Saturday, December 09, 2006

True Beauty: A Woman's Perspective (a word from Leslie)

First: A word for unmarried women
A common misunderstanding that many women have about men is that because they are visually oriented, all men attach personal worth to attractive women and less worth to unattractive women as persons. But let me contradict that point by this illustration: In a radio broadcast by Nancy Leigh DeMoss on modesty, she read an unedited letter from a man who was struggling with the way that a particular woman in the church dressed. He was struggling with the fact that she would often wear tight, revealing clothes with portions of her stomach and "brightly-colored" undergarments showing. Because of her dress, he was tempted to have impure thoughts and so was writing Nancy to encourage women to dress more modestly. However, he was not the least bit attracted to her as a person, had no interest in courting her or pursuing a long-term relationship, and really wanted to avoid her.

This is undoubtedly confusing to the female mind. "But wait," the women say, "I thought you just said he was attracted to her to a fault. Doesn't that mean that he liked her?" No he didn't. (Of course an ungodly man would like her but I'm operating under the assumption that women are looking for a descent man.) A godly man does not equate physical attraction with worthiness.
I am certain that this woman, dressing to get the attention of men, was really seeking personal worth. No woman wants to be viewed as a despised sex object. She mistakenly thought that if she could get men turned on visually, they would be interested in her as a person.

Now for the married:
If you operated under this assumption as a young adult and then got married, maybe you believed the way you got your husband was through your looks. You probably also believed that the way you'll keep him was through your looks too, but maybe that didn't seem too hard at first. Then you had a baby or two and thirty snuck up on you and all the sudden the panic set in: "How am I ever going to keep my husband interested when I look like this?"

Whether you've just begun to panic a little or are in full-blown panic mode now is the perfect time to rethink your ideas of men and beauty. If you come out with some knowledge, maybe you can pass it on to your daughters so they won't have the same misconceptions that you did.

You have a couple of options:
#1 Buy a membership to Gold's Gym and the nearest tanning salon, fork out thousands on plastic surgery, go on the all new Atkin's-Jenny Craig-South Beach-Subway-Hollywood-"Low Carb" Weight Watchers-eat-everything-in-sight-and-still-lose-weight diet, flood your Mary Kay neighbor with orders, and don't forget the Strivectin for the stretch marks (priced at only $150 a tube). It might buy you some time.

#2 I do think we should eat sensibly and exercise moderately as much as the stage of life permits. But for most of us, that's not going to be enough to bring back the teens. Now, we must figure out why our husbands married us in the first place (you weren't the only attractive woman he knew), what he appreciates about us now, what qualities we can cultivate to keep him attracted to us as persons. Most men will answer that being feminine in spirit is attractive to a man and makes him feel more like a man. Most men are not physically attracted to a woman who it requires a second look to determine if she even is a woman because her appearance so resembles a man. (That's how we get the word sexy: for a woman it means looking like the female sex as opposed to androgynous.) Likewise, men are also not attracted to women who act like men instead of women. So, you need to be feminine in your demeanor. Now what it means to be feminine could easily fill up several posts or even blogs in this day and age where the concept has largely been lost. But I will give you a very brief definition and leave it to you to research the rest.

Feminine is not bossy, take-charge, demanding, belittling.
Feminine is (from a dictionary): sensitivity, delicacy. I would add, having a greater propensity than men to gentleness, meekness, nurturing, intuition, compassion (all needed for caring for a baby by the way).

[It is interesting to note that many of these qualities are ways of describing the fruit (not fruits) of the Spirit that are commanded for both men and women. Men are commanded to be gentle and meek as well, the difference is their gentleness and meekness looks different than ours. For instance men are designed to be conquerors, but they must show compassion to those they conquer.]

Or let me explain it this way. When a woman is bossy to her husband she is wrong (and unattractive) in two ways: first she is wrong to be trying to lead him at all and secondly (and I think less importantly) she is wrong in the way she is trying to lead. Men ought not be bossy either (and are unattractive when they are) but only in one way, in that they are leading in a poor fashion. However, they are designed to lead so it is not as offensive to God or man (inclusive) to have a bossy man as it is a bossy woman. The same principle is true with being demanding, belittling, and controlling. All of those things are wrong in men, but they are doubly wrong and repulsive in women. If men already have a propensity to be those things, the last thing this world needs is a bunch of women who are more of the same.

I feel like I didn't make a dent in all that could be said on this topic but this is getting way too long. So here's how I'll summarize for now: the way to keep your husband attracted to you for life is to live out God's design for you as a woman which will always include being supportive, nurturing, and leadable (is that a word?). Especially if you've always considered yourself as "the tom-boy" and "one of those girls who doesn't wear dresses or whatever," but also for everyone, you need to cultivate those qualities. Of course they come easier for some than others. But no matter how easy or hard being feminine was for you, you have to make an effort to become more and more feminine. If you don't your inner person will deteriorate even faster than your body and you will become more and more unattractive to your husband.

3 comments:

Christopher said...

Leslie,

You make me feel unworthy. How is it that I've received such a blessing from the Lord? I praise you before God and the nations. You are beautiful in every way and I adore you.

By the way, I may not let you post anymore since you write so well. Makes me look incompetent.

I love you dearly,

CT

C Timm said...

Well said Les...thanks!

chad (another CT)

Rebecca Nugent said...

Thank you, Leslie.