I Thought You Were…

Lori and I did “Who we are” posts on The Generous Husband and Generous Wife last week. In response to the picture of the two of us (below), one of Lori’s readers sent an email that said in part:

Wow! This post is a shocker–in a good way! I always pictured you as much younger with a sexy, thin body–and I would think, “Well, of course she says “Be naked for your guy–he likes to look at you,” because I figured you had a “Barbie” figure! … Thanks for being so real for us!! You are both a beautiful couple, by the way!! I hope I didn’t offend you in any way!” (Used anonymously with permission)

Paul & Lori © Forest Byerly 

Lori and I are who we are. We’re in our 50’s, were ordinary looking, and we struggle with our weight. We are not the beautiful couple poster children. Nor do we want to be.

Our society tells us how we look and how much money we make determines our happiness and success. Being a happy couple requires a solid income. Having a good sex life requires being young and beautiful. 

These are lies!

Lori talks to her readers about getting naked because she understands men want to see their wives naked. She also understands men are not nearly as hung up on physical looks as women think they are. What makes my wife sexy to me is my love for her. I want to see her naked. Her body, as it is, is the vessel holding the woman I love. I like how her body looks because she is inside it. When I look at her outside, I am seeing the woman inside, and she is so beautiful.

Your husband is the same way. Even if he struggles to keep his eyes from following the young half-naked waitress. Even if he struggles with porn. Temptations of the eye are just that. They say nothing about his desire to be with you, the woman he loves. 

I know Lori would like to weigh less. She might like to change some of how she looks. She struggles with this just as you do, because she is immersed in a messed up society with ungodly values. I have worked to balance this by telling her the truth. I tell her she is beautiful because she is. I tell her she is sexy because she is. When she told me I was wrong, I kept telling her. Eventually she started to believe me.

Have you ever argued with your husband when he gave you a compliment? Most men are not as stubborn as I was; argue with them often enough and they will stop telling you the truth. That does not mean he agrees with your opinion of yourself, it just means he is tired of arguing about it. If he is still telling you the truth about yourself, thank him. If he has stopped, try to remember his words. 

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I see my beautiful wife more clearly than she sees herself. 

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12 Comments on “I Thought You Were…

  1. I am grateful that my husband is as stubborn as you are! For years, I believed that his compliments were a) a reflection of his lack of taste, or b) a ploy to get sex.

    I’m not sure what flipped the switch for me, but I do remember that one time when I did allow myself to be naked in front of him, he lost the power of speech. That was when I realized that he wasn’t lying when he said I was beautiful or sexy. I don’t feel so beautiful or sexy when I’m naked and alone–but when I’m naked and with my husband, his response makes me believe that I am what he says.
    Chris recently posted…Louder Than WordsMy Profile

    • I recall Lori questioning my eye sight, then my sanity. (The second is a valid concern, but not because I know she is beautiful.)

      Lover your last sentence! May we all see ourselves in the mirror of our spouse’s eyes – sexually and otherwise.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Words and Wisdom: FamilyMy Profile

    • Perhaps the problem is in “sexy.” Sexy carries to much baggage with it. Sexy is hot, glamorous, gorgeous, tart, bodacious, round and firm in all the right places, wet, ready and wanton.

      Maybe if our wives were willing to see themselves as desirable. Have you ever had a meal placed before you that was not plated to perfection but you desired it anyway because you have always loved carbonara and even though it is bacon and not pancetta this is your favorite dish and you know exactly what it is going to taste like? It’s not the most expensive wine, but is still an excellent Chardonnay and you desire it.

      Can you accept that we desire you, even though you are not perfect (“sexy”)? I have to admit, I have desired women that were not “sexy” as defined by most media, but because I desired them, they were hot and sexy to me. Maybe it’s time to retire “I find you sexy,” and use the always truthful words “I passionately desire you.” Now it’s up to you to allow and believe yourselves to be desirable. If you complain about and believe him when your husband constantly wants more sex with you, how could you believe otherwise? You are desirable.
      Dan recently posted…My Wife ≠ MeMy Profile

      • Hi Dan. Read your comment yesterday and feel the need to respond. Your second paragraph reads as though you settle for your wife. You’d rather have pancetta but can settle for bacon. You’d rather have a more expense wine but will settle for a less tasty Chardonnay. You’d really like to have sex with the woman who just passed by but you will settle for your wife. I’m not saying that was your intent, but your comparisons indicate you settle. Some of my reaction may stem from the food metaphors–women are not consumable products. We are human beings created in God’s image with hearts, spirits, minds, purposes, callings.
        Also, just because a husband wants sex does not necessarily mean he desires his wife. We know we are not the only women our husbands notice and are aroused by. We know that regardless of the effort invested in our appearance, the quantity and quality of sex, we are compared to other women and compete with them in our husbands’ minds. And we know that even if there was such a thing as a perfect body and we had it, none of this would change.
        I do not want to be the woman for whom my husband settles or the one he utilizes to avoid temptation. I don’t want to be the bacon instead of the pancetta. I don’t want to be the less expensive, less tasty wine. I want him to be captivated by me and only me. I long to be cherished and adored.
        Thanks for listening. Perhaps you or Paul will have a helpful reply.

        • I’ll speak from my experience. I want to have sex with my wife – period. I have no desire for any other women, and have not since we married.

          If my most desired sex act was XYZ, and ABC was well down the list, I would much rather have ABC with my wife than even think about XYZ with any other woman.

          To use an ever problematic food metaphor, I want to eat at my wife’s restaurant. I may wish for something to be added to the menu, but I will happily choose from want is on the menu. Asking her if she will add a stuffed prosciutto wrap (with smoked gouda cheese) does not mean I will be unhappy eating the shrimp aragosta or smoked gouda and shrimp mostaccioli.

          For me the who is the primary issue, with what being secondary to the desires and limitations of the who.

          • Thanks, Paul. I think you may be an exceptional exception. Dan at Frankly Speaking (http://youguystalkedmeintothis.wordpress.com/) has written about how a person’s unmet fantasy/need can cause them to consider going elsewhere, and he included plenty of statistical support: http://youguystalkedmeintothis.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/marital-infidelity/

            “When it comes to sexually fantasizing, here is a statistic you don’t want to hear: 61% (well over half) of women and 90% of men fantasize about other people. Let me make it a little more disturbing. The book did not say “about other people;” that was my paraphrase. The book said, “about people they meet. OUCH! These numbers represent the population as a whole, not just those inclined to cheat, unlike most of the rest of these statistics. They found no evidence that fantasizing was a reflection on the quality of the primary relationship but more an instinctive response that is part of our nature. They also found “virtually no connection between fantasies of infidelity and the happiness in the core relationship.” Happy or unhappy, temptation happens.”

            According to Dr. Laura Berman, one of the secrets men keep from their wives: They think about other women during sex. This is from a Men’s Health magazine poll. “It’s their coping mechanism for being in a monogamous relationship, says Dr Berman. Men are programmed to spread their seed and be with different partners. Monogamy for life doesn’t come naturally to us, and variety is the spice of life and of a healthy love relationship. The fantasizing is a coping mechanism for being monogamous, and wives shouldn’t be offended by or worried about it. If it’s about an abstract person, it’s not a secret that wives should worry about. But it husbands are secretly thinking about their wives’ sister or best friend, it could become a problem in the marriage.”

            All this makes the bedroom seem like a minefield.

            • Dan quotes from “The Normal Bar”. I read the book, and some of the data was good. However, the data was analysed with a worldly/evolutionary mindset, and some of it seemed badly skewed to me. (By the way, the authors admit “our sample may contain disproportionately higher or lower percentages of certain groups” {from methodology in the appendix}.For those demographics listed they miss the general population, sometimes by as much as 100%. For some stats they broke it down by group, but for this one they did not.)

              I follow Men’s Health on-line, as well as the similar female sites, in an ongoing effort to keep in touch with what is being said. Based on the articles I see, I would say the magazine is aimed at men who think with their penises. I do not see the readership as representative of men as a whole, and they have even less in common with Christian men as a whole. The articles make sexual sin look like a good thing, and normalises a lot of things God says are wrong. It is not surprising we then see these same things turn up in a survey of their readers. Cosmo and the like do the same to women. I would assume you would be at odds with much of what Cosmo surveys on sex say are normal!

              Christians, especially serious Christians, are grossly under represented in most surveys about sex. This makes applying them to ourselves, or our spouses, iffy at best.

              The whole monogamy and spreading your seed rant by Berman is pure evolutionary theory garbage. The theory is everything in life is about spreading your genes; having as many children as possible. The problem with this is it does not explain things we see, like the parents who decide to adopt even though they could have their own children, or men who get a vasectomy at a young age without having produced any children. Our minds are able to think beyond base urges, and make other choices for both good and bad reasons. I do not believe we are slaves to our biology.

              I do not think I am nearly as exceptional as you say ( but thanks!). I think I am different in being willing to say what I think and feel even in the face of those who will tell me I am wrong. I have NEVER wanted to be with another woman since I met Lori. I ENJOY monogamy, and I have no need of being with or imagining being with another woman to keep my sex life great. Dr. Berman does not speak for me, and I know I am not along.
              Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: Bride and BibleMy Profile

  2. It boggles my mind that with all the “hot bodies” out there for a man to oogle day in and day out, my husband finds me sooooo sexy. I’m not beautiful. I’m attractive enough…cute is the biggest compliment I get from a fellow…and yet hubby loves looking at me.

    The other day I stepped out of the shower and was cold and complaining about an allergic reaction I had to laundry detergent that made my skin break out, so I wrapped in a towel. Hubby was in the bathroom and asked if I was hiding from him. I removed the towel and said with a smile, “No, I know you love me warts and all.” (I don’t actually have any warts) and he smiled and looked me up and down and said, “Yup!”

    It just shows that in God’s reality and order it WORKS! I have a cute enough, shapely enough body, but it isn’t Playboy perfect. I thought it was “sex goggles,” but I’m questioning that. Surely he sees the imperfections, like the stretched out bit of skin below my naval from bearing his children. He says, “Yes, and I LOVE it. I put it there!” It’s not “perfection” according to the world, but it is his influence on me. His mark, his doing, a badge of honor that our love created beautiful children that I, his beloved wife carried and brought into this world. It’s sexy to him and he WANTS to see it.

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