shared the following bits with me….

I had a baby two years ago and with the pregnancy I weighed over 230 pounds. I use to weigh about 185 before I got pregnant. Anyway it has been a struggle for me to get the weight off. Bring at home all the time with two kids, it seem like I just put on more weight…..for the forth of July weekend we went to the Jersey shore to watch fireworks and enjoy the beach.  I caught his several times checking out other women while we were at the beach. He wasn’t even trying to hide it. It made me feel like he doesn’t find me attractive anymore. Honestly we having had sex in about 2 months but he will go into his office and watch porn…. I can’t loose weight overnight but I need to feel he still finds me beautiful, he is still attracted to me. I feel ugly.

Being attractive to your husband is HUGE. If your spouse tells (or makes you feel) you, you’re not attractive, that’s devastating, and it’s hard to recover from. And for many people it can make you insecure and depressed (and when most women are depressed….we (myself included) tend to eat. 

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We’re supposed to delight in our spouses, not tear them down. So this is something that is likely best to keep to yourself. Or is it? That being said, sometimes we do need to be honest. Let’s say your husband has gained a tremendous amount of weight and sex is now just plain uncomfortable (I mean like it is hard to breathe). Or perhaps you have gained 150 pounds and he does find it difficult to become aroused just seeing you.

How do you handle that?

Before we answer, let me share this with you. As many of you all know, back in February Mark and I suffered a miscarriage. And I will tell you, I put on weight…..A LOT of weight during the pregnancy, and the loss of the baby made me really depressed.. In-fact, I dont think I have ever admitted this….but I don’t think I have ever just processed or came to terms with what happened. I just tried not to think about it. That just allowed me to fall deeper and deeper into my depression. Which in turn made me want to eat….which meant….I was constantly putting on weight. 

 

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However, MEN!!! (I’m talking to you) there is a way of going about telling your wife, she needs to drop a few (or a lot) pounds. I don’t think Mark ever said anything about my weight….but I know he noticed. He chose to be a part of the solution–like cooking better meals, initiating walks after dinner, and finding active habits for us to enjoy. If your spouse is  severely overweight, talk to him/her about how you don’t want him/her to die early, and you think that part of loving your spouse is taking care of yourself so you’re actually here to help raise the kids and see the grand kids and share old age with. But don’t make it into a “I don’t find you attractive” issue–or “you need to be skinnier” issue. In general, that’s not helpful. You will be adding to the problem.

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I have started to get back to where I want to be….. however, I didn’t do it alone, it was the encouragement I received from Mark and several Scriptures from the Bible that helped me find the motivation to do whatever was necessary to loose weight. 

Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;

                                                                 -Proverbs 5:19

It does not say, “Make sure YOUR breasts delight HIM”; it says to him, “delight in your wife.” Biblically, the duty is on the spouse to stay enthralled.

And that verse was directed at an older, married couple, too, where likely gravity had taken its toll….I’m just saying!!

I believe that part of loving your man and helping your man is being as attractive as you can be. After all, you’re the only woman he’s allowed to look at and take delight in! So make sure you’re attractive to look at!

That does mean keeping in shape as much as is realistic. Watch what you eat. Incorporate as many active things into your life as possible. For me going to the lake to swim, and that seemed to be helping! Eating well does not take any more time than eating poorly, and so it’s a blessing we can give our family and our husbands.

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

1 Timothy 4:8

So there’s nothing wrong with exercise; but let’s remember that our lives should not be about creating the perfect body at the expense of other things. In a previous relationship I was in….staying fit was like a job for me. I would spend two to three hours a day working out. It was very stressful and time consuming. I missed out on a lot of family activities because I had to be in the gym. 

For someone to tell their spouse “I don’t find you attractive anymore because you don’t look like you did when we married” is a little harsh, because our bodies are not designed to stay the same. They are designed to slowly fall apart. That’s what aging is. After you have babies, you sag. You have stretch marks. You are bigger. You just ARE.

And as you age, you get moles. Your veins start to stick out. Your metabolism slows, and while you could eat a ton at 20 and stay 120 pounds, now you eat less and you’re 145.

That’s what our bodies do.

Maturity means recognizing this and delighting in having a spouse to grow older with, not in expecting that person to stay 20.

Sex is supposed to unite us in multiple ways–spiritually, physically, emotionally. The physical is only one. And when we put so much emphasis on needing the perfect body in order to make love we’ve lost the point. We’ve cheapened sex.

Yes, the body is important, and yes, we need to do what we can to keep ourselves attractive to our husbands. But that does not mean looking like you’re 20 when you’re 35 and you’ve had 4 kids.

By the time you’re 35 and you’ve had 4 kids, sex should be about celebrating who you are together. It should be a way to relax. It should be a way to cement your relationship as you parent together. It should be about saying, “I’m still crazy about you.” It should be ALL of those things.

Unfortunately, in our pornographic society it’s all too easy to think that “sexy” means a certain body type. And when we constantly feed our minds with what those bodies look like, through consuming media or even porn, then it’s hard for our spouses to measure up (men this goes for yall too, if women watch a lot of porn…..you might be hard for you to even satisfy her….think about that)

We MUST fight against this.

If your spouse is telling you that you aren’t attractive and that they don’t find you sexy, then perhaps it’s time to sit down and have a big talk about what intimacy really is.

You can make a commitment to get healthy and to keep yourself attractive, but that’s only half the story. It’s also about recognizing that godly intimacy is a meeting of bodies AND souls, not just bodies. And if you say, “your body isn’t attractive, so I don’t want to make love”, you’re also basically rejecting the soul. God designed sex to help us feel like one SPIRITUALLY, not just PHYSICALLY. So if you say, “I physically don’t want to have sex with you,” you’re also saying, “I don’t want to feel like one with you.” That’s harsh. And it’s wrong. And it means that you’ve bought into a shallow version of sex.

Weight is a really complex issue. I do think our marriages are worth the effort to look good, and to stay within a reasonable weight (definitely NOT what you were at 20, mind you!). Your spouse SHOULD matter to you, and making love is a huge part of marriage. Continuing to try to entice your spouse is a huge way of saying, “I care about you.”

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Nevertheless, sex is best and most meaningful when it is not just about the body. Put too much emphasis there, and you buy into the world’s idea of sex. And that just cheapens it.

And that’s it–all my thoughts on the subject on what to do if your husband thinks you’re not attractive! I think I’ll keep putting up Reader Questions once a week, but I’ll answer them instead and set the tone. A number of you have said you appreciated the feature, so I’ll keep it up there. I think if I set the tone, the chance of the comments becoming too outrageous is a lot lower.

Love you! 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Beauty: In the eye of the beholder

Add yours

  1. Wow Telisa you hit it out of the park with this one. I loved every word of it. And how honest you were about your own struggles. I agree it is the woman’s job to keep herself up for her man.

    Like

  2. Well said. I appreciate the openness about your own situation. Very relatable stuff in this. I hope it helps people.

    Like

  3. Telisa this was very interesting especially hearing a woman tell other women that’s it’s their job to look good to their husbands. I wish more women thought like you.

    Like

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