Real Women Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Not too long ago, I read a social media conversation in which average-sized women were bashing the fashion industry. That’s reasonably popular, isn’t it? After all, we’ve had years and years of fashion moguls telling us through commercials, advertisements, and runway shows what the right look for a women should be — and it isn’t what most of us look like.

But the conversation of these women turned to statements I’ve heard before, like these:

  • “Normal-sized women don’t wear those clothes.”
  • “I’d have to be a toothpick to wear that!” (Or twig or pole or ___.)
  • “Real women have curves.”

And I thought about that — how quickly the conversation turned from blaming the fashion industry for hurting women’s image of themselves to comments that likely hurt other women’s image of themselves. Strange as it may seem, some women really are a size 2, naturally, without starving themselves for a photo shoot.

Unfortunately, we ladies sometimes fall prey to the same one-size-fits-all thinking that we decry the fashion industry for having. And I’m just going to say it: We need to give each other a break, ladies.

While we have certain womanly aspects in common, God our Creator has made us gals in a variety of shapes and sizes. Just how pronounced our curves are or the number on our clothing’s label doesn’t define us as “normal” or “real-sized.” If God made you that size and you’re maintaining your health, you’re very real, very womanly, and very beautiful.

Silhouettes of women

I’ve honestly never known any woman who didn’t struggle in some way with her appearance. Maybe you struggle with maintaining a healthy weight. Maybe you feel like your body is disproportionate. Maybe you wish you could have some of those curves that other women talk about, but you just don’t.

I doubt that many of us fit the “ideal woman” size and shape, and our perceived shortcomings are in different areas. By the way, those gorgeous models don’t even fit the ideal woman size and shape, as the vast majority of them are “photoshopped” into a fictional version of themselves. Famed supermodel Cindy Crawford once said, “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.” I’m giving Cindy a break for not looking perfect, but I’m giving that break to every woman out there too.

Let’s collectively fight against the popular voices that attack our self-image. We need to embrace the reality that we are wonderfully made by our Creator (Psalm 139:14) and beautiful to those who love us (Song of Songs 4:7). We also need to stop creating some unrealistic version of what a “real woman” looks like — whatever that image is.

Real women are as varied as snowflakes.

You are a real woman. I am a real woman. We do not look alike. And that is God’s favor upon us in this world. He is a true Artist, creating an array of beauty that extends past anyone’s effort to box us in and make us conform like factory-produced dolls. Big or small, tall or short, large or thin, curvy or straight, let’s look deeper into the heart of the women we interact with.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).

Let’s build up the self-image of the wives in our midst.

38 thoughts on “Real Women Come in All Shapes and Sizes

  1. A normal guy

    Exactly! When you say if you are the way God made you and HEALTHY! The recent story about the Miss USA contestant that was ‘NOT normal’ goes to this as well. If I remember, she was 5’8″ about 137 lbs, size 4, and people were saying that she wasn’t normal. She was FOR HER. She was healthy! Just because the average woman is a size ‘what ever’ (be it 12 or 14) doesn’t mean that is what is normal. How many times do we hear about the ‘obesity crisis’ we have in this country? If you are a size 14 but should be a 10, or 8 or 6, should we just say ‘Ok, you are normal’ when your health is in jeopardy. On the other side, if you are a size 0 due to a lack of eating but should be a 4, you are not normal. Let’s strive to be the best “(insert name)” that we can be. Healthy and where we should be weight-wise based on our frame and lifestyle needs. Not going to either extreme. Don’t be lazy and overweight or obsessed and under weight.

    1. Heather P.

      “Don’t be lazy and overweight or obsessed and under weight.” — seriously? Perhaps you didn’t mean it this way — at least, I sincerely hope that you didn’t — but in that one bold sentence you have just stereotyped all overweight people as lazy, and those under weight as obsessed. That is not helpful or uplifting to anyone.

      1. J Post author

        Yeah, I’m guessing that sentence didn’t come across just right, but I thought A Normal Guy was saying not to be the former (lazy/obsessed) because it could lead to the latter.

        But there are definitely stereotypes regarding overweight and underweight people that aren’t helpful.

  2. Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

    Thanks, J, for this encouraging reminder. It is astonishing how we women focus on our own “negatives” and almost totally ignore our “positives.”

    I love the quote by Cindy Crawford. I have seen pictures of Heidi Klum without her TV or photo shoot makeup, and she looks surprisingly like a “normal” woman (albeit with great cheekbones!).

  3. Greg

    Re: “Unfortunately, we ladies sometimes fall prey to the same one-size-fits-all thinking that we decry the fashion industry for having.”

    Yes; a healthy weight and proportional for your own unique build are what matters most. The greatest allure of a woman’s physicality lies first in her array of differences from men; then, to a lesser extent, their individual implementation.

    And in reality, there is no one-size-fits-all definition of what men find most attractive in a woman’s physicality. Proof? Mens’ opinions vary substantially even over models and actresses who (by our media/culture’s flawed, agenda-driven disposable standards) have “arrived”.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  4. Paul Byerly

    It seems to me women drive this far, far more than men. Just look at the covers of women’s magazines! I talk to men all the time who want to know how they can convince their wife they like how she looks.

    Sad

  5. Becca

    Oh if only I could look as “normal” as Miss Indiana. I have never been perfect and will never be. I am too tall (5’9.5″) and struggle to hover between a size 8 and 10. When women are praised for being thin with flat abs or real and “curvy” where does that leave a freak like me? Somewhere in the middle. Plain and strange.
    My husband and I fight all the time about this. He says I’m beautiful, I know he’s just trying to be nice and make me happy. But lies don’t make me happy.
    I used to be happy with my long legs and small rear view, but now round rear ends are what’s hot so again, I will never be attractive. When I see my husband notice another woman (and he tries not to do this but he still does sometimes) she is usually thin with bigger hips than I could ever dream of. So realistically, I know if he finds these women attractive, then he is lying to spare my feelings when he says he’s attracted to me.
    It hurts that I’m not beautiful, but let’s face it, some girls have it, and I never have and never will. It’s better to just try not to think about it and get on with the more important things in life. 🙂
    Sometimes I wonder why he even married me. I think he is more attracted to short, tiny girls with nice curvy hips. Why he settled for someone like me I will never know. We’ve been married a long time though, so I guess he can’t be too unhappy. It’s nice to be able yo share my feelings on this issue, because if I try talking to him about this he gets so mad. I guess maybe he is disappointed and shows it by getting angry with the things I say.
    Thanks for touching on this touchy subject!

    1. J Post author

      I don’t know him, but I believe your husband. And yes, I think he can notice other women who have different builds than you, and still find you extremely beautiful.

      It’s taken me time to really understand this, but when I hear from husbands, a vast majority of them are simply attracted to the differences between men and women — whether that’s her petite, hourglass figure or her subtle curves and smallish breasts. You still look different from him, and that’s appealing to a guy. Plus, he gets to touch you (at least I hope he does), which could make your breasts and hips curves his very favorites.

      Sure, there are men who aren’t happy with their wives’ physique, but most of those are either critical to their wives or eerily silent about it. Since your husband is reassuring you with statements about your beauty, maybe you could entertain the idea that he could indeed be telling the truth?

    2. libl

      I had a graduate degree in body/self image issues. Add to that hearing guys say I was ugly kind of confirmed in me that I was.

      But, I eventually learned some truths. Hard to swallow truths, some of them, but TRUTHS none the less:

      1. I wanted to be the most beautiful woman in the world to hubby so that he never noticed another woman. Problem is, I am not the most beautiful woman in the world. Even the most beautiful woman is subjective and some don’t find her all that attractive. Even men who are married or dating absolutely stunning women notice other women. AND, it is rather idolatrous of me to want to be some sort of worshipped goddess for hubby.

      As others have said, just because I prefer the mountains doesn’t mean the beach is ugly.

      FACT IS: hubby DOES see me as beautiful and that I can stand among other beautiful women as equals. BUT, my unique beauty (ahem…very unique “beauty” as some actually do consider me quite unattractive and I do not look like the American standard of beauty) coupled with my character, personality, devotion to hubby and being his alone makes me stand above every other woman in the world. I am his woman and that makes me special.

      2. Noticing other women’s beauty in NO WAY is a sin or devalues my attractiveness. Now, I’m talking about noticing. NOT leering. NOT lusting. I notice when other men are attractive and it doesn’t make hubby any less attractive. We are humans and we interact with humans and we notice humans. And some humans are VERY noticably attractive. Good for them! It is sinful of me to covet their beauty, to think less of myself, to mentally degrade them to feel better about myself AND it is sin to mentally degrade myself because I don’t think I measure up to some ever changing, subjective cultural standard.

      3. It really hurt hubby that I rejected his compliments and that I thought so little of myself. It was basically calling him a liar, suggesting he had no sense, suggested that he’s just using me, that he’s blind, stupid, etc.

      4. There was a time my insecurities finally did start driving hubby away and he became distant and started looking at porn and other women in sinful ways. We had to confront both our sins, but I had to find value in myself. I remember crying out to God why He made me so unattractive and what was His truth. I walked into the bathroom and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I was suddenly captivated by myself. God was showing me how beautiful I was but also revealing it in truth.

      I AM beautiful. And I am kind of ugly (according to cultural/societal standards). It’s a fact and it really doesn’t bother me all that much any more. I am who I am. I take care of myself. I do the best I can with my hair and make up and clothing. But I am MORE than those things. So much more. And let’s face it, I’m getting older.

      5. What I really wanted was to captivate hubby’s attention. I wanted other women to fade in the background while I stood out. But my insecurities and not trusting hubby’s word was doing just the opposite. Instead, I became real and vulnerable with hubby. I thanked him sincerely when he complimented me. I had fun with him. I stopped worrying about if I looked silly or if a pimple was showing and I smiled more, laughed more, enjoyed life more, had hobbies, interests, conversations….and didn’t hold back sexually with him. And being ME, who I am, “warts” and all has made me all that much more captivating to him and other women are fading into the background. It’s the RELATIONSHIP, the love, the respect, the being vulnerable and giving of our true selves to our spouses that makes us stand out among women. NOT our looks. The Proverbs 31 woman was praised for who she was, not what she looked like. The Shulamite in SoS was not culturally beautiful and yet he was captivated by her and her beauty.

      We are not our husband’s perfectly airbrushed, ever youthful Playboy models. We are REAL women. Humans. And our relationships and beauty and captivation are so much more than how we look. We are not 2 dimensional. We are multi-faceted. Real diamonds have flaws and the “flaws” are part of what makes us beautiful.

      You will NEVER see me on the cover of a magazine. I would love to do some modeling, but cameras hate me. I do not photograph well. It used to kill me. Now I just laugh at it is a fact of my life. I had a photo shoot done and I told the photographer quite simply that I have an uneven face with strong angles, so he has to be careful with lighting and it is going to take a lot of photos to get a few good ones. It was true. There were a LOT of bad photos and we laughed at them and he and his wife paid me numerous compliments about how fun it was to photograph me. My 15 minute session was more like an hour and 15 because we were having so much fun!

      I’m sure many a young fellow would have looked through that album and thought “ummm…no.” But I am MORE than some bad photographs. And shaking off the lies, deceit and trappings of my thoughts on beauty has SET ME FREE to be ME and enjoy my life and enjoy my marriage and be real.

      Who cares if every guy on the planet doesn’t want to have sex with me! Hubby does! And he gets it with gusto!!

      I think that’s what it ultimately comes down to. We want our value wrapped up in whether or not a guy would have sex with us, or be jealous that our husband gets to. Frankly, that’s none of anyone’s business. Sex is so much more than a nice body. I know some guys who are very happily married to less than perfect women….overweight women. Women with bad acne. Women with premature gray. Women with crooked teeth, glasses. And they are HAPPY and proud of their wives and captivated by them because these women are there’s and are vulnerable and committed to them. And I know men who only go after the “pretty ones.” And brag about it and show them off and share naked pictures of them with other guys trying to get them jealous. And they are unhappy, uncommitted, have no love, real relationship or respect for themselves or the women they are with. And I know men who are married to absolutely stunning women who present themselves as more than their good looks. And they are happily married.

      Trust God. Trust your husband and take care of yourself. Stop letting your assumptions about yourself ruin your life and rob you of your joy.

      Once I accepted that, yeah, I’m ugly (to some people), so what?! That doesn’t stop me from having a life! I also accepted that I could survive without hubby (if he ever left me like I thought he would because of my looks)…even thrive. I didn’t NEED hubby. And with THAT revelation, I could freely give myself to hubby. WANT him and let him want me and I could give him the gift of my trust that he won’t leave me and that he does find me captivating and beautiful. And THAT is beautiful.

  6. kelly

    Becca, you have to stop believing the media’s lies that only a select few body shapes are attractive. That is the whole point of this article. I know that men are capable of seeing the beauty in a variety of body shapes because I am a woman and even i can! If you are healthy for your body shape then i guarantee you that he isn’t lying when he says he finds you attractive! Hovering between an 8 and a 10 sounds pretty healthy by real world standards. Remember, That’s about the size Marilyn Monroe and the beautiful women of her time generally were. If you struggle to maintain your weight, it may be that you haven’t been eating a truly healthy diet. I am finally discovering what is actually a healthy way of eating and realizing that it is much easier to lose and maintain my weight now. A plant based diet filled with lots of veggies and minimal processed food is healthy for anyone. Most of all, you have to stop believing the lies of the enemy and believing your husband. Even men are capable of seeing the beauty inside someone and appreciating their outer beauty even more because of it! You have to start looking at yourself the way God does. A beautiful and perfect creation!

    1. 1980B.C.

      “If you are healthy for your body shape then i guarantee you that he isn’t lying when he says he finds you attractive! Hovering between an 8 and a 10 sounds pretty healthy by real world standards.”

      I just want to say how much I agree with this statement.

      As an insight to a guy’s mind, let’s say you are 5’9 and hovering around a size 10 with less curves below the waist (sounds pretty fine to me. That’s my wife’s description and she’s totally captivating.) and you see your man noticing a girl with a gymnast’s build (I would describe that as petite and many muscular curves). It doesn’t mean he’s into short girls. He’s not seeing short = hot. He’s more curious about how that girl wears the beauty associated with her body type. There’s very few of us that are so fixated on a “type” that we can’t see each woman’s individual beauty. Those that DO have that fixation are just messed up. We notice if they dress to suit their build. We notice if they look comfortable and confident in their own skin. But we chose our wives, fully aware of their body type, and fully attracted to it.

      If you want to know you’re attractive to your husband, having the big booty that our culture says is “in” right now isn’t the way to go. The thing to do is believe him(or at least not argue with him) when he says you’re beautiful, and act with confidence in how you dress (or undress) for him. Confidence never goes out of fashion and is more attractive than any curve of another woman’s body.

      1. J Post author

        Thanks so much for your honest guy perspective. It’s in keeping with what I hear from many husbands too, but you worded it quite well! 🙂

      2. Becca

        Thanks for your perspective…BUT… If he’s curious about how other women wear the beauty associated with their body type, then he can’t find me beautiful, or my beauty would be enough to hold his attention.

        In fact, his brother told me that when my husband asked me out on our first date he was actually looking for another girl (she was short,perfect, and brunette) but he couldn’t find her so he asked me out instead. My husband says that isn’t true, but why would his brother make that up? I have even offered to dye my hair brown 100 times but my husband gets mad and says things like “no, I want you to be you.” He wouldn’t get so mad about it if I actually were enough for him.

        I’d love to believe him, but since I have a mirror, I cannot.

        1. J Post author

          Oh, Becca, Becca, Becca! How I ache for you!!! (And frankly, your beleaguered husband.)

          I think you’re misunderstanding how appeal works — especially for men. You say: “If he’s curious about how other women wear the beauty associated with their body type, then he can’t find me beautiful, or my beauty would be enough to hold his attention.” I completely hold my husband’s attention, but my man isn’t blind or dead! God has created him to appreciate beauty, but he doesn’t attach himself to that beauty out there — he attaches to mine.

          Try to think of it like this: I go to the art gallery and look at many beautiful paintings. I’m curious about how the artists worked and what the results were. But I don’t linger there. I’m not even all that impressed really. Because hanging in that gallery is a painting wrought by my beloved — a perfect portrait. I walk into the room where it hangs, and my heart leaps with joy and my breath is sucked away. Nothing, absolutely nothing in that gallery has the effect this art has on me. Because I have a personal relationship with artist, and I adore the work of his hand.

          You’re beautiful to your husband because you’re you. And his.

          And yeah, your husband is probably angry at this point. Because you won’t believe him no matter what he says! Now imagine serving a dish to your husband made with pork, and the whole supper he insists that the meat in there is chicken not pork. You bought the pork, you cooked the pork, you served the pork — you did everything short of slaughtering the pig yourself — but he flat out refuses to believe it’s anything but chicken. Honestly, at some point, that would just piss me off.

          I’m being blunt with you here because I truly want the best for your marriage! So I’m pleading with you to reconsider your perspective.

          (And ignore the brother. My brother-in-law gave me a hard time about stuff with my husband when I married him too. Because brothers can be annoying like that.)

        2. 1980B.C.

          No created object is beautiful enough to be the final word on beauty for anyone. What beach resort is so perfect that the sight of a different one makes you think the people there must be miserable? What mountain view is so perfect that the view from another mountain feels like a waste of time? Women are just beautiful. That’s how they were created. But your husband found the mountain with the view he wanted to see every day, so he paid the price to have exclusive rights to that land and made a home there and will fight to keep it . You letting culture or your insecurities drive decisions like begging to dye your hair or wishing you were shorter is to him like developers trying to commercialize his beautiful private mountain. Yeah, that’s going to make him mad.

          And why is your BIL the one person you seem to believe about anything? You don’t seem to believe us, and you sure don’t believe your husband. Are you so afraid of being beautiful? But lets say BIL told the truth and your husband was looking for someone else when he first asked you out. Are you proud of every decision and intention you had when you were single? If so, you’re better than all the rest of us, and maybe your husband doesn’t deserve you. But I remember when I was young and single and thought “The Club” was the kind of place I could meet the type of girl I wanted to be around. I knew my wife for a year before I even looked at her as girlfriend material and dated several girls in that year. I didn’t know what I wanted until I had it. As soon as she was my girlfriend, I knew marriage was the only way to go with this one. And we’ve been married 13 years today.

          1. Becca

            Happy Anniversary!

            Thank you for commenting. I wish I could believe him. But when I look in the mirror I don’t see beautiful. There’s not much that can be done about that. I suppose I could just remain silent as opposed to being disagreeable. But the pain of knowing he notices other women and is secretly wishing I were more like them…. It’s hard for me to get past that.

      3. Happy Husband

        My wife does not have perfect boobs or hips and a shapely beautiful women does catch my attention but I will tell you this. When shes into me she is the the most beautiful thing that i ever saw! When shes in bed and stretches with hands above her head absolutely nothing could turn me on more. God is smiling as he knew I’d be impressed. If your husband tells you you are beautiful believe him and enjoy the complement. If you do you’ll become even more beautiful to him.

    2. E

      Just chiming in with agreement here!

      I also wanted to add that the medical community as a whole is minimally 10 years behind hard science about the relationship between health and weight. And a lot of individual people are pretty confused by the misleading information widely available. If we use common sense in eating, most people find that their weighg stabilizes where it should, which is not usually the same thing as what the BMI tells us, for example.

      Just because you don’t feel beautiful in the currently popular sense, that doesn’t have anything to do with your worth, or with your beauty. It’s important to be who God made you to be and not worry about the culture too much. 🙂

  7. amber

    This is one of my favorite posts you’ve written. I think the majority of women truly struggle with this. It would be supremely boring if we all looked the same, and not every man or woman has the same concept of beauty. Being healthy and doing the things that build self esteem and make us feel good about ourselves is what should count.

    1. Becca

      Amber, I like your comment. Being healthy I know how to do. But building self esteem, how does one do that? Isn’t that just like “kidding myself”? And doesn’t our culture put too much emphasis on self-esteem? (I.e. The “everyone gets a trophy” phenomenon?

  8. P

    By the so called ‘standard’ my wife may be a bit overweight, but I care not one jot. I married her because I love her. I tell my wife often that to me she is the most beautiful woman in the world. I am the most fortunate man in the world that she chose ME to be her husband and lover. After almost 40 years I find her more exciting than ever, she is truly my ‘dream girl’ Our marriage just keeps getting better, why? Because we both know that God meant us for each other and we thank Him every day for our marriage and family.

  9. Abby

    I cannot thank you enough for writing this!!! It’s something that really needs to be discussed. I love every word you wrote!

  10. Jess

    Becca, I have been so with you for the three years I’ve been married to my husband (and even before). I’ve been asking God the same questions you’re posting. It’s hard to get my head around why– if I am beautiful and attractive enough to my husband– why he’d look at other women. He apologized and said he loves me the way that I am, and I felt like, “Yeah right!” He said it’s just hard not to notice when women have big chi-chis. I’m tiny upstairs! Even more so after we had kids. It’s a big insecurity for me, and him noticing women around who have what I don’t really kills me! I don’t want to look in the mirror and I definitely don’t feel like being undressed in front of him (post-baby tummy, stretch marks, and teeny weeny breasts don’t make for a lot of confidence). So I get it completely, and I do this too, where people can tell me solutions and it just doesn’t make it hurt any less.
    But that’s where we need to take these hurts to God and ask him to heal us. This world is always going to try to make us feel insecure and crummy about who we are. We can let it, or we can bind ourselves to Jesus, our ultimate Husband, and communicate all our heartache to Him. He will always be faithful and He will never fail you. He says in Song of Songs– and I love these verses like I can’t even put in words– “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!… You have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes.” YOU. ME. Just the raw, non-Hollywood, flawed people we are. We have stolen His heart without any striving necessary.
    And know also, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
    Our husbands are great guys and they love us! And we, their awesome wifeys, want so badly to be attractive for them and to “WOW” them. But if that’s the ultimate thing for us, the most important thing in this life, we’re going to be sorely let down because they’re great men, but they’re not Jesus. They make mistakes sometimes. So can I encourage the two of us and anyone else in the same boat to pursue Jesus, the Lover of our souls, with all our hearts and trust Him to lead us through this really painful valley? Ask Him all those hard questions on your heart. Wrestle with Him, even yell if you want (He gives me grace when I yell at Him and then say sorry because He hasn’t done anything wrong. :P)
    I hope this helps! It’s a relief and a sad thing to have a sister who is going through the same feelings, and I hope with all my heart that you choose to bind to God and get amazingly close to Him and hear what he has to say about how wonderful he made you and how you are stunning just the way you are, with so many breathtaking qualities. Truly. He’s the only One in this world who can give us peace inside.
    Also! What has been helping me a lot (and making me cry like a little girl ;)) is the song “In the Eyes” by 1 Girl Nation. You should give it a listen and take these words to heart. They help, really! =) God bless you on this crazy-hard, but ultimately beautiful road. I hope and am praying that we both find that healing we need and can be “WOW”ed at ourselves and thank God when we look in the mirror (or get undressed for our husbands. lol. One can hope!)

    1. J Post author

      Beautifully put!

      And indeed, I was planning to reply again to Becca something in the vein of “If you can’t believe your husband, listen to what God says about His handiwork and your beauty.” Thanks, Jess!

    2. Becca

      Wow, Jess. Just – wow. This is the most helpful thing anyone has ever said to me. Thank you.

      I will pray for us as well. Thank you for taking the time to share and write such a thoughtful reply. And thank you to J and the other readers who have been putting up with my issues!

  11. Anne

    My reply is primarily to Becca, because I have been where she is, and I still struggle with insecurity. I am speaking FYI as a believer in Christ. I am petite– VERY flat chested, slender hips, baby pooch/saggy skin in the middle, cellulite on my thighs even though I am not overweight. Not sexy at all in my eyes, to be honest. From pre-puberty I idolized curvaceous women and they became my standard of beauty and sexiness. Fast forward to marriage and the realization that my husband had some occasional struggles with pornography and wandering eyes (pretty normal stuff, come to find out, but I didn’t understand these struggles as a woman for a long time). So even though we had good and regular intimacy, I did not like to be openly naked with him. I actually thought that if he didn’t see me naked in the light very much, he wouldn’t store this image of me and then go out in the world and compare me to everyone else. I thought I was helping my cause, when in fact I was probably hurting it. In reality, I needed to be his naked stimulation–not the world (see Paul’s article on the marriage bed website about signal vs. noise). But I resisted for a long time because I was so, so afraid of the comparison. I knew the women he had looked at in porn or movies or strip clubs or whatever DON’T LOOK LIKE ME. That is very hard. I had a realization, though, after I asked myself “what am I really afraid of?”. What is my biggest fear? What is controlling me–i.e. what is my idol in this situation? That he looks at me and says “ugh?” That he looks at me and says “she’s average?” That he looks at me and thinks “I wish she had better breasts/butt/skin?” It killed me to think he might be thinking those things, and it hit me–this is my idol. I am setting up this idol (that my husband finds me attractive and arousing and doesn’t notice anyone else) to be the one thing that will truly make me a happy person and wife–but this is not what God created me for. This is not what God created any of us for. IF my husband feels this way (compares me negatively)–that is wrong, and God will deal with that because he is more committed to my husband than even I am, but it does not give me the right to assume the worst of him, or to withhold the sight of my body from him. I realized in worshipping this idol of being supremely pleasing to my husband that I had forgotten that 1)it is the Lord that is worthy of my worship, and 2) it is the Lord that ultimately “has my back,” not my husband. In my fear I was living as if no one really had my back, and only my husbands approval would make me feel peace. But there is someone–the Lord has my back in this situation; he is for me. If the worst were to happen–my husband rejects me (and believe me, that would be brutal)–I am still perfectly loved and protected by y heavenly Father. Marriage is a triangle, and there are three people in your marriage–you, your husband, and the Lord. Don’t let what you THINK your husband is thinking control you for ultimately you stand before an audience of one, and that “one” is not your hubby. I feel that I should also add that dealing with this crap has strengthened our marriage tremendously and enhanced our intimacy greatly. My husband is so grateful that I am sharing the sight of my body more freely. He was so weary of me assuming the worst and not believing him–that he loves all of me. It made him angry and put a wedge between us. Yes, I am not objectively perfect but he is attached to me physically and spiritually! I still struggle– more with insecurity in myself (I still don’t find my body very sexy), but less with insecurity in the relationship, if that makes sense. I hope this helps. Ultimately, it is a spiritual issue, and one that you must deal with yourself. You cannot change your husband. Maybe he is telling you the truth. Maybe he is a scoundrel. But you have to be who you were created to be as a believer and wife and let God deal with the rest. He has your back.

    1. Becca

      Thank you Anne, for your reply. So often, other Christians say in their comments, “find your worth in God.” Okay. Sounds great. But WHAT does that mean? I am a saved believer, but still I couldn’t quite understand that blanket statement.

      You did an excellent job of explaining just that. Thank you so much.

  12. Missy

    Sometimes I think we ladies are obsessed with being the ONLY thing our husband finds beautiful or attractive – I think that might be impossible. Just because he acknowledges beauty elsewhere doesn’t mean he is less likely to notice the beauty in front of him. Because I love them mountains, must I deny the beach is gorgeous?

    Just as I believe all Truth is God’s truth, I believe all Beauty is of the Lord and can be appreciated in holy ways. If a man was feeding a sinful appetite of fleshy images, putting down the wife with which he has been gifted pursuing sinful lusts or critiquing his wife in cruelty then I think there is a BIG problem. However, I do believe we can notice God’s creation, be aware of the differences between genders and still be mesmerized and faithful to our partner.

    We don’t have to command the full spotlight to own our man’s heart. We don’t have to be adored and constantly praised to be secure (in fact, that is exhausting to our men).

  13. Jess

    Anne and Missy, your words helped so much!!! Thank you! =) And Becca, I’m so glad that I could help, even if just a little bit! It’s such a hard battle for us ladies. But Anne hit the nail on the head for me about that being my idol.

  14. Gaye @CalmHealthySexy

    I also wanted to mention that physical appearance is not the only thing that makes a person, man or woman, look attractive or sexy. It’s really the total “package” of who a woman (or man) is as a person. If you Google “what is sexy” or “what makes a person sexy” you’ll find a lot of responses along the lines of “someone who is confident,” “someone who knows what he/she wants,” “someone who treats himself/herself and others with respect.” If you think about the men you find attractive, is it always the ones who are objectively the most handsome? Probably not. It’s those who have a combination of appearance, confidence, attitude, positive treatment of others, etc. The same is true with women. We are NOT just what we see in the mirror. We examine ourselves with a microscope (our mirrors), but others see us as the big picture of everything we are. Clearly, some women are more physically beautiful than others, but they aren’t always the women men want to be with. A friend of mine shared a beautiful story that illustrated this so well. This story encourages me so much and, frankly, gives me the chills every time I read it. You can read it here if you are interested – http://calmhealthysexy.com/choose-to-be-beautiful/

    1. J Post author

      What a fabulous point! Thanks for making it, Gaye. I once had a guy tell me that it was all about how a woman carried herself.

      And if you consider those women we’ve tagged as “bombshells” throughout history, they’re not always the prettiest girl in the room, but they carry themselves confidently. I agree we can do a lot to make ourselves feel more attractive and be more appealing to our husbands by how we approach our total “package.” Thanks again!

  15. Mrs Dave

    As someone who is naturally slender, and would be considered “underweight” even though I eat a lot, I find comments like “real women have curves” to be very hurtful. Am I not a real woman? Sure, I have some curves, but they are subtle, and I have to work really really hard to have any biceps or a butt at all. Other women look at me and think I can wear anything because I’m skinny, but that’s not true at all. I have one pair of jeans that fits decently, because most just fall off my butt, And most XS women’s shirts are too big. I will literally go to a clothing store, try on a hundred pieces of clothing that look like they may work, and maybe come away with one that is modest and actually fits. More often than not I come away empty handed. Not complaining because I am who God made me, and thankfully I have a husband who thinks I’m beautiful and sexy even without curves in the right spots. But we women have enough body image issues with the media and porn that we don’t need to tear each other apart and make assumptions about each other just because we’re all made different.

  16. Bonnie Jean

    While we do come in all shapes and sizes… many of us do not treat our bodies like a temple of the Holy Spirit. I do not think it is right to “let yourself go” as so many men and women do. I think we have a responsibility not to be a certain size but to be our best selves as ambassadors of Christ and to honor our spouses with trying our best to stay physically fit and appealing. I honestly have trouble with men who think that they can have a huge belly and it does not matter. And women who spend their lives in sweats and never put on decent clothes or makeup… looking our best is not a sin. It makes us feel better about ourselves and present a more desirable presence. Not in a sexual or relationship sense, but in the sense that we want to be people that others look up to as an example of all that is best in this world (not money… but healthy, godly examples of his creation). People who are excessively fat and sloppy do not draw people to Christ. They also need to be loving, giving, compassionate, etc. But all that we are is important to Christ and to the people we are married to. In real life, would you honestly want to have sex with someone, male or female, who looked like a beached whale ??? It is not just the size that is the turn off, it is the lack of caring for themselves and you, it is the fact that it is unhealthy, and the truth is that oftentimes if they let themselves go that way… they do not smell very inviting either. I think people need to get real about this. Pretending for Christ does not work. He can see through it and it is not honoring to Him or your spouse who could die, literally, from their lack of control. Gluttony is a sin.

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