When I was praying about whether I was to be part of this ministry, ideas after ideas of articles after articles went through my mind. Marriage and the intricacies of female/male dynamics are a passion of mine.
Learning how men’s brains work versus how women think versus how we each feel have been a field of study of mine for years. I have a library of marriage and parenting books (because the dynamics of male/female brains really help me parent my sons and my daughter) – and I didn’t even realize how many I had until we recently moved and box after box labeled “marriage and parenting books” got loaded into the moving truck.
So, I have no limit to what I want to share with you. However, an article has been coming to the forefront of my mind since the first article I ever wrote. Because of that, I feel like the Holy Spirit is pushing me to write it — so, clearly someone out there needs it.
Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4
I was 29-years-old and had been previously married for over nine years before the first time anyone ever told me I was beautiful. Gregg, when we first met, was the first person to say it. And I naturally brushed it off, dismissed it.
He couldn’t possibly mean beautiful when he said that, right? I couldn’t possibly be beautiful, or surely the man I’d been married to for the better part of a decade might have mentioned it at one point, right? Gregg considered my objection to it insulting, as if I didn’t trust his judgement enough to have an opinion about it.
Now, it isn’t that I’m classically beautiful by any societal standard – as if that really means anything. I believe that physical beauty is subjective and temporary (if you don’t think so, read Song of Solomon 4 and the comparisons the bridegroom gives in a loving and passionate description of his bride — “Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from the hills of Gilead.“).
But I also think that if you love someone, if you are physically and spiritually bound to someone, then they ought to be beautiful to you.
When I look in the mirror, I see 44 years old. I see 50 extra pounds. I see stretch marks and sagging and gravity and wrinkles. I see flaws and errors and not beauty.
But when Gregg looks at me, he sees his “one”, he sees proof that I bore and nursed his children, he sees the love I have for him shine from my eyes, he sees my commitment and love for Jehovah God radiate from me. To his eyes, that is true beauty.
And when my husband says I am beautiful, when those words are said by my husband to his wife, then I actually feel beautiful. What’s more, with every passing year, my beauty to my husband grows instead of wanes, because it’s not wrapped up in a package that can be controlled or contained with anti-wrinkle cream; it’s all of me and all of my being that he finds beautiful.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
If you’ve never read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I want to highly recommend it. My husband, Gregg, and I have a really good dynamic. We’re comfortable with each other. We know how to communicate and how to express ourselves.
However, after reading that book, so many little things opened our eyes and totally enhanced everything about the way we DO love, about the way we recognize love, and even how we parent. One of the five languages about which Chapman writes is words of affirmation.
Now, I’m not a words of affirmation person. I don’t necessarily receive love with words, and I don’t naturally give love with words. But, one of my sons does, and watching him just bloom when we praise him or verbally affirm him is amazing.
It also has taught us to take care in correcting him verbally, because we know with him, a certain word said in the wrong tone could hurt him almost like a physical blow.
While that isn’t my love language, I will tell you that when Gregg tells me I am beautiful, I bloom from the inside out. It encourages me. It makes me feel desirable — something that has to happen in a woman’s mind in a build-up of intimacy — and it emboldens me and gives me confidence in my interactions with him.
You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Song of Solomon 4:7
Husbands, if you love your wives, then I would be willing to bet when you look at her, you see nothing but her beauty. But, here’s my challenge to you — when was the last time you expressed that to her?
It’s going to be natural for a woman to dismiss it. With the bombardment of media showering us with the current public perception of what beauty is supposed to be in 2016, very few of us feel like we measure up to that standard. There’s a knee jerk that will have us deny it.
Don’t let that stop you. Tell your wife she’s beautiful. Shower her with words of affection like that. You will be amazed in the changes in her as she begins to trust that you mean it, and that you see so much more to her than the flaws that stare back at her in the mirror.