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