You’re Not Competing

  • NFL cheerleader calendars 
  • Airbrushed cover model photos
  • Larger-than-life, ever-so-revealing posters at Victoria’s Secret
  • Hooters restaurants
  • Women leaning over near our husbands with a low-cut dress, impossibly large breasts, and a WonderBra
  • Women bending over near our husbands with low-cut jeans, a black lacy thong, and a butterfly tramp stamp

Why do we dislike these things?

Women are hard-wired to see every major and minor flaw in our physique. Meanwhile, men are hard-wired to drool like Pavlov’s dogs at any bootylicious babe within a five-mile radius. Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations that scream, You aren’t doing it for him, and that chick is!

Perhaps I’m overly sensitive. Does my husband really spend his time in the grocery line gazing at the Cosmopolitan magazine cover model with the caption “1001 Ways to Please Your Man”? Does he fixate on the hard-body 19 year old in her string bikini jogging up the beach while I drag our children, a beach umbrella, a mesh tote, and sand buckets to the shoreline? I’ve never caught him doing so.

But sometimes I wonder how my man can be satisfied with the not-so-perfect gal he’s got at home when there are so many gorgeous ladies behind the other Let’s-Make-a-Deal doors?

And yet, most men are quite content.For a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Or, in this case, a pretty-enough wife in the home is worth two babes in the magazine. I love what Paul Newman said about staying true to his wife of fifty years: “Why fool around with hamburger when you have steak at home?” Was Joanne Woodward the prettiest woman you’ve ever seen? She was to Paul, and she was right there at home.

The Bible is clear that we need to keep our eyes from those who would entice us away from a faithful marriage (Job 31:1). But if your husband happens to catch a glimpse of Megan Fox, Angelina Jolie, or Beyoncé in a particularly revealing outfit or pose, he’s not thinking about that when you get home and change into your birthday suit. You’re not in competition at that moment with every teaser and tantalizer. Intimacy and availability trump imperfection every time.

Besides, unlike supermodels, most of us do not have a nanny to care for our children while a personal trainer and dietitian whip us into shape, a make-up artist and fashion designer to ready us for a photo shoot, or a photographer and magazine editor to airbrush out arm flab and crows’ feet. Our husbands know that. Even so, we should display to them the beauty that God delicately wove into us.

Your husband found you attractive, chose you, wants you. You are still desirable. Keep yourself up, as best you can. Help him have eyes only for you. And remember, when you are in his sights, images of other women fall out of his memory like old high school algebra equations.

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”

Song of Songs 4:7

9 thoughts on “You’re Not Competing

  1. Sheila

    When my husband and I speak at marriage conferences, he often says that one of the things that bugs him most is when I used to say, “we can’t have sex because I don’t feel attractive!”. He would look at me and say, “Trust me, you’re attractive!”. His definition of attractive was “someone I want to have sex with”. And since I was the only one he wanted to have sex with, I was, by definition, always attractive!

    We women need to remember that it’s how our men think of us that’s important! We can always find flaws, but so what? He just wants to get it on, and why not forget about the flab and just have fun? But it’s taken me a long time to get there!

    Sheila from To Love, Honor and Vacuum!

  2. Anonymous

    What would you say to a woman married to a man that was once addicted to internet pornography? How can she be certain that it’s not other women and scenarios turning him on?

  3. J

    Anonymous,
    This is a tough one. A husband’s pornography addiction erodes trust in the relationship and self-confidence for the woman.
    I defer to a friend of mine who has extensively counseled men in this area. He says that the husband must come clean and stay accountable (e.g., using software programs that give browsing history to an accountability partner. I think Covenant Eyes is one of these). We have to be realistic in saying that men (and women) can conjure up images of past sexual pictures and activities. Unfortunately, that’s one of the consequences of not keeping sexuality exclusively in marriage as God designed.
    But memories fade with time, prayer, and replacement memories.
    I vividly remember sex with my husband on Sunday, but I couldn’t tell you much about the guy I was with my junior year in college. Time has faded that memory.
    I will also say that my memory of pre-vow, non-husband sex acts faded substantially when I specifically requested that God purge my mind of them. He has left enough to remind me of the sinner I was (and a few specifics I simply can’t get rid of), but many of the memories are simply gone.
    Also, new memories replace old ones. Whatever scenario he saw online won’t compare to new memories you create together. Finding ways to pleasure one another and experience God’s best in the bedroom will make him desire you far more than any internet babe. You’re the real thing.
    Finally, men are men. Have you noticed that you can’t get their attention when the Super Bowl is on, or that they can’t jump around conversation topics like you can (“Wait! I thought we were talking about your friend Robin, and now you’re talking about needing shoes.”). God made men to be fairly one-track minded and goal-oriented. In the moment of sexual activity wth you, YOU are the track and the goal. You are the Super Bowl, honey! And no floosy, skimpily-clad cheerleader on the sideline is – in that moment – competing for his attention.
    I suggest you pray about this, talk to your husband about how you can be sure that he desires you more than anything (don’t berate him for the past; ask for solutions for the future); and carry yourself into that bedroom like the hottie you are!
    I will pray for you as well.

  4. J

    One more thing, Anonymous: Be assured that his pornography addiction was HIS problem, not your lack of sexiness. Satan is at work in perverting men’s eyes. You, meanwhile, are the one your hubby chose. And continues to choose.

  5. Anonymous

    I have real issues with this! My husband has always drooled over any pretty face/body that he sees. It’s a bit pathetic to be honest, and downright insulting that he doesn’t see what’s wrong with behaving that way in front of me. Not only does he pant after attractive women, but he is absolutely disgusted by any imperfections. Now, he doesn’t complain about mine, but will complain about any other imperfections that he sees. “That woman is so ugly… so fat… so generally disgusting….” On top of all that, he is completely clueless to the idea that this kind of talk makes me feel very insignificant and self-conscious. The best part is when he brags to our friends that I had no self-esteem when we met, but he has worked to improve my self-esteem. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Over the past 12 years he has cut me down to nothing. But he’s clueless and doesn’t see it and has no idea why I don’t want to have sex, am completely critical of myself and filled with self-hatred over every imperfection. He doesn’t get it. Never will. When I talk to him about it he belittles me and says that my feelings are wrong. And all the Christian marital advise maintains that I can only solve my problem by having more sex with him. Garbage!

  6. J

    Anonymous,

    The hurt you’re experiencing comes across so intensely. Let me be clear: Your husband’s behavior is NOT acceptable. Men are not to “pant after attractive women” (Matthew 5:28), nor are we to disparage others for their imperfections (Ephesians 4:29; Titus 3:2). Moreover, 1 Peter 3:7 encourages husbands to be both considerate to and respectful of their wives.

    I agree that you cannot solve this problem merely by having more sex with your husband. If you have explained your feelings and he is not hearing you, I suggest that you see your pastor or a Christian marriage counselor. If your husband will not go with you, go alone and explain the situation. A professional may help you discover an alternative way of getting your message heard by your husband.

    I am not a proponent of withholding sex from your spouse for long periods of time (because that creates another set of problems). And I stand by the belief that your husband is not likely thinking of another women when he is making love with you. (That is what many men have assured me over and over, and I have no reason to doubt them, although I’m certain there are exceptions.) But your reluctance to be with him in such a vulnerable state is understandable, and these issues need to be addressed to make your marriage healthy.

    In the meantime, be assured that God made you beautiful (Psalm 139:14). You cannot control your husband’s choices, only your own. We are each accountable to God for ourselves. Choose to see yourself as the lovely woman you are.

    I pray for the marriages of people who read my blog, and your situation will be specifically mentioned to my Heavenly Father. I hurt for you. And I know that God wants better for your marriage as well. He wishes to comfort you (Jeremiah 8:18) and bless you.

  7. Anonymous

    This is Anonymous from May 12 –
    Does it ever erode trust! Though he’s owned his problem and taken steps to conquer the addiction, it’s still difficult, as his wife who was hurt and made to feel inadequate (as the next post mentions) to trust him again. It hurts to the core of your being to even have the notion that you aren’t the one turning your husband on. It’s even more difficult to get over and feel sexy after a baby (my recent experience).
    He has promised to me to clear it from his life and I believe he has. And to help in healing my hurt I’ve chosen to see a Christian counsellor. It’s important to me to get our marriage on the right track. And since love always trusts (1 Cor. 13) and perseveres, that is my goal.

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