The Beauty of a Woman

Illustration from Microsoft Word Clip Art

Illustration from Microsoft Word Clip Art

Today’s post is from the male point of view, though not a hubby. Greg Donner is a single man who speaks out in favor of biblical sexuality. He has followed my blog and made poignant comments for some time. I knew that he had written on this topic and found an article on his site. I asked his permission to reprint it, with some editing for space.

Greg’s post was originally aimed at men but provides insight for women as well.

Admire and Acknowledge

“If God made anything more beautiful than a woman, He kept it for Himself.” — Unknown

Since I was a boy, I have admired girls and women a great deal. I believe God made women to have, and be, everything a man lacks and longs for — emotionally, mentally, physically, and sexually. They are to be deeply appreciated, envied, and lauded; not debased, objectified, or ridiculed. Solomon described the intricate beauty he saw in the woman he loved:

Song of Solomon 7:1-9 (NIV 1984) “How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince’s daughter! Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of a craftsman’s hands. Your navel is a rounded goblet that never lacks blended wine. Your waist is a mound of wheat encircled by lilies. Your breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle. Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon by the gate of Bath Rabbim. Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon looking toward Damascus. Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses. How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love, with your delights! Your stature is like that of the palm, and your breasts like clusters of fruit. I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree; I will take hold of its fruit.’ May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine. May the wine go straight to my lover, flowing gently over lips and teeth.”

Human anatomy — for men and women — will always be noticed. We’re only lying to ourselves if we say we don’t — it’s as instinctive as breathing. However, we are wrong to place value solely on the physical, since beauty is subjective and truly in the eye of the beholder. True beauty never emanates exclusively from the physical; attitudes can be subjective and change quickly; e.g. how people view an overweight woman who then loses that weight. Opinions vary substantially even over actors and actresses who, by cultural standards, have “arrived.” Many women struggle with the notion that if their body does not match the unrealistic Photoshopped “ideal” imagery touted by the media (who promotes and destroys at will), then they inherently lack appeal, and are not attractive. However, their core anatomy can still be appealing and attractive regardless of how “feminine” or “perfect” it may seem to them. Its greatest allure remains the fact that it’s still a different yet complementary design from men, and it contains the elements and attributes that God intentionally created men to be visually drawn to.

Bill Cosby muses that after God created Eve, Adam’s naming of her as “woman” came from his reaction of first setting eyes on her: “Whoa! Man!” Physically, mentally, and emotionally, there are many things that happen to men when they encounter a woman they find attractive — the catch is what we think and how we respond to this. Admiration stems from a myriad of elements: mannerisms, voice, movement, and attitudes, as well as visual/physical attributes. From head to toe, there is a vast wonder and beauty about women, and I believe that man is a steward of something much better and greater than himself. Emotionally, women express their feelings and are often in touch with themselves and others. Mentally, they have many skills and abilities that parallel and often exceed men (e.g. able to read body language twice as well as men). Physically, they possess a very powerful sensuality and aesthetic beauty. Sexually, their differences are nothing short of breathtaking. God has truly blessed women in the way they are made — each part of them is unique and desirable in its own way. In her book For Women Only (p. 100), Shaunti Feldhahn notes one man’s words that echo this:

“She doesn’t understand how even her occasional dismissals make me feel less desirable. I can’t resist her. I wish that I, too, were irresistible. She says I am. But her ability to say no so easily makes it hard to believe.”

While we should be careful not to elevate women, we need to admire and acknowledge the incredibly beautiful way in which God has made them. In addition, we need to be careful that we don’t ignore them. One woman shares about this:

“…I, too, see it as a cop out. I believe Christian men have been led to believe the lie that they will always struggle with lusting after women. It’s taught when they are teens, and supported through adulthood. This lie leads them to treat half the Christian population like they are invisible (bouncing the eyes) and keeps them from reaching out to women who aren’t believers because they may be dressed skimpily.

“Yes, men can and do have lust problems, but they don’t have to be slaves to lust! Jesus came to set us free — how do we display that freedom with the current ways we teach men? Seems to me they become even more enslaved to the program of keeping themselves ‘pure’, while beautiful sisters in Christ are not looked at, not talked to, etc. because these teens/men are encouraged to ‘bounce their eyes.’

“Yes, it’s a sore spot for me as a beautiful woman who is friends with beautiful women who have all felt weird by men who won’t look at us when we say hi!

Compliment

“Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot; who stays awake to watch you sleep. Wait for the guy who kisses your forehead; who holds your hand in front of his friends. Wait for the one who is constantly reminding you of how lucky he is to have you.” — Unknown

Women — even little girls — are constantly bombarded by negative, exploitative messages and unrealistic expectations in the media and world in which we live that exacerbate insecurities about themselves. They need to be reassured and reminded that they are beautiful—not “hot”—and that beauty does not mean perfection. In response to an article about this, Jennifer Vaughn notes that:

“My personal experience: not complimenting a girl results in anxiety, insecurity, and obsession with looks.”

Negative messages can be countered by simple reminders of the truth: beauty takes many forms, and again, does not equal perfection.

Physical beauty and attractiveness are subjective, and appeal differs for everyone — men and women alike. For men, staying focused on the person is not easy to do, as visually attractive women will always catch our eye, and are often overpowering. Those not as physically attractive we tend to overlook or ignore; but giving equal attention to all women is possible, and should always be what we strive for. The true value of a lady is who she is inside — not how physically attractive we find her to be (the following verses leaving little room for debate):

Proverbs 11:22 (NIV 1984) “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.”

Proverbs 31:30 (NIV 1984) “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”

It goes without saying that these verses apply to men, too, as they address attitudes of the heart. The truth is that most women endowed with physical beauty do not appreciate being scrutinized or ogled, and less attractive women may be grateful that you are paying them equal time and attention. Regardless of perceived physical beauty, women should never be ignored or treated as a sex object. In this regard, a lady once shared with me that:

“A smile and good, solid eye-contact tells a woman all that and more. Work on flirting with your eyes. Look into their soul; not their blouse. That is the ultimate compliment.”

As someone else put it:

“Treat her as the person God intended; not the plaything this world thinks she is.”

The poem The Beauty of a Woman describes it another way:

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears,
The figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.
The beauty of a woman must be seen from within her eyes,
Because that is the doorway to her heart,
The place where love resides.
The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,
But true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.
It is the caring that she lovingly gives,
The passion that she shows,
And the beauty of a woman
With passing years
Only grows.

(Authorship is variously attributed to the following: Maya Angelou, Ralph Fenger, Audrey Hepburn, and Sam Levenson).

Greg DonnerSo much to think about there from Greg. I appreciate his viewpoint and willingness to come on Hot, Holy & Humorous.

From his website: “Besides an interest in computers, his greatest passion is to, somehow, be involved in a ministry advocating for truth about biblical sexuality and intimacy in the midst of a world that attacks and distorts it. . . . He has no qualifications or biblical counseling training, nor is he even married; but sexual immorality is one of the biggest, gravest threats and problems of our time, requiring the church to step out of their comfort zone and boldly stand for truth.”

10 thoughts on “The Beauty of a Woman

  1. Anonymous

    So…what was his point? Seemed like a lot of rambling. And to whom is he writing these miscellaneous thoughts? This is a reprint from his site, so I would hope it is to other fellow-single guys.

    1) We mustn’t put value solely on the physical BECAUSE beauty is subjective and in the eye of the beholder? That’s a terrible message and beside-the-point cliches. No, it should be because God didn’t create us to be solely physical beings. We value more than one facet of humans because He created us with more than one facet.

    2) The quote from the beautiful woman with beautiful friends who is so offended by Christian men “bouncing their eyes”? Has she given thought to why they may be bouncing their eyes? Does she and her friends dress modestly and God-honouringly? Does she and her friends conduct themselves with purity or–even if skin is covered–do they use their smooth tongue and flirty eyes like the Proverbs 6 woman?

    Besides that, even in a case of a chaste and godly woman who happens to be physically beautiful, if my husband finds looking at her to be challenging to him in keeping his mind pure, I freaking want him to be bouncing his eyes! He is not a slave to a program, he is a slave to Christ. And if he needs to not look at some woman to be obedient to Him, he should not be scoffed at! I was astounded that “bouncing the eyes” would have been put in a REMOTELY negative light when far too few men do it to begin with.

    3) The first quote under the “compliment” section is the lamest tripe that I only hear single teen girls throw around. “Wait for the one who thinks you’re beautiful, not hot”? No thanks, I want my husband to think both of me. And I believe that’s biblical.

    4) Regarding women–and even little girls: “They need to be reassured and reminded that they are beautiful—not “hot”—and that beauty does not mean perfection.” Again, is this directed to single men?? I find it interesting he said what beauty is not…so what IS it? Does he know? If I ever have daughters, I would hope to teach them HOW to be beautiful (1 Peter 3, for example)…not that they already are. That seems to be just changing the semantics without changing the sentiment. If we’re going for communicating value on more than just the physical, then their beauty would depend on how their hearts are towards God and others. And if this is written to more than just single men, no. I would like to be reminded from my husband that he thinks I’m hot (as well as beautiful). What was the point of quoting Song of Solomon at the beginning of this post? I’d say that man found his wife incredibly hot…and told her!

    1. J

      Wow, you really picked this apart. I took far more general messages from what Greg was saying here.

      As for the bouncing eyes comment, I took it as a suggestion for men to learn how to change their heart and attitudes toward women to see them as people rather than sex objects to ogle or avoid. I totally agree, however, that if a woman catches my husband’s eye inappropriately, sure, I want him to look away.

      I just think I read this differently, like wanting to be considered beautiful and not JUST hot…though I do want to be hot to my hubby. So I find myself agreeing with both of you in a way, simply because I see both of your points.

      Thanks for commenting.

    2. Greg

      Anonymous,

      I do have the tendency to ramble/repeat myself–my apologies. That’s one more reason why I appreciate J’s writing (and other marriage bloggers) all the more!

      My contention with the word “hot” in reference to women (other than one’s spouse) lies in the fact that it’s usually seeing and treating them as an object, not as a whole person. Like you shared, God created us with multiple facets. In the case of a husband and wife, where the relationship is known, use liberally of each other! 🙂

      I can’t speak for the beautiful woman who was offended, but I do know I don’t want to either ogle or ignore the beauty God blessed women with. Each man is accountable to the Lord for their motives and actions.

      Some explanation as to where this post came from may be in order–like J noted, it’s a sub-set of an article entitled “Respecting Women” originally intended for men:

      http://www.gregdonner.org/thoughts/thoughts5.html

      Thanks for your comments and feedback–some things for me to think about!

  2. Pearl

    Greg, thank you for your aesthetic appreciation of the beauty of women. Far too many women do not value their beauty because of not meeting the media ‘standards’. And, you have shed light on an issue I have had with a certain upstanding mature man in my church. He refuses to meet my eye. I am a godly woman who dresses stylish but modest. (I may write about libido, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at me.) His lack of social graces has made me feel shunned. Maybe he is bouncing his eyes.

    1. Greg

      Pearl, thanks for your kind comments! I pray that this man would, in some way, understand that his refusal to make eye contact with you truly hurts.

    2. ivan

      Pearl, I gotta say, this “upstanding mature man” has some undealt with sexual brokenness. Bouncing eyes doesn’t mean not making eye contact. It does mean not checking out your figure. As someone who finds women who put themselves together well very attractive, even if they are modest, I can still make eye contact. And actually make of point of eye to eye contact, so I’m not oggling. So Pearl, you be at peace with yourself.

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