The other day, I read a blog about marriage.
The writer of this particular blog was writing from a conservative, evangelical viewpoint. She’s a big believer in the complementarian way of thinking, which when brought down to its simplest understanding is this — that men should be men, women should be women, and we should all stick to our different, God-ordained roles in marriage, despite how strange it looks in our modern day culture. Her readership reflects these same values, as her readers are also women who follow this model.
I have no problem with this, obviously. Wes leads our family — not because I’m stupid, weak, or incapable, but because he is biblically called to lead and because that role fits him well. So, the blog posts I read from this writer, posts that would normally seem controversial, aren’t really all that shocking to me because, hey, I’m living it and it works, right?
This past week, however, she posted a blog about how we as women need to look good for our men. She warned us against letting ourselves go and suggested that we work extra hard, in addition to all the other things we’re already doing as wives and mothers, to make sure we look as good as we can, even if there’s no way we can ever look just like we did back when we were dating our men and were adorable, hot twentysomethings. Men, even wonderfully godly men, are still visual, and we can’t hate them for it.
And this blog post? Well, again, I totally agreed with her. But the majority of her readership? Came UNHINGED, y’all.
I heard it all in the comments. “I have twelve kids and can’t even find a stupid hairbrush most mornings.” “My husband loves me even though I’ve gained eighty pounds since meeting him.” “Have you seen my husband lately? He wrote the book on letting himself go, so why should I do any different?” And my personal favorite, “I am too spiritual to be concerned with such things.”
Nowhere did she say that we were supposed to be supermodels. And nowhere did she give any indication that we should spend our entire lives trying to endlessly pursue some warped sense of beauty. What she simply encouraged us to do was to CARE about how we look, do our best with the time that we DO have, and show our husbands that we still want to look nice for them. That’s all. Yet, still, ladies were so hurt and offended by her advice.
I think I know why. For some reason, we want to believe that it’s more spiritual to just not care about the way we look because we think that men shouldn’t care once they get to a certain point in their spiritual walk. I subscribed to this own thought method back in college, rationalizing that I only wanted a man who wanted me for who I was on the inside. And that? Is great and right. But in my zeal to follow this, I didn’t care squat about the way I looked and even thought myself more spiritual because I was a total slob. I was guilty of swinging the pendulum far, far, FAR the other way. And whether we intend to or not, I think sometimes, as Christian women trying to get away from a worldly standard of what is beautiful and desirable, we try to dismiss appearances and almost seem to delight in punishing our men after we’ve “caught” them. “Well, sure, I looked like THAT when we met, but I’ve had two children now and surely HE can’t expect ME to be like THAT anymore!” That’s right, ladies — you punish him for those beautiful children you’ve made together!
I’m thankful to be married to a man who will tell me that I’ve never looked better than when I was nine months pregnant and that he doesn’t care if I ever do anything with my hair. But I’m also thankful that I’ve learned TO NOT BELIEVE HIM when he says these things. He’d be a bad guy for saying any different in the world’s eyes, but I would be a much, much worse wife for letting myself go because I can. And so I work hard to keep myself looking as good as I can, not because I fear that he’ll start chasing after some younger, less harried, childless woman out there (because regardless of what I do, he would still be wrong for doing it) — but because I want to help a brother out and do what I can to make sure he still feels lucky to come home to all of this thirtysomething hotness every night. Does that mean I’m going to look like I did when we met? Likely not. Does it mean I’ll look like I put no effort at all towards looking my best? Absolutely not.
So… is this an oversimplification of the issue? Is the way you look not important once you’ve gotten past a certain point in your relationship? Should it ever matter? Or is it really not too much to expect that you’ll do your best to look your best for your man?
Would love to hear what you think…