Really, You Look Great to Him

Last week a female blogger friend sent me a message asking, “Any plans for an XY Code post on wives’ beauty?” The same issue came up in the What Your Husband Wants You to Know survey results. I summed it up by saying “When we say we like you, what you do, and how you look, please believe us!”

I often hear from men wanting to know how to convince their wife they think she is beautiful. Most of us have learned telling her we like the way she looks is sure to result in disagreement. A few poor fellows have even been accused of lying!

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I understand how difficult it is to be “normal” in a sea of photo-shopped beauty. It is easy to lose track of reality. Honestly, I think women buy into this far more than men do. I also think women drive this craziness. Look at women’s magazines, commercials aimed at women, and books, television, and movies made for women. The level of physical perfection in those things is higher than what men view. I have a friend who watched his wife get ready for a woman’s luncheon. There would be no men there, and yet she spent more time getting ready than she ever spent getting ready for a date with him. She was putting on a look for other women!

The cultural side of must-be-perfect beauty is obvious if you travel much. I have friends in Southern California who feel an extreme pressure to look perfect. What would be very nice in other places is not even passing in their world. I see the opposite in friends from other countries where the female form is not worshipped.

Most men have not bought into this cultural mind-set nearly as much as most women have. Most of us have learned the cost of a woman looking so physically perfect. We have all met a woman the world calls a ten with a personality no one can stand. Frankly many of us learned to shy away from the “perfect looking women” because the odds were good she was not someone with whom we wanted to spend time. (Yes, that is unfair, but it is more common than you think – especially when a man is looking for a wife.)

Am I telling you it does not matter how you look? No, I am telling you most husbands do not buy the cultural definition of beauty. When we look at someone we do not know, the physical is all we have to go on. When we look at the woman we loved enough to marry, we see so much more. We see the woman who cares for us when we are sick. We see the woman who believed in us when we doubted ourselves. We see the woman who shares her mind and body in so many wonderful ways. We see the mother of our children. We see the only woman we want. Because of all this, we see a deep beauty no mirror can reflect.

The next time your husband says, you are beautiful, please know he honestly thinks you are. Thank him for saying it, and feel good about yourself. You will both feel better for it.

By The Way: J of Hot Holy and Humours recently had a post that goes well with this – check out Getting Comfortable Being Naked with Your Husband.

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25 Comments on “Really, You Look Great to Him

  1. And yet, if there is a woman at a party who comes close to that magazine-perfect standard of beauty, the majority of the men in the room zero in on her. I used to work in an office where all the women were attractive, but there was one who was particularly beautiful. She actually had to have her desk moved into a corner behind some file cabinets, because if the visiting businessmen came into the room and spotted her they would make a beeline for her desk and hang around trying to chat her up, keeping her from getting her work done. (The rest of us didn’t have that problem, despite being young, pretty, and well-groomed. Apparently we become invisible in comparison to her.) All too often I have seen both average and above average-looking women completely ignored as the men at the event focused on the one exceptional-looking female in the room. Most women have seen this happen time and time again. Does every guy do this every time? No. But it happens so much that, in combination with the media messages that tell us everything about us is wrong, it is very easy to feel hopelessly unattractive no matter what anyone, even our husbands, may say.
    Rosemary recently posted…OfflineMy Profile

    • I certainly have seen that, and I can only imagine how it makes other women feel.
      On the other hand, as you say not all men do that, but we all get painted with it.
      Treating people like individuals is the way to go, but it takes more effort!
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Marriage Destroyer: EntitlementMy Profile

    • @Rosemary I understand your point of view and sympathize. Recently another woman made some statements that were very helpful to me. She explained how another woman can never compare to me because I am the one with whom my husband associates pleasure and intimacy. My body is his and no one else has the privilege of touching me.

      I said to my husband once, “I can make an effort with my appearance, but I’ll never look like Vanna White.” He said, “I don’t want that (he didn’t even use a personal pronoun), I want you!”

    • Unfortunately, this is something of a programmed response in men. We are designed to react to visual stimuli in this way.

      Most good Christian husbands, and even good husbands who aren’t Christians, will try to tune this out. However, it’s not easy. This is because we have to intentionally train ourselves not to act that way. Even then, our instincts often get the better of us.

      But when we see our wife, we see the whole person. We see the woman we chose to share our life with, who bore our children, who has shown us love and commitment. We see past the outward flaws and can see her true beauty. And the inward beauty we see allows us to appreciate her physical beauty even more.
      Daniel Robertson recently posted…The Proper Care and Feeding of Your MarriageMy Profile

    • More thoughts…Perhaps just as a wife’s kind words, respectful actions, and so forth are muted by her refusing her husband’s sexual advances, a husband’s affirmation of his wife’s beauty is muted by his ogling, and worse, commenting on, other women’s beauty. Maybe along with asking wives to believe their husbands, husbands should try to understand why their words might be difficult to believe. Women are often said to expect their husbands to read their minds. We can’t read our husbands’ minds either. So when after several years of marriage, a wife asks her husband if he has ever found her beautiful and he responds, “I married you, didn’t I?” she may need some reassurance. Just sayin’ :)

  2. Pingback: Beautiful? | The Forgiven Wife

  3. A woman wants and needs to know she is her husband’s chosen beauty-and every woman deserves that from the man she committed her life to (just as there are things a husband needs as committing his life to his bride). If he shows her he is attracted to others by his looking and his actions that’s the message she receives about his preferences (she is not enough and not good enough for him). Every smart man learns quickly to tell his wife often that she is beautiful but we all know talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. If her husband is looking he will make her feel more ugly than anything else she sees in the media and our culture that make her feel inadequate and if he then tries to convince her she is beautiful (to him) she’ll think his words are a lie because of his actions.

    • I fear men are too quick to fall about on “it’s how I was made”. Yes, that is true, but we can and should fight things that hurt and offend our spouse.
      On the other side, it helps a lot if women understand it is how we are made and appreciate our efforts to fight that even when we fall short of perfect. It seems to me the effort shows love.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Charity and Love Begin at HomeMy Profile

    • Exactly. Which is why I have offered to dye my hair red, brown, etc. I’ve offered to get breast implants, butt implants, you name it. And he gets so mad about it and says, “why can’t you understand that I love YOU and think YOU are beautiful?” Why? Because I just saw you checking out that brunette, and the other day it was the girl in the tight jeans. That’s why. I know I’m not good enough. He has no right to get mad at me for not believing he thinks I’m beautiful when I have seen him check out other women.

      • I understand how this looks and why you feel as you do. I also understand how he can think you are beautiful and still look inappropriately at other women.
        I don’t know how to help you believe that, nor do I know how to help him stop looking.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…Know When to Say No!My Profile

  4. So then, may I ask, “What’s with the porn addictions?”
    It’s kind of hard to believe my husband actually thinks I’m beautiful, given the number of times he’s fallen back to perusing strippers and models on the internet. And before anyone suggests that it’s because I’ve been sexually unavailable, let me say that quite the opposite has been true. I’m significantly younger than my husband and for years we would not have had a sex life had I not been the one initiating. So, IF he tells me I’m beautiful, how am I supposed to reconcile that to actions that scream the opposite?

    • Many men fall back on pornography and sexual stimulation outside the marriage not because they are “choosing” those women over their wives but because the brain is wired to react to novelty with a release of powerful hormones that many become addicted to. I say “the” brain and not the “male” brain because everyone’s psychology works the same way, although by different routes. It is easier (albeit not right) to seek novel situations to get this kind of satisfaction rather than to cultivate novelty in a long-term relationship. Men don’t turn to porn because those women are prettier (it really doesn’t matter what they look like), they turn to them because they are “new”.

      It is my experience that sexual arousal and attraction has far less to do with actual physical beauty and far more to do with emotional stimulation, desire and acceptance and novelty.
      Bonnie @ Love, Marriage and Sex recently posted…Duty Sex is a Waste of TimeMy Profile

      • All very true.
        I got into porn it the 60’s. Back then very few women would do full nude porn, so just about any women willing to do it got shown. To say many were not the most beautiful women would be kind.
        You see the same thing with prostitutes, many of whom are not beautiful by any measure. And yet men pay to have sex with them.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…Charity and Love Begin at HomeMy Profile

      • You nailed it, Bonnie. At the risk of sounding like an insensitive misogynist, it easier to blame a husbands failings and pornography than to look for any bit of culpability at your own door step. It’s more comforting to curse the darkness than to light a candle so you can see the truth.
        Dan recently posted…If Duty Sex Isn’t Her Duty, What Is? Part 3My Profile

    • I am not normal in this area, so I cannot speak to this first hand. But I have talked to a lot of men and read much about it, so I have an understanding.
      Most men can separate the two in their minds. In box A is my wife, and in box B is porn. They are two separate things, and neither affects the other.
      I don’t think it is true they do not affect each other, but most men feel that is the truth. They can’t figure out why she makes such a big deal about it, and honestly think she is just looking for something to get upset about.
      Christian men apply “porn is wrong” which may (or may not) stop the behaviour. That’s good, but it does not deal with the deeper two box issue.
      I want men to understand is sex is one big box. Anything that is sexual is in that box, and it all affects the other things in the box.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Charity and Love Begin at HomeMy Profile

  5. Thank you, Paul, for committing to such a high and rare standard. God bless you!

  6. Pingback: When Your Body Feels Like Your Enemy… | Calm.Healthy.Sexy.

  7. It can be hard to believe when your husband has looked at images online. You are right, I can’t compete with photoshop, but if you have looked at other women, get ready for disagreements and be prepared to maybe even do damage control.

    • If you truly believe in intimacy, don’t doubt that a husband still desires his wife after experiencing porn. In saying it that way, I do not mean he just looked at porn, got aroused and is now seeking you out for sex. I mean if he as viewed porn in the past, it is still likely you are desired, and not as a consolation prize either. You cannot feel intimacy with a digital image. You cannot have a relationship with a digital image.

      The fact that he looks at digital images, does nothing positive for your feelings of intimacy toward him of course; so even though he stills seek out intimacy with only you and can compartmentalize it from the porn, it is still an unsatisfactory situation. Though you may still be number one in his intimate life, it is little consolation as you feel you are competing with the porn. I get that. As Paul said, he may not feel it has any effect on him, other than when you find out, but it does. By the way Jennifer, I do realize you did not say your husband was using porn. It was just writing in that person for clarity.
      Dan recently posted…If Duty Sex Isn’t Her Duty, What Is? Part 1My Profile

      • I don’t believe any of this. I totally believe looking = wanting. Or at least wishing. Am I’m not talking porn, I’m talking the 20 year old waitress, the girl in the parking lot with the short shorts, the lady strutting around the pool in a bikini AKA “she who ruins every family trip”. While I love that my husband tries not to look, he still looks. He tries to tell me I’m beautiful, sexy, and he loves my body but it’s just white lies to make me feel better. Why won’t men just admit this? If they are looking at a “hot” woman, they are thinking “wow. I wish I could have her. I wonder what it would be like…” And that tears my heart right out. If you wanted said waitress, girl, or bikini strutter you should have gone after her instead of settling for me. I can’t tell you how many arguments this has caused. He says “confidence is sexy.” Yea, because sexy women are confident! Duh! There is no confidence in a flat butt, or a tummy that’s had two kids and has to struggle to stay a size 10 or under. Thanks for letting me vent!

        • Some things draw our attention, even if we do not want to see them. It is why everyone slows down to rubberneck at an accident. It does not mean they want to see a body, but they still feel they must look.
          Praying for you and your husband.
          Paul Byerly recently posted…The Sex Drive God Gave YouMy Profile

          • Thank you for your prayers. I wish I could understand, as this issue causes so much angst. I just wish I were enough for him. He says he loves me so much, and he thinks I’m very attractive, but I know he’s just trying to be nice. I wish I could get past this but I really have no idea how that will ever happen. Thank you for praying though! I do appreciate it.

            • Women can read a romance novel and say I wish my man would romance me like this man does in the book. Does that mean you desire him and no longer desire your husband? There was a time when I did turn to porn and not to masterbate. I would watch these women knowing it was fake thinking ” I wish my wife would LOOK at me like that when we made love” not act or do but look at me. Did that make me not desire my wife? Not. I desire to be with her daily, only that it doesn’t happen.
              This may be putting to simple but here goes. Your husband bakes you a cake for your birthday that night that looks really good and tasty, then while at the store that afternoon you see (maybe a different kind) a cake at the bakery part that is perfect looking, do you no longer desire to eat the cake that your husband so thoughtfully baked for you? You did think the cake at the bakery was beautiful.
              Steve recently posted…Most Viewed #1: Why Your Husband Wants You to Wear Lingerie But Won’t Tell YouMy Profile

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