It’s All About the Coffee

Note: Due to a date error this post went out on Thursday with a different title and no content. Sorry about that!

This is (yet another) attempt to convince women most men are not nearly as hung up on how a woman looks as most women seem to be. Maybe I should see this as a lost cause, but I’m stubborn. Besides, I convinced my own wife, so I do know it’s possible.

It's All About the Coffee

Did you catch the accusation above? I’m suggesting women, not men, are the ones who are all about looks. If you consider how much time and money women put into how they look, this charge seems valid. Take a look at magazines and advertising aimed at women, it’s full of ways to look better. I suppose the argument is women have to do this because it’s what men expect, but I think women have repeated that so often they believe it without any collaborating evidence from actual men.

I’m not telling you men are blind, nor am I suggesting how a woman looks never crosses a guy’s mind. What I’m trying to tell you is how a woman looks is actually a rather minor part of the whole for most men. Even in high school most of my friends had some understanding of the fact that female beauty usually comes with a cost. The “ultimate beauty” looks good on your arm, but she doesn’t want to do most of what you want to do because it will mess up her hair, or rumple her clothes, or God forbid result in her sweating! She’s not a woman, she’s a well-manicured plastic shell.

My wife’s body is a container in which she exists. What the container looks like is far, far, far less important to me than what is inside. I mean yeah, I have a favourite coffee mug, but what matters is the quality of the coffee, not what’s on the mug. The best mug in the world won’t help bad coffee, and great coffee is still great coffee in any mug.

How does this apply to sex? Lori is the woman I love. She is the mother of my children. She is the woman who worked to make my dream of running around the country in an RV become a reality. She’s the woman who cares for me when I’m sick and helps me when I’m falling behind. She rejoices with me, and she mournes with me. She prays with and for me, and she joins me in all manner of adventures. I don’t want to have sex with her because of how she looks, I want to have sex with her because of who she is to me. My wife is great coffee, and the sight of her naked little mug gets me going because it’s the mug that holds the best coffee in the world. If the image on the mug is faded, who cares? If there’s a little chip on one side, so what? I’m not aroused by her because of how her mug looks, I’m aroused by her because of what I know is in her mug. Her body turns me on because it’s her body. No other body can arouse me that way because no other body is her body!

Am I odd man out on this? Not based on what I’ve seen in the comments from last Friday’s post. The vast majority of men are far more concerned with who a woman is than how she looks. The exceptions are just that, exceptions. Please don’t judge your husband, who is probably a decent guy, by a few exceptions.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and my wife is great coffee!

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89 Comments on “It’s All About the Coffee

  1. True enough but I do think our guys appreciate us taking care of our body..clean clothes, fresh hair, brushed teeth. Not quite frumpy. There is a balance between being taking care of our “mug” and ignoring our “mug” that adds or subtracts from our attractiveness.

  2. I’m going to both agree and disagree with you. I do think that the vast majority of women’s fashion and appearance decisions have way, way more to do with impressing other women than it does with men. They also want compliments from other females far more than they want it from men.

    With that said, you are going further down the “appearances don’t matter” rabbit hole than the rope allows. Men absolutely care what you look like, but it is different than women may interpret. A guy knows within five seconds of meeting a woman if he’d have sex with her. If you are in a relationship with someone, you got past that first hurdle. If he wasn’t interested in seeing you naked, you’d have never gotten beyond hello. But appearances still matter, if I were to find myself single, being attracted to the woman would still be the first gateway to get through in a relationship.

    Now, what women seem to think that standard is, and what men think it is are two very different things. My wife would love to be 5’1 and a size 0 because that seems to be what is in magazines and what she thinks she should look like. That is not at all what I am interested in. She’s told me over and over what I like, when in fact that is not what I like. I push back….if you look at every single girl I dated from when I was 14 to when we got married…..none of them were petite…..why do you think that is? In fact, you like strikingly similar to 90% of the women I’ve dated, isn’t that odd?

    As I have gotten older, my thoughts on what I find attractive have changed some. When I was younger it was some version of “The Crazy/Hot Scale”, but I’m not 22 anymore. I think that husbands are often judged because women want to project what men in their late teens and early 20s think like onto a guy who is in his 40s, which isn’t fair.

    • @mykidsmademedoit “A guy knows within five seconds of meeting a woman if he’d have sex with her. ”

      I’m going to have to strongly disagree with you on that. Aside from those men who will have sex with anyone who is female, most of us have learned to think beyond sex. For me, sex is a very important part of an intimate relationship, but it’s only part. What’s more, there are a whole lot of other things that need to be good for the sex to be good. I don’t have sex with a body, I have sex with the woman inside the body. That makes the woman far more important than the body.

      If I were single, what a woman looked like would be so far down the list of what matters that it would be pretty much irrelevant. When I was 15 it was more important, but still not the top of the list. The older and wiser I get, the less it matters to me.

      I think how important looks are varied from man to man. I’m admiralty way over on one side. I think you are fairly far on the other. But even for you, I don’t think it’s nearly as big a deal as most women think is the case for all men. (Correct me if I’m putting things on you that are not true!)

      I do agree that we are all getting judged based on how teenagers felt and acted. I guess the assumption is we still feel that way and just lie about it now.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Friday Flashback: Bedroom ExpectationsMy Profile

      • Paul. As I read what you said and pondered some of what I said, I think I would say this. I love my wife’s body, but not because it is a body. I love it because it is her body. The first time my wife saw me it was on Facebook and my picture screamed nerd. Sorry. No interest for her. Then, she got to know me as a person and now she loves my body. That’s amazing because there’s nothing to my body for her to love I think, but what do I care so long as she loves it?

        Whatever happens to Allie’s body, I will love it, because it is her body. I want her to be the best, but not to earn my love, but because she already has it.
        Nick Peters recently posted…Are You A True Skeptic?My Profile

      • I’m going to have to strongly disagree with your strong disagreement. I’ve spent a lifetime in locker rooms and army barracks, I stand behind my statement emphatically. Most men instantly know if they are interested in sex with a woman or not from pretty much the moment they meet her. Even if we are just limiting this to Christians, we had this conversation in my church group a few weeks ago, every single guy agreed with he wouldn’t even approach a woman he wasn’t sexually attracted to, every single woman said it was something that developed later.

        Most men have not learned to think beyond sex, go ask every many you meet if he would be interested in a relationship with a woman that would never include sex, I bet you have low single digit interest.

        On the other hand I do agree with you that women do not understand how men see attractiveness. It does vary a lot. My brother and I look almost identical, and we have polar opposite tastes in women we dated; both physically and in personality. My single coworker that is constantly chasing women is completely perplexed by the fact that his ideal woman is one I wouldn’t be interested in at all, and the ones that I like he wouldn’t even notice.

        • @mykidsmademedoit – Locker rooms and army barracks are a subculture that come with certain expectations. When I was in school big breasts were the in thing. By big, I mean pumped full of silicone till it must have hurt. I have never been a big breast guy, but I didn’t say anything when the guys were talking about big boobs or showing a centrefold of a woman who probably needed help walking because I didn’t want to be teased.

          Locker rooms and barracks are all about bragging and exaggerating, and we all know it. What is said there is not a true representation of what the men think, it’s a caricature.
          I understand not approaching a woman one is not sexually attracted to, but that does not define what is needed for sexual attraction. I would argue it has far less to do with body, and especially a “hot body” than women think.

          When I said think beyond sex I didn’t mean no sex, I meant being able to think about more than just sex. Caring about more than just sex in a relationship doesn’t exclude sex, it just means that’s not all there is.
          Paul Byerly recently posted…Don’t Validate Her “I’m Not Beautiful” BeliefMy Profile

          • Locker rooms are not a subculture, they are congregational opportunities for men. You are off base by a good ways on this one with regard to the center of the bell curve of men.

            • @mykidsmademedoit – So you think the views expressed in those places are unfiltered, real, and honest? You think the views expressed are a valid cross-section of how men think and feel?

              Not my experience.
              Paul Byerly recently posted…Words MatterMy Profile

  3. As long as she can use her fists, is proficient with firearms and edged weapons, and is someone I can trust at my back in a biker bar from Hell, I don’t care if she looks like a hung-over Bulldog.

    Barb’s all of those things, and proved it on one memorable evening in Detroit when I got sick at a restaurant and she had to run a gauntlet to get me to the hospital.

    And her work nickname happens to BE ‘The Bulldog’.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Your Dying Spouse 446 – It Gets Overwhelming (Barbara) {FMF}My Profile

  4. I agree entirely. My wife has a weight problem, but I still think she’s beautiful. I would do most anything in the world to get to see her naked body. Meanwhile, she will often put on make-up, which I don’t care for, and when she does I can’t kiss her because of her lipstick. Yeah. Not worth it to me.

    I also happen to remember that many times, girls didn’t want anything to do with me before I married my wife, but they sure chased after the muscular guys and talked about how hot other guys are. Men and women are both superficial on some levels.
    Nick Peters recently posted…Evidence Considered Chapter 16My Profile

  5. Well of course. It’s a well known fact that women dress up for other women. The man who picks up on you having cut/ dyed/ fixed you hair in a new way or done your nails or notices your new outfit is a rare exception.

    All your female co-workers and friend will immediately see and comment on your fierce eyebrows or your awesome new dress or your contour game bring on point as the young ‘un say

    • I am mostly cloistered at home with my kids or I work a solo job where no one sees me but the clients’ pets. Yet I dress up, do my hair, my make-up. Why? I do it FOR ME! I look how I want to look. I don’t get this whole “dress for others” concept. Who cares??!! I do it for me.

      • I don’t. I’ve spent the last decade or so cloistered in a chemistry lab. I don’t do make-up, cause I’m honestly too lazy. I don’t wear super dressy clothes either because I’d be very upset if I got acid holes in my good clothes. I happens. Even with a lab coat. I still make sure I’m presentable though and not frumpy. You do feel better if you get in clothes and do your hair and put on your earrings.

        This is how I know men don’t care that much about outward appearance. My husband met and fell in love with me in a lab. Personal protective equipment is about the furthest thing from hot you can get. He’s also an adjunct professor. He’s permantly surrounded by barely dressed girls in their early 20’s. He has no interest whatsoever.

  6. I think that many women do not understand that a man on the prowl and a man in a committed relationship are very different sexual animals. I once told my wife that I would never have married a woman that was significantly lower on the intellectual scale than I am (No claims to genius). Qualities of the temperament, spirit, and demeanor are much more important to a marriage than looks. Beauty fades in the presence of negative characteristics in these areas, and though the beauty of the body may wane, positives in these areas preserve beauty in the eye of the beholder for life. Love puts shades on a man that are give his beloved lasting beauty.

    • This is a wise statement, especially when you consider that most of the representations of male sexuality in media (especially tv or romantic genres aimed at women which focus on relational drama) is all about the former. And most of my conversations with men about women happened in groups of singles; once I got married I didn’t hear a wide range of opinions from guys anymore.

    • Charlie O “I think that many women do not understand that a man on the prowl and a man in a committed relationship are very different sexual animals.”

      A very good point, and well stated.

      I guess I’ve never been on the prowl. I’ve always wanted a relationship, not sex for the night. I can see how sex for the night would focus on the body and care little for the woman. But when we want a relationship that flips. The woman is far, far more important, and the body is much less important. Things like shared interest, similar intellect, and common beliefs are what matters for a relationship.

  7. Women also concentrate on all their flaws. We men don’t. Oh we know our women aren’t perfect, but there’s too much good stuff to make a big deal about anything else.

    Women are much harder on themselves than the men in their lives are. Unfortunately, they also assume that the way they feel about themselves or see themselves is how we do as well.

    (btw Paul, I’m still not getting notifications about new comments. You can delete this part if you want, but the problem is still there.)
    Nick Peters recently posted…Are You A True Skeptic?My Profile

  8. I am going to have to disagree with you. I think kidsmademedoit is more in the middle/average of what men think on this.

    I very much care what my wife looks like and want her to take care of herself. It’s even makes it much, much easier to do my part of the relationship when she does.

    But I’m not speaking about someone who looks like they are out of a magazine but someone who puts effort in their appearance. Coffee is great, especially when it’s the best coffee in world like mine is, but the mug very much matters.

      • The color and design really do matter, and I think they do for most of us. There are lots of women I am not attracted to, and have no interest in. What that doesn’t mean is that the same color and contour that I’m really into is the same that Matt or Paul are into. What women don’t seem to get is that my wife is the color and contour that I like, that’s why I started chatting her up in the first place.

        • @mykidsmademedoit – Thanks. Not my experience, but clearly it’s what some live.
          My wife is pretty much all of my preferences physically, but she’s the only woman I’ve ever been interested in for whom that is true.
          Paul Byerly recently posted…Let’s Get All Grass-RootsMy Profile

    • Agree. I don’t want someone else, I want my wife. I just want her to be the best version of her she can be, as I try to be the best version of me that I can be.

    • If the mug has a chip and the coffee has gone room temperature……

      Here’s the thing….growing older, having children, even enduring illness or injury don’t chip the mug and turn the coffee cold. Women think they do, making the mug useless, but they don’t. Not caring anymore, not taking care of yourself, turning away from your husband, your marriage….all those things cause chips and cold coffee.

      Although, I do wish some husbands would take better care of their own mugs!

  9. Oh if only I could believe this. Maybe it is true for you, Paul. That is wonderful. But I have a very hard time believing my husband when he compliments me, because I know what I look like. I’m not saying you’re wrong, I just have a hard time believing it.

    I have a very hard time believing the “mug” doesn’t matter. I think most men are very drawn to the shiny new mug, and then they remember their old faithful mug and think something like “well, it’s a decent mug, I’m kinda stuck with it, so I’ll keep it.” I don’t think they even think about the coffee. Maybe they do, but I think they can be temporarily blinded by the newer, better mug.

    That book I have issues with, the one that cemented these negative thoughts for me and seriously damaged my belief in my husband and the love he says he feels for me, says the exact opposite of what you’re saying. Why would she lie? Why would anyone say something so damaging unless they were trying to spread the truth? And I’m not the only woman damaged by the book. I’ve read of dozens of other women who were as saddened as I was. We are not all super strong and confident.

    And I don’t know why advertising aimed at women uses beautiful women. That backfires on me. Take Victoria’s Secret models. They do not make me want to but their clothes. They make me feel very, very, very ugly and very bad about myself. I will not buy their lingerie because I know I will look nothing like them. Why even try? I do not want to try in desperation to be something I’m not. I don’t understand their thought process. Making me feel worthless and hopeless is not going to encourage me to buy your stuff.

    And I do not agree that men don’t notice our flaws. They might overlook them, or tolerate them, but they definitely notice and I believe they also notice the shiny new mug is quite flawless.

    I wish the things you’ve written here were true, but it doesn’t seem that way to me. I honestly read this a couple times and tried to convince myself to believe it, but most men have far, far, far too much interest in beautiful women for me to believe this.

    • What book are you talking about? I’d really like to know.

      I think also it depends on the outlook when we talk about what people notice. In my work of apologetics, I deal with the problem of evil at times. Many an atheist will say that this world is full of evil, and then they will throw out the existence of God because this evil is so overwhelming that there can’t be a good God. The theist thought looks and say the evil is the exception. It’s the invader and that the good overwhelms the evil overall.

      I can tell that my wife isn’t perfect of course, but by golly, she has so many good qualities that when I see those good qualities, be they physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, it overwhelms the flaws. If it was the other way around, I’ve said very little about her and a whole lot about me.
      Nick Peters recently posted…Are You A True Skeptic?My Profile

    • “That book I have issues with, the one that cemented these negative thoughts for me and seriously damaged my belief in my husband and the love he says he feels for me, says the exact opposite of what you’re saying. Why would she lie? Why would anyone say something so damaging unless they were trying to spread the truth? And I’m not the only woman damaged by the book. I’ve read of dozens of other women who were as saddened as I was. We are not all super strong and confident.”

      It’s entirely possible for someone to be completely sincere – and completely wrong – in the same breath.

    • I don’t think VS models are all that attractive. All they have are boobs. I saw a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue cover model once in the checkout lane at the store and I thought, “wow, she has an abnormally long torso.” Totally rude and judgey of me, but hey…

      Then, I watched the start of a NASCAR race and realized all the wives looked alike! The drivers could swap them and never know the difference!

      Hubby works with a lot of young, single guys and they go through girlfriends a lot, it seems. Sometimes they send hubby a picture and he shares it with me and I wonder, “ok, what has him attracted to this one.” One fellow has been dating a gal for a while and is considering getting married to her. She isn’t a beauty queen. Hubby calls her “cute,” but she isn’t a knock-out, or “hot” by typical standards. And yet the guys are jealous of this man, and even hubby has paid her highest compliments. Why? BECAUSE SHE IS FUN! She and the fellow have a blast together. She is confident, funny, fearless, outdoorsy, tough, etc. A kind of gal you want to spend all day with….not just a girl you want to spend the night with.

      • “BECAUSE SHE IS FUN! She and the fellow have a blast together. She is confident, funny, fearless, outdoorsy, tough, etc. A kind of gal you want to spend all day with….not just a girl you want to spend the night with.”

        Libl- You nailed it! 100%
        There is truth here to what everyone said, starting with Paul, and even what ‘Me Just Me’ said. But we all come from different perspectives and our emphasis is not placed on the same things.
        This is how I see it:
        Yes, men are visual! No question, they notice a beautiful women. When they’re single and still looking, their choice is always controlled by what they have to offer themselves (what they can afford). Most women that we see on magazine covers would not even give us guys the time of day, so we can’t afford them, but they still catch our attention for even a second or two. So, eventually we choose one that matches more what we can afford and totally fall in love with her not just for her beauty (mug) but especially for who she is (the coffee). When you drink lots of good coffee out of a mug that you chose, you tend to really like that mug more and more! But yes, if the coffee in that particular mug mostly is cold and week and someone added things to it that you don’t like, soon other mugs with better coffe will catch your attention.
        A good old friend used this car analogy with me once:
        As men we all (at least most) love vehicles. The fancy sports cars catch our attention. (Where I live one can spot a Lamborghini or Ferrari on the Hwy every once in a while and I’ll even speed up or slow down in my big old work van, to get a better glimpse). But the reality is they are super unpractical and super expensive! We really have NO use for them in our daily life. But my 14 year old massive van, clumsy and all, has everything in it that I need for my daily work! I love my van! I keep it organized, do maintenance on it and make sure she runs well every day! It’s totally true, the sports car is exciting, flashy, fast sometimes (but rarely can you use its capable speed) but most of the time it would be completely useless for what I needed in a vehicle every day. And you know what, every time on a job site I walk outside and see my van I think, “what a good looking work vehicle I have”! Honestly!
        Lest you think I’m married to a super large woman, on a scale of vehicles, she’s more of a compact SUV, super steady, sleek lines, allot of fun on the occasional off road and very practical for every day life!
        (Please don’t take offense to my car allegory.)

        • I have a love/hate relationship with car analogies. Lol!

          The problem is, men love their trusty rusty, but they drool over the Ferrari. We trusty rusty wives want to be the Ferrari AND the trusty rusty.

          Many women suffer from fairy tale princess syndrome in that they want to be fairest of them all with a completely smitten Prince Charming who only has eyes for her. That scenario creates a happily ever after.

          Instead, we marry practical, logical, reality-based men. Men, who tend to choose someone in their league, or try for the “one step above.”

          Thing is, we women feel that means he just settled and if he had a chance at it, he would dump her for Jennifer Lawrence in a heartbeat. Heck, my husband reminds me at least once every 2 years that there was another woman he was interested in marrying, but he didn’t know she was interested back until after we were married. So now he is “stuck” with me, but he is happily stuck.

          That’s the key, though. There are other women. There are other potential wives out there. But, once a man makes up his mind he is simply happy with his choice. I almost never see a man bewail his choice of entree at a restaurant just because he saw what someone else ordered. He is typically happy he has good food! He is loving his steak dinner he chose and not grumping that he should have ordered the planked salmon.

          • “We trusty rusty wives want to be the Ferrari AND the trusty rusty.”
            I think most women want to be admired like a Ferrari by their husband but they wouldn’t enjoy being one for very long. “Ferrari’s” are trophy wife’s that serve one purpose, “show off”!
            What I find interesting is that you went to the “trusty rusty” extreme. Maybe it’s just me but the term did not provoke a pretty picture in my head. 😬 I had a more reliable, well designed model in mind, maybe even with a new paint job to last a long time because I love it so much. (I actually did that to my van a few years ago).

          • @Libl – “Men, who tend to choose someone in their league…”

            I’m sure that happens, but it was never in my mind. I mean really, I don’t even have a place in my brain for processing that. I didn’t settle for the best woman I thought I could get, I married the first woman I met who I thought I actually wanted to spend my life with.

            I don’t know if a lot of men think like this or not. I hope not.
            Paul Byerly recently posted…Words MatterMy Profile

      • @Libl – Bingo. Sex is great, but it’s not enough for a good marriage. If all one cares about is how a woman will be for sex he’s going to be pretty unhappy down the road.
        If a woman is a good fit for a man he will have a good life, and the sex will work out because they are a good fit!
        Paul Byerly recently posted…Let’s Get All Grass-RootsMy Profile

    • @MeJustMe – I don’t think Shanunti and I are saying different things. Consider what she says at

      I think she could have said it far better in the book, and I think she missed some of the nuances that exist for men. I also think many women hear something she did not intend, but that was rather inevitable.

      To torture the coffee and mug metaphor, each mug has it’s own unique coffee, and the coffee stays the same even if you paint the mug. Very few men will put up with nasty coffee for a nice mug. The coffee is the point – if it’s bad the mug is irrelevant, and if it’s good the mug is unimportant.

      I think the problem is how women interpret the way men are affected by “sparkly things”, aka sexy female bodies. The kneejerk reaction doesn’t mean as much to men as women think it does. I have no delusion I can convince women of that, so I’m trying to get men to understand how women perceive it and make appropriate changes.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Don’t Validate Her “I’m Not Beautiful” BeliefMy Profile

      • Well, I read the link. All it is, is a feeble attempt to try to make women feel better about the bad news she previously shared. She does know she devastated many women, she says so in another book. That is so upsetting! She even admitted she has caused some women to stop being intimate with their husbands because of the painful nature of what she is telling us. Now I haven’t gone that far, but I no longer feel loved at all. I wonder every time we are intimate if he even knows I’m in the room, or if he is replacing me in his mind with one of these much better beauties.

        And the part about filling his files with images of me so he doesn’t need to fill them with other images? It’s impossible. Why would he want images of me when there are better women everywhere? More enjoyable images for him everywhere? That would be like expecting him to take all of the good food in our cabinets and replace it with junk food. I’m sure he prefers the “gourmet” images to the junk food images I can provide.

  10. My perspective: There are two kinds of beautiful – inner beauty (attitude, personality) and outer beauty. I find my wife outwardly gorgeous both with and without makeup. That does not mean, though, that other women are not attractive to me. A couple of posts back, we talked about our exposure to outside sexual stimuli. Part of my problem is I don’t get to see enough of my gorgeous wife, and when I do see her, she is often in a poor state of mind (her inner beauty is hidden by a poor attitude and self-loathing). Thus I get many times more exposure to outside stimuli from work and media, than I do from who I know my wife could be. That makes for a very tough battle that I’m still learning how to fight even after a decade and a half of marriage. One thing I try to do is surround myself with photos of her. The photo will remind me of her at a time when she is in a good state of mind (she is not hiding her inner beauty).

    I believe that if she could learn to stop hiding her inner beauty from me, that the amount of exposure I get from her would far outweigh the exposure I get from the outside world.

  11. But I thought men were turned on visually? Even if the relationship can be better with a less attractive woman, how can sex with a less attractive woman be preferable? If guys don’t care how their wife looks, why do they want to see her naked and why do they enjoy that so much? Is it just the intimacy of being able to see the woman they love so much? Is my husband settling on my less attractive appearance because he likes the rest of our relationship so much? I can’t say I like the idea of him settling for me.
    Sorry for all the questions. I felt like this post helped me understand it a little better, but not completely. I am still confused on how my husband can say I am beautiful and love looking at me when I know he has such much better.
    Is it that he can’t just look at how I look physically, but when he looks at my appearance he is also seeing the rest of me? And somehow that is better than a perfect appearance?

    • @Tianna – Yes, we are visually aroused. But that arousal is not simply a reaction to how “hot” a woman is. Sex is not just a physical act, it is full of emotion and relational aspects. There is also the history of sex with the woman in question, and our desire to have sex with that woman.

      I once delivered a pizza to an art class. A young woman who was no doubt very good looking was sitting naked on a stool. I’m sure some part of my mind registered “naked woman!” but I didn’t feel any arousal at all. I actually felt embarrassed for the poor girl. I looked away because I didn’t want to see her body. I had no relationship with her, and I had absolutely no desire to have sex with her.

      Contrast that to my wife walking by me topless. That arouses me. It crashes my train of thought. And if it’s an offer, everything else comes to a halt as I chase her to the bedroom. The sight of my wife naked gets me horny because I have a relationship with her and very much want to have sex with her. Not with her body, with her, with the wonderful person, she is.

      The Bible tells me to delight in Lori’s breasts all of my life. I have no problem doing that because she is in there. I’m not just seeing her breasts, I’m seeing all of her. I’m seeing the breasts of my love, my friend, my companion in life, and that’s hot!
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Don’t Validate Her “I’m Not Beautiful” BeliefMy Profile

      • Paul: The Bible tells me to delight in Lori’s breasts all of my life. I have no problem doing that because she is in there. I’m not just seeing her breasts, I’m seeing all of her. I’m seeing the breasts of my love, my friend, my companion in life, and that’s hot!

        Reply: The Bible commands me to do the same with my wife.

        Well, John was right. His commands are not burdensome!
        Nick Peters recently posted…Are You A True Skeptic?My Profile

    • I’d take a 6 who was super into me and willing to do whatever, over a 10 I had to cajole into it every single day of the week, and in the case of the 6 maybe twice. Attractiveness gets you through the door, your attitude is what matters long term.

      • @mykidsmademedoit – “Attractiveness gets you through the door…”

        How sad. What gets someone in my door is being a wonderful person. Intelligence, integrity, being a decent person, and enjoying life and are the kinds of things I’m looking for. I find those in short supply, and I can’t imagine eliminating some who might have those in spades based on their looks.

        But different strokes.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…Words MatterMy Profile

    • “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

      In this case, it is the husband that is the beholder. He is a better judge of what he finds beautiful than his wife is. His wife should try to accept this, even if she doesn’t understand it.

  12. MeJustMe, you must think that all men are as shallow as spit on a sidewalk. Some are, as are some women. Do you really think that we are one-dimensional? Sure, there are some very attractive women out there and always will be. Simply because a man thinks that some woman is pretty doesn’t mean that he would like to marry her. There is a lot more to a good wife than looks! I want to speak to you as the pastor that I am: If you don’t get a grip on yourself, you may well be on your way to ruining your marriage. No man can deal with your attitude. You must do it yourself by the grace of God. Your line of thinking is making you miserable and will eventually do the same to your husband.

    Every time your husband compliments you, say “thank you,” and believe it. Then thank the Lord that your husband finds you attractive. Thank the Lord that you husband loves you, and thank the Lord that you have a husband. There are some single women out there that would love to have a husband. Practice Philippians 4:8. Train your mind to accept your husband’s love.

    • Keep in mind that it can be understandable for a woman to believe a compliment, but if she resists and argues against it or something like that, she’s implicitly calling her husband a liar.

      Not a good place to be in.
      Nick Peters recently posted…Are You A True Skeptic?My Profile

    • @Charlie O, wow. Blunt, much? I’m totally willing to at least listen to what others say, and I’ll accept some of the blame. Even a high percentage of the blame. But your comment assumes my husband has never done a single thing wrong, or anything to make me feel insecure. You’re assuming that I am 100% of the problem, and you don’t know me or my husband. As a Pastor, I would think you would be more willing to look at the issue from both sides.

      And you say
      “Every time your husband compliments you, say “thank you,” and believe it. Then thank the Lord that your husband finds you attractive. ”

      Even if the compliment is insincere and/or forced? And thank Him even if I can tell my husband does not find me attractive? Tolerable maybe, but attractive, no.

      • MeJustMe- I agree that CharlieO assumed allot here and that may not be the best approach. I’ll try not to do that.
        When you speak of “attractive”, are you talking about physical attraction?
        I see the whole issue of attractiveness as three-fold.
        1-What God has given.
        Our body type, style and shape. That would include facial features, hair, even personality etc. (the shape and design of the cup)
        2-What we do with what God gave us. How we take care of ourselves. Fitness, makeup, clothes etc. (cleanliness of the cup)
        3- How we act and live our life. Attitude, interaction, fruits of the spirit, values etc. (the coffee inside the cup)
        Just a question: Which of these 3 do you feel your husband is not to excited about?

        • Jay – definitely number one. No problems with numbers 2 and 3, at least not to my knowledge.

          But number 1 – I am not his “type”. I am blonde, tall, athletic, busty, blue eyes. He prefers brunette, short, petite, nice butt, brown eyes. He might say he prefers me, but I see what his eye is drawn to on a repeated basis. It is not me, or even women who look like me.

          • MeJustMe- I’ve been reading through this blog and “shopping on an empty stomach” how you’ve been trashing yourself, how most men here have tried to change your mind about yourself and about your husband. I don’t know you or your husband and I also don’t know your story, but I’m starting to think that CharlieO was right. If you continue driving him away like this, your marriage will end in ruin.
            You keep saying that you don’t believe what he is saying to you, but how can you believe your own words of how all you are is junk food to him.
            In your own words: “I am blonde, tall, athletic, busty, blue eyes.”
            I bet that 90% of male dating adds, your description of yourself is what they are looking for.
            I think you need to intentionally forgive whatever happened and start over.

            • Jay, you missed the second part of what I told you and it’s quite important : “He prefers brunette, short, petite, nice butt, brown eyes.” I do not fit his preference.

              And no, my description is not popular anymore. I may have been considered attractive if I was alive in 1970, but times have changed. Just Google it. Google “men prefer brunettes” – and they do, overwhelmingly. Google “men prefer short women” – again they do, overwhelmingly. The internet will also inform you that men no longer care about breasts, it is all about the butt. And yes, I know you can’t believe everything you read online, but this is not an article or two, it is the majority of what I’ve read on the subject.

              I also do not see this as “trashing myself”. I am just learning to accept what is my reality. I try very hard not to be conceited. As a child, if I ever accomplished anything and was happy about it, I got in a great deal of trouble. I was repeatedly told to stop being conceited. I remember trying very hard and being thrilled when I got a lead in the musical in HS. I was reprimanded and told that I should be focused on how bad it must have made the other girls feel that they did not get the part. I learned to put myself at the bottom in order to stay humble. I remember being asked to the prom, and my mom telling me I couldn’t go, because if the boy was asking me it must be because he couldn’t get anyone else to go with him.

              It is better to be a realist than delusional. I am tall. 5’9”, which is far above average for a woman. My sisters are petite. My in laws are petite. Petite is beautiful. Tall is manly (unless you are a supermodel, which I am not). My sister called me an Amazon woman (which if you don’t know is an ugly, man-like female warrior) and repeatedly pointed out that I’d be lucky if any boy ever talked to me because guys don’t like giant women. My mother in law always refers to me as “the big girl” (which is actually kind of annoying because my 5’1” SIL weighs the same as I do, which makes her a bit plump, but I’m the “BIG girl”.) It’s very hard being a tall woman in a world that says tiny is beautiful. But I get it. I know the way I think isn’t always right. Don’t you think I’m frustrated? Why else would I comment? It’s hard to deal with these things when I need to talk things out but there is no one to listen. No one cares. I know my problems are trite and I should be thankful. I shouldn’t let things bother me.

              I also know I’m a “bad” Christian, because good Christians are happy and thankful and confident and humble and totally understand how God made them is perfect and I struggle with my feelings and then I struggle knowing that I’m not even good at being a Christian!

              So really, I feel sad for my husband. I’m thankful he stays with me for whatever reasons, but I feel sad that he deserves so much better and a much more confident and attractive wife! And so, yes, it hurts when I am reminded that he is attracted to other women because I never have been and will Never. Be. Enough.

              I’ve said more than I should. More than I wanted too. Off topic. But I Do get tired of people telling me I’m trashing myself when I’ve been taught my whole life to know my place!

              • Let me offer this. Something many men will relate to. All my life, I never seemed to measure up with my dad. Never praised for something good, kept in my place to avoid becoming conceited. He even told me to my face that my profession (teaching) was over paid and under worked. The pain and the hole in my heart are still there. It wasn’t until about 2 weeks before he died that I was able to come to some sort of peace with him. He was a good man, and in many ways a good father. But in a way that really mattered, he nearly destroyed me. No wonder I have a hard time accepting God as my Father.

                But I finally understood, MeJustMe, that all that was wrong. It took me a long time, and a good wife’s support, and a lot of prayer, to begin to change my mindset. And now, even though I understand how it all happened (my dad’s dad was a pretty harsh man), it’s still a tender spot in my heart that still hurts.

                Try to accept your husband’s love as he shows it, bypassing the filter of the past. It’s not easy and takes time, but I’m living proof that God can “restore the years the locusts have eaten.”

              • MeJustMe- My kids have been telling me for years that I need to get with the times. Little did I know that everyone’s taste in women suddenly changed overnight.
                Boy am I glad that I married a petite brunette with not to big breasts and a tight butt. I guess I was ahead of the times at one point.
                I think your husband is ahead of the times now too. He says he loves the way you look even though you don’t believe him and everyone else on the internet seems to agree with you that petite brunettes are in now. But you know what, fads come and go and before you know it, tall busty blonds will be in again. That’s when his “likes” and your “looks” will finally match!

                • Jay I’m going to assume this is sarcasm and not intentionally the meanest possible thing you could think of to say.

                  Or maybe I’m just a stupid woman who doesn’t deserve to have thoughts, opinions, or feelings.

                  • MeJustMe- I have to admit that there was some sarcasm in my comment but no, I was not trying to be mean. Not at all!
                    I truly feel sorry for you and your husband. Sometimes Paul or others talk about lies we believe about sex and sexuallity and this is a perfect example of it. The notion that people get their cues from the internet about what kind of women they are attracted to in this decade over last, just seems rather rediculous to me.
                    Like CharlieO I too will continue to pray for you that you will be freed from the harm that has been done to you in your growing up years and that you will see through the lies Satan has you insnared in.

              • @MeJustMe – I Googled “men prefer tall women” and learned they do. Then I Googled “men prefer redheads” and found that too is true.

                Or not.
                Paul Byerly recently posted…Words MatterMy Profile

                • You must be using a different Google than me. Because I’ve tried this before, including “do men prefer blondes”. And nope. I get the same results. Brunettes and petite women are still preferred, per Google. I know that doesn’t mean ALL men, but a majority. And since my husband looks at me like “gee there’s a person” – but if he sees a petite brunette he sits up straighter and his eyes light up – I think his preferences are like the majority.

                  And it’s okay. He’s allowed to have an opinion. It just makes me sad because as a woman, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be attractive to a man, to my man.

                  • @MeJustMe “You must be using a different Google than me”

                    In a way I am. Google has personalized search results, based on your search history and the sites you visit. I used to run two different browsers, one for marriage stuff and one for the home church ministry job. It was scary how different the same search was on the two. It’s confirmation bias to the max.
                    Paul Byerly recently posted…Acquire Some of Her TastesMy Profile

    • Taking MeJustMe’s side here —

      Oh, I absolutely think my husband was looking for more than looks when he married me. He married me for my character.

      He also LIES THROUGH HIS TEETH with his “compliments” because we are in an officially sexless marriage because of his 100% refusal of me for the entire time of our marriage, starting on our wedding night. I had to cash out $25000 from my retirement to do IVF because he can’t “force” himself to have sex enough to conceive, and my options were to stay barren in a loveless marriage or have children in a loveless marriage. He had (and hid) a porn addiction from me for 2.5 years into our marriage. He FREAKING CHEATED ON ME LAST MONTH and made out with a coworker.

      But you know what, I should totally be grateful whenever he “compliments” me. You know, some gushing thing like, “nice dress” after spending an entire afternoon telling me about one of his female friends and how tight she is after doing some new cycling class and how amazing she looks.

      Because I should just shut off my mind, ignore all behaviors, and accept whatever crumbs someone throws my way to shut me up. Because that’s all I’m worth.

      • Sunny-dee, I am so sorry. I will be praying for you.

  13. I think what C.S. Lewis says in The Four Loves is relevant here.

    The thing is a sensory pleasure;
    that is, an event
    occurring within one’s own body.! We use a most
    unfortunate idiom when we say, of a lustful man
    prowling the streets, that lie “wants a woman.”
    Strictly speaking, a woman is just what he does not
    want. He wants a pleasure
    for which a woman happens
    to be the necessary piece
    of apparatus. How
    much he cares about the woman as such may be
    gauged by his attitude to her five minutes after fruition
    (one does not keep
    the carton after one has
    smoked the cigarettes). Now Eros makes a man
    really want, not a woman, but one particular woman
    In some mysterious but quite indisputable fashion
    the lover desires the Beloved herself, not the pleasure
    she can give. No lover in the world ever sought
    embraces of the woman he loved as the result of a
    calculation, however unconscious, that they would
    be more pleasurable than those of any
    other woman.
    If he raised the question he would, no doubt, expect
    that this would be so. But to raise it would be to step
    outside the world of Eros altogether. The only man
    I know of who ever did raise it was Lucretius, and he
    was certainly not in love when he did. It is interesting
    to note his answer. That austere voluptuary gave
    as Ms opinion that love actually impairs
    sexual pleasure.
    The emotion was a distraction. It spoiled the
    cool and critical receptivity of his palate. (A great
    poet; but “Lord, what beastly
    fellows these Romans
    Nick Peters recently posted…Are You A True Skeptic?My Profile

  14. MeJustMe, I am sorry if I offended you, but I stand by my original statement. Just because you can’t understand that your husband finds you attractive doesn’t mean that he doesn’t. I don’t know much about your marriage, but you have spoken extensively about your inability believe that he finds you attractive. A man in a committed relationship knows that every woman that is physically attractive is not someone he wants. One of the great mistakes that woman make in this regard is not wanting to accept what they can’t understand. Women are often aroused sexually by what men would consider the circuitous route of kind words, helping with the housework, etc. We don’t understand it, but we accept it, and the wise man applies it.

    And you do consider men shallow. If you didn’t you would write as you do. No husband can effectively deal with a wife that rejects his compliments.

    • No offense taken, you’re entitled to your opinion.

      I never thought men were shallow until I read the book. I was looking for answers to some marriage difficulties and was appalled at what I learned. My eyes were sadly opened to the fact that my husband had most likely lost all interest in me as a woman. The book is written by a Christian woman and geared towards Christian women, supposedly to enlighten them as to what their men are actually thinking. It is sold in Christian bookstores and touted on blogs, so if so many Pastors and counselors approve of it, then what she says must be true. And that destroyed the little bit of confidence I had. And it opened my eyes to the fact that to my husband, I could not possible be attractive and certainly not special. I wish I’d never read it. So does my husband.

      • Most Christian women would be far better served to stop reading “ Christian” authors and start reading secular ones. Secular authors tend to be a lot more grounded in reality, and give much better explanations and advice. There are a few exceptions to this, but if you want to understand men, start listening to men or diversify your reading list.

        • That’s the reason this blog exists: to explain men to women. You can’t teach someone whose mind is closed, no matter what the reason. Or, at least, you have to do a lot a “unteaching” in order to get the truth in.

      • As I said above, just because someone (even a supposed expert) believes something sincerely doesn’t make it true. Most Christian counselors are notoriously clueless when it comes to matters of sex/attraction. They’re caught in the cognitive dissonance of how things should be and how they actually are.

        But to be honest, I don’t think you’re interested in changing your mindset. For whatever reason, you’re bound and determined to believe your husband fantasizes about every other woman in the world except you.

        • Tom, actually I would LOVE to change my mindset. But I do not know how. I’ve tried, but I just can’t convince myself. I’m sure there’s more of some Dr Phil type reason, being put down daily as a child/teenager, something awful that was semi-scarring that I won’t discuss here, some poor decisions my husband made early in our marriage. We were young, not yet Christians, and his friends were influential. However, I felt if he loved me he would have made kinder decisions. I’ve forgiven him, but I have a hard time forgetting the pain and the sense of worthlessness. But the past is in the past so we move on. But I have a very hard time believing anything loveable about myself, especially physically.

          We tried counseling once. It helped my husband, but then it was over. The counselor didn’t seem to want to talk about my issues. Which reinforced the notion that some people are worth it, while I must not be.

          Couple all of that with the books I’ve read (and I can see what you all are saying about finding other resources) – but all of that info played right into my insecurities and seemed to confirm (and add to) what I was already feeling.

          I’m really not the big b**ch many of you seem to think I am. I do love my husband. I am thankful by God’s grace we are still together and we do both want things to improve. It’s just really, really hard to change what I’ve always been told to be true.

          • I have extreme negative thoughts about myself. It seriously takes everything in me to think anything good about myself. I was talking to my sister and i couldn’t even say I’m a good mom. I’m actually an awesome mom. Even that is hard to write now, but it’s true.

            Anyway, i understand where you’re coming from. I understand that saying anything good feels false. It probably also feels like boasting and i know a lot of Christian books makes it sound like saying anything positive about yourself it’s a sin. But it’s not a sin to say the truth.

            I think you saying that you think you’re pretty, or even the opposite of whatever crap your family says about you feels impossible. You don’t believe it. Start small. Maybe you’re awesome at baking. Or maybe you make a dish that your husband just adores. Maybe you have an eye for color or you can paint well. Maybe you’re reality good at directions. Maybe you have a good vocabulary. Any little thing. You are good at something. Write them down and post them on your wall.

            Any time you think anything negative about yourself, take that thought captive. Write down the opposite of that thought. When you think “I’m too tall” write down “i can reach things on the top shelf.”

  15. I’ve found a lot of confusion on the various blogs I follow resulting from the use of the word “attractive”. People often commit the logical fallacy of equivocation, where a word is used with one meaning, then in the conversation, it’s used with another meaning.

    By “attrative” do we mean “pretty”? If so, then it can be somewhat objective. Of course, that will vary with individuals within a given culture, but there are characteristics that are fairly constant. I can look at a house that is attractive, but not have any desire at all to tour the house, much less live in it.

    But when it comes to relations between the sexes, “attractive” causes problems. We start using it in its true sense: I’m attracted to her personally, subjectively. Thus, if I say that another woman is attractive, my wife hears: Wow! I want to jump in bed with that other woman.

    Now, that’s the farthest thing from my mind, but my words have created a problem because of this idea of attraction.

    And, to bring up a subject that has been somewhat beaten to death, when women dress in such a way as to intentionally draw men’s eyes, they can’t then berate the men for looking by saying: I just want to dress attractively. “Attractive” for what and for whom?

    I think that our unclear words cause much confusion and grief. If I say a woman is attractive, my wife hears: That woman sexually arouses me. I’m not sure that anything I could say can undo that. It’s a wise man who weighs his words before he says them.

    And it’s a wise man who disciplines his eyes and thoughts. Over on The Generous Husband, Paul has admonished men to not validate their wives’ “I’m not beautiful” thoughts by wandering eyes and thoughtless words.

    Not all men are so shallow as to want to hop in bed with any “attractive”woman they see. In fact, most men aren’t like that. (Wasn’t it a man who wrote the old song “I only have eyes for you”?)

    My wife struggled with weight all her life, and had (has) all the body image issues that go along with that. She has been thin for about twelve years now, but I was attracted to (aroused by) her all along, at whatever weight she was. When I confronted her a couple of years ago about her sexual refusal, she retorted: Are you going to leave me if we can’t have sex some day because of health? I was shocked, because I would never do a thing like that. We are way past all that now and sexually engaged again. But if that were to happen, I’m still committed to her because I love HER.

    I have no illusions. I’m 60 and she’s 65, and we both have the wear and tear of life on us. But that doesn’t mean either of us should let things slide. I want us both to be there for each other for a long time.

    My wife does dress “attractively” in the objective sense: good styles, colors, hair, etc. But that’s okay with me, because I’m “attracted” in the arousal sense at all times, regardless of how she looks at that moment. When she wears something sexy just for me, what a treat. But I’m still attracted to her when she’s been sick and sleepless and not at her best.

    To me, the bottom line is this. Wives, understand that your husband wants YOU, regardless of what he may see in the form of other women, whether live or in some form of media. And husbands, learn to discipline your eyes, minds, and words so as not to even unintentionally cause hurt to your wife. And avoid porn for the poison it is.

    • Bobthemusicguy, I think this is spot on. I know it’s a big part of why I have trouble and maybe why I don’t understand you all and wonder why you all don’t understand me. Often my husband and I will disagree and then realize we are using the same word with two different definitions.

      So – attractive. If my husband thinks another woman is attractive – and that means he thinks “wow, she’s pretty – or beautiful – or even ‘hot’ “ believe it or not, I could take that. There are zillions of pretty women in the world. I know that. (I wish I was one of them, but whatever, that’s a different topic altogether). But I could understand that.

      What I struggle with is MY definition of the word attractive. A good looking actor is not attractive to me. I might notice he’s good looking, but I have no attraction to him. To me, attraction = desire. Strong desire.

      And so, if I’m told my husband finds all of these women attractive, I am devastated. Because I believe that means he finds them all BETTER than me in EVERY way, and me seriously lacking, disgusting, and repulsive. I think it means he is much more aroused by any of these “attractive” women and I become an afterthought. In my mind, if you said “oh your husband finds that woman attractive” I would hear “your husband thinks that woman is beautiful. Gorgeous, sexy, irresistible. Far better than you in every way. He wants her. He wishes he’d never gotten stuck with you so that he could have her instead. You are ugly. She is amazing. You are nothing. She is everything. You have no hope of ever being loved by him because his mind is consumed with this far superior woman. Her beauty outshines and dismisses any ounce of beauty he may have ever seen in you. She is what he wants. Not you. He wishes he never had to have sex with you again. In fact, he will replace you with her in his mind every chance he gets. He has added her to his long list of beautiful images to think about, and you have fallen off the list completely.”

      Far Fetched? Maybe. But that’s where my mind goes. I’ve been told all my life I’m not good enough. It’s been reinforced, albeit unintentionally, in our early marriage. It’s a hard struggle to let go of, especially when I have a mirror that can not lie.

      My husband is a good man. He has to be if he’s still with me. I’d love to change the way I think. I get jealous of the average looking women I know that don’t have these issues. I’m happy for them, but I don’t know why these things affect me more than they affect other women, but they do. I know it’s my problem, I never said it wasn’t. But it’s not as cut and dry as everyone here seems to think.

      • Your family and anyone else who told you you were with nothing are wrong. I’d even go so far as to say they are jealous and they’re saying mean things to you to make you feel bad to make themselves feel better. Every woman is beautiful in her own way.

        My family is really cranky. Like, can’t handle any stress. I don’t understand why it’s so hard for them to enjoy anything. I didn’t even know what was out there until i started talking too other women. I prayed for good friends and God blessed me with good friends. One friend is so calm and i can tell her anything without her judging. She also gives me oils. I have another friend who is also calm. I have hypoglycemia and fibromyalgia. Both of those things make it hard for me to talk sometimes. Is very frustrating talking to people someone’s so i avoid it, but this friend understood and even have more tips on managing it. Another friend i have refuses to listen to negativity and will talk to me until i feel better.

        So, this is a lot of rambling, but my point is: cut out negative people and seek out positive people. Pray for good women in your life. Get out and meet new people. Your truth has been compromised. You do need validation from other people that what your negative people say is not true. You personally deep down need to have your truth rewritten.

        God loves you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. He had a specific plan for you. Everything works together for the good of those who love him. He planned for you even before he made the world. You. Specifically you. The devil is hitting you hard right now because he thinks he can win. The truth is, that battle has already been won on the cross. You can rest in that.

  16. MeJustMe, I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep for a while. So I prayed for you, and I will continue to pray that you find the answers that you need.

  17. I used to believe this, but my husband’s lustful looks at other women when we are on date nights, or out with the fam, or grocery shopping-to the point the woman notices and gives him dirty looks or is visibly uncomfortable-have convinced me he likes who I am, but is unsatisfied with the container I came in. I have reconciled this by accepting I have the physical body parts necessary to bring him sexual release, but no longer believe looks do not matter to him, or that he sees me as beautiful.

  18. I think we as women, need to stop looking to our husbands for validation of our beauty/worth. We also need to stop looking to the world to tell use what is beautiful. My suggestion would be to ask God to reveal to you your true beauty, worth and value, regardless of what your husband says, doesn’t say, or does/doesn’t do. God never created husbands to give us this security, that is His job.
    I do not fall, nor ever have, into what this world deems beautiful, sexy hot, gorgeous. Remember a few months back I posted that one of my sons told me “mom I’ve decided I don’t want a super model girlfriend who is always worried about how she looks, I just want someone like you…..” and then said “thanks for setting the standard so high”.
    If you use google, I have the opposite of everything google could possibly say men actually want. Google lies. We know it lies, we catch it in other lies. But somehow when it comes to our worth as a woman, we believe Google over God. In fact, we never even ask God.
    Before you think, sure Henri, that’s easy for you to say. Its not. I am in a very difficult situation. My husband is so bottomed out from the stress of life, that he can’t initiate, he can participate, but beyond that is very limited , and not just sexually. Right before I realized how bottomed out he was, he threw at me that porn was preferable to having sex with me, as well as tore apart everything I was, except being a mother. It’s probably the only area that he has never attacked. Was I hurt, absolutely. I have spent most of my marriage feeling compared to all the other women that have been in his life, all the other women I would see him look at, that stupid book that keeps getting referred to here (that was a killer for sure), the negativity that has gotten worse and of course porn. I have felt behind. And all he did was validate everything I have always felt.
    I have put on weight from living with this stress, weighing what I did while pregnant, and I can honestly tell you right now, I have never felt more beautiful, attractive, etc in my entire life.
    The secret. I stopped asking Google, and started asking God. It took time, but I am finding that when I wake up daily and lay this before God, I struggle less and less, versus when I don’t “have time” to pray and just start my day, I get sucked back down into the black hole of lies.
    I found that for now, I am able to love my husband through this difficult time, without it affecting who I am as a person. And I feel beautiful. Because God is validating me.
    And just wanted to say, my husband is responding to this, and things have gotten better in some areas, but only if I keep asking of God.
    STOP asking Google. STOP reading THAT BOOK, throw it out. STOP taking on your husbands sins as your responsibility or that they are about you/your beauty/your worth. START asking of God to wipe away what you read on Google, from THAT book, and ask Him to replace those words with truth, ask Him for what you need. Every single day.
    And then refer me back to this post when I bottom out myself and need help getting back on track : )
    Also, read the book by Paul Tripp What Did You Expect. But read it for yourself, not to change your spouse. It has been very humbling.

    • @Henri – Good for you for setting such a good example for your son. Society pretty much worships physical beauty. It’s not biblical, and it’s not sane.

      Most guys buy the lie as teens. Some get past it early, some later, some never do. Those who still buy the lie hurt themselves, their wives, and their kids.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Acquire Some of Her TastesMy Profile

  19. True, a lot of women’s fashion choices are more about what impresses women than about what impresses men. In fact, a lot of clothing and makeup fashions are baffling to men. But it’s not true that there is little or no corroborating evidence from men that looks are a top priority. Plenty of men talk about a woman’s looks – is she a 10, a 3, a 7? Men’s magazines (although perhaps in decline these days) have typically featured pictures of beautiful airbrushed women. We see these messages in TV and in movies all the time – guys who don’t want to go out with a girl who isn’t pretty, “humorous” scenarios about a plain or homely girl who is frustrated because she can’t get male interest, etc., etc. And think of all the nasty names there are for women who aren’t conventionally pretty, often comparing them to barnyard animals. The 1955 play “Marty” just popped into my mind – it’s about a guy whose friends mock him because of his interest in a girl who they consider a “dog”. Yes, in the end, he chooses her because of her value as a person rather than her looks, but it’s presented as a courageous choice. I would agree that in the long run, most men seem to end up choosing a partner for characteristics that go beyond looks. But what attracts them in the first place, before they have the chance to find out what a great person she is?
    Rosemary recently posted…AustinMy Profile

  20. Fashion magazines, or men’s magazines are like car magazines or Home and Garden magazines. Close to 100% of us regular folk can’t afford what we are looking at. Doesn’t mean we don’t like what we see but it isn’t setting some kind of standard for us. We can’t afford the cars and we can’t afford the homes and we know it. Meaning we don’t have an equal or even greater value to offer in exchange. So in a way most of us settle for a house and a car that we can afford, that meets our standard of living and that is practical to us.
    If we would be able to be brutally honest with ourselves, I think relationships and partner choices work quite similar. I realize this view probably isn’t very popular with some ladies here, but in a sense we all settle for our choice, men and women. If we could afford to pick out a house or a car (or a spouse) out of a magazine, we probably would, but at the same time we realize that the annual taxes, maintenance and upkeep on some of these houses costs more then we earn in a year. The car would be super unpractical and the garage we own is not worthy to host it.
    So we “settle” for what we can afford and for what is practical for what we want out of life. And so do you ladies! Most of you, if you could have afforded (had the looks to attract) the men portrayed in magazines with the good looks, great job, massive house, super high IQ or whatever else that you would have picked if you could have, you wouldn’t wanna put up with their work schedule, their stress, the women that try to get their attention and besides, most of them are not very good fathers. But they sure look great in the magazine, fit and trim, in their nice suit.
    In the same way most men, specially the ones that aren’t so shallow, end up “settling” not for the airbrushed beauties or the latest type on Google, but for one that they can afford (that they are more equal with) and for the one that is practical, that will be a good mother to their children and doesn’t end up costing them most of their monthly income. And you know what? Most men I have talked to in real life, not just those here on blogs, actually feel that they married up. Way up! Which in my comparison means, they got a way nicer house or car then they could have afforded, yet for the same price. Men like that appreciate what they got so much, they will tell her often how beautiful she is and how much they like and love her. Yes they will occasionally notice what they “couldn’t afford” but at the same time they know they made a way better choice! Most women that look like that come at such a high price, we honestly don’t even want them.
    I am one of those men that married up. And the longer I’m married to her and the more I show my appreciation for her and not look at the “magazines”, the more I realize how much I got what I couldn’t afford.

    • Well at least you’re being honest. Kind of confirms what I’ve always suspected, that my husband just settled for me – all the while wishing he could have landed a more magazine worthy wife. Or at least a more petite, more his type, better body, etc…

      And my husband definitely didn’t “marry up.” His family was much more better off than mine. He has given me a much better life than I had as a child. I feel badly for him that he “married down”. Oh well.

      Thanks again for your honesty. I guess instead of being sad that he sees me as something he had to settle for, I should be thankful he is with me.

      • Obviously you didn’t get much of what I was saying and the little you did get, you end up twisting so it fits what you want
        to believe.
        As for your husband, looks like he couldn’t afford the magazine model. And from what you’ve been telling us he seems pretty happy with what he ended up with.

  21. Jay, you said
    “If we would be able to be brutally honest with ourselves, I think relationships and partner choices work quite similar. I realize this view probably isn’t very popular with some ladies here, but in a sense we all settle for our choice”

    I thanked you for your honesty! What did I miss? What did I twist? It’s awesome that you married up. My husband married down. We can’t both marry up!

    And wow – no, he most likely couldn’t afford the magazine model. But ouch! Thanks for bluntly pointing out that “ended up” with me simply because he couldn’t afford what he really desired. That’s kind of an insult to both he and I, but okay.

    I’m really not sure why you feel saying nasty things is a good way to make a point. It should be obvious that I totally get I’m not the magazine model, or even a pamphlet model! Do you think pointing it out in a cruel fashion is helpful? I got a lot more out of your original, longer comment – that I thought made a lot of valid points – without the nastiness.

    • Dear MeJustMe- you completely missed my whole point and you just confirmed it by claiming that I’m trying to be mean or nasty here. Honestly, there is a whole host of people here, including me, who genuinely have tried to help you see the reality of every relationship. We all at one point or another have wondered in a weak moment whether we were our spouses number 1 choice or would they have been able to do better. But that cannot be the attitude of our life!
      You are very hung up on a few words and you seem to have a very squewed view of their meaning.
      You’ve already explained your view of the word “attractive”. Most everyone here would quite strongly disagree with your definition.
      The other word is “settle”!
      When you talk about your husband settling for you, what you probably think you’re saying is that he chose someone of lesser value then he could have chosen. But that’s totally not what the word means!
      When I talk about “settling”, I mean exactly what the word means.
      Here is the definition:
      present participle: settling
      resolve or reach an agreement about (an argument or problem).
      “every effort was made to settle the dispute”
      synonyms: resolve, sort out, solve, clear up, end, fix, work out, iron out, straighten out, set right, rectify, remedy, reconcile; informalpatch up
      “they settled the dispute”
      adopt a more steady or secure style of life, especially in a permanent job and home.
      “one day I will settle down and raise a family”

      In short, to “settle” means to make a decision in favour of something after all other options have been weighed and looked at.
      When a committee settles on a decision, that doesn’t mean they took the worst or even second best option. No, they looked at all the options and the one that was the best was settled on.
      Do you think our forefathers (settlers) came to this continent and reluctantly agreed to take the piece of land where they settled on? No! After all the options that they had, they chose the best one, given the opportunity and what they could afford. It still wasn’t the Kings palace and I’m sure sometimes they got a postcard from some other place that may have looked better then the piece of land they “settled” on, but they were excited about their choice and look what they built out of it.
      In the same way we all “settled” (resolved, sort out, clear up, work out) for our spouse. We looked at the options, rejected some that were not appealing enough and dismissed some that were out of our league that we couldn’t afford or we didn’t want to pay whatever price tag they came with. But then there was that one option, where the pros were much higher then the cons, and we made the decision.
      And now we are stuck with that decision, happily stuck with it, and we work hard every day to dwell on the pros and not dwell on he cons. And if we do that successfully we suddenly look at our spouse one day and think:”Wow, I totally married up!”
      I’m sure my wife doesn’t think I married up, but I know I did. Not because she’s from a better family! She has a way better life with me now then she did growing up. But she’s way better looking then me, way smarter, way kinder and more patient and she doesn’t get sucked into writing comments on a blog with strangers that she’s never met.
      So dear MeJustMe, no one here is trying to be mean! We all were just trying to help you. But if you don’t want to believe any of this and you want to be offended when someone is stepping on your toes a little, it is YOUR marriage that is at steak here. We’d all love to help you but we can’t if you won’t let us.

  22. Hi Jay, thank you for taking the time to type out such a thoughtful response.

    I see what you are saying about settle being used in different ways. However, if you had copied the entire list of definitions, you would have seen this additional definition:

    accept or agree to (something that one considers to be less than satisfactory).
    “it was too cold for champagne so they settled for a cup of tea”

    Specifically the part about being less than satisfactory.

    As far as “marrying up” yes at first I did think you meant financially. But in all other ways I married up as well, which can only mean my husband married down. He is much better looking than I am, much smarter, makes much more money, has much more confidence, and no – he wouldn’t even bother to read a blog let alone comment on one.

    And trust me, my MIL and SIL definitely thought he was marrying down and were never afraid to let that be known. I wasn’t allowed to make any decisions about my own wedding (although I had to pay for it – me – because my mom didn’t have much and although they had money my MIL felt the brides family pays – and she’s not wrong at least about that) – but I do feel if it was my money I should have been able to decide or pick some things, but whatever. As my MIL was quick to point out, repeatedly, it was “her son’s wedding TOO” – so she felt she should get decision making power. He was raised to not argue with her, so she got her way. Anyhow, my MIL AND SIL, They both think they are stunning beauties and were (and are) quick to point out my flaws. Since my own sister has always done the same, what does that tell you? The women in my life who are supposed to be kind think I’m fat and Ugly then it must be true. Although objectively I’m not fat, just tall. But they seem to equate height with fatness so I guess that’s how most of the world sees me.

    But I digress. That is what it is. We are not all beautiful. Just like we are not all good cooks or good singers or good whatever.

    You also said:
    “But if you don’t want to believe any of this and you want to be offended when someone is stepping on your toes a little, it is YOUR marriage that is at steak (sic) here. We’d all love to help you but we can’t if you won’t let us.”

    It’s not that I don’t want to believe you. But I have a mirror, AND I have a plethora of women who “love” me telling me otherwise. Why would anyone say unkind things if they weren’t true?

    And I’m not offended by someone stepping on my toes. Part of the issue with text is that there is no tone. When I read your comment that started “obviously you didn’t get much…” I totally heard my older sisters degrading tone. I’m used to being spoken down to. I hate it, but I’m used to it. And if I stand up for myself, I’m a hurtful, hateful, b**ch. So maybe I was hearing something you weren’t saying.

    I appreciate folks here trying to help me. It’s why I comment. I need to talk things out. In my everyday life I have no one to talk to that cares to listen. I’m hesitant to trust women, but sometimes hearing the opinion of a man who has no reason to coddle me, helps give weight to things my husband says.

    That’s probably wrong. I should probably only talk to God and my husband.

    I’d love to stop thinking and feeling the way that I do, but it seems like that would be self centered and wrong. (Although I am learning that having a negative view of oneself can be self centered as well!) so it seems like I get it wrong either way.

    Anyhow, thanks for the reply.

  23. Financially or in some other objective way, we can say a person marries up or down. Subjectively, it is a matter of opinion. I know a man that might have married a more physically attractive woman, but he couldn’t have married one that was more suitable for him in temperment: Patience, kindness, flexibility, etc. In that sense he married “up.” It’s not reall a simple call; there are numerous considerations and factors. Secondly, if a person is happy with their mate, does it matter? Thirdly, one might be up in one regard, down in another, up in a different one. This could really get crazy.

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