Feeling Beautiful: A Wife’s Goal for 2015

美容 女性For 2014, I suggested wives focus on being happy. I made it a personal goal to choose happiness as well, and despite frustrations, challenges, and some personal heartache, I had an overall happy year.

So what should we wives focus on in 2015?

Well, I attended a concert the Sunday after Christmas with my best friend, and her husband snapped a photo of the two of us beforehand. Later, when we each saw the picture, we praised how the other looked and pointed out flaws on ourselves. Good heavens! We looked fine — dare I say it? even beautiful — yet we were self-critiquing our own appearance.

My BF and I immediately decided that was enough of that, and we need to own our beauty in 2015. No more self-flagellation for perceived faults, but rather acceptance, care-taking, and confidence. And I’m making that same challenge to all of you wives out there: In 2015, we will learn to feel beautiful.

“How can I feel beautiful?” you ask. Let’s talk about how to embrace our beauty.

Speak positive words to ourselves. Self-talk matters. We can get so mad about mean things others say about us when we are often our own worst critics. Think about it: If someone said in person or on Facebook what you say to yourself at times about your own appearance, that would constitute cruel bullying, wouldn’t it? Stop bullying yourself.

Replace negative self-talk with positive words about who you are and who God made you to be. Find three to five things you really like about yourself (your eyes? your smile? your ankles? your “outty” belly button?) and focus on those in the mirror, reminding yourself of this unique beauty. Post or memorize scriptures that remind you of your value, like Psalm 139:14: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (See also Song of Songs 2:1, Psalm 45:11, Psalm 139:13, Proverbs 31:10, Song of Songs 4:7.) Make it a goal to see yourself as God sees you — a beautiful woman created by Him.

Learn to accept compliments. We women have a terrible tendency to toss off compliments like they’re hot coals in our bare hands. Tell a woman she looks great in that dress? She’ll quite possibly respond: “Only because I’m wearing Spanx underneath” or “You look so much better in your dress.” We dismiss compliments as being mistakes in the eyes of the beholder, a comment of sympathy or courtesy, or a chance to show our “humility” by turning the compliment into self-deprecation.

Why do we do that? Let’s stop sloughing off compliments and learn graciousness instead. In fact, let’s actually believe the compliments. Your friend tells you that dress looks stunning? Stand taller and buy another of the same style. Your co-worker praises your fabulous new hairdo? Smile and say “thanks.” Your husband says you look sexy? Respond with a wink, “You bet I do!” Most people aren’t trying to lie to you about your appearance, so accept their compliments as sincere. We could use that kind of encouragement, if we’ll let ourselves accept it.

Take care of ourselves. It’s very hard to feel beautiful when you’re not taking care of yourself — when you know you’re neglecting your body. And it’s even harder to consistently commit to making the tough choices to care for your health. But we feel better about ourselves when we eat well, exercise regularly, groom properly, and make an effort with our hair, clothes, etc.

Let’s start this year out right by making some promises. Raise your hand and repeat after me: “I will take better care of my body. I will ditch the threadbare yoga pants and t-shirt in favor of just-as-comfortable tailored pants and a knit blouse. I will get a better haircut that can be styled in more ways than sticking a banana clip in my mess of hair. I will stop eating my children’s leftover French fries with the excuse that there are starving children somewhere in the world. I will pass the candy aisle and — if we’re going to be really good, ladies — the wine aisle at the grocery store and make a beeline for the produce section. I will walk, run, jump, or dance my way to a healthier heart and a better waistline. I will take care of this body God has gifted me.” Ouch, I was preaching to my own choir there. Guess I’ll have to move the clothes hanging off my elliptical machine and get busy.

Nurture our inner beauty. Let me tell you a little story. There was this guy at college who was so-so looking. But at one point, several of us girls had a conversation about how handsome he was and how every last one of us would go out with him if he asked. I don’t think this guy had any idea, or he might have been lining his calendar with dates. But the point is he’d gotten better and better looking the longer we knew him, because he was such a fabulous guy. Who he was inside showed through his outer appearance and made him a very attractive man.

And the point of the story is? Inner beauty matters. You’ve known people who got better looking or worse looking as you got to know them. The same is true with you. Indeed, the apostle Peter knew the prettiest woman was one with beauty inside: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:3-4). Nothing wrong with being pretty on the outside, but your true beauty is about who you are.

It won’t do us any good to focus on outward appearance this year and pay little to no attention to fostering our inner beauty. Regardless of how fabulous we look on the outside, God looks at our heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Consider what character traits you should develop to be more beautiful inside. Is it patience? Gentleness? Hospitality? Joy? Aim to become more beautiful in the things that really matter.

Are you up for joining me in learning to feel beautiful in 2015? What suggestions do you have for achieving this goal?

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50 thoughts on “Feeling Beautiful: A Wife’s Goal for 2015

  1. IntimacySeeker

    Caring for ourselves (body, mind, and spirit) is part of sound stewardship. I think the Proverbs 31 passage about the capable wife speaks powerfully about this. She cares for herself which enables and empowers her to care for others. Doing the things you mention to feel beautiful are part of sound stewardship.

    We might say that positive self talk = caring for our minds and spirits.
    We could say that accepting compliments = caring for our minds and spirits AND caring for others (we make them feel great when we accept their compliments with grace–kind of like a sincere thank you note.)
    Tending our physical health and wellbeing = caring for our bodies, and spills over into feeling well mentally and emotionally
    Nurturing inner beauty = caring for our spirits

    I appreciate your focus on feeling beautiful. I had not thought of beauty in terms of stewardship before, but it works!

    1. J Post author

      Thanks so much, Gaye! I was actually thinking of you and your site as I wrote about healthy choices. I plan to put more of what I learn there into practice this year. 🙂

  2. Concerned Husband

    I’m normally a huge fan of your writing, and I enjoyed this one as well; but I’d like to add this note of caution.

    Wives should probably consult their husbands before cutting their hair. They might end up drastically changing something that he loves just the length it is. I don’t like how you imply that women with longer hair can only style it one way. Just type “hairstyles for long hair” on youtube.

    The key is not just putting effort into your appearance but doing so in a way that pleases your spouse.

    I strongly agree with all other aspects of the article. 🙂

    1. J Post author

      Thanks, but that’s interesting how you took that line. Because I wasn’t thinking about long hair at all. I was imagining unkempt hair of any length. I’ve had unmanageable long hairdos and unmanageable short hairdos, but I do think a quality haircut can make a difference — regardless of style. Appreciate your clarification!

    2. nylse

      I beg to differ; a happy confident spouse does not need to weigh in on every minute detail of the spouse’s appearance and the person on the receiving end of it may find it overbearing at times. In a healthy relationship where each person is whole there’s no need to run appearances by your spouse. It might be a matter of courtesy but its not necessary. Shoot, my husband loves me if my hair is long or short, perm or natural and does not give 2 hoots about what I do with my hair since that is not the essence of who I am…and I love this about him.

      1. J Post author

        Actually, I have a husband like that. He doesn’t care that much about my hairstyle. That said, we consult each other on hair, including our heads of hair and his facial hair…and then make our own decisions. This hasn’t been a problem area in my marriage at all, although I’ve heard from a few wives whose husbands have very strong opinions about their hair.

        Thanks for your comment!

      2. katydid

        But, it may be important to some spouses and that should be kept in consideration. My own husband prefers my hair long, uncolored, and natural. And it is a strong preference, too. I don’t think that means he is controlling or immature. It is just how he is and I try to respect that.

  3. Lina

    Great post! Love it! I was so moved by a post on a blog, momastery.com, illustrating how grateful we ought to feel for what we have, not comparing what we have to what advertising or materialistic society tells us we should have. Your post is in the same spirit. We judge ourselves by some pretty messed-up standards at times.
    I feel I need to respond to ‘concerned husband’, though. Yes, a spouse should probably talk to the other spouse about any major lifestyle or appearance change, but I think we can do such things for ourselves as well as for our spouse. I say this as a wife who truly believes that my beauty lies entirely in the eyes of my husband. ‘Concerned husband’, your wife’s self-esteem will go a long way to making your married life a happy and blessed one.

  4. Joy

    Love this! Shortly after my hubby and I got married he said “Hey, I am your mirror. I tell you how beautiful you are and you simply smile and agree.” 🙂 I now pass that onto young about to be married women. I have recently made a point of branching out of my t/shirts only wardrobe and I feel so much more confident. Love your writing and I make a point of passing your blog onto the young women I do my “Sex Talk” with.

  5. IntimacySeeker

    I think when it comes to appearance, hair style changes can be significant. My hubby grew his hair rather long at one point and finding him attractive was a challenge for me. I had the same reaction when he once shaved his beard. So I can sympathize with husbands who find hair style changes unsettling.

    But I agree wholeheartedly that a neat, manageable hairstyle can make a woman feel marvelous. I think of the transformations on What Not to Wear. Some of those hairstyle changes were a bit drastic, but what husband wouldn’t want a more confident, happy wife?

    Also, I wonder if husbands who love long hair realize how much work it can be. When I was in college, I got up at 4am to shower, wash and dry my hair and set it in hot rollers. I drove 45 minutes to campus where I ducked into the women’s restroom, removed the curlers and stuffed them in my backpack, and proceeded to finish “doing” my hair. There was a young man in one of my English classes who wrote a poem about my hair, so apparently, it was eye-catching. Still, it was a major time investment. There are more important things in life. 🙂

    1. J Post author

      It can take a long time to style really long hair. My own experience, however, has been that a good haircut is more important than length.

      And I agree with you that discussing your appearance with your spouse is a good idea. As I pointed out earlier, my husband takes my facial hair preferences into consideration when he grows a mustache/beard in the winter. Likewise, if I’m considering something drastic, I totally talk to my husband about it. I think most couples can find a win-win when it comes to appearance choices. Thanks, IntimacySeeker!

  6. Friend

    This is spot on! Yes…may we truly rise up and stand confidently in the beauty God has given us. I whole heartedly join you in this resolve for 2015. Well done.

  7. katydid

    I can still hear him, see his face, and I remember his name. 8th grade art class, I was walking to the pencil sharpener when I overheard him tell the other boys, “I can’t believe Katydid asked me to dance with her last year. She is so ugly!” Right at that moment, they all saw me, frozen for a moment at the sound of my name and what I heard. I saw embarrassment and a hint of, “oops, I’m sorry,” in their eyes, but they agreed as if it were simply a fact of life. Katydid is ugly.

    It weighed heavily on me throughout the rest of my school career. No one asked me out on dates. No one wanted to dance with me at school dances. I just stopped going. I tried making up for it by being super nice and reveling in my weirdness. I practiced being the perfect future wife hoping maybe someone would at least snag me for my ability to cook. Same story. Katydid is ugly.

    I simply gave up. And one day I met a man who thought I was cute. No one else did. Some even wrinkled their noses at me. That man married me. One of his coworkers went to school with me and told hubby that he couldn’t believe hubby married me because he remembered me as being so ugly.

    Then, I rarely heard from hubby that I was beautiful. As with most men, other beautiful women caught his attention, and I just figured I was destined to be unattractive. It crushed my heart, but what can you do? I even read a book about accepting and embracing your ugliness. Then, one day God stopped me in front of the mirror and showed me my unique beauty. I’m FAR from conventionally beautiful and my complexion scarred, but I take care of myself, love to dress up, and practice poise and grace as well as strength and goodness (though, I fail a lot, I know who I want to be). I am unconventionally beautiful. In a world of peaches, I am a kiwi fruit. I don’t turn.every man’s head, but I turn my husband’s (and a decent population of other men). And, what fuels my heart probably the most is my children think i am beautiful.

  8. Kristi Walker

    I wrote a letter to my body for the New Year on my blog, J. I’m tired of keeping up with the skinny Joneses when I’m already a perfectly fit, healthy size, so I decided the best resolution I could make was to get my head out of my butt and stop starving myself to be skinnier instead of healthier. The word I’m speaking over my life this year is trust. Trust God. Trust that He is exactly who He says He is and trust that He loves me…just like I am. Trust that the mean girls in my head are just residual left over echoes from people I shouldn’t have been listening to anyway.

    Love this post! WE WILL LEARN TO FEEL BEAUTIFUL!! Love that, too. I’m keeping it. 🙂

    1. J Post author

      Fabulous, Kristi! I’m heading over to read that letter. Thanks for sharing, and many blessings this year!

  9. Jenny

    Self talk absolutely matters! Great post. Oh and yes, we need to accept compliments; that’s something I am trying to teach my daughters.

  10. libl

    J., this is a great resolution. I’d like to add a gentle warning to it, though. For some of us, especially those with a long history of body image issues and self care guilt, resolving or growing in this area often brings on the fiery darts of the Enemy, often through those closest to us.

    Since reading this post and affirming it, my husband said some hurtful things about my looks. I’ve also been rejected for sex for the last two weeks. On top of that he yelled at me about something I did not do. Now, he’s done some wonderful things, too, but the negative seems to roar louder.

    Then, every time I do do something for myself, the guilt arrows come. I spend $15 taking myself out to lunch, and the car breaks down. I buy a sweater on clearance that I like and we get hit with a big electric bill. I take a class or have a friend over and whoever is babysitting the kids complains.

    it all makes it easy to just go back to neglecting ourselves. So, keep an eye out for this. If you feel hurt or guilt that tempts you to reject yourself and your care, it is an attack of the enemy. Pray and fight against it.

    1. sunny-dee

      libl, I am so sorry. I can sympathize with absolutely everything that you said — the rejection, the hurtful remarks, the guilt over doing something for yourself. I’ve lived it all myself the last couple of weeks. I wish I could give you a hug.

  11. Ruth

    Feeling beautiful was a huge part of my transformation. I was in a bible study of Songs of Songs and we were studying it as an allegory of God’s love for us. Each week we read Song of Songs and it was filled with passages telling us how beautiful we are. I remember cringing when I read those passages because I never ever felt beautiful. I was a lot of things – a hard worker, smart, creative – but I was not beautiful. Then I came to the realization that beauty is not something that you do or earn, it is just something that you are because God created you, exactly like he intended you to be. And to Him, you are absolutely beautiful.
    I have since learned to embrace my beauty and have even let my husband know that it is something that I need to hear from him. Really I only care about 2 things, that God created me and sees me as absolutely beautiful, and that I am drop dead gorgeous to my husband. I could care less about everyone else.
    It has given me a greater freedom to live life, and to be who I am with God and with my husband. It has allowed me to reveal more of myself than I would have ever dared possible. Do you believe that God created you exactly as he intended, and that you are absolutely BEAUTIFUL?

  12. socalgal88

    Oh how I so needed this today. Just a couple hours ago I was starting one of my new years to-do’s of cleaning out all the junk and crap we don’t use or need and found pictures of myself from oh 4or 5 years ago. I’ve gained a bit of weight since then and immediately I was in tears and bashing myself. It spilled over into me texting my man about how crappy I feel now and how ugly and fat I’ve gotten. I know I need to make some lifestyle choices and am working on that. I also had to remind myself I looked like that years back because I was in the gym 6days a week and on a super clean diet… 5-6years later i don’t eat that way or as often as I did anymore and at this point I cant afford a gym membership due to being unemployed. I really enjoyed this post. I am terrible at brushing off the hubbs compliments and even correcting them by saying “you just say that because you have to” or “you need your eyes checked”. He’s gracious and reminds me to stop beating myself up because its not true and also will just hinder me in my goal to get healthy and fit again. Gaining this weight didn’t happen overnight and loosing it wont either. Again, loved the post. Thanks and God bless

    1. J Post author

      So glad this post gave you a new perspective! I can empathize with the feelings you describe. (I even have a box at the top of closet labeled “Smaller Clothes” — just in case. I should just relabel it “Wishful Thinking.”)

      But we are still the women our men fell in love with, even if — as my hubby says — there’s a little more to love. Take care of your body, but also please take care of your soul, your heart, and your confidence too. You are God’s masterpiece!

  13. J

    For me comparing my beauty to that of others (especially sister’s) has been one of my vices; not recommendable… Somewhere around beginning this year i ve discovered that it s way easier to just b happy with the way i look right now (more time to spend on inner beauty! and since there s no husband yet, who else is going to b happy about it!). J, i m joining you in your goal for 2015!

  14. B

    Oh I wish. What a lovely idea. But I think to try would be self inflicted torture. Seeing as how I have two eyes and a mirror, I don’t think this is a goal I could reach. So I’m starting with a smaller goal which is not to annoy my husband by arguing with him if he calls me beautiful or pretty. It is so hard. I know people think I’m obnoxious, but I wish they could feel my feelings and understand just how empty and painful it is for me to hear those words that I so strongly believe are untrue. However, I am learning that I don’t have to speak every thought that comes to my mind. So to make my husband happy, my goal is, when he says something nice, to just try to smile and keep my mouth shut.
    Maybe some day in the future I can move on to a harder goal.
    Thank you for the post. I think it’s a nice idea.

  15. janeO

    I’ve counseled many young girls to accept compliments with a “thank you”. When a compliment is meet with a negative response, it’s an insult to the complimenter.

  16. Mel

    I am stepping up and making this my goal.
    The first step I need to take is accepting my body. And get past the comments that have stuck in my head since I was in middle school. You would think that over 20years later they wouldn’t bother me, but they are all I see when I look in the mirror.

    Next to this is accepting my husband as my mirror. He is always complimenting me on my appearance, and I never believe him. Most of this stems from not having anyone every be interested in me but him (and all those comments), and feeling like this is somehow a failure on my part. Somehow I have forgotten that he picked me, he didn’t get stuck with me, HE. PICKED. ME.

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  21. Courtney

    Ahh this is pretty much what I need down to a tee! My husband is always really bothered when I dismiss his compliments. We had a great conversation about it over the Valentine’s Day weekend, where he confided that not only does it hurt him (when I speak badly about myself), it’s disrespectful in that it assumes he’s a bad judge of character for picking me as his wife. He thinks I’m beautiful and wants me to not just accept his compliments but believe them. Here’s hoping I can learn that this year! Thank you for leading the charge!

    1. J Post author

      Sounds like you snagged a great guy, Courtney. Let him help you feel beautiful this year and for many years to come. Blessings!

  22. Cassi

    I struggle with speaking positive words about myself. Sure, in public I do and joke about the negatives but alone I critique myself so much sometimes.

    1. J Post author

      That self-talk can be so important! If it’s hard to do, try memorizing some inspirational words and scriptures and reciting those when you catch yourself becoming critical. Best wishes, Cassi!

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