This may be dangerous ground but I will try to tread lightly. What comes to my mind right now is that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Well, I pray I am no fool. Just a husband trying to help others. For the handful of readers that will come back tomorrow for day 8 of the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association 1/2 marathon challenge, I say thank you. This post may run a few people off or make some mad. That is never my intention or my heart. I only want to help your marriage and get your brain thinking. Ok, here goes.
The body image war is waged in our minds by the thoughts we hold captive. The though of not being pretty enough or not measuring up is not from God. Those thoughts are from Satan and his demons. It is said that beauty is only skin deep but ugly goes to the bone. I believe that we have been deceived as to what true beauty is. To quote our pastor, Duane Sheriff, the world says beauty is a blond-Cambodian-refuge-lookalike. When we look to the world for our acceptance, we will always see a flawed version of the truth.
Satan uses the media (TV, magazines, music, music videos, social media, etc.) to tell our ladies that if they do not look like the image being portrayed then they are not beautiful. Over the past few decades this influence has grown rampant. Our young daughters are even caught up in this deception. They are told to look like Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus or Britney Spears then they do not fit in and they are not beautiful. Our wives are told to wear these clothes, her hair like this and this brand of jewelry will make her even more beautiful. The Bible tells us not to look to outer adornments for our beauty. 1 Peter 3:3-4 "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight." I firmly believe it is not a sin to wear the items mentioned above. But we should not look to them to make us beautiful. We are to look to God for all we need.
I believe Satan uses the worlds definition of beauty to come between a husband and wife. Most women have one or more body parts they would like to "fix". They believe their breasts are too small or large, their hips are too large, cheek bones not high enough, their weight is either too high or too low, etc. etc. etc. They see the airbrushed models who do not have the stretch marks, C-Section scars or extra weight of childbirth, their hair flowing perfectly down their tan back and perfect makeup. Most women, and men, are intimidated by this person. However, this image of the perfect woman is a lie. The perfect woman is the one we married. At least she is perfect for her husband.The average woman is 5' 4" and 140 lbs. not 5' 11" and 115 lbs. like the airbrushed models who starve themselves just to have their picture taken and be on the magazine cover. Eating disorders are becoming the norm for more and more young women trying to live up to the worlds standards. Scientists have even given this a label, Body Dysmorphic Disorder or BDD. Body Dysmorphic Disorder has been called "imagined ugliness" because the appearance issues the person is obsessing about usually are so small that others don't even notice them. Or, if others do notice them, they consider them minor.
If our wife does not believe she is beautiful she is less willing to be undressed in front of us. She will be less willing to be intimate with us. This is tough for her husband since he wants to see her naked and make love to her. Her husband could even start to believe that his wife does not love him anymore. The low self image wife will spend hours getting herself ready to go outside her home and would never go the grocery store without her makeup and hair fixed just right. There might be someone there who she knows that could see her. When our wife sees herself as less than beautiful she believes that we see her the same way she sees herself. We know this is not true.
I will jump on the hand grenade here. Body issue images are when we look to our own image for acceptance and not to God. It is selfish because we are putting acceptance for ourself above being accepted by God as His child. When this happens we are putting ourself before God. This is never good: Have no idol, beauty can become an idol that we worship. The world sure worships their standard of beauty.
What's a guy to do? Is there anything we as husbands and fathers can do to thwart this attack on our wife and daughters? Yes. We must stand against Satan so he is not able to convince our wife and daughters that the worlds standard of beauty is the one they should compare themselves to. If we, as husbands and fathers, do not take this stand and fight then we are to blame. As the spiritual leader of our homes, it is our God given duty to let our wife and daughters know they are beautiful. We must speak God's word over them and to them so they will believe just how beautiful they are to us and to God.
I do believe that some wives have an issue with their body image because of their husband. He looks extra long at the pretty lady that comes into his line of sight. Mark 9:47 "And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell." Some husbands tell their wife that she should look like someone else. Or he tells her that a certain part of her body is not like he wants it to be. Husbands, never, ever compare your spouse with another woman. 1 Corinthians 7:2 "But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband."Husbands, we must tell our wife and our daughters how beautiful they are several time a day. Daughters look to their father as a guide when choosing who to date - then marry. We must keep our eyes pure. No emotional affairs. No pornography, that is cheating.
If we look at ourselves and believe we are not beautiful, then we are saying that God is not beautiful. We are made in His image. Genesis 1:26 says that we are made in God's image and likeness. Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
But can we use our beauty for God's glory. Yes, it may sound like an oxymoron. Ester was a beautiful queen, or a beauty queen, so to speak. She was able to use her beauty to save Israel by using her beauty with the king. We are not to see our beauty as a tool to get what we want or who we want. We are to be humble and submissive to God in all we do. Being the salt of the earth is being beautiful in God's eyes. And he and your husband are the only ones that matter.
Like the stars in the heavens, our inner beauty should display the wonders and majesty of God. He named everyone of them and he knew you before you were born. He knows you're beautiful.
We are praying for your marriage.