God’s Handiwork: Woman

Q&AI can’t believe I’m to the last post in this Q&A series! On April 9 of this year, I opened up the floor to readers for questions. I was amazed at how many came my way. If my count is correct, I have answered 30 questions over 7 months. And may I say, you all asked some GREAT questions about marriage and sexuality!

Today’s post ends on a good note with a question/challenge from a regular reader and insightful commenter, Greg:

May I throw in a personal challenge in light of your December 26, 2011 post “The Wonderful Male Body“? In it, you shared candidly that: 

“I still think it’s kind of odd the way God created both male and female genitalia. (For the record, I don’t think the gal parts are especially gorgeous either.)” 

How about a post that helps YOU and your female readers recognize and appreciate the anatomical beauty that God designed and blessed them with? It seems to me there are many women who need to be encouraged that their feminine beauty lies in their amazing differences from men, not in unrealistic expectations and airbrushed magazine covers.

I held this question to the end, thinking this would be a fun and easy post to finish the series. But coming up with what to say was much harder than I expected. As sexually confident as I feel with my husband, I admit that feeling good about my body is still a struggle.

I’ve already written about body image several times. I’ve talked about the frustration of shopping with Rainy Days and Ugly Days Always Get Me Down, what’s realistic for women in Facts and Figures (hint: Not Barbie), and my secret urge to buy Spanx in Shame, Shapewear and Sexiness. I’ve also given some tips to the guys with Husbands, Help Us Feel & Be Beautiful.

Indeed, how we ladies feel about our bodies definitely affects how willing we are to show and share them with our husbands. And many of us don’t feel that great about our bodies as a whole. In particular, we may not see what’s appealing about our private areas.

Yet, that’s what I read all the time here on my blog. Husbands consistently report finding their wives sexy, even when those bodies have aged, spread, puckered, dimpled, and given in to gravity. In the vast majority of marriages, husbands are attracted to their wives’ bodies. Why?

Let’s start with the physical certainties about how female bodies differ from men’s. Here are some facts about how God made women. (All of these are typical, not individual.)

  • A higher percentage of body fat.
  • More fragile bones.
  • Thinner skin.
  • Larger and broader pelvis. (Hello, curves.)
  • Less body hair.
  • More pain receptors (thus, more sensitive skin).
  • Smaller in size.

Female strength is housed in a more delicate shell. Our bodies are made to be softer, curvier, and more sensitive. These characteristics help us to be nurturing mothers and sexier wives.

I also looked to the biblical expert on a beloved wife’s body, the “Lover” in the Song of Songs. Here’s one passage about his honey:

Your breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle
that browse among the lilies.

Say what?!!

Gazelle fawns grazing

Seriously? Gazelle fawns?
Photo from Wikipedia, by LadyofHats

Wanting to be completely thorough in my research, I turned to my favorite expert: My husband. His response? “Here’s a hint: It has to do with curves.” He also explained that the “heart shape” of a woman is visually appealing. Heart shape? The female pelvis in the front and the female rear both form somewhat of a heart shape that ends in the point between the legs. Talk about your subliminal messages. Here’s where the lovin’ is!

All too often, we wives do as Greg states, comparing ourselves to “unrealistic expectations and airbrushed magazine covers.” We thus have a skewed perspective of what beauty is. If I could, I would make all of us gals put away the current slew of magazines, plastic surgery pamphlets, and diet scam books and take a tour of classic art.

See what has passed for female beauty throughout the ages. There are many tastefully-executed paintings of female nudes that show all kinds of body types. Painters have been fascinated by the female body in all of its permutations — from the thinner form of Venus d’Milo to the fuller shape of Michelangelo’s Eve in the Sistine Chapel and everything in between and beyond. In particular, Pierre Auguste Renoir painted a series on bathers that shows many different body types, all worth capturing on canvas and displayed as beautiful to this day.

Renoir, Bather Seated

Renoir, Bather

Renoir, Bather Admiring Herself in Water

What is beautiful about these women? They are women. They have curves — whether subtle or generous; they are softer; they have breasts that taper to a nipple; they have hips that bow out and then come back in toward the genitals; they are different from men.

Maybe it’s that we wives know it logically, but we don’t feel it in our guts (our aging, sagging guts). We hear our husband say that he is attracted to us, that he wants to get an eyeful of our body, that he adores the in-and-outs of our form. But some nagging part of us doesn’t believe it.

Believe it.

If your husband says that he finds you sexy, he does.

I don’t know exactly why he thinks so, but I believe my husband. I believe that when I get undressed in the evening and catch him looking away from his book and at my body instead, he likes what he sees. God made me beautiful to him.

After God made male and female, he finally pronounced His creation not simply “good” but “very good.” We are beautiful because we have been knit together by the King of Kings (Psalm 139:13), are visually appealing to men (Genesis 6:2), and our bodies can satisfy our husbands (Proverbs 5:19). It is because of the special bond of marital love that our husbands find us even sexier in their sight. The Lover in Song of Songs says of his beloved: “my dove, my perfect one, is unique” (Songs of Songs 6:9).

Better. Thanks, Lover.
Photo from Wikimedia, byWheelPlantUser1

Believe it. You are beautiful.

Some of you by now, however, are hurting. Because your husband isn’t like this. He doesn’t appreciate your body. So what if your husband isn’t fond of your appearance? From my research, hubbies who are completely dissatisfied with their wives’ bodies tend to be:

  • Men who have unrealistic expectations throughout marriage and are dissatisfied with imperfections in many areas;
  • Men whose wives have totally let themselves go to the point of morbid obesity or limited grooming/hygiene; and/or
  • Men who are addicted to porn and have rewired their brains to that erroneous standard.

These all indicate problems that go further than sexuality itself and should be addressed for the health of the individuals and the relationship. Believe that God created you as a beautiful woman, take care of the body God gave you, and seek help for the areas of your marriage that need strengthening.

Now I want to open this up to both wives and husbands. Wives, how do you feel about your body? What has helped you appreciate your beauty? Husbands, how do you feel about your wife’s body? Can you explain why you find the feminine form appealing?

30 thoughts on “God’s Handiwork: Woman

  1. missionwife

    I think that believing my husband has helped me appreciate my beauty. If I believe him, I start to think that way, even when I don’t “feel” beautiful. I know there are a few extra curves on me, but I’ve found the more I know he thinks I beautiful the more I believe it, and the more I enjoy sex with him 🙂

  2. workinprogress

    I think what has helped me appreciate my own body is the work I do to take care of it. I work out regularly, and while I am far from the most fit in town, I can look at my body and appreciate the benefits of my hard work. I know my husband finds me beautiful at whatever number the scale might read, but it really does help me to feel confident and beautiful when I know that I am putting work into my figure. I have also learned to not compare myself to others, but simply to be content with the body I have and allow my husband to enjoy it! And believe me, it has taken me a long time to get to this point of contentment… it doesn’t come overnight, but it does come with discipline in “taking every thought captive”.

  3. workinprogress

    I will also add, that after reading a recent post at missionhusband about underwear, I promptly set about to remedy my own underwear situation. My husband has been very enthusiastic about my new pretties, which in turn is helping me to feel more sexy, desirable and beautiful. Yesterday he even unzipped my jeans before we left for church to check and see what I was wearing underneath 😉
    I find that the more I flaunt my body to him, the more he shows appreciation, and then the more beautiful I feel.

  4. Anonymous

    Sigh. While I am thankful for this body God has given me (because it is the reason I am able to be on this earth with my awesome husband and seven kids), I DO NOT enjoy the way it looks. But, as my husband will point out, I never have. Trim or chunky, I have always wanted to lose just a little more weight. I was raised in a home where my mom and dad love each other and show it, but are obsessed with looks. I will never feel pretty enough. And my body…..I’m just trying to control the damage until after the holidays when I is realistic to start another diet (seven kids want Christmas goodies, and although we make healthy stuff here, sugar is sugar). I told my husband that I think a certain amount of self-loathing is necessary in order to want to change things. As is typical for him, he rolled his eyes, kissed me, and said “well, self-loathe in silence then”. Lol.

  5. Jason@SongSix3

    This topic was the subject of my very first blog post ever – titled “The Most Beautiful Woman In The World”… (whom I am married to, by the way!)

    My wife struggled hard with this, while I struggled hard to understand WHY. I realize that the body changes as we age, and I think she’s HOT regardless of a few extra pounds, and stretch marks from bearing six children. As a matter of fact, I don’t even see that stuff unless I purposely go looking for it… usually after she’s made some comment about it in conversation.

    Ladies, in most cases, God has given your husband SELECTIVE sight. All “selective hearing” jokes aside, you should consider this a blessing from God – and THANK HIM!! 😉

    Maybe you’ve aged 15, 20, or even 40+ years since you met your man. The chances are mighty high that he still sees you AS YOU WERE when he fell for you! Stop groaning about what you perceive is wrong with you – and instead, THANK GOD for the way HE made your hubby! I promise you – this change will dramatically affect your thinking… I’m married to the living proof! (Thank you, Tiffani!)

    J, you hit it out of the park with this writing. Thank you! You said it so much better than I did in my aforementioned blog offering. So if you don’t mind, I’m going to add this post to the suggested reading links on mine.

    ~Jason

  6. Anonymous

    For me it isn’t so much my body as my face. I actually like my body and like it better now after 7 pregnancies in as many years than I did when I got married. What’s more is that my husband tells me how sexy he finds me and how much he loves my body. I told him how after the baby weans, I want to tone up, strengthen and increase flexibility. He said, “yes, I can see that, but don’t lose any more weight! You’re so sexy right now!” Of course, we also talked about how he loves ME and he loved me when I was anorexic thin (I was literally anorexic, I’m not just making a cruel analogy) and he loved me at my pregnancy and post partum heaviest.

    So, while I admit that I wouldn’t mind my chest to be a bit bigger to help balance out my Marilyn Monroe waist to hip ratio, I feel very sexy in my skin. It’s my face that I have trouble with. I am a very “unique” beauty…some people have described me as ugly. Others have described me as exotically gorgeous. Most of the time I just get “cute.” But now that I’m getting older, “cute” isn’t a word used for me much anymore. “Lovely,” “so nice,” and “pretty” are used more often. Hubby says that I “look good” and I’m “sexy,” but my favorite word to hear is “beautiful.” I rarely hear it, even from hubby. But I do hear it from God.

  7. Anonymous

    The thoughts I try to encourage my wife are she is mine. She may not like her packaging but I am hoplessly addicted. She has asked me ” what if I gained 100 pounds?” I say we would talk about your health, not your looks. I think it was aul from Generous Husband who said something very profound. All the changes in her body are partly mine, her after baby signs, gray hair, wrinkles…… are a part of our relationship.

    1. J

      What a wonderful sentiment! An extra 100 pounds would be a health issue, but she is your beautiful wife, no matter what.

  8. Pearl

    If we turn the tables to our girlfriends, aren’t they all beautiful? Seriously, all my girlfriends radiate. If we think they are beautiful, how much more does our spouse think his ‘girlfriend’ (a.k.a. wife) is beautiful? GR8 post, J. I pray the hearts of all women would be opened to believing how beautiful they really are!!!

    1. J

      Perfect way to think about it, Pearl! I also think my girlfriends radiate. Currently sitting with my BFF at a coffee shop, and she becomes lovelier to me every year I know her. I even love knowing that some of our wrinkly laugh lines have come from our time together. I guess we should credit our husbands with the ability to see their wives this way.

  9. Anonymous

    Husbands, how do you feel about your wife’s body?

    Uh, yeah, but I don’t think it would be a good idea to be that explicit. LOL!!

    My wife’s body is awesome. Delicate shoulders, beautiful breasts (A cup), small waist, hips that flair out. Powerful, lean legs (she’s a runner). In short, it is nearly impossible to keep my hands off of her, which annoys her to no end!

    Can you explain why you find the feminine form appealing?

    Soft, delicate and curvy, in all the right places. Feminine appeal is hardwired into our male brains, resistance is futile, we shall be awed by the female form.

  10. Anonymous

    I am so thankful for your blog for its positive perspective on marriage. I am 25 and my husband and I have been married just over a year. Everywhere I turn (even at church) there are marriages falling apart or marriages in which it is obvious that the participants are not happy. But my husband and I are so happy and so glad to be in a marriage blessed by God! Reading your blog always helps me ward off the negative viewpoint towards marriage that I see everywhere and just reinforces to me that we are not doomed to fall apart or be unhappy. In response to this particular posting, body image is something I’ve struggled with my whole life, as I physically matured really early, and have had huge breasts for almost as long as I can remember. My husband loves the parts of my body that have made me the most self-conscious over the years, and I love him for that! I’ve found the more I point out the things that my husband does that I like (peeking at me in the shower, telling me he loves and I’m beautiful, touching my body), the more he does those things, and the better I feel about myself. When I encourage my husband and let him know just how great of a job he’s doing as my husband, he seems to try even harder to be great! This, in turn, encourages me to respond by being a better wife for him. We both have faults, but focusing on those negative parts just makes everything feel worse. I’m in the process of trying to lose about 20 lbs, and I’ve found that the most motivated I’ve ever felt is when I complimented my husband on something he’d done and he responded by telling me how glad he is that he gets to look at me naked!! Now I want to improve that naked body to entice him even more! J, keep up the good posts because you are a very positive and encouraging influence on me, a newly married woman who wants to continue to cultivate a marriage that is as good as God intended it to be 🙂

  11. Aimee

    What a wonderful post, as usual.

    I along with probably every woman on this planet has a hard time seeing past what I perceive as flaws and that stems from what our society tells us is beautiful.
    But the more mature I’ve become (age 47), the more comfortable I’ve become with my body.

    It doesn’t hurt too that my husband tells me almost day how beautiful I am. And although there is a part of me that used to cringe when he said it because it can be hard for me to look past the flaws, I have come to allow myself to accept what he says as truth, and I always smile and say thank you.
    My advice ladies is the same as the last post…believe your husband when he tells you that you are beautiful or he loves your body. Do not roll your eyes at him, scoff at him or make otherwise rude noises. LOL Believe him!

  12. Anonymous

    I look at my husband (who isn’t an Adonis) and I love what I see. I love every bit of him, even if it isn’t the “handsome ideal” that’s plastered all over the media. I love his strong arms and shoulders. I love the way a kilt (that’s right, ladies…my man wears a kilt!) falls over his hips. I love his calves, his smile, his hair (body and head), etc etc. I find him sexy. I can go over his entire body up close and personal and see every follicle, freckle, mole, pimple, scar, etc and LOVE IT!

    So, why can I not believe that he can do the same to me? He does! We can believe that our husbands find us beautiful, sexy and alluring flaws and all.

    You know what is sexy and beautiful? Confidence!

  13. Anonymous

    I was told shortly after we were married that my husband is my mirror. I have to remind myself of that at times but how I view my body has changed because of how my husband views me. He loves my tummy, thinks its sexy at every stage of the month.:)”I am your mirror” best thing a woman can hear from her husband.

  14. Scott

    J – Great post! This is absolutely one of the biggest issues doing damage to the sexual intimacy in marriages today. Thanks for addressing it head on.

    If only more wives would choose to believe their husbands when he says how much he loves her body. Ladies, listen to your man instead of the media. His is the opinion that counts! Plus, don’t forget that confidence is sexy!

  15. Kori

    Since having my second child and especially my third I have been very critical of my body, and like most other husbands, mine still sees me sexy more so than when we met, or so he says 🙂 But I love that you wrote “God made me beautiful to him” It hit me that maybe what I’ve been always saying is actually true 🙂 I always tell him he is just blinded by love, and now I believe that in a good way. God made us for each other and we see each other through the eyes of love which keeps those flaws hidden from sight. Tonight as I am undressing and he “sneaks” a peek I’m going to remember those words and enjoy the way he looks at me, something I haven’t done for at long time. Thank you!!!

  16. desiringdiscipline

    I am struck that my husband has never seemed to be visually driven by my naked body–even when it was younger and not affected by babies or excess weight… sexy lingerie seemingly does nothing for him. I am sure that having had lovers prior to marriage has had a big impact for me… I was always told how “beautiful” or “sexy” my body was, and it was nice to hear and very arousing. My husband didn’t seem “able” to verbalize that.

    But self-image is half the battle. I gained about 80 pounds over 15 years when my marriage was at it’s absolute low point. The more my husband distanced himself from the marital bed, the more I self-medicated with food. I finally have shed most of the pounds over the past 10 months, and regained a little of my “naked confidence.” That helped in my bid to reclaim my marriage and the marriage bed with my husband (see my blog for more on that). I’m not as ashamed of my body (and hear many, many compliments all around from men and women friends, even our kids’ friends) and I’m “teaching” my husband about the kind of touch I need from him to feel cherished and loved. His response has been encouraging, his improved yet quiet “appreciation” of nakedness together is nice, and I no longer feel the need to “hide” from him when naked… but there still remains for me the desire to hear from his mouth that he likes my body. So to the husbands who are doing this, bravo. It could be the single most important gift you give your wife.

  17. Anonymous

    This post is reaffirming what I have been trying to figure out for years. My husband is forever telling me how sexy I am and how he loves my body, but it is so hard to believe. Funny how now after five pregancies and six children (last two are twins, love them!)I am finally starting to understand. Breasts that have nursed six children, tummy that hangs over a c-section scar, stretch marks from carrying 14 lbs of baby, he doesn’t see that. He sees a beautiful body that God has given him to enjoy. Thank you for the encouragement.

  18. Anonymous

    Being a man who finds the female form to be tremendously beautiful and indescribably wonderful, and additionally being very passionate about promoting their self-esteem, I was naturally inclined to stop at this post while browsing through the archive of comparably excellent articles. At first I was very enthusiastic and joyful that one was written concerning this subject. That was until I read the original article that inspired Greg to suggest this one (The Wonderful Male Body) and discovered the post that it was made as an expansion of (The One-Eyed Snake).

    I have been following your posts for a good while now and have absolutely enjoyed and admired your wisdom, insight and humour in each and every one of them. But after reading that one I must say it is difficult to reconcile it with the rest of what you’ve said and taught on HH&H.

    All I can say is I hope your mindset has changed since then, because I can’t even begin to tell you how deeply insulting and far from even remotely humorous that article was, espescially if it is true as you claimed that a majority of women share your view on the male body as conveyed in that post. Considering how most men don’t even like jokes about the size of their penis, it genuinely surprises me that it occured to you for even a second that that post was a good idea or in any way humorous.

    To make it worse, I had to scroll down to see our “manhood” continue to be the punch line of your insulting jokes in your comments with other women. Your statement that it wasn’t meant to be offensive and that you concluded with an encouragement for women to appreciate our bodies seems nothing more than a sick joke after reading all that preceded it. As someone who has so much passion and has put so much effort into encouraging women and their self-esteem, that post was very discouraging to me. And if what you say is true that most women share that mindset, it will be very difficult to summon the same enthusiasm I previously had in doing so. I just really can’t believe you wrote that reading your more recent articles. Stating that women aren’t as visual as men is one thing, but you went way too far with your description of just how visually unpleasent it apparently is. I would expect something like this from a culturally conditioned secular blog who see human beings as biological accidents rather than God’s intentional design, but never would have from yours.

    I have so many things I want to say to this but I am so thoroughly irritated and feel so disrespected as a man because of how many times I’ve heard comments like this from women Christian and secular alike, despite our great outspoken appreciation for the female body. Unbelievable.

    1. J

      I’m glad you wrote that up, Anonymous. I have given that post some thought before, as I have received other negative feedback about it. It was certainly never my intention to insult men. I started writing this blog as if chatting with close girlfriends, and my hope in that post was to really suggest that while some wives are not visually turned on by that aspect, they can greatly appreciate their husbands’ potency and intimacy with them…and over time, it becomes a wonderful thing.

      But clearly, my message was lost somewhere. And the blog grew to proportions I never imagined, including a fair number of husband readers.

      I have thus considered taking the post down. But I wrote it. I have to take responsibility for it. I am leaving it up. I did, however, update the post saying that I wouldn’t write it the same way today.

      And so, I apologize. I actually think men are really awesome, in so many ways. And my husband can attest that his manhood is quite attractive to me.

      But honestly, the first time many of us women saw a penis we were surprised (disappointed was a terrible word choice). We didn’t know what to expect, and it took a little getting used to. That’s me being honest, and I hope it doesn’t offend. Because again, I think men are indeed an amazing creation from our Father God.

  19. Anonymous

    I accept your apology, and appreciate your understanding response. Yea I must say the description of the initial experience as “disappointing” set a negative mood for the rest of the post as I was reading it. I much dislike having an indifferent response to my body as a man, nevermind feeling like the sight of it is a disappointment. And like I said, I hear quite often from women how they think the female form is so much more appealing than ours. It seems that the male form and nature are progressively becoming less appreciated in favour of the form and nature of women. It’s even more frustrating knowing that the primary cause of this increasingly pervasive arrogance is a result of the male driven media simultaneously manipulating men’s visually-oriented nature and women’s emotional need to feel beautiful and desired. Consequently women see men’s fascination with them and believe because they are not as easily visually stimulated that they must be so much greater aesthetically than we are (forgetting that the variance of visual appeal is about the genders’ different natures, not objective beauty).

    The media is now propogating this excessive exaltation of women and society (including many Christians) are conforming to it. I love absolutely everything about women, every inch of their body and every aspect of their nature is altogether fascinating and just pleasent to explore. I love how their nature requires me to think outside my own and learn how to please them emotionally and physically in such different ways from that of us guys. But when that physical and emotional beauty becomes a cause for arrogance, it is relinquished and becomes rather unattractive.

    But regardless, I believe that it was not your intention to offend nor propogate this idea any further, that’s just honestly how it seemed to be unequivocally conveyed. Again, I accept your apology and very much appreciate your kind and understanding response. Given all the respect, appreciation and addoration that I (and many other Christian men) have for women, it is very refreshing to get some back, not as an attempt to be polite but a genuine appreciation of our qualities. No man likes to feel undesirable any more than a woman does.

  20. Anonymous

    I was sexually abused as a child, so I have no grid for what is normal in sex. My husband wants to rub his penis between my breasts until he ejaculates on them. This makes me think of porn. Is this a normal desire that Godly men have?

    1. J

      I ache for you. Sexual abuse is absolutely terrible, and I pray that you can move beyond it and discover God’s gift of physical pleasure in marriage.

      As to your question, I don’t know if that’s in porn, but it sounds pretty normal to me. There is nothing particularly degrading about it–just a different way for him to climax that involves a part of your body he likes. If you feel weird about it, ask your hubby to explain more about why it appeals to him. Of course, neither spouse should force or demand specific sexual acts, but this might be something enjoyable if you explore what turns him on about that idea. If you’re still uncomfortable with the idea, look for something else that would be arousing to you both.

      Best wishes!

  21. Anonymous

    This last question was great and brought another question. Since both myself and spouse have seen porn in the past we have no idea as to what is porn motivated. If something is brought up that she has seen in the past she questions it right away because she wants to know what is driving the idea. I myself don’t know what is wrong or right.

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